This is the second article in the series of awesome tips for illustrators from Jester Jacques Art. Find the first article here: Jester Jacques Art and Chenoa Discuss Tips for Freelancing Illustrators
“With so many resources for artists – Etsy, Society 6, Behance – and seeing how overcrowded those sites are, how do you make yourself stand out? (Any specific tricks?)”
Over the years I’ve found no sure-fire way to stand out from the crowd… which is tricky. Some pieces naturally seem to have more ‘viral’ appeal - but it’s really hard to predict that.
There are loads of theories about the best times to post things but I’ve had great responses with posts at totally random times throughout the week/day so I think that’s a myth. Keeping your content relevant and unique to what you do is key. Hash-tagging and keywords etc are all good ways of making sure your work is seen by the right people too.
Basically there seems to be no exact science, just good old fashioned hard work. Keep on doing what your doing, growing as an artist/ illustrator/ writer or whatever you do and it WILL pay off in the end …that’s what I keep telling myself anyways.
“It must be overwhelming when you have to actively seek freelance gigs and try to work on your art at the same time, making your website and portfolio look good. How do you strike a balance?”
I was told by a businessy type person once that it’s all about the small victories that keep us motivated, so I make loads of lists all the time - and it actually works.
Basically all the things I have to/want to achieve that day gets scribbled down - each one with a little arrow and tick box. Then once it’s done, it get’s ticked off. If i don’t get it done that day, for whatever reason, it gets carried over to the next day.
It’s important to priorities too. Work with a solid deadline always comes first, but it’s equally important to schedule in those days for personal development - no point being bogged down by the man all week.
“Would you advise young freelancers to put their work everywhere, or be more selective? (Maybe you can do too much PR for yourself?)”
It’s very tempting to want to share everything all the time - especially if you’re having one of those uber creative days or you’ve just finished a project. But I think it’s important to be selective.
I see the different media streams as different ways of sharing. For example; Instagram for me is a digital sketchbook, less formal than posting it to my wall on FB or my portfolio. Then twitter is somewhere in the middle, where i might tweet WIP pieces but mainly tweet promo of my own work or that of others.
Twitter is a great way to build a network in that way as you can mention and hashtag and link out and people genuinely appreciate it. Facebook is becoming more and more confusing for that.
“There is always the debate if artists should work for free or not. Sometimes it is worthwhile because you do get your name out there, as well as adding to your client list. When should you say no though?”
Everyone in the creative industries has most probably either done work placements or given work away for free, it kind of comes with the territory. I probably did too much of it when I was starting out - which I think is pretty common as you’re super eager to get noticed.
As you progress though it’s important to pick and choose what you can do for free/less money. If you continue to work for free you can run the risk of undermining your work and the work of others in the industry.
That being said - there are always exceptions to the rule.
“Finally, if you had to give the readers 3 quick, essential tips to becoming a fulltime freelance illustrator, what would it be?”
Draw all the time.
Share your work.
Follow Darren Turner here https://www.facebook.com/bigbigtoe and shop his work with Jester Jacques Gallery.