Free friday - questions

It's time for a Q&A again!
This question is from clix bee design:

What would you give as tip(s) to an illustrator that wants to start freelancing?

The most important thing you need is work! After all, a potential client would want to see what they get, right? Create a good portfolio. My experience is that an online portfolio or website is the most asked for but a 'real' one is good to have as well.

So what is a good portfolio exactly? A good portfolio shows who you are, your style and expertise. Your work shows a solid line and recognisable style. This might be a bit tricky when you just start out though. You might not have found your own style yet. In that case, show the work you enjoyed most making and are most proud of, this is a good measure for who you are as an illustrator. This also could mean your real portfolio is still a bit empty. Therefor it's important to show on your blog/ website/ online space what you're up to at the moment.

There's a simple psycological common belief: if you're busy, you're succesful.
Show what you're working on, the proces, your thoughts and passion for your work. When you create something new regularly you not only make a motivated impression but you give yourself the chance to grow.

Take this motivation and passion with you when going, for example to an exhibition opening where potential clients might 'walk around in the wild'. This does not mean you go scatter around your businesscards like candy, that's way to pushy! Just chat with people about what they do and what you do in an 'I'm not looking for a commision, just enjoy what I do'-way.  When you are enthused about what you do, others will be too and they might ask for your card or ask for theirs.

The second most important thing when you start freelancing is bookkeeping. If you're not comfortable with doing this yourself, find an accountant you trust (mine was recommended to me by a friend). If you're comfortable with bookkeeping yourself but to an expert, you can ask if you could fill in your income and expenditure yourself and they only do the end bit, this safes money. Check if your accountant offers that option.

The last tip is about the online community. There are loads of drawing assignments, little projects and creative pitches you can submit work to (like doodlers anonymous, the art house project ad sometimes Uppercase Magazine asks for submissions too). This is fun, expands your network and gives you the possibility to make new work for your portfolio.

One more thing, it could be interesting to go look for a agency. Some of my illustrator friends (like Sue Doeksen) are represented by one. Check if it is a good one though. Who are their clients, who are the other illustators they represent? Personaly I have no experience with this but it could work for you!

Good luck!

illustration by Helene Riff


  1. Hoi Kim, heel hartelijk bedankt voor al deze tips! Echt super dat je je ervaringen met ons wil delen op deze manier!
    Veel liefs en een heel goed weekend gewenst.

  2. Stunning soft shades are making it more charming...


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