How to start your illustration career

The career path of an illustrator isn’t very clear and that is probably why people often ask me how I got started as an illustrator and if there is any advice I can give them in regards to becoming a professional illustrator.

I think having a successful illustration career comes down to the following: Unique Consistent Style, Technical Skills, Marketing, Tracking Work and Attitude. Hopefully, you will find something useful in this article.

Unique Consistent Style

I think having a unique consistent style  is probably one of the most important keys to having a successful illustration career.

Technical Skills

It’s hard to execute a good idea if you don’t have the technical skills to do it. Having great technical skills not only allows you to realize your ideas, but also will save you a ton of time in the long run because you will be much more efficient and responsive when clients have feedback.

You can search for tutorial videos on Youtube and Vimeo , but in order to save you  time I highly recommend Lynda.com’s video tutorial. You pay a monthly subscription fee which gives you access to all the videos you can watch on all the major programs (photoshop, illustrator, aftereffect, and tons more)

Marketing your illustrations

All your marketing efforts should point back to your web site. Your web site is a place where you can centralize information and understand the success of specific marketing tactics via Google Analytics and/or Statscounter. YOUR WEBSITE IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE MARKETING TACTIC!

What makes a “GOOD WEB SITE”?

Domain Name – First you need a web site with your own domain name.
(example: www.yournamegoeshere.com). Art directors won’t take you seriously if you are pointing to another domain (flickr, tumblr, etc) So if you don’t already have your own domain address you can register your domain name here:

Note: All you need is the domain name, don’t buy any extra services, it’s not necessary.

Portfolio Hosting Sites vs. Creating Your Own Web Site

Next, you can use a portfolio hosting service or create your own web site. I recommend using a portfolio hosting service, because they have already takem care a lot of the advice I mention below for creating your own web site (Search Engine Optimization, Usability, Permalinks, Technical Setup, etc)

Recommend Portfolio Hosting Sites

  • I WOULD USE THIS ONE *There are others, but I think this one is the best!
  • I created my alter ego’s web site using their services  www.alexanderblue.com

Creating Your Own Web Site

If you decide not to use a portfolio hosting company and want to create your own site I recommend hosting it at www.site5.com. I have used them for years and I am really happy with their service. I host this site and my other sites there  illustrationmundo.com, letterplayground.com, and proconist.com

Here is some advice for creating your own web site:

  • Keep it simple – clearly explain what service you are providing. The simpler your message is the stronger and more memorable it is.
  • Usability and Search Engine Optimization – Don’t use FLASH, Frames, Pop-ups, Lightbox, etc … stick with good old fashion HTML/CSS! I developed Flash web sites for over 10 years and for an illustrator’s web site my advice is DON’T USE FLASH! 40% of my web traffic comes from Google alone and by using Flash you are making it hard for search engines to index your site and hindering word of mouth marketing because of a number of usability issues. For example, lots of social bookmarking sites (Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon,etc) won’t be able to take advantage of specific content on flash sites.
  • Unique URL – Make sure every piece of art on your site has a unique url … you know, in your browser where you type the web address. Example: http://www.n8w.com/image/art/urban_outfitters_pillows/ This is why you don’t want to use pop ups, frames, flash, lightbox scripts, etc – art directors often forward urls to editors, so you want to facilitate this process and not hinder it. Here is an example of a unique url that will never change.
    -For a category search Google “Hand Lettering” or “Art Licensing Collections”
    -For a specific art Google “chalkboard lettering” or “chemiCOOLS”
  • Update your site frequently – BLOG/RSS Feed/Return Visitors – most good web hosting companies have an easy way to set up blogs, ask your isp for help or set up one at tumblr.com, wordpress.com or blogger.com. A blog is good because it will keep your site fresh and most clients are return visitors, so you need to give them a reason to return. Also when you blog something the blogs RSS feeds update the search engines.
  • Google Analytics – In order to understand what works, you need a good stats system to track your marketing efforts. That will give you an idea what the ROI or the return on investment is for a specific marketing tactic. Google’s service is the best I have seen and its free, there is no reason not to use it. So a practical way you might use this information is to find out which thumbnail image from your portfolio is the most clicked on, this image might be a good image to use for your postcard mailer because it’s generating the most interest https://www.google.com/analytics/. You can create special links to track specific marketing tactics with the link builder tool. So for example say you pay to be listed in a web site’s directory. Instead of just giving them your web site link you give them the link generated by the link builder tool which in return will tell you a ton about the hits generated from this site and you can see if the ROI is worth it.
  • Mailing List – once you make a connection with a client you want to keep it .. it takes more money to get a new customer than to sell to an existing one. People that have hired you are more likely to hire you again and again. There are lots of free emailing list options .. Google it. If you want something for free check out PHP List.  Otherwise, I highly recommend  … http://www.campaignmonitor.com
  • Social Networking – People won’t check your site everyday, but they do check sites like Google+, Facebook, and Twitter everyday so it’s important to have a presences on these site that link back to the work on your site.

Once you have a good, user friendly, search engine friendly site. Post card mailers are probably the second most cost effective and effective tactic. Lots of times art directors just need to be reminded you exist. That is why I think higher frequency is better than spending a lot of money on one marketing tactic. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I would rather spend my money doing 3 postcard mailers a year vs. one big book ad

Cold calls are something you will have to do when starting out. Find magazines, papers, etc that you like or think would be a good fit for you art and contact the art director, ask them if its okay to send them a few examples of your work. I would never send more than 3 pieces .. they will know what your art work is about after seeing 3 pieces.

Attitude

After working as an art director for Microsoft’s Xbox .. I can’t say how important it is to have a positive attitude. Of course talent is crucial .. but talent isn’t the only thing that gets you work. People are people and it’s always nicer to work with someone that is positive and solution oriented. I used to hire tons of external agencies to create web sites and other online promotional material. All the agencies were extremely talented but those that could talk about their work in an exciting way, were easy to work with and accepted feedback well were the ones I hired over and over again.

I’m not saying do anything the client wants with a smile on your face. You were hired because you are an expert in your field .. articulate the decisions you made and get them excited about your ideas .. but it’s also important to stay positive and flexible.

Informational

You can save yourself a lot of extra work by asking a few questions up front.

First, get the basic information:

  • Technical Specs – size, bleed, resolution, etc
  • Important Dates – (Rough Date, Final Date)

If this is the first time working with this person ask them:

  • Why did you choose me for this project? (I like your concepts, I like your painterly style, your work is cute and works well for teenage girl magazines, your style is rough and dark and works well for this editorial piece on drug abuse, etc)
  • Which pieces of work do you particularly like and why?(I like the man on the boat cause it’s funny, I like all the texture in the piece you did for Converse, etc)
  • How did you discover my work?

This will give you a better idea of what the client likes about your work, why they chose you for this particular project and what they expect.

Next, get more information about the job, if it’s a long editorial .. ask them:

  • What part of the story do they really want emphasize?
  • Is there anything they want to stay away from?
  • Do they have any ideas?(This doesn’t necessarily mean to use the idea .. but it will give you a general idea of the path they want to take or what part they think is important/interesting)

Tracking the Work

If you want to make a career out of illustration you will need a good way to keep track of your jobs so you make the deadlines and get paid for your work?

  • When are roughs due?
  • When are final sketches due?
  • Are there any jobs you need to complete?
  • Are you too busy to take on more work in a specific month?
  • Who hasn’t paid?

There are a number of ways to keep track of this information. I programmed a little MySQL database application for it .. but you can just as easily track it using a spread sheet or some other existing software. I highly recommend http://www.google.com/calendar

googlecalendar.gif

http://www.google.com/calendar

I have a web page for every job where the client and I can keep track of job’s progress .. this page includes:

  • the job dates (roughs and final)
  • contact information
  • creative direction/job info
  • pencil sketches
  • final image
  • a link for the client to download the final high resolution file ( It is really helpful to use a service where you can store your high resolution files online.  This will make it easier for you to keep organize and share your files with the people that need them.  I use the service http://www.dropbox.com )

I created my own solution using php/mysql .. but an easier route might be to do this using a WordPress or BLOGGER account.

process.gif

Creating the Work

  • Brain storming – get inspired by your environment – I always do my brainstorming and rough sketches outside of my house .. sometimes I take a bus ride with no destination in mind .. sit on a park bench and watch people .. or walk through the city. When you put yourself in new environments you notice things .. you notice subtleties. this is a great way to spark your creativity and start thinking of analogies that might be good for your illustration .. if nothing else it makes your life more interesting.
  • Here is an article to help with the brainstorming process

enviroment1.jpg

Pencil Sketches

Next you can talk to the client and talk about your ideas .. I prefer just to create pencil sketches, because a lot of the time it’s hard to envision what you are talking about .. and my sketches are extremely rough so they don’t take me more than .. about … 60 seconds … I try to sketch very loose and fast so the focus is on the ideas and not on the craftsmanship .. at this stage of the process it’s all about ideas .. and you don’t want a slow drawing hand to slow them from coming out of your teeming brain.

