Reading over my previous blog post about my hopes and fears, I have realised that my hopes and fears have changed since the beginning of my final year. I have come to a few realisations regarding my job prospects, my style and the way I work.
One of my initial hopes was to refine my style at the beginning of the year. Initially it was thought that using pen and ink would be the route that I would take my style, improving on the techniques that I was using and encompassing cross-hatching. But on reflection I have always thought my greatest pieces have been where I have used digital methods to create illustrations. And so, I decided to leave the pen and ink behind and go back to my digital illustration roots. This has meant that my illustrations look more professional and I can produce these images easily and quickly. Over the course of my major project I have learnt that I can develop some really nice work from an initial sketch, then refine and colour the piece in Illustrator. I have been using limited colour within these illustrations and cross-hatching the images digitally, which I have become quite skilful at. I’m already starting to see some interesting results with this new working method and am starting to gain more confidence in my ability to be a professional illustrator.
I have also found from my major project that I can compose a character from a small amount of text. I have realised that I prefer to create surreal images and characters, rather than characters that have no substance. I read through many autobiographies for my major project and found that many of them did not sustain my interest or evoke amusing imagery. The best books I found for evoking imagery were “Boy” by Roald Dahl and Alexi Sayles “Stalin Ate My Homework”. Roald Dahl was a surreal and creative writer and I think this kind of text with it’s surreal content is what works best for me in terms of coming up with ideas for me to illustrate. I would hope to illustrate other children’s stories and will be looking to find editorial work for newspapers and magazines in the future. My ultimate dream is to be a character designer, maybe for Disney.
I still have the same fear that I may not be able to find illustration work after I finish my degree, but I believe the best way to overcome this fear is to get out there and promote myself and not be so nervous about getting knock backs. It’s taken me a while to update my portfolio, but I’m really proud of the content that’s currently in there and I think It best represents my style and who I am. I have received some feedback from my previous employer saying that they find my illustrations are of a higher standard than the illustrator that they currently use. They mentioned that they would be in touch with any illustration work that comes their way. I have a few contacts from when I worked in the design industry and hope that if I keep networking alongside my employment, I will be able to build up a substantial client base. Upon looking for design employment, I have noticed that a lot of companies now are asking for web design experience. This is something that I do not possess, and I am worried that I may not be able to get a position within the art industry at all! As mentioned in my previous post, I must have a regular income with a family to support, so I may not have a choice but to take a regular “job”, rather than a career.
If I am unable to secure a position within the design industry, I may have to do an additional web design course to open doors back into the design industry.
My confidence would need to be increased further if I am to be successful as a freelance illustrator. I need to have a thicker skin and make sure that the confidence knocks that I may receive do not make me quit from the path of illustration.
I will make sure that I utilise the contacts I have acquired over the 14 years I have been in the design industry. This may be to acquire a position within a company doing graphic design, or to build a client base for my illustration work. I am hoping that I will not have to complete further courses to get where I would like to be and would ultimately love to be a character designer. I feel my work is now well on it’s way to being of a professional standard, as well as my portfolio. I will need to keep updating my website with further pieces and hopefully I will be in a better position in a few months time to build my own website.
Now that I’m feeling more confident with my portfolio I will start making opportunities for myself by sending work out to design agencies in the my local area and contact the agencies I visited for the portfolio visits. I have already made a hit list of editorial clients I want to send work samples to and I plan to start putting my plan into action next week.
I need to widen my scope a bit more and make more connections within the world of illustration and if I can make it to one of the Draw North West meets one evening this could be helpful. I also found Leeds Comic Con was a brilliant place to make connections with professional illustrators and am really looking forward to going there again this year armed with my business cards and samples of work.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn a little bit on Adobe After Effects with the transformation animation and although I was more confident in drawing everything by hand I found it useful as it helped me to get my head round Flash. Now I know the basics I will be looking to make more animations from my vector work.