A couple months ago, the editor of Varoom magazine, John O’Reilly, emailed me and ask me if I had an interest in being featured in the next issue of Varoom magazine. I was both surprised and shocked. The reason I felt shock is because I had received a few issues of Varoom magazine before. As I’m a member of the UK Association of Illustrators and have been for a couple years, if you’re a member then you will receive a copy of Varoom magazine when it has been published. I’ve always felt my style of work is not the kind of work they would want to feature as Varoom usually features “cool and edgy” styles of work, which my work isn’t. My style of work is “cute and happy”.
This issue of Varoom is all about “Career Rhythm”, so John asked me questions about my career highs and lows so far and how I manage psychologically these ups and downs. This was an interesting question that no one had asked me before. Most of the time people me how I get my work, what’s my medium, how I price, which college or university should they go to, etc. So I’m really happy when people ask me these questions as I have so much to talk about.
To be honest, both a highlight (from the sheer amount of work I had to do) and lowlight (because I had so much work to do) was a year long commission project I recently completed. I had to illustrate 834 phonic illustrations for a school in China. It paid very well but it took up all my work time, especially as my daughter only went to nursery 3 days a week this last year, so I really struggled to find time to create any personal projects.
Ask most illustrators and they will tell you not being able to work on your own projects is really bad for one’s illustration business. Personal projects, at least in my case, always bring in lots of work so in the couple months since this project finished, work wise I have been fairly quiet.
So towards the end of that phonic illustration project, I spent money and signed up for a few Lilla Roger’s Make Art That Sells classes. I’m a huge fan of her courses and a few of my illustrator associates and friends took some of her courses and they have all added some really beautiful works to their portfolio as a result. That’s why her courses were my first choice and I think they have helped to overcome my lowlight and helped me to develop a better portfolio. One of the best and most useful things I have learnt from Lilla Roger’s classes is “Do what you LOVE, because people buy your joy”. If you ever take one of her classes you will know she always says this. I wish my college and university teachers used this term to teach us! When I draw things I love I feel I’m of happiness, joy and energy. My illustrations look so much better and more people like them when I follow this ethos. So long story short, if you’re considering doing any online courses, I think you should give it a go.
If you’re curious about my interview on Varoom magazine, don’t forget to grab a copy!