Thursday, September 10, 2009

Getting jobs

Linda asked how we have found jobs. Since I have a moment I will share how I got my current job. While reading illustrator blogs I've learned a lot about how others have found work. One mentioned using various free online portfolios to showcase her portfolio. Since it was free I thought I would also give it a try. I put a small portfolio on Coroflot.com and a couple of others (if you are interested in learning more, I found most of this information on Holli Conger's blog). About a month later an editor from Brown books publishing company (they are an all-service publishing company, meaning that they help self publishers put together books, among other things) e-mailed me asking if I wanted to be one of their freelance illustrators. I sent in my resume and shortly thereafter was asked to do some spec pieces for two books. This particular publishing company doesn't pay very much, but it is a foot in the door and something to put on my resume, not to mention the experience I will gain, the additional illustrations I can add to my portfolio, and a little bit of money to make it even more pleasant. I don't know how many more jobs I will actually do for this publishing company since they don't pay anywhere near what typical publishing companies pay, but again it is worth the experience.

Out of curiosity, how long has it taken most of you to get assignments once you've become a serious illustrator? For me, it's been about 3 1/2 years.

I'd love to hear how others of you have found work. Hopefully I will also be able to contribute an illustration for watercolor Wednesdays this week or next. My tendinitis has improved quite a bit (although I can't go for as long as I once did at the moment).

8 comments:

Linda Kay said...

Angel: Thanks so much for the response--I'll check out Coroflot site & Holli Conger's. As to how I got started, I've been a visual artist for 30+ years & children's book illustration has always been what "I really wanted to do". I've been at it very seriously now for over 5 years. I attend SCBWI national conferences when I can & regional. I maintain two art sites & send out packages of my work. I was very fortunate to work with Tomi DePaola in workshop for 2 years. Right now, I illustrate for Stories for Children Magazine every month. My goal is to have one of my own stories published with my illustrations. I just keep working & hoping! Thanks for sharing--sorry for the lengthy note.

Sandy K. said...

This is very interesting information. I write and illustrate (photography) for a regional publication in mid-Michigan. It's not the big-time, but it was that foot in the door and I can add clips to my portfolio. I hadn't thought about the Online aspect, so will explore what avenues are open there. Thank you.

sruble said...

Thanks for starting the discussion Linda and Angel for being the first one to answer (or did I miss a previous discussion?).

My first illustration jobs for kids were two online magazines, Wee Ones and Dragonfly Spirit. Wee Ones also ran a story I wrote with my illustrations. I found out about both of them by actively participating in online discussion boards, like the scbwi and Blue Boards on Verla Kay's site.

This week I sent out a ton of postcards and I've also attended conferences and had portfolio reviews. I also participate in this blog, a local illustrator's group and Illustration Friday. You never know where someone is going to see your work.

Linda Kay said...

correction: it sounded like I worked w/Tomi dePaola for 2 yrs, but I took 2 workshops 2 separate years!
Thanks sruble for the info--I read Living the Creative Dream-very interesting & lots of good info. I went to Portfolios.com & it's for sale!? Folioplanet dot com was confusing & if I understand it correctly, one has to have 75% of their income from freelance to be a part of the sit? I'm, unfortunately, not there yet...
thanks again for info--I'm looking into some other sites & will update later.

Linda Kay said...

Oops...thanks Angel for original discussion.

Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

This is such a great topic of conversation. Where the heck was I when you started this?? he he he! Such great stories and very encouraging as well. I attended a very large church I became friends with a lady who was a dancer. We became good friend. Never spoke about what each other did for a living. As some you know, I worked as a phlebotomist for over 25 years. I was always doing some kind of illustrating. Things for family members and handmade greeting cards. I even had some stuff in a local gallery sold, but that was it. One day my dancer friend decided to come over. I had all of my artwork and illustrations that I was sorting out all over the dinning room table. I couldn't even clean it up before she got there. We spent time laughing and all and she finally asked me." Vanessa who does all this artwork?" I told her it was me. She then told me that she was an editor at Scholastic in the city. I've known Karen for over 8 years,but we never talked about work until that very day. To say it was a God sent is an understatement. It was an appointment that would change my life forever. From that visit. I had the great honor to work on 4 issues of a "Read and Rise Magazine that they use to do. I got to write 4 stories and illustrate two stories that I wrote. This would also open the door for me to do the Ruby Booker Series with Scholastic was well. The jobs would come and go and my husband was out of work for a very long time. I really had to become the bread winner and I wasn't able to go back into the medical field. Things had really changed. When you get older the put you out to pasture so to speak. I took a class at SVA in children's book illustration and writing and put together a fresh portfolio. I then started writing straight and to the point letters to some agents. I made sure that I put my best artwork into tearsheets an also sent them out to about 6 agents. I got 5 call in less then two months, but I really worked my tail off on my portfolio. I finally signed with Lori Norwicki of Painted-words.com Please check it out for submission guildlines. The jobs came slowly, but now I am working on a few projects at one time. My husband is still looking for work, but at least I can hold things down for now.

Carla said...

These are great testimonies....Some day I'll have one to share with you all.

Cyrille said...

Sadly these days, half the money I make goes to meds(which I'm lucky to get a lower price at www.buytramadol.ca). I used to work as a full time illustrator and part time writer. Until today I still work both jobs but I am more of the latter. Illustration jobs before were done full time since I was an in-house illustrator. I want to find out if I can do it on the side these days, but I'm not very sure coz I have to be wary of my condition despite the desire to continue with my passion.