I usually take pictures of my sketches with a digital camera .. its a lot faster than a scanner and because it’s a rough quality isn’t so important ..

Next I scare my client with my super rough sketches and explain to them .. to just focus on the concepts .. the final piece won’t look exactly like this .. ;)

The client emails/phones their feedback .. usually something something like .. “sketch 4 is great .. but can we emphasis the blah and maybe reduce or take out blah .. make the cat a dog and make the dog a cat .. etc”

Final

My process changes a little for each project .. but this will give you a general idea of how I work.

I create my work in a variety of ways .. sometimes I paint with acrylics, draw with sharpie markers, ball point pens,a wacom tablet, paint with india ink, create textures with water color or photocopy machines, etc .. but basically what I am trying to do is create a library of modular pieces I can, later, put into the computer and rearrange the size, composition, color .. etc .. I really like organic textures and loose free flowing lines .. but as an illustrator with quick turn around times I need to be able to make quick changes and easily incorporate client feedback .. so I mix all these really organic elements in a way that is easy to modify/edit via the computer.

To spark my creativity .. I often re-use pieces from my other works .. basically collaging my own stuff .. maybe a head, or a cloud, or a bike wheel, etc .. this helps me quickly create compositions .. but it’s more just for placement .. I then modify or create new pieces specific to the illustrations needs .. at the end you won’t even recognize most of these pieces .. but it really helps me get started .. breaks the ice .. gets the ball rolling .. etc

Illustrationmundo

If you are an illustrator and have a web site with your own domain name make sure you are listed on illustrationmundo.com

Ask a pro

Be sure to check out Illustration Mundo’s Ask a Pro.

Links For Creatives

* I participate in the SQUARESPACE affiliate program, but only because I think it’s the best

  • http://liljuniper.spaces.live.com/default.aspx jenj

    WOE! Thanks for your insight and knowledge!

  • http://liljuniper.spaces.live.com/default.aspx jenj

    WOE! Thanks for your insight and knowledge!

  • http://www.alexmurawski.com/ Alex Murawski

    Thanks for posting this Nate. I will pass this most valualbe page on to my illustration classes. It’s a great education to see your most inventive images and the no nonsense business insights side by side.

  • http://www.alexmurawski.com Alex Murawski

    Thanks for posting this Nate. I will pass this most valualbe page on to my illustration classes. It’s a great education to see your most inventive images and the no nonsense business insights side by side.

  • http://www.artbureau.org/ Bert in PDX

    Nate,
    This is great. I really like the “Creating the Work” breakdown (Using Your Senses – Relationships). Any interest in having this published in Art Bureau 17? Bert in PDX.

  • http://www.artbureau.org Bert in PDX

    Nate,
    This is great. I really like the “Creating the Work” breakdown (Using Your Senses – Relationships). Any interest in having this published in Art Bureau 17? Bert in PDX.

  • http://csnipls.blogspot.com/ Stephan Fourie

    Hey Nate,

    Thank you very much for all the help.

  • http://csnipls.blogspot.com/ Stephan Fourie

    Hey Nate,

    Thank you very much for all the help.

  • Sarah Bryant

    Inspiring and wise words… even for non-students! (well you never stop learning, right?)
    Always good to be reminded that attitude makes the difference. A very nice insight into the creative process — thanks Nate.

  • Sarah Bryant

    Inspiring and wise words… even for non-students! (well you never stop learning, right?)
    Always good to be reminded that attitude makes the difference. A very nice insight into the creative process — thanks Nate.

  • http://www.creative-jobs.net/ Creative Jobs

    Some great info here. I have some illustrator friends who will definatel owe me a beer once i send them a link to this article!

  • http://www.creative-jobs.net Creative Jobs

    Some great info here. I have some illustrator friends who will definatel owe me a beer once i send them a link to this article!

  • http://www.plainsimple.org/ Gilbert

    Wow. This is great. I’ve been wanting to email you for a long time and this is absolutely helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.plainsimple.org Gilbert

    Wow. This is great. I’ve been wanting to email you for a long time and this is absolutely helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://two4joycreations.com/ Jonathan Woodward

    Hi Nate,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to put this post together – for someone just making the leap from Graphic Design to Illustration, all of the info is invaluable.

    Your amazing work is always a great source of inspiration and Illustration Mundo is such a great resource – thanks again for everything you give back to the Illustration industry, it is all very much appreciated.

  • http://two4joycreations.com/ Jonathan Woodward

    Hi Nate,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to put this post together – for someone just making the leap from Graphic Design to Illustration, all of the info is invaluable.

    Your amazing work is always a great source of inspiration and Illustration Mundo is such a great resource – thanks again for everything you give back to the Illustration industry, it is all very much appreciated.

  • http://www.bunchofmonkeys.com/ DH.

    Awesome post, Nate! So how do you handle phone calls for Alexander Blue? Does “he” have a separate phone line? Do you discuss the fact that Alexander Blue is actually Nate Williams with your clients? Is your real name actually “Nate Williams?”

  • http://www.bunchofmonkeys.com/ DH.

    Awesome post, Nate! So how do you handle phone calls for Alexander Blue? Does “he” have a separate phone line? Do you discuss the fact that Alexander Blue is actually Nate Williams with your clients? Is your real name actually “Nate Williams?”

  • http://www.hopedraws.com/ chris hope

    Great read Nate. I love how you set up your client area, with downloads, sketches, all info. Thats a great idea. I wish I knew more about coding to set something like this up on my site… maybe one day. Thanks again for the inspiration and tips! – chris

  • http://www.hopedraws.com chris hope

    Great read Nate. I love how you set up your client area, with downloads, sketches, all info. Thats a great idea. I wish I knew more about coding to set something like this up on my site… maybe one day. Thanks again for the inspiration and tips! – chris

  • http://www.chocolate-log.com/ Chocolate log

    Great info Nate!

    I used many of these when I started out as a freelance artist, and they all help.

  • http://www.chocolate-log.com/ Chocolate log

    Great info Nate!

    I used many of these when I started out as a freelance artist, and they all help.

  • http://www.myspace.com/slugsnsnailsart Theoni Sapounas

    This is an awesome article I happened to stumble upon. As a senior BFA Illustration student, this is really helpful and motivational for me considering upcoming graduation and getting started w/ a portfolio and a career as an illustrator is somewhat intimidating. Thanks!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/slugsnsnailsart Theoni Sapounas

    This is an awesome article I happened to stumble upon. As a senior BFA Illustration student, this is really helpful and motivational for me considering upcoming graduation and getting started w/ a portfolio and a career as an illustrator is somewhat intimidating. Thanks!!

  • http://www.artconspiracy.com/gallery.aspx?id=2144119494&counthit=1 Roman SHarf

    This is wonderful! I am really glad to see a kind hearted illustrator that wants to see other artists grow, if it means anything, you are awesome!

  • http://www.artconspiracy.com/gallery.aspx?id=2144119494&counthit=1 Roman SHarf

    This is wonderful! I am really glad to see a kind hearted illustrator that wants to see other artists grow, if it means anything, you are awesome!

  • http://www.galshkedi.com/ gal shkedi

    Thank you Nate, it is very useful
    Gal

  • http://www.galshkedi.com gal shkedi

    Thank you Nate, it is very useful
    Gal

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/threesevenfive/ ThreeSevenFive

    Nate,

    This article is just what i was looking for. You have earned some huge karma points for this. I’ve been a fan of your work for a couple of years now and started seeing your work in a lot of the magazines that I happen to subscribe to. It’s helpful to learn about the hard work it takes to be successful. Thanks!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/threesevenfive/ ThreeSevenFive

    Nate,

    This article is just what i was looking for. You have earned some huge karma points for this. I’ve been a fan of your work for a couple of years now and started seeing your work in a lot of the magazines that I happen to subscribe to. It’s helpful to learn about the hard work it takes to be successful. Thanks!

  • Eric

    RAD!

    +1 vote for more blog posts like this!

  • Eric

    RAD!

    +1 vote for more blog posts like this!

  • Phileas

    Thanks so much for posting this, it’s a great help and a useful insight, love your work by the way, it’s really inspirational.
    Keep it up!

  • Phileas

    Thanks so much for posting this, it’s a great help and a useful insight, love your work by the way, it’s really inspirational.
    Keep it up!

  • http://www.TheIspot.com/ Dave Tabler

    Well crafted. Even artists who’ve been at it for years can always stand to review basics like these from time to time, especially to get a different point of view. You’re very generous to the community!

  • http://www.TheIspot.com Dave Tabler

    Well crafted. Even artists who’ve been at it for years can always stand to review basics like these from time to time, especially to get a different point of view. You’re very generous to the community!

  • http://www.coolsurface.com/ David Cousens

    Some excellent suggestions there Nate, thanks! I’d been wondering about where to start a good mailing list…

  • http://www.coolsurface.com David Cousens

    Some excellent suggestions there Nate, thanks! I’d been wondering about where to start a good mailing list…

  • http://jbradshaw.net/ jim bradshaw

    This is a great chunk of info! Thanks so much, Nate.

