Do I have to be an artist or have an art background to take up illustration? in 2021
For a long time, graphic design and illustration jobs were only reserved for the talented lot in the society. People who felt they lacked adequate drawing and art skills shied away from taking up these jobs because they felt that they would come up short when competing with the talented big boys. Thanks to technology and innovation, this has all changed; anyone can take up graphic design and learn it from scratch.
College students and other novices looking to take up illustration jobs still have numerous misconceptions and questions about illustration. Not many understand what illustration entails in a nutshell and what opportunities lie ahead of them if they take illustration as a career or part-time job. As experts in this field, we have been constantly been receiving questions and queries about illustration and today we want to address the common ones. Here are the Top 15 Illustration Questions from College Students and explanations to clear the air around these questions;
1. Do I have to be an artist or have an art background to take up illustration?
No. Although having some prior drawing skills and art background might give you an upper hand, it does not hurt to start illustration from scratch. It just calls for repeated practice and motivation for one to succeed in this field.
2. Is it too late to start learning illustration and graphic design?
I personally started practising graphic design and illustration in my final year in college. I took it as a part-time job and blended in a few more marketing skills to go along with. Little did I know that a few years later this would be my sole source of income! It’s never too late to start anything; go ahead and start learning illustration.
3. Where can I learn to design and become an illustrator?
Thanks to technology today, there are a couple of online platforms on which you can learn illustration from scratch. There are classes offered in universities and colleges but if you are planning to take this as a part time job, it would be wise to learn it online and maybe get a mentor to guide you on the way.
4. Is it easy making a living as an online illustrator?
To be honest with you, illustration is not the easiest profession to make a living from online. There hardly is certainty for jobs but if you land a few gigs, especially in advertising you can make a killing out of it. Two or three jobs a month can help you offset an average American’s bills for half a year; lucrative, isn’t it?
5. Where can I get illustration jobs online when working as a freelancer?
Well, there are platforms where people post jobs for freelance illustrators to pick. Companies looking for banners, book covers, digital headers and banners and other individuals post these jobs and if you are a qualified illustrator you can pick them up. These sites include Upwork and Freelancer.com.
6. How much money can I make from working as an illustrator?
This depends on the type of job you are doing. It depends on your rates and the amount your client is willing to pay as well for the particular jobs. Jobs which have a lot of detail and are labour intensive will most of the time be more expensive. The only thing I can guarantee you is that there is a lot of money to be earned in this industry.
7. I am a college student working as a freelance illustrator, should I start a business website?
For the sake of marketing and advertising easily, yes you should start your own website. When you have your own website, it is easy to show off your skills to potential clients and you never know who might be looking at your website; start a small business site today.
8. What are some of the important software and programs to have when working as an illustrator?
There are a couple of software and programs that are designed to help illustrators produce more immaculate content. Some of them are free while some require you to pay some money to use them. The most popular and effective software include; Adobe Illustrator, Clip Studio Paint, Graphic Design Studio, Printshop Deluxe among others.
9. At what point do I switch from a part-time illustrator to a full-time illustrator?
Well, if you have amassed a large enough client base and have earned yourself a reputation, you might want to take the bold step and go fulltime. Be careful though, it can get frustrating if you hurry things up. Take time and when you think you are earning enough, you can then concentrate on the illustration alone.
10. Is it advisable to work as an individual or work under an agency?
This depends on the individual again. Some people have very good illustrating skills but have very poor marketing and advertising skills. Such individuals need the help of established agencies to help them get clients. Other individuals are hardworking enough to find clients on their own and opt to go solo in the market; this means more money as you don’t pay anyone to find you clients.
12. Should I think about licensing my work at such an early time in my career?
Why not? If you planning to continue making money out of this side hustle, you better get a license from a company that licenses artwork for the security of your work.
13. How can I use social media when working as an illustrator?
Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms are very prime areas to showcase your work and sell your trade. There lies thousands of clients out there on social media and it’s up to you to post your work and let them find you.
14. Should I stick to one illustration style or should I opt for diversity?
I will be very objective here. You can choose to work using purely one style and perfect it or opt to learn various styles and increase your chances of landing more jobs. It’s upon you to decide which one suits you more and go for it.
15. How important is originality in this industry?
There are instances where I have been forced to look at someone’s work to draw some inspirations and find some tips on how to finish up a client’s job. Although this is not copying, it is not originality. It is always advisable to develop your own set of style to work with and be your own person in terms of art. Clients will appreciate it more and referrals will soon be flocking your way.