Tuesday 6 January 2009

How to be an illustrator by Darrel Rees

How to be an illustator by Darrel Rees (founder of Heart Agency)
(2008 Laurence King Publishing, London)

I had this book for Christmas and it is full of useful information and advice. It also features interviews with art directors (Luke Hayman – Pentagram, Mark Porter - Guardian, Simon Esterson – Esterson Associates, Sarah Thomson – Art Buyer DDB, Wladimir Marnich – Marnich Design) and illustrators (including Aude van Ryn, Brett Ryder, Micheal Gillette, Sam Weber, Marc Boutavant, Yuko Shimizi, Rui Teneiro, Jeffrey Decoster). There are chapters on getting started, preparing your porfolio, job-hunting & interviews, producing the first job, financial tips, sharing studios, agents and promoting yourself.

New illustrators often begin by doing editorial work, because there is plenty of work here (plenty of illustrators too). You need to contact the design director, art director or senior designer. This information is often in the newspaper or magazine.

Promoting Yourself

This chapter has loads of tips and stresses how important it is to make the most of your ‘debut’ appearance when you first leave college. 

Need to sort out:-
Small well-printed cards (ideally full-size image one side & 2 smaller images on reverse) to send out monthly
Website for quick access
Enter competitions
Enter annual images book (eg AOI) if possible
Pursue self-initiated projects (leading to exhibitions or self-publishing to send to clients)

There are 3 stages to promotion:
1 To get you contact with client
2 To maintain contact with client
3 General profile-raising

 Vital to compile some sort of database of clients, along with what promo work you have sent them & on what date. This needs to be updated regularly too (3-6 months). Need to include following information:
Company/public name, name of contact, position
Address, phone no, fax, email
What promos sent & when
Last time met them
Last time they commissioned you
Last time they called a porfolio of yours
If moved

It seems that making the images is only a fraction of what the illustrator does!

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