  • http://jbradshaw.net jim bradshaw

    This is a great chunk of info! Thanks so much, Nate.

  • giovanni

    thanks Nate, very generous.

    Bye

    Giovanni

  • giovanni

    thanks Nate, very generous.

    Bye

    Giovanni

  • http://www.bykenn.com Kenn

    Nate, just to repeat what everyone else said – great advice.
    Settling on one style is so hard (speaking from experience) but I think it’s so so so vital to having a successful career.

  • http://www.bykenn.com/ Kenn

    Nate, just to repeat what everyone else said – great advice.
    Settling on one style is so hard (speaking from experience) but I think it’s so so so vital to having a successful career.

  • http://www.anairamb.com.ar/ mariana

    this post is amazing! many thanks!
    btw, i loved the little apple on the other post, and the edith piaf song you chose for the video :)

  • http://www.anairamb.com.ar mariana

    this post is amazing! many thanks!
    btw, i loved the little apple on the other post, and the edith piaf song you chose for the video :)

  • eric hutchinson

    nate, it’s me, eric, from costa rica! you’re killing me, bro! i still haven’t been able to get a hold of you, but i’ll leave random messages for you on the site when i get the update from your mailing list.
    you’re so thoughtful to share your knowledge with fellow artists. i’m really happy to see how well your career is going. every time i see an email from your site i get a smile. tell yani i said hi! i bet your baby’s old enough to cause real trouble now!
    ‘see ‘ya!
    -eric hutchinson

  • eric hutchinson

    nate, it’s me, eric, from costa rica! you’re killing me, bro! i still haven’t been able to get a hold of you, but i’ll leave random messages for you on the site when i get the update from your mailing list.

    you’re so thoughtful to share your knowledge with fellow artists. i’m really happy to see how well your career is going. every time i see an email from your site i get a smile. tell yani i said hi! i bet your baby’s old enough to cause real trouble now!

    ‘see ‘ya!

    -eric hutchinson

  • http://jmolano.blogspot.com/ mol

    Muchas gracias por tus consejos!!! eres muy generoso!!! GRACIAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://jmolano.blogspot.com/ mol

    Muchas gracias por tus consejos!!! eres muy generoso!!! GRACIAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.psillustrations.com/ starr

    I have been keeping up with your work, but have just discovered the
    Illustrations Career that you put together. OK YOU ARE the BEST! Thanks a buncccch!

  • http://www.psillustrations.com starr

    I have been keeping up with your work, but have just discovered the
    Illustrations Career that you put together. OK YOU ARE the BEST! Thanks a buncccch!

  • http://www.sohehir-artworks.com/ siobhan

    This is just fantastic…..something I will pass to my students.You are really generous and what a treasure trove of information for the young and hungry would be illustrators out there not to mention the struggling fine artists too!!
    Thanks and must say I admire your work very much.

  • http://www.sohehir-artworks.com siobhan

    This is just fantastic…..something I will pass to my students.You are really generous and what a treasure trove of information for the young and hungry would be illustrators out there not to mention the struggling fine artists too!!
    Thanks and must say I admire your work very much.

  • brian

    holy cow.

  • brian

    holy cow.

  • Carmen Cavaco

    Great advice!
    thank you for sharing :)

  • Carmen Cavaco

    Great advice!
    thank you for sharing :)

  • http://www.alexhornsby.co.uk/ alex

    BRILLIANT!

    you’ve hit all the points spot on!

    this should be required reading for all asporing illustrators/designers.

    thanks

    alex

  • http://www.alexhornsby.co.uk alex

    BRILLIANT!

    you’ve hit all the points spot on!

    this should be required reading for all asporing illustrators/designers.

    thanks

    alex

  • http://www.mariacelina.com Celina

    Hola Nate!!!!
    Que bueno todos los datos que tiras en tu pag!!!!! genial, gracias!!!
    Bueno fijate que onda la que me estan haciendo!!!!!
    te mando un beso, saludos a tu flia.
    exitos para el 08, celina.

  • http://www.mariacelina.com/ Celina

    Hola Nate!!!!
    Que bueno todos los datos que tiras en tu pag!!!!! genial, gracias!!!
    Bueno fijate que onda la que me estan haciendo!!!!!
    te mando un beso, saludos a tu flia.
    exitos para el 08, celina.

  • http://www.squishyfox.com/ Brittany

    I want to thank you for this useful information! You are the only professional illustrator I have come across that actually has some amazing input about starting/improving your illustration career. I am working on my website now, which will not be done for about a month but I will take everything you said and apply it. I have a flickr and etsy store now with my illustrations but this inspires me to find my own style in the illustration area, as I am majoring in graphic design. Thanks again!

  • http://www.squishyfox.com Brittany

    I want to thank you for this useful information! You are the only professional illustrator I have come across that actually has some amazing input about starting/improving your illustration career. I am working on my website now, which will not be done for about a month but I will take everything you said and apply it. I have a flickr and etsy store now with my illustrations but this inspires me to find my own style in the illustration area, as I am majoring in graphic design. Thanks again!

  • jazmin

    Hey muchísimas gracias!! This was very helpfull :)

    Adios!!

  • http://enproceso: jazmin

    Hey muchísimas gracias!! This was very helpfull :)

    Adios!!

  • http://www.kathyweller.com/ kathy weller

    this is an incredible and awesome post. thanks for being so generous. really great!!

    p.s. I did not know you and blue were the same person. you are a tricky guy Nate!

  • http://www.kathyweller.com kathy weller

    this is an incredible and awesome post. thanks for being so generous. really great!!

    p.s. I did not know you and blue were the same person. you are a tricky guy Nate!

  • adriana

    Soy de México y te agradezco mucho que compartas estas cosas, justo es lo que he tratado de preguntarle a ilsutradores pero yo no tuve suerte hasta que volví a entrar a tu página y lei todas estas cosas, en verdad muchas gracias! Tu trabajo es muy especial, se disfruta mucho mirarlo y recomendarte a que más gente te conozca, que sigas teniendo mucho éxito. Yo espero poder seguir tus pasos y vivir de esto. Apenas empiezo pero motiva mucho la gente como tu! Muchas gracias de nuevo y felicidades!

  • adriana

    Soy de México y te agradezco mucho que compartas estas cosas, justo es lo que he tratado de preguntarle a ilsutradores pero yo no tuve suerte hasta que volví a entrar a tu página y lei todas estas cosas, en verdad muchas gracias! Tu trabajo es muy especial, se disfruta mucho mirarlo y recomendarte a que más gente te conozca, que sigas teniendo mucho éxito. Yo espero poder seguir tus pasos y vivir de esto. Apenas empiezo pero motiva mucho la gente como tu! Muchas gracias de nuevo y felicidades!

  • http://www.davidrhoden.com/ David Rhoden

    Thanks so much. This was great to read.
    You basically revived my forgotten new year’s resolutions…

  • http://www.davidrhoden.com David Rhoden

    Thanks so much. This was great to read.
    You basically revived my forgotten new year’s resolutions…

  • http://www.austinkleon.com/ austin kleon

    This was a FANTASTIC post. Thanks!

  • http://www.austinkleon.com austin kleon

    This was a FANTASTIC post. Thanks!

  • http://gailk.blogspot.com/ Gail

    Thank you for taking the time to share some great information!

  • http://gailk.blogspot.com Gail

    Thank you for taking the time to share some great information!

  • http://www.davestolte.com/ Dave Stolte

    Great advice, thanks. I had to learn much of this the hard way (and am still learning after 25 years in the biz).

  • http://www.davestolte.com Dave Stolte

    Great advice, thanks. I had to learn much of this the hard way (and am still learning after 25 years in the biz).

  • http://www.luissopelana.com/ Luis Sopelana

    Nate, thank you so much. It’s good to see that I’ve done most of the things you mention (most learned either intuitively or by watching my peers), missed lots that might sound very obvious (man, taking Lightbox out of my site is going to be a little painful, but if it makes things work out in the end, well…) and overall it made me rethink about how I want to get things done.

    ¡Muchas, muchísimas gracias! I’m going to put the url for this article at the door of my old university’s graphic design faculty, if you don’t mind.

  • http://www.luissopelana.com Luis Sopelana

    Nate, thank you so much. It’s good to see that I’ve done most of the things you mention (most learned either intuitively or by watching my peers), missed lots that might sound very obvious (man, taking Lightbox out of my site is going to be a little painful, but if it makes things work out in the end, well…) and overall it made me rethink about how I want to get things done.

    ¡Muchas, muchísimas gracias! I’m going to put the url for this article at the door of my old university’s graphic design faculty, if you don’t mind.

