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Illustration & graphic design

(10 Posts)
Unpopular Wed 10-Feb-16 19:24:43

I'm an illustrator / designer who makes money by selling my work online. I do well but am finding myself becoming less and less creative as I seem spend so much time making & posting. I'm not sure if it's right for me.
Looking for ideas of how to do something else with illustrations & design that allows me to get back to being more creativity. Anyone here on the industry?

P. S please ignore my ridiculous username I can't change it!

TomTomKitten Sun 14-Feb-16 15:15:32

Design then get things printed and sell?

I know a lady who runs a stationery company designing cards, paper, tags, mugs, etc.

Unpopular Sun 14-Feb-16 16:26:47

Thanks TomTom. Does she use freelancers?

thisproofseverything Mon 15-Feb-16 08:12:45

Have you thought about working with publishers rather than printing/selling your own work? Depending on what you're sales are like now, you could make more or less, I don't know, but you will most definitely not have to post, pack and deal with customer service.

Have you thought about trying to get an agent? They do take a fairly large commission but your workflow and output should improve if they take you on.

sportinguista Wed 17-Feb-16 12:32:09

I am an illustrator and designer, one of the things I'm looking to do is do stock illustrations which could be sold to companies like iStock etc which hopefully will keep my creative side going. Also many greetings card companies are looking for illustrators with various styles and there may be publishers who will comission book covers etc.

I agree that the day-to-day of the design industry is very marketing led and commercial which isn't hugely creative and pretty but there are projects out there which are a bit more creative, sometimes I do a quick google to see what's out there and have got some clients on the creative side from that.

thisproofseverything Thu 18-Feb-16 08:45:59

Stock illustration requires a massive output for you to make a living wage, Sportinguista, it's not even a foot in the door because apart from anything else, you won't be credited for them. On top of that, if you're planning on using stock images to build your folio to get 'real' clients, it's unlikely because no-one will commission you based on the look of stock images. You could argue that your stock images will be high quality,like commissioned illustration but you'll soon come to realise that you won't have time. You will literally need thousands of images in circulation to make money. If you have a back catalogue of unused illustrations, by all means, put them into stock but please don't create images just for that purpose. It's a trap - please don't do it.

Greeting cards still require a big output (need to be selling about 10-15 designs per month) to make a living wage but at least that way, it's doable. Difficult but not impossible.

If you enjoy designing book covers, have you thought about targeting indie authors and publishers? Could be worth a shot - the book covers for self published books are very often horrendous and in need of a face-lift.

thisproofseverything Thu 18-Feb-16 08:49:05

Just spotted my horrible you're instead of your further up the page....eurgh. Sorry, I started writing one sentence and ended up changing my mind halfway through...

sportinguista Sat 20-Feb-16 12:59:42

No, I'm not suggesting it for a living wage, more for the creativity side. My main bread and butter is of course the commercial stuff (Buy now pay later POS anyone?).

There do tend to be some illustration projects on PPH, they aren't always paid well and sometimes are for self publish books. Some of the illustrators I know have websites and also attend craft fairs with greeting cards etc.

thisproofs is right you may have to accept that it's not something you can live off unless you get some very good commissions. Commercial design is boring but you do get paid reasonably most of the time.

I am going to do more painting for the love of it soon and just put it up on my portfolio site, if someone get interested ok, if not I've lost nothing.

Surfsup18 Fri 26-Aug-16 09:51:26


I'm looking to get into the design/illustration market and start trying to make some money off it - what would you suggest is the best way to start? I feel there's so many routes to go down I don't know where to start!

sportinguista Fri 09-Sep-16 13:31:39

Have you got any formal training in design or illustration? Have you been employed in this sphere?

If you have no previous experience or training you will need to start this before you can think about freelancing. Most freelance designers and illustrators have degrees in their chosen field indeed some are post grad level as well.

If you are coming from the employed in design already or with a design degree it will be easier. I started with and still use PPH, but I'm on a number of other sites too. You will need a website, use linkedin and create profiles on the freelance sites. It is hard work doing that intial work to get up and running. Also attending networking events can be fruitful. Using social media effectively is crucial too.

There are a number of sites on the net which give great advice on becoming a freelance designer such as Millo and Design Shack, have a look at these as they cover such essentials as contracts and how to get clients.

You will also need to have a number of print contacts to offer clients and good knowledge of how to set up design for print correctly.

It isn't easy and you need to be hard nosed especially as you will get the client from hell sooner or later. It will also depend on how much money you are aiming to make. Do you intend to make enough to have to file a tax return or is it just a hobby to make a few quid at?

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