Here is My Top Ten on “How To Become a Productive Working Illustrator in Today’s Industry.”

1. Find yourself a great Rep or Agent to represent you.  There are so many advantages in having someone who is well-connected and hard-working out there trying to drum up business and take care of promoting and marketing you.  That way you can concentrate on your work.  If you are lucky enough to get a great Rep or Agent with a good reputation, then you wont have to worry about the rest of this list.  If you are going solo or have not had the opportunity to sign on with someone yet, then here are few of my recommendations.  Make sure that when you do contact a rep that you never contact a Rep or Agent by addressing your email, “ Dear Sir/Madame” or “To whom it may concern”. You should take the time to address your email to the person whom you want to represent you. Never send out mass emails and especially never cc several Reps or Agents at a time. Do your homework and research before contacting anyone.  Make sure that you contact the right person for you.

2.Perfect your style. Work on having a distinct style that you have mastered over time.  If you work in several styles, choose one and focus on it.   Your work should be recognizable. Your style should belong to you.  If you can achieve that, then that’s a huge advantage.  Think of the illustrators that you love; you can always recognize their work right away when you see it.  Never try to copy a style that you think is successful, create your own, be original.

3. Think globally and not locally.  This is one of the great advantages of being an illustrator.  You can live anywhere and work with clients everywhere.

4. Create a personal website.  It doesn’t need to be complex or complicated.  Think of it as your online portfolio to showcase your work.  Keep it simple, clean and easy to navigate.

5. Sign on to some of the great websites that promote illustration., is a great one to get started. There are several out there and always do your research before signing on.

6. Keep busy working on your style even when you have no commissions in hand.

7. Get out of your studio or workspace to go for walks or a run or to take some fresh air.  It’s important to get away from your work and take some time to “smell the flowers”. You will feel much better and be in a better mood when you get back.

8. Participate in International contests.  This is a great way to get your name known and bring you some recognition if you are selected.  Look for contests that are reputable and not the ones that are just out there to take your money.

9. Always be sure to get everything in writing.  Make sure that you send your clients a written quote before starting a job and make sure they sign it or at least reply to an email that they agree with your conditions.  If everything is in writing , there will be no surprises.

10. Believe in yourself.  Enjoy what you are doing.  Never give up and stay passionate about your work.  Love what you do and success will come.  Nothing is more important than being happy in your career.


10 thoughts on “Here is My Top Ten on “How To Become a Productive Working Illustrator in Today’s Industry.”

  1. I’m workin’ on all of the above. I appreciate all of the guidance you put out there. While I don’t think my style fits your agency, I certainly hope that, when I do find an agent, they work as hard for me as you seem to for your illustrators! Meanwhile, I know where to look for great advice! Thanks.


  2. wow nice list!!! i didn’t knew the HAI website, i’m going to “apply”! btw in all this 10 point list i’ve always been blocked on the first one. :S


  3. Pingback: Drawn to This » Article on becoming a productive illustrator

  4. This is all amazing advice! Number seven is (also) definitely for me. It can be hard to tear myself away from the lure of the computer screen, but I know it needs to be done. Thanks for your expert insight!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s