  • http://www.davidcreative.co.uk/ David McClelland

    Thank you sooooo much for spending your time doing this. It is such a valuable resource

  • http://www.davidcreative.co.uk David McClelland

    Thank you sooooo much for spending your time doing this. It is such a valuable resource

  • http://www.nerosunero.org/ mario sughi

    Hi Nate
    thanks for this. It really makes a lot of sense!
    Thanks also to the people at http://www.scamp.ie who have given notice of this article in their blog!
    Great, back to work now (time to make some changes to my website… after all!)
    Mario, nerosunero

  • http://www.nerosunero.org mario sughi

    Hi Nate
    thanks for this. It really makes a lot of sense!
    Thanks also to the people at http://www.scamp.ie who have given notice of this article in their blog!
    Great, back to work now (time to make some changes to my website… after all!)
    Mario, nerosunero

  • http://www.chadcovino.com/ Chad C

    Nate,

    Just wanted to say thanks a lot for posting this article. I’m making my start in the Illustration world and found this to be very helpful. Thanks again Nate!

    Chad C.

  • http://www.chadcovino.com Chad C

    Nate,

    Just wanted to say thanks a lot for posting this article. I’m making my start in the Illustration world and found this to be very helpful. Thanks again Nate!

    Chad C.

  • Spit-Take Sue

    Ok, the interactive calendar pages? BRILLIANT! I’ll definitely be making use of one of those! I too am curious about how you handle calls and such for Alexander Blue! I have 2 or 3 distinct styles and the idea of splitting the folios (2 at most. I’m crazy, but not insane) sounds like a good solution.

    Also, I’m entering the illustration job market a little late in the game. Long story. Any idea who might have some good advice for a 35 year old newbie?

  • Spit-Take Sue

    Ok, the interactive calendar pages? BRILLIANT! I’ll definitely be making use of one of those! I too am curious about how you handle calls and such for Alexander Blue! I have 2 or 3 distinct styles and the idea of splitting the folios (2 at most. I’m crazy, but not insane) sounds like a good solution.

    Also, I’m entering the illustration job market a little late in the game. Long story. Any idea who might have some good advice for a 35 year old newbie?

  • http://www.anniepatterson.typepad.com/ Annie

    Thank you for this – I enjoyed reading it so much!

  • http://www.anniepatterson.typepad.com Annie

    Thank you for this – I enjoyed reading it so much!

  • Pingback: zoomy amalgamated » Blog Archive » Change Your Pitch Up

  • http://www.zulli.org/ Tom Zulli

    Hey Nate,
    I can’t thank you enough, reading this is both inspiring and helpful.
    Love your work very much as well.
    This post was exactly what I needed, thanks for being so kind to share.
    Keep up the great work!
    Peace,
    Tom

  • http://www.zulli.org Tom Zulli

    Hey Nate,
    I can’t thank you enough, reading this is both inspiring and helpful.
    Love your work very much as well.
    This post was exactly what I needed, thanks for being so kind to share.
    Keep up the great work!
    Peace,
    Tom

  • http://www.PotatoMammaDesign.com/ Astrid

    Nate, THANKS!!
    Very inspiring to hear all this from you, you are not only a great artist, but also a super businessman. Congrats!

    Astrid
    PotatoMammaDesign.com

  • http://www.PotatoMammaDesign.com Astrid

    Nate, THANKS!!
    Very inspiring to hear all this from you, you are not only a great artist, but also a super businessman. Congrats!

    Astrid
    PotatoMammaDesign.com

  • http://www.jaymontgomery.com/ Jay Montgomery

    Always have been a fan of your work. I thought I was organized, but you bring it into a whole new level for me and real world insight for my illustration students in TODAY’s global and web 2.5 world. I will be sharing this them.

  • http://www.jaymontgomery.com Jay Montgomery

    Always have been a fan of your work. I thought I was organized, but you bring it into a whole new level for me and real world insight for my illustration students in TODAY’s global and web 2.5 world. I will be sharing this them.

  • jim

    Let me buy you a beer–or two, or three….

  • jim

    Let me buy you a beer–or two, or three….

  • http://randomissuez.blogspot.com/ Jorge

    big big thanks for this nate,honestly

  • http://randomissuez.blogspot.com/ Jorge

    big big thanks for this nate,honestly

  • http://raondo.com/ Paul

    thanks nate!
    I wish I would’ve known these things when I went into freelance design. These are great tips for graphic designers also. I passed on the article to some freelance friends.
    great links also … I’ve been trying to find ways to find illustrators I like – different styles & ideas.

  • http://raondo.com/ Paul

    thanks nate!
    I wish I would’ve known these things when I went into freelance design. These are great tips for graphic designers also. I passed on the article to some freelance friends.
    great links also … I’ve been trying to find ways to find illustrators I like – different styles & ideas.

  • Scotty Wood

    Nate!
    Stumbled across this article from you, GREAT ADVICE! Hope the your little one is doing well, best wishes to ya from Wyoming!

  • Scotty Wood

    Nate!
    Stumbled across this article from you, GREAT ADVICE! Hope the your little one is doing well, best wishes to ya from Wyoming!

  • http://www.belindalindhardt.com/ Belinda Lindhardt

    Thankyou so much for posting this. Its such a wonderful help you are such an inspiration.

  • http://www.belindalindhardt.com Belinda Lindhardt

    Thankyou so much for posting this. Its such a wonderful help you are such an inspiration.

  • http://www.el-complemento.blogspot.com/ Andrea

    you have really inspired me! thanks for sharing all this great info!…….Im from Lima, Peru bye!….n_nº

  • http://www.el-complemento.blogspot.com Andrea

    you have really inspired me! thanks for sharing all this great info!…….Im from Lima, Peru bye!….n_nº

  • http://www.fragmentedcharacters.com/ Andre Saunders

    Thanks Nate,
    A lot of helpful information, especially on gogle analytics. I have it set up on my website http://www.fragmentedcharacters.com but wasn’t sure how to really take advantage of all it’s information.

  • http://www.fragmentedcharacters.com Andre Saunders

    Thanks Nate,
    A lot of helpful information, especially on gogle analytics. I have it set up on my website http://www.fragmentedcharacters.com but wasn’t sure how to really take advantage of all it’s information.

  • Suzy

    I really really appreciate this helpful information. As someone trained in painting who is finally trying to really seriously use my skills and talents to maybe some day get paid to do art rather than work in an office and paint “on the side”, I really really appreciate this helpful info from someone who is doing it. It’s not easy to get people to really give you the full scoop on how to do it. It’s a highly competitive field, and I am always very surprised when someone is willing to help someone else.

    Thank you!

  • Suzy

    I really really appreciate this helpful information. As someone trained in painting who is finally trying to really seriously use my skills and talents to maybe some day get paid to do art rather than work in an office and paint “on the side”, I really really appreciate this helpful info from someone who is doing it. It’s not easy to get people to really give you the full scoop on how to do it. It’s a highly competitive field, and I am always very surprised when someone is willing to help someone else.

    Thank you!

  • http://rachelleannemiller.com/ Rachelle Anne Miller

    Thanks for all this helpful information! This was very helpful – I’ve also subscribed to your feed. Great site!

  • http://rachelleannemiller.com Rachelle Anne Miller

    Thanks for all this helpful information! This was very helpful – I’ve also subscribed to your feed. Great site!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/heidillustration/ Heidi

    Fantastic article and so very useful indeed! Why didn’t they teach us this stuff at art college! ;)
    I’ll be passing this link along to all my fellow illustrating compardres. Thanks Nate!

    Heidi

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/heidillustration/ Heidi

    Fantastic article and so very useful indeed! Why didn’t they teach us this stuff at art college! ;)
    I’ll be passing this link along to all my fellow illustrating compardres. Thanks Nate!

    Heidi

  • http://www.robertburchillustration.com/ Robert Burch

    Nate,
    This is a great article. With a lot of great info. Keeping an organized mailing list has been one of my biggest challenges. I use adbase for sending promos, but don’t use their emailer. Seems funny to me to pay for something I can easily do myself. My biggest problem is keeping up with unsubscribes. I don’t get that many but adbase (at least as far as I could figure out) doesn’t have a great way of keeping track of them if you are sending emails out without using their service. I’m installing php list as I type this to see how it is.

    Thanks for the article,
    Bob

  • http://www.robertburchillustration.com Robert Burch

    Nate,
    This is a great article. With a lot of great info. Keeping an organized mailing list has been one of my biggest challenges. I use adbase for sending promos, but don’t use their emailer. Seems funny to me to pay for something I can easily do myself. My biggest problem is keeping up with unsubscribes. I don’t get that many but adbase (at least as far as I could figure out) doesn’t have a great way of keeping track of them if you are sending emails out without using their service. I’m installing php list as I type this to see how it is.

    Thanks for the article,
    Bob

  • http://www.johnnymac-inkwork.blogspot.com/ Johnnymac

    Thank you Nate,
    This is what I needed to read, and when I was ready to read it.

  • http://www.johnnymac-inkwork.blogspot.com Johnnymac

    Thank you Nate,
    This is what I needed to read, and when I was ready to read it.

  • kay kim

    thank you nate. we need more of you in korea. your stuff is such a different color from what i learn at my university here (i’m studying visual design). your work has inspired me to stretch my creativity and imagination. thanks again for the vital info’s :)

  • kay kim

    thank you nate. we need more of you in korea. your stuff is such a different color from what i learn at my university here (i’m studying visual design). your work has inspired me to stretch my creativity and imagination. thanks again for the vital info’s :)

  • http://fairyju.yculblog.com/ ju

    Thanks very much!I think your article helps lots of people .

