What Most illustrators Won’t Tell You
Something that you won’t hear a lot about from illustrators is most of the time, a client will ask you to create a piece of work which is similar to another piece of work you have created, or in some cases, other artists work. This has happened to me many times during my experience working as an illustrator. You receive a brief from a client and the client will have 4-5 versions of your work, and the client will ask you to create something similar, is this soul-destroying? Yes and no, at the end of the day, you’re still doing something you enjoy, which is still a win situation.
The challenge is to create something different as well at the same time something similar, which fulfils the clients brief. This can be challenging because you need to push your own work forward, and my belief is to always try and make your recent work better than the last, which keep things fresh. From my experience it’s not a good idea to deviate too far from what the client would like, if for instance, you try to be too creative, you run the risk of the client rejecting your work, which means you have to go back and rework the illustration, costing you time and money. Sometimes its easier to do as the client wants, you get the work over and done with, and you end up with a happy client.
How do you keep your sanity and be creative? If the job is paying well, you then have time to work on personal projects. Personal projects I personally believe are more enjoyable I find, why? Personal projects allow you to experiment with your illustration style and let you push your work to discover new ideas and techniques, which you won’t necessarily discover creating the same sort of work you normally do while working on client-based commissions.
You can reinvent your self as an illustrator; throw out the guidebook, which advises you to stick to one illustration style for the rest of your illustration career, sometimes you have to change out necessity. If you’re not getting any work through the door, you can’t sit around hoping the phone will ring. If you’re a savvy illustrator, you could have multiple illustrations styles under a different alias, why is this a good idea? The obvious reason is that it brings in different revenue streams for you rather than relying on just one, which is potentially hazardous just as I mentioned above you open yourself up to a big risk that your style of work won’t be as in demand as it once was.
Below are examples of my work, I use to work as a vector artist, illustrating floral feminine illustration work, which was successful for a few years, and gradually the vector illustration style was drying up, I waited a few months hoping things would change and commissions would start to come through once again, but that didn’t happen in my case. I had to think on my feet and work on something new. I spent 7 months working furiously on new work, which was completely different from the illustration work I would normally illustrate. I currently work with 2 different illustration styles Jitesh Patel Illustration and 2and3 quilling illustration. Hand drew maps and architecture, and paper quilling illustration, which is created using CGI software to simulate the look and feel of paper. If one style of work is slow, I have the back up of the other, sometimes it can become hectic juggling lots of projects at once, however, this isn’t a problem, as the end goal is to always be busy.