Welcome to my blog. I’m a 22-year-old, 5 ft1 woman and aspiring illustrator, currently living and working in the South of Spain. Age, height and gender are not particularly relevant, but felt like I needed more description to pad this intro out!
I’ve started this blog to document my journey (hopefully) towards becoming a professional illustrator. This is for me, but with the hope that it may also be interesting to other people. Illustrators such as Jake Parker and Rebecca Green are so generous in sharing their processes through blog posts in ways that have helped me (and no doubt countless others) by demystifying this weird creative world. Being a naturally reflective person, writing a blog just seems like the kind of thing I would regret never giving a go. I have a lot of thoughts and its often quite a relief to get them down to try and make sense of them!
So in case you’re interested…here is a quick summary of where I’m at and what I hope to do next.
I finished university in May 2020 and have since moved to the South of Spain to work as an English language assistant in a secondary school, whilst also trying to develop an illustrator career. I say develop an illustration business, but I’m very much at the stage of trying to learn the fundamentals. My degree was totally unrelated to illustration and I haven’t taken an art class since I was about 14! That said, with the right attitude and the amount of online resources – youtube, podcasts etc. out there, current global situation (yes that's you COVID-19), I feel confident about my decision not to go down a traditional art school route.
In addition to working on the fundamentals, I’ve thought a lot about what kind of career I’d like to have. I heard a great quote once that "those who fail to plan, plan to fail" and while I wouldn’t say this is strictly true because best laid plans and all that, I do love a good plan.
Therefore, my current focuses (in addition to learning the fundamentals) are:
1) Trying to see if I can get any personal commissions for the Christmas 2020 season. This would really just be family and friends. I don’t see myself making much money through this (if any!), but it would be good practice if I could get it, a way of making a little to support my online education ventures and finally, it would be welcome reassurance that my decision to pursue a creative career is not a totally foolish idea.
So far, I have illustrated examples of pets, people and places. Next I need to get together an email list, email people and then it’s out of my hand and just a matter of crossing my fingers and waiting!
2) Working on developing a line of greeting cards/postcards that could be sold in a farm shop. Again, this isn’t really about making money, but about the want to design, produce, sell and put something into the world that I have created. I love a beautifully printed item and I envision myself learning a lot from process this about the market and what does and doesn’t work. Farm shop? Because this summer (summer 2020) I worked on my uncle’s fruit farm and was inspired by the gorgeous fruit…Being a third culture kid who has moved around quite a bit, I don’t have a home base so there are no local gift shops or gift shops I can go to hoping to sell to.
I’m currently working on designs and hope sometime in the new year to talk to shop owners about them and get their feedback before ordering product for the summer fruit season.
3) The third thing that I’m working on encapsulates quite a lot and that is trying to develop a portfolio of personal projects. Working on personal projects seems to be EVERYONES advice and I think it’s easy to see why.
- My first personal project is to illustrate a series for Dodie Smith’s book "I capture the castle". This book is a classic, although obviously not as well-known as the works by Austen, Shakespeare or Carroll. It’s a coming of age story set in falling down castle in the English countryside and starts with the fantastic line ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink….’. My rather lofty dream is that I would one day be asked to illustrate the book. But in the meantime, I’m studying the book and using it educate myself on the art of designing characters, places, spots and spreads and the use of colour to tell a story. This process is one I hope to feature frequently on the blog.
This post is already getting a bit long so I will save my other current focuses for a future post. I’ve never written a real blog post before- ones for Spanish and French classes don’t count! but I’m fairly sure they aren’t meant to be very long.