  • http://fairyju.yculblog.com/ ju

    Thanks very much!I think your article helps lots of people .

  • http://www.imwithsully.com/blog Kim

    What an excellent post. As an web creative director and Flash illustrator by day, I encourage traditional illustrators to use an SEO expert to train them rather than trying to do it themselves. It is difficult to get the right mix if you don’t have someone telling you what your best ROI will be for the least amount of money. I have found that once you get the right training and know the exact keywords you need to use, the SEO service pays for itself in just a few days. For about $150 worth of real world SEO training, you’ll be on your way to success.

  • http://www.imwithsully.com/blog Kim

    What an excellent post. As an web creative director and Flash illustrator by day, I encourage traditional illustrators to use an SEO expert to train them rather than trying to do it themselves. It is difficult to get the right mix if you don’t have someone telling you what your best ROI will be for the least amount of money. I have found that once you get the right training and know the exact keywords you need to use, the SEO service pays for itself in just a few days. For about $150 worth of real world SEO training, you’ll be on your way to success.

  • http://www.katika.net/ cati estrada

    you´re absolutely brilliant !! trully generous!

  • http://www.katika.net cati estrada

    you´re absolutely brilliant !! trully generous!

  • ele

    I stumbled upon your works on computer arts projects. after reading this entire page, i have come to realize many things and i thank you for that. i had been having a hard time in school and my ideas just seemed to be stuck somewhere. now i know the reason why, so thank you nate so much!

  • ele

    I stumbled upon your works on computer arts projects. after reading this entire page, i have come to realize many things and i thank you for that. i had been having a hard time in school and my ideas just seemed to be stuck somewhere. now i know the reason why, so thank you nate so much!

  • J

    finding a ‘tone voice’ – this seems like the hardest part! -

  • J

    finding a ‘tone voice’ – this seems like the hardest part! -

  • Sophie Siegel

    N8W,

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for your generous words of wisdom!!! I wrote you an email a few years back and you replied with just as much sincerity as you have here! I’m not an art student, I’ve been doing hobby illustration for a few years though and I just had my first art show at a hip hip hip gallery in San Francisco last Monday!!! It’s success has left me so inspired to do more, and naturally I came to your website to look for direction.

    …You are amazing!

    Love,
    Sophie

  • http://notyet Sophie Siegel

    N8W,

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for your generous words of wisdom!!! I wrote you an email a few years back and you replied with just as much sincerity as you have here! I’m not an art student, I’ve been doing hobby illustration for a few years though and I just had my first art show at a hip hip hip gallery in San Francisco last Monday!!! It’s success has left me so inspired to do more, and naturally I came to your website to look for direction.

    …You are amazing!

    Love,
    Sophie

  • Mike

    This is FANTASTIC! Thanks so much for posting all of this incredibly helpful info!

  • Mike

    This is FANTASTIC! Thanks so much for posting all of this incredibly helpful info!

  • http://www.love-christine.com/ Christine

    How nice! What a thoughtful thing to do. Extra credit A+++ points! Awesome work too! :)
    Love, Christine

  • http://www.love-christine.com Christine

    How nice! What a thoughtful thing to do. Extra credit A+++ points! Awesome work too! :)
    Love, Christine

  • Wendy Teasdale

    Hey Nate,

    I think you just helped save my life!!! I am in the process of establishng myself in the industry (mostly children’s Illustrating) and am just about to send out some of my work and have been feeling wayyyy overwhelemed, esp with this all important ‘cover letter’……..I must not forget these people are human!!!
    Thanks so much for your amazing insight, it’s a huge help for someone getting started just to hear someone’s real life story! A great way to gve back, thanks Nate.

  • http://www.myspace/wendytea Wendy Teasdale

    Hey Nate,

    I think you just helped save my life!!! I am in the process of establishng myself in the industry (mostly children’s Illustrating) and am just about to send out some of my work and have been feeling wayyyy overwhelemed, esp with this all important ‘cover letter’……..I must not forget these people are human!!!
    Thanks so much for your amazing insight, it’s a huge help for someone getting started just to hear someone’s real life story! A great way to gve back, thanks Nate.

  • Gab

    wow! its really helpful, ive been stuck in the process dealing with the categorize the theme. thanks!

  • Gab

    wow! its really helpful, ive been stuck in the process dealing with the categorize the theme. thanks!

  • modimolle modise

    very useful, perfect timing thanx

  • modimolle modise

    very useful, perfect timing thanx

  • http://kraehe.blogsome.com/ jfml

    Thank you! As a soon-to-be-Design-graduate you made me a little less afraid of what’s coming.

    I just wanted to mention the Google Calender-alternative Lighting/Sunbird for Mozilla Thunderbird.

    Thanks again!

    J

  • http://kraehe.blogsome.com/ jfml

    Thank you! As a soon-to-be-Design-graduate you made me a little less afraid of what’s coming.

    I just wanted to mention the Google Calender-alternative Lighting/Sunbird for Mozilla Thunderbird.

    Thanks again!

    J

  • Diane

    Love this article. Great insight. I will direct my students to this article.

  • Diane

    Love this article. Great insight. I will direct my students to this article.

  • Susan

    Hey!
    Thank you. This article is very helpful. I’m still trying to figure out a career…and this article shows what I wanted to know about being an illustrator.

  • Susan

    Hey!
    Thank you. This article is very helpful. I’m still trying to figure out a career…and this article shows what I wanted to know about being an illustrator.

  • http://www.lyrebirdcreate.blogspot.com/ kate

    amazing advice and so generous. you deserve success for that alone! lucky you’re damn talented too.
    cheers

  • http://www.lyrebirdcreate.blogspot.com/ kate

    amazing advice and so generous. you deserve success for that alone! lucky you’re damn talented too.
    cheers

  • http://www.antonelweb.it/ Anto

    I am a beginner as illustrator and I am a little bit afraid with so many things to do, but at least, I can follow a line.
    Thank you very much

  • http://www.antonelweb.it Anto

    I am a beginner as illustrator and I am a little bit afraid with so many things to do, but at least, I can follow a line.
    Thank you very much

  • http://rhondavoo.com/ rhonda voo

    fantastic!! love it!!

  • http://rhondavoo.com rhonda voo

    fantastic!! love it!!

  • http://www.iampackage.com/ saenggaeng

    Thank you so much
    I will keep your advice and I do like that.

  • http://www.iampackage.com saenggaeng

    Thank you so much
    I will keep your advice and I do like that.

  • http://www.cindybernhardart.com/ Cindy Bernhard

    Thanks soooo much for that!

  • http://www.cindybernhardart.com Cindy Bernhard

    Thanks soooo much for that!

  • http://www.cfcerosio.moonfruit.com/ Christina

    This information you posted is exactly what i needed and is definitely very very useful as i have just graduated in illustration and I am lost as to what to do now! so this is good. I am putting this page under my favourites to keep me inspired! :)

    Thanks

  • http://www.cfcerosio.moonfruit.com Christina

    This information you posted is exactly what i needed and is definitely very very useful as i have just graduated in illustration and I am lost as to what to do now! so this is good. I am putting this page under my favourites to keep me inspired! :)

    Thanks

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    Nice detailed overview of the freelance illustration process!

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    Nice detailed overview of the freelance illustration process!

  • http://www.juliens.org/ Julien Decaudin

    I’m very impressed by so much information in the same page. I’m considering to turn into illustration and your article will definitely be the starting point. Thanks a lot!

  • http://www.juliens.org Julien Decaudin

    I’m very impressed by so much information in the same page. I’m considering to turn into illustration and your article will definitely be the starting point. Thanks a lot!

  • http://kinokofry.com/ Rebecca Clements

    This was incredibly helpful! Thankyou so much for going to the trouble. I’m hoping to start a career in illustration and this is exactly what I was looking for.

  • http://kinokofry.com Rebecca Clements

    This was incredibly helpful! Thankyou so much for going to the trouble. I’m hoping to start a career in illustration and this is exactly what I was looking for.

  • http://www.gregormicheler.de/ Gregor Micheler

    Großartig! Thanks a lot!!! Your tips and the insight in the business/AD-thing is really essential. This all is very helpful for me being lost in thought on how to start up proper. Vielen Dank!

  • http://www.gregormicheler.de Gregor Micheler

    Großartig! Thanks a lot!!! Your tips and the insight in the business/AD-thing is really essential. This all is very helpful for me being lost in thought on how to start up proper. Vielen Dank!

  • Kris Danz

    Thanks for the information. I really like the feel of the site, how it is very matter-of-fact. I’m excited about exploring some of the sites you list and getting started.

  • Kris Danz

    Thanks for the information. I really like the feel of the site, how it is very matter-of-fact. I’m excited about exploring some of the sites you list and getting started.

  • May

    Wow. This has been so amazingly helpful! Clearly you’ve made other wandering artists feel at peace and you’ve done the same for me! Not only is the info great but the sources and links aswell. Thank you!

