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Don’t Forget to Promote Yourself

It’s very easy as a creative individual who loves what they do to forget that they’re running a business, and that for a business to survive, it needs to make money. Producing beautiful illustrations and artwork are all well and good, but even a starving artist has the occasional exhibition to sell their work so they can put food on the table… and buy paint. I’m in a perpetual state of disbelief at how many students with a degree in illustration complete their course with no idea of how to set themselves up as a freelancer and run a business. Getting an in-house job as an illustrator is quite rare these days, and if you do manage to find a position, there will normally be an in-house style which you have to abide by. This means that for the illustrator’s own style to shine through they would still need to be taking on freelance work if they wanted to build a portfolio that represents them rather than the company they work for. I may be wrong (and I’m certainly not always right!), and some university courses may cover this stuff as I know some amazing lecturers who do everything they can to prepare students for the market place, but as far as I’m aware, there’s not normally a module focusing specifically on tax, accounting, client relationships, self promotion, and advertising. Even contracts and licensing, along with keeping proper records, is barely touched on in many cases.

Getting an agent isn’t a way to solve a lack of experience or business know-how either. Agents range from one extreme to another and the better ones are less likely to take on students unless there’s something really special about their artwork. The best way to look at agents is, if you’re a successful illustrator, having an agent makes sense as it will allow you to grow, manage more clients and take on larger jobs. If you’re after an agent because you don’t have enough work, you’re not doing it right and an agent isn’t going to solve any shortcomings.

I believe knuckling down and teaching yourself how to run a business is essential to becoming a successful illustrator. Just look at the artists who have made something of themselves over the last couple decades. It’s not just down to talent; they appear to know what they’re doing, because they do. They offer a service and they know how to sell their work along with communicating with their clients. Plus more importantly, they get paid because they know how to manage a business.

I run Hire an Illustrator and I think any illustrator worth their salt should be a member of the service… I’m not just saying that. To run a business you need to promote it and get advice when you need it, and that’s where HAI comes in. Being part of a thriving community is also a plus. Additionally, for those who didn’t learn how to run a business at university, there is “Make Your Art Work” from artist Marc Scheff. It’s basically a bootcamp for kickstarting a creative career, and well worth checking out. Marc and his partner in crime Lauren Panepinto have a long history of putting freelancers on the right path and I’ve never heard anything but good things about them.

Now go, run a business, and enable yourself to do the thing you love.

Image Credit: Monkey Business by Tijmen Ploeger

Faeries of the Faultlines

We were going to publish a really nice article to help our friend Iris Compiet get the word out about her Kickstarter project, and hopefully find her a few additional backers. I’m not sure we need to now… And all we can say is… Wow! I think at this point after only seven days it’s best for us to sit back and simple enjoy Iris’ breathtaking artwork and very successful book project. Go Iris! You’ll be at 100k before you know it.

If you want a copy of the Faeries of the Faultlines, join us and a thousand others and back the project at We can’t wait for the Kickstarter to end, so Iris can finish the book and start fulfilling orders. March 2018 can’t come soon enough.

Scott Dubar’s Tips for 365 Drawing Challenges

Scott Dubar posted his top 5 tips back in April on how to complete a 365 day drawing challenge after completing one himself. For most I’d assume it sounds like an impossible task especially when you’ve got impending deadlines and what not, but with Scott’s tips you’ll be well on your way to becoming the quick-thinking illustrator you always wanted to be.


If you do start one yourself or have done one, we’d love to check it. Send us an email or message with a link.

Pizzeria Disgusto – a new book by Michael Hacker

From the freaky and wonderful mind of Michael Hacker comes Pizzeria Disgusto. His Kickstarter campaign is at full speed now and it’s worth checking out. We’ve been a fan of Michael’s work for years, we even hired him to create our Sasquatch MC Hoodie for our apparel brand Saltopus many moons ago. His illustrations and humorous style are just too much fun not to love.

If Pizzeria Disgusto tickles your twisted sense of humour and makes you giggle when you know you probably shouldn’t, you can back the project by making a pledge. We can’t wait to get our hands on a copy of the book and some awesome stickers once the campaign ends!

Visit Kickstarter:
Official Website:

ProjectCast with Kyle T. Webster

Following on from Drawn + Drafted‘s stonkin’ live podcast with Thomas James, they’ve got a new ProjectCast coming up with Kyle T. Webster (Kyle’s Brushes). It’ll be broadcast live on Monday 15th May 10:00 PM GMT (London) and you can reserve a spot here.

Not to be missed, Kyle is an international award-winning illustrator who also happens to be the founder of, the world’s best-selling Photoshop brushes.

Save a spot: