Art in the Professions1. Hello Can you please tell me a little bit about yourself and what sort of art-related job(s) you currently do?
Hi! I'm FionaCreates
and I'm a Freelance Illustrator. I'm self employed without an agent, so any work I do is purely between myself and a client. 2. Have you had other art related jobs? If so, what were they?
All freelance, I've done a bit of web design and graphic design but my skills aren't as good in those as they are with Illustration. 3.What are the challenges of doing art as a career?
Having confidence and drive to just keep going. You have no boss to help you when you're struggling, or to give you a kick in the arse when you're being lazy. You're in it alone as far as the work is concerned (but most freelancers have networks of friends to lean on for help.) 4. How do you go about finding work?
This is complicated and unique for everyone, but for me it's a mix of face to face networking at social events (everything from parties to roller derby to board game clubs I attend can put me in touch with a potential client), a lot of viral visibility, ie I'm on twitter, tumblr, facebook etc, and I make sure to tag my work properly so it can be found, and then some soliciting of emailing agents and art directors asking them if they have work going.5. How did you know that you wanted to be a professional artist?
I can't remember a time when I wasn't certain this would be my career. People tried to dissuade me over the years with the usual "it's a competitive industry" which they meant as "you'll probably never make it" and I took to mean "I have to be better than everyone else so I have to work super hard now to get really good and compete in the competition!"6. Do you have formal art education? If so, can you tell us a bit about the experience? Would you recommend it to others?
I have a BA in Illustration.
The misconception about University is that it will teach you to be a better technical artist. This will happen through essentially being a full time artist for 3/4 years, but from my experience, on a technical level, no one taught me anything about anatomy or perspective or colour, but the instructors helped me break down and analyse images I loved so I could learn that for myself without help when the time came to graduate.
So what Uni does teach you is how to better teach yourself, and how to work with deadlines and to other people's briefs (very important for pro work). In the real world you don't have a teacher to help you when a client asks you to do something hard, so you have to know how you might go about working out how to get the job done.
I would recommend a BA if you know you want to be a professional and you already have the self discovery tendencies to learn by yourself, because your teachers will be an amazing support in this. If you just want to get better at art you'd be better off with a local night class in figure drawing or such. Less prestigious but much more technically based.
However if it's not possible to go to uni, fear not! It's possible to work pro too so don't worry you'll never get there, it just might take longer and you'll need more self confidence and motivation than others to keep going. 7. What do you enjoy most about your work?
The sketch phase is my favourite even if my sketches are just messes because I can see the potential in the blank space and explore it with simple blobs of colour or marks and it doesn't have to look "good" just have potential. 8. What advice would you give to those that hope to be an art professional one day?
You're primarily on your own if you want to freelance. If, even now (forget .one day.) you are waiting for someone else to give you permission or help to... make a webcomic, to study figure art, to do anything, you need to rethink things. Be gutsy and just do it. No excuses. You're either good enough to be paid or you're not. No one will give you work for pity "but I don't have photoshop" or "but I can't draw men!" you either find a solution to this or don't get paid. A hobby artist has the luxury of working only on what they fancy, a professional has to push the boundaries more.
That's not to say you can't ask for help, but YOU have to be the pro-active one. Don't wait for someone to do it for you, because it will never happen. 9. What are your goals as an artist?
Currently? To improve my compositions and remember to have more ambition for pictures and projects. 10. Can you share a few pieces with us that you have created for clients/work? 11. If you have any thing else to add, please do so here
Personal, unpaid, projects are the key to success. This is your playground where you can be super experimental and have lots of fun. Design a project because you love it, or to challenge yourself to do something bigger. When you're working for clients you don't have much room to play about, so play in your free time, and keep reminding yourself why you love drawing.
P.S. If you really want it, remember the word "yet". If you cant find clients (yet), your work might not be good enough... yet. It's not the end of the world if you have to take other work to support yourself while you improve, because a "no" is not forever, you might just need a few years to improve and that "no" might become a "yes"