  • May

    Wow. This has been so amazingly helpful! Clearly you’ve made other wandering artists feel at peace and you’ve done the same for me! Not only is the info great but the sources and links aswell. Thank you!

  • http://creamiyaki.blogspot.com/ Kim

    you are amazing. thank you so much for sharing this. now i got so much better idea for what i should do. and your works are all brilliant and funny. komawa (thank you in Korean) :)

  • http://creamiyaki.blogspot.com Kim

    you are amazing. thank you so much for sharing this. now i got so much better idea for what i should do. and your works are all brilliant and funny. komawa (thank you in Korean) :)

  • Veronica

    You are so smart. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Veronica

    You are so smart. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • http://christycroll.com/ Christy

    Awesome info. Thanks for sharing. :)

  • http://christycroll.com Christy

    Awesome info. Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Lauraette Dixon-Smith

    I a FT student doing reach on graphic design, this is a great site, thanx much. I missed the pay part, or did I?

  • Lauraette Dixon-Smith

    I a FT student doing reach on graphic design, this is a great site, thanx much. I missed the pay part, or did I?

  • http://www.harveychan.ca/ Harvey Chan

    Nate. You are a good man.
    I will pass this site to all my illustration students in Toronto.
    Love your art too !!

  • http://www.harveychan.ca Harvey Chan

    Nate. You are a good man.
    I will pass this site to all my illustration students in Toronto.
    Love your art too !!

  • Jessica

    Thank you SO much. I am a true believer in passing the knowledge on and alas many people in this world are a bit too selfish! You are a very good man for taking the trouble to help us aspiring illustrators. I am going to try and put all of this into practice in the new year. God bless you! :o)

  • Jessica

    Thank you SO much. I am a true believer in passing the knowledge on and alas many people in this world are a bit too selfish! You are a very good man for taking the trouble to help us aspiring illustrators. I am going to try and put all of this into practice in the new year. God bless you! :o)

  • http://www.myspace.com/bennylitanasuty bennylita

    Nate,
    last nite a miracle happens.
    i was busy with my day job and by end of the year, i want to wrap up who and what i love most in painting and illustration that really close to my heart.

    sincerely, when i found again your website from littlechimpsociety.com and i was so happy to see funny and naughty characters; tyeahh mstly all of them.

    i just wrote ‘i heart alexander blue’s artwork in my notebook…and later i remember natewilliams. so i wrote natewilliams after alexander blue… i told myself, ermmm…alexander blue got similar style with nate williams. then i i felt it’s okay, i just wrote i heart both names. soon after looking at your contact page; whattt? you are both same person!! hahahaha

    Yeah, my early morning, I came across that Alexander Blue and Nate Williams is a same person on earth and i am so happy that i love both works. Thank you for sharing your artworks. Now, After 5 hours i found this info at your page. I must be very lucky person on earth today. Thank you Nate aka Alex. Keep on sharing and I promise to myself to give back what I gain directly and indirectly from you. I learn something so beautiful today…And I must share this first to you…Thank you..thank you..thank you…you make my day…

    Happy New Year and
    May God Bless you in the near future;
    :)bennylita
    kuala lumpur, malaysia

  • http://www.myspace.com/bennylitanasuty bennylita

    Nate,
    last nite a miracle happens.
    i was busy with my day job and by end of the year, i want to wrap up who and what i love most in painting and illustration that really close to my heart.

    sincerely, when i found again your website from littlechimpsociety.com and i was so happy to see funny and naughty characters; tyeahh mstly all of them.

    i just wrote ‘i heart alexander blue’s artwork in my notebook…and later i remember natewilliams. so i wrote natewilliams after alexander blue… i told myself, ermmm…alexander blue got similar style with nate williams. then i i felt it’s okay, i just wrote i heart both names. soon after looking at your contact page; whattt? you are both same person!! hahahaha

    Yeah, my early morning, I came across that Alexander Blue and Nate Williams is a same person on earth and i am so happy that i love both works. Thank you for sharing your artworks. Now, After 5 hours i found this info at your page. I must be very lucky person on earth today. Thank you Nate aka Alex. Keep on sharing and I promise to myself to give back what I gain directly and indirectly from you. I learn something so beautiful today…And I must share this first to you…Thank you..thank you..thank you…you make my day…

    Happy New Year and
    May God Bless you in the near future;
    :)bennylita
    kuala lumpur, malaysia

  • roberta

    great!

  • roberta

    great!

  • nutmeg

    this website is educational

  • nutmeg

    this website is educational

  • Emily Penso

    Wow thank you so much! this advice is just what I was looking for and so thorough. I feel so much more confident about how to approach setting myself up as an illustrator…a thousands thank-you’s

  • Emily Penso

    Wow thank you so much! this advice is just what I was looking for and so thorough. I feel so much more confident about how to approach setting myself up as an illustrator…a thousands thank-you’s

  • mark squire

    Fantastic find, I had no idea how to start. This has helped so much and given me a great confidence boost, had enough of my job and want to make something out of what I enjoy doing the most….drawing! lots of thanks from cornwall, UK

  • mark squire

    Fantastic find, I had no idea how to start. This has helped so much and given me a great confidence boost, had enough of my job and want to make something out of what I enjoy doing the most….drawing! lots of thanks from cornwall, UK

  • http://acatalogue.blogspot.com/ justincostanzo

    Thank you. Excellent information, extremely well-organized (this seems key), and supremely easy to understand. Again, thank you.

  • http://acatalogue.blogspot.com justincostanzo

    Thank you. Excellent information, extremely well-organized (this seems key), and supremely easy to understand. Again, thank you.

  • Laura

    I’m planning to pursue an illustration major next fall and this was really informative! I feel like I have a better grasp on what could be waiting for me in the future. Thank you so much!

  • Laura

    I’m planning to pursue an illustration major next fall and this was really informative! I feel like I have a better grasp on what could be waiting for me in the future. Thank you so much!

  • Deb

    THANK YOU, NATE!

  • Deb

    THANK YOU, NATE!

  • jude

    Wow, i’ve just stumbled across this website and its totally great. What information and inspiration it has given me. Thank you so very much for opening my eyes. x

  • jude

    Wow, i’ve just stumbled across this website and its totally great. What information and inspiration it has given me. Thank you so very much for opening my eyes. x

  • http://www.pilargonzales.com/ Pilar

    Thank you for this article! Will help my illustrator friend in his pursuit of happiness!
    Thanks, Nate.

  • http://www.pilargonzales.com Pilar

    Thank you for this article! Will help my illustrator friend in his pursuit of happiness!
    Thanks, Nate.

  • Pingback: Big Kid Advice

  • http://imaginaryrealworld.com/ pdxcarrie

    even though this is a few years old. it is EXACTLY what i was looking for… a good road map, a starting point, knowing what goals to set for myself… thank you very much!

  • http://imaginaryrealworld.com pdxcarrie

    even though this is a few years old. it is EXACTLY what i was looking for… a good road map, a starting point, knowing what goals to set for myself… thank you very much!

  • http://www.mattratcliffe.co.uk/ Matt Ratcliffe

    Some of the best advise on illustration I’ve come across. Thanks for taking the time to share. I shall put this to good use immediately!

  • http://www.mattratcliffe.co.uk Matt Ratcliffe

    Some of the best advise on illustration I’ve come across. Thanks for taking the time to share. I shall put this to good use immediately!

  • http://www.carolinatorres.com/ Carolina Torres

    Hey, Nate. I wil see you in the Gooo magazine soon!

  • http://www.carolinatorres.com Carolina Torres

    Hey, Nate. I wil see you in the Gooo magazine soon!

  • Eric Bowen

    Hi Nate,

    First off, just judging from the wealth of information you’ve presented, you seem like a very cool, very generous person…thank you for being both.
    Secondly, I’m extremely new to all of this. I don’t have my own website yet and I heard about IllustrationMundo through a design magazine which led me here. I am a graphic designer & illustrator and have done freelance work, both paid and pro-bono.
    Will the fact that I don’t have a website yet prevent me from joining the IllustrationMundo community?
    I’ve recently been laid-off from my job as a graphic artist in a pre-press role with a screenprinting company. With the extra time on my hands, I’m trying to get back into doing more illustration and drumming up some paying gigs.
    Any help/advice you have to offer would be greatly appreciated.
    Once again, thank you.

  • Eric Bowen

    Hi Nate,

    First off, just judging from the wealth of information you’ve presented, you seem like a very cool, very generous person…thank you for being both.
    Secondly, I’m extremely new to all of this. I don’t have my own website yet and I heard about IllustrationMundo through a design magazine which led me here. I am a graphic designer & illustrator and have done freelance work, both paid and pro-bono.
    Will the fact that I don’t have a website yet prevent me from joining the IllustrationMundo community?
    I’ve recently been laid-off from my job as a graphic artist in a pre-press role with a screenprinting company. With the extra time on my hands, I’m trying to get back into doing more illustration and drumming up some paying gigs.
    Any help/advice you have to offer would be greatly appreciated.
    Once again, thank you.

  • http://www.solarissky.com/ Sasha

    Thankyou for writing this article of info for the aspiring illustrator! :) I’m just starting an awesome program in illustration, and I loved reading about what my career might hold!

  • http://www.solarissky.com Sasha

    Thankyou for writing this article of info for the aspiring illustrator! :) I’m just starting an awesome program in illustration, and I loved reading about what my career might hold!

  • http://www.rednow.ca/ mitchell

    Not sure if I can add anything to the sea of compliments. Just wanted to join in and tell you how helpful this information is to noob illustrators. Thank you, sir.

  • http://www.rednow.ca mitchell

    Not sure if I can add anything to the sea of compliments. Just wanted to join in and tell you how helpful this information is to noob illustrators. Thank you, sir.

  • http://tjlubrano.blogspot.com/ TJLubrano

    Hi there! Really cool and helpful article! Thanks so much ^_^!

  • http://tjlubrano.blogspot.com TJLubrano

    Hi there! Really cool and helpful article! Thanks so much ^_^!

  • http://26pm.wordpress.com/ 26:PM

    Sweet! Thank you for the information. This is vital information to me, just getting into the freelance illustration world.

  • http://26pm.wordpress.com/ 26:PM

    Sweet! Thank you for the information. This is vital information to me, just getting into the freelance illustration world.

  • Walter

    Thank You! All of this information is very help full
    May continued success blossom for you!

    Regards,

    Walter

  • Walter

    Thank You! All of this information is very help full
    May continued success blossom for you!

    Regards,

    Walter

  • http://www.buffaloparade.blogspot.com/ Shi

    Thanks for putting the effort to do this, it was helpful. Much appreciated man :-)

  • http://www.buffaloparade.blogspot.com Shi

    Thanks for putting the effort to do this, it was helpful. Much appreciated man :-)

  • http://www.colleenayson.com/ colleenayson

    Thank You! You have so kindly shared a wealth of knowledge – obviously your mother – besides shoving wheat germ and carob down your throat, also taught you the valuable lesson of sharing. I think your mother knows that sharing is “cool”. Knowledge is power and so many people don’t want to.

    I have completely changed my work – and am going cute and digital. Found the information super helpful and insightful. It is always a challenge to keep both sides of the brain in line between the business side and the creative side.

    Your work rocks and thanks for the insight.

    Colleen Ayson

  • http://www.colleenayson.com colleenayson

    Thank You! You have so kindly shared a wealth of knowledge – obviously your mother – besides shoving wheat germ and carob down your throat, also taught you the valuable lesson of sharing. I think your mother knows that sharing is “cool”. Knowledge is power and so many people don’t want to.

    I have completely changed my work – and am going cute and digital. Found the information super helpful and insightful. It is always a challenge to keep both sides of the brain in line between the business side and the creative side.

    Your work rocks and thanks for the insight.

    Colleen Ayson

  • http://www.fly-k.net/ Sara Wilson

    Wonderful info…~I’m anxious to try my hand at this whole being an illustrator business~

  • http://www.fly-k.net Sara Wilson

    Wonderful info…~I’m anxious to try my hand at this whole being an illustrator business~

  • http://bryzon.com/ bryzon

    great info. love your style. as an undiscovered beginner graphic artist i look to other illustrators/graphic artists to help with ideas, insight, and motivation. you were able to do all of this. thx.

  • http://bryzon.com bryzon

    great info. love your style. as an undiscovered beginner graphic artist i look to other illustrators/graphic artists to help with ideas, insight, and motivation. you were able to do all of this. thx.

  • Suzy

    Thank you so much for your information! My friend told me I should become an illustrator when he saw my work, I didn’t take his words then, but I had a hard think of my career path, and now I wanted to become one! I guess he knew before me!

    I love your work too! It’s so cute and unique! It brings a smile to my face! :D

  • Suzy

    Thank you so much for your information! My friend told me I should become an illustrator when he saw my work, I didn’t take his words then, but I had a hard think of my career path, and now I wanted to become one! I guess he knew before me!

    I love your work too! It’s so cute and unique! It brings a smile to my face! :D

  • http://www.chi2.deviantart.com/ Chi

    Hey thanks Nate!
    Great article!
    I love all the links you included! They seem that they will be helpful in the future for when I graduate! <3

  • http://www.chi2.deviantart.com Chi

    Hey thanks Nate!
    Great article!
    I love all the links you included! They seem that they will be helpful in the future for when I graduate! <3

  • Joseph scott

    Thanx

  • Joseph scott

    Thanx

  • http://lg.giftcolony.com/ Linaka

    Thank you alot for the advice. Its been very helpful and I feel inspired now to go out and try it!

  • http://lg.giftcolony.com Linaka

    Thank you alot for the advice. Its been very helpful and I feel inspired now to go out and try it!

  • http://www.colourpiano.com/ Adriana Munoz

    Man this is much more useful than any “How-to-be-an-illustrator or fundamentals-of-illustration” book I have ever read. And yet much shorter!
    Thanks so much for taking the time to write it down. The links are great!

  • http://www.colourpiano.com Adriana Munoz

    Man this is much more useful than any “How-to-be-an-illustrator or fundamentals-of-illustration” book I have ever read. And yet much shorter!
    Thanks so much for taking the time to write it down. The links are great!

  • anne

    thks for sharing…
    i lov ur work…

  • anne

    thks for sharing…
    i lov ur work…

  • http://www.sambrewster.co.uk Sam

    Nate,

    Thanks so much for doing this for the struggling illustrators out there, I think you may be one of a kind in this capacity; yours is a name that I have seen many times, always in a positive and helpful context.

    I hope I can start to become much more productive now I’ve graduated/returned from traveling!

  • http://www.sambrewster.co.uk/ Sam

    Nate,

    Thanks so much for doing this for the struggling illustrators out there, I think you may be one of a kind in this capacity; yours is a name that I have seen many times, always in a positive and helpful context.

    I hope I can start to become much more productive now I’ve graduated/returned from traveling!

  • karen

    Nate, thanks for sharing all this great info!

  • karen

    Nate, thanks for sharing all this great info!

  • http://www.weylonsmith.com/ Weylon Smith

    Nate, THANK YOU for pouring your wisdom and advice out into the illustration community. Illustration Mundo is a site I visit everyday–such an incredible and valuable resource that helps all of us grow as artists. What’s better is growing as artists in community and not isolation. Love your work too!

  • http://www.weylonsmith.com Weylon Smith

    Nate, THANK YOU for pouring your wisdom and advice out into the illustration community. Illustration Mundo is a site I visit everyday–such an incredible and valuable resource that helps all of us grow as artists. What’s better is growing as artists in community and not isolation. Love your work too!

  • http://www.n8w.com/canvas.html?site=10069891506523476633&profileId=01961088991566417487 WeylonSmith

    Nate, THANK YOU for this article, and for pouring into young illustrators in the worldwide illustration community. In your EFII interview, you mentioned that other artists that took time to give you their advice really encouraged you in your pursuits. Thanks for passing that generosity on to us. Illustration Mundo (aptly named) is such an incredible resource that inspires us all to grow as artists. What’s more, we grow as artists in community. Love your work too!

    Thanks, Weylon

  • http://www.n8w.com/canvas.html?site=10069891506523476633&profileId=01961088991566417487 WeylonSmith

    Nate, THANK YOU for this article, and for pouring into young illustrators in the worldwide illustration community. In your EFII interview, you mentioned that other artists that took time to give you their advice really encouraged you in your pursuits. Thanks for passing that generosity on to us. Illustration Mundo (aptly named) is such an incredible resource that inspires us all to grow as artists. What’s more, we grow as artists in community. Love your work too!

    Thanks, Weylon

  • http://www.rob-gill.co.uk/ rob gill

    nate, what a ledge! The info and content on this page is amazing!!!
    keep up the good work its much appreciated!

  • AMarton

    Great web page! Thanks very much. My son, who is a high school senior, is considering a career in illustration. He is interested in Medical or Scientific Illustration. We seem to be limited in the colleges which have courses in this field. Can you give any guidance? Are some colleges better known for supporting illustrator careers? Thanks.

  • emilybluestar

    Thanks so much for this amazing article. I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to do this for other aspiring artists. You truly are an incredible illustrator.

  • http://dougdraws.com Doug C.

    Nate, this is powerful stuff. I'm just starting to focus myself (and my web presence) on my illustration talents and this information is like gold. Thank you for taking the time to write all this out. Bookmarked and will be back (often).

  • Brian Lawrence

    The best approach to giving advice to young illustrators.Looking at examples of experienced artists. Anything is possible as long as I don´t have to do it.

  • Brian Lawrence

    The best approach to giving advice to young illustrators.Looking at examples of experienced artists. Anything is possible as long as I don´t have to do it.

  • http://www.1800postcards.com/ Jordan

    I'm a bit late – not withstanding – this post is great! I personally love the illustrations!

  • karodesign

    Wow!
    I have been doing illustration for 5 years now but I could never manage the time to transform it into a business. I was really busy being an graphic designer and art director. Now I have decided that I need to try the illustration as a career. With a kid on the way, my priorities have switched and I really want to realize my dream and try to be a professional illustrator. Since I took this decision, I have been listening to every podcast and reading a lots of blogs to figure out what are the next steps I need to take. Everyone tells the the same thing, build your portfolio, auto-promote yourself and build a website, but you are the first one that explains very clearly what needs to be done. Thank you so much for this article! It really makes me feel less alone with my project.
    ps: If you have a bit of time, I would really appreciate some personal advice on my illustration. If you don't have the time, I completely understand and you have helped me so much with this post already. Thanks
    Love your work, you are a true inspiration
    Thanks again

  • juliamark

    I love the concise way you summed up this information- I've been reading books on getting into the illustration business, and this was excellent information that was direct and to the point!

  • http://twitter.com/Sirielle Karolina W?grzyn

    It's never enough of good vibes and information, thank you!

  • http://www.bethanyillustrates.com/ Bethany Vanderputten

    I LOVE the idea of having a web page on your site to track each job. Thanks for sharing!

  • Eric

    Kick ass article! Under the website part I would first suggest that people use krop creative database or carbonmade before building their own website or hiring someone. krop creative database and carbonmade offer a hosted and managed solution to people who are not web savvy and want a good looking website quickly. On thursday I setup a website for my friend who is a carpenter here:

    http://www.sageparent.com

    It cost $99 for one full year of the service, the domain cost $8 at godaddy, and it took me all of one hour to upload the photos and information to the site. GREAT!

    Krop Creative Database:
    http://www.krop.com/creativedatabase/

    Carbonmade:
    http://www.carbonmade.com

  • Beth

    I'm 16 in a few months, and i'm very interested in furthering my art career in to illustration, and i've searched a few blogs and sites and havn't really found any thing that has a great amount of information, but this is very usefull, thanks for posting.

  • megan

    hi im megan a 13 year old female who is a great illustrator {well at least I think I am}
    my style of drawing is like basic shapes and most of my cartoons have big eyes and i love to draw animals too
    one day i wish to be like u.
    from megan

  • Lilstarangel

    this is amazing! Im trying to finish my art degree to do Illustration and I was lost until now. I still need an internship but its nice to have a better sense of direction. When I start my career and use youre advice (which I will) I will def give credit to you. THANK YOU!!

  • Corinne Rapa Nui

    Thank you so much for this information! Baaam, I got the answers of so many questions I had.

  • Andrew

    Looking for an opportunity to explore your creativity then, Foliofox -a portfolio website gives you a platform to live to your imagination.It provides you to upload 500 images into your gallery.It provides you email your creativity to directors directly from your album box.FolioFox encourages artists to explore there talent to the audience in an impressive way.

    http://www.foliofox.com

  • Maskedgirl0102

    thank you so much for sharing . It is very useful. I love ideas, illustration but I am afraid. After reading this, I have a bit courage to know where I am going to.Many thanks again

  • Anonymous

    This article gave me a huge chunk of ideas. I could use this in time. Next time I will have a better output.

  • sjkim2396

    I’m just wondering, does anyone know the chances of getting into a Medical bio-communication program (Medical illustration) for a masters degree and also, what are the chances of getting a job in the medical illustration field? 

  • Jamiegaviola

    Very helpful! Thank you! Just getting started.  Have Art Degree, Pencil, Paper, Paint, Mac, Nikon, scanner.  What tablet would you recommend?  what version of phototshop?
    namaste

  • Jamescrist70

    Are you looking for a Business loan, Personal loan, Mortgage loan, Auto loan, Student loan, Debt consolidation loan, Real estate financing/project fundings, Private Hard money loans etc… Contact us today for 3%.

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    Are you looking for a Business loan, Personal loan, Mortgage loan, Auto loan, Student loan, Debt consolidation loan, Real estate financing/project fundings, Private Hard money loans etc… Contact us today for 3%.

    Note ::: All contact emails should be sent to :::: jamescrist70@yahoo.com

    Application Form..
    Name ::
    Address :::
    Telephone :::
    Amount Needed :::
    Duration :::
    Occupation :::
    Age :::

    Note ::: All contact emails should be sent to :::: jamescrist70@yahoo.com
    Thanks and Best Regards.
    Mr. James Crist

  • http://www.webndesign.com.br sweetgunner

    Thanks for sharing all your creative process. It was exactly what I was looking for. I thought I was the only one who need to have pictures to get based on. Very kind post. :)

    Best wishes from Brazil.

  • http://www.n8w.com/f/f/diqus Nate Williams

    Hello Jamie .. I have a Wacom Intuos 4 .. I like it .. I prefer the smaller tablets

  • Ann Bartholomew

    Thank you, Nate for posting this. You are helping lots of illustrators, that are starting out, put the pieces together and make their dream into reality.

  • De

    This was really helpful and your work is great! Thank you! :)

  • Micksavage

    thanks for the bs-free advice & attitude. Good luck mate. Mick, Leicester, England

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VYBLGEYTQGJKGPLXMVWSEIPABI Asinas

    Pretty insightful read. Never thought that it was this simple after all. I had used a lot deal of my time looking online for someone to explain this matter clearly to me and you are the only one that ever did that. Great big thanks! Have a great day. 

  • Clarice Wong

    This is such a good post! But I have a question about pricing. How do you know what to charge for these companies or clients? I’m newly starting in this career and school never really taught us these tips. Thanks for this posting Nate!

  • http://www.n8w.com/f/f/diqus Nate Williams

    Hello Clarice .. pricing is a tricky thing .. it’s always changing and the rates really vary depending on how established you are. I would consult this book and it will get you in the ball park range http://www.amazon.com/Graphic-Artists-Guild-Handbook-Guidelines/dp/0932102123

  • nivetha ramachandran

      The first consideration one has to go through is in picking the type of illustration career that one wishes to embark on.. Some of the most profitable markets for illustrators include 
    comic strips, comic books and children’s books. And in this type of illustrations, you can play the role of both a writer and an artist in creating a series of
    illustrations which when put together, creates a whole story…
    read more 

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnniebeeBagsnDesigns Anniebees Bags’n Bling

    Thanks Nate, Soo much to learn.  A Great article, many Thanks  :)  I hope you continue with yoursuccess, Happy Illustrating 

  • Amanda

    …also see ”
    Understanding Freelance Illustration – 10 Steps to Success ” at
    http://www.jobstock.com/blog/freelance-illustration/.

  • fgg
  • Vinita Anita
  • Vee Violetdaffodils

    just stumbled upon your article and I am so happy that I did! ive found your advice and the links to be very helpful for me :) I am currently in my second year of my degree and hoping to discover a lot of information about the industry before I enter the real world after i graduate and I found this article to help with just that so thanks! :) x

  • http://www.n8w.com/f/f/diqus Nate Williams

    That’s so great to hear Vee best of luck

  • anonymous

    Oh my god, this is a great post! It helped a lot and I am bookmarking this. :))

  • shane

    beautiful page…priceless advice. thank you so much.

  • http://www.creativementor.com.au/wordpress-training-course.html learn wordpress

    Becoming an illustrator needs so many factors to be taken into consideration apart from obtaining an academic certification in illustration.

  • Marthinus

    Thanks Nate. This article and the linking articles became my guide, I already started reading that book on branding. It’s my dream to become a freelance illustrator (I really hope the freelance part is a good thing). Your guidance is well appreciated. Cheers.

  • http://www.buraq-technologies.com/ ambreen11

    Its great points to become successful illustrator. These are creative ideas you have here. I would like to appreciate you on your brilliant work.

  • Ingrid martini

    Thank YOU very much for including all aspects of becoming an Illustrator besides being a good artist (which we all are…:):):).briefly went through text and there is so much to learn.In hope to become successful illustrator:):):)Ingrid Martini

  • bobbin

    Thank you taking the time to write this Nate, I’m a new illustrator and I was having a massive crisis of confidence this week and feeling a little overwhelmed. It’s really helped me.

  • Sean Scanlon

    Stumbled upon this page looking for web hosting ideas for my portfolio and I really appreciate the time you took to write it!

  • Harry

    The advice is quality stuff…but where do I after sixth form and want a career in art and design? Apprecticeships? University? What would you recommend and what jobs are on offer out there?
    Cheers

  • Nicholas Wright

    trust me, do not try an make a living as an illustrator!
    it is very hard if not impossible in 2013!

  • http://www.n8w.com/f/f/diqus Nate Williams

    Agree it is very hard to live on illustration alone.

  • Jeff Swanson

    Thanks for the information about site5.com. I’ve never used them before, but will definitely check them out. I’ve also had some success applying for jobs and posting my profile on http://www.freelanced.com. Does anybody else have any other sites they have had success with that they could share?

  • chris

    hi Nate in a big to try to get more work I approached an Illustration Agency. They replied saying they liked my work and would welcome having me on their books. They want me to pay a start up fee of £250 is that standard practice? Im I just being cynical or cautious in believing they may just take the money and I wont get any work?

  • http://www.mariasarria.com msarriadraws

    Great information Nate!