Once you get a degree in illustration, the question now becomes whether you will work under someone or you are better off being your boss.


There are many perks to the latter option including the freedom to choose your hours as well as control over your earning capacity. However, the road to be a freelance illustrator is not all roses, and there is a lot of hard work that goes into landing that first client and maintaining a healthy working relationship. Read on to learn how you can get the most out of freelancing as well as the foundation you must have in place to succeed.

Self-employment is not easy. As an employee, you have someone telling you what do to and when but once you go freelance, all these opportunities fall on your shoulders, and it can thus be overwhelming. Slacking off will lead to no income, and this could put you in a pretty bad spot. As such, some people choose the easy route that is employment, but they also stand to gain less in the long run.

Though a significant part of your workday will go into creations, the other part will go into marketing your products, negotiating with clients and keeping track of your income and progress. Without the latter activities, all your creative work will not do you good, and you’d end up struggling. However, it’s not all bad as there are many upsides to freelancing. You do not have to limit yourself to one option or over-expand your opportunities till you stretch too thin. The course of your career is in your hands, and you can choose whatever direction fits you best.

Work on yourself

Yes, you have an outstanding portfolio from school that you are itching to show clients and that is great. However, you should note that over time, the needs of the market change and you must work on your abilities such that you can cope in changing times. As such, your style will not remain a constant over your career if you wish to attract a large pool of clients. One way in which you can improve your skills is by working with a skilled illustrator. In this way, they can go through your work and point out areas where you need to put more effort. Be sure to remain open-minded throughout these processes as they will provide you with a strong foundation on which your career will stand. It is better to spend time working on your skills than rushing into the market with sub-standard work. The former will get you a paycheck while the latter will lead to rejections.

Sell yourself

As freelancer you have to sell yourselfNow that you have the required skill set at hand and you have a better understanding of the workings in the illustration industry, you can now start marketing your work to prospective clients. Marketing is not an easy task, and for anyone who is new to the industry, the process can be quite intimidating. After all, nobody is actively seeking rejection in any manner. However, failure to leap means that all your amazing illustration skills will go to waste as no one, but you will have access to your work. Think about it this way. It could be that you are precisely what a client needs but they cannot give you the job because they do not know that you exist. How can you change this? Start by working on a portfolio where you highlight your best works yet. Start small by sharing your work on social media and soon people will know who you are and what you do such that if they need something in your field, they will know who to call. There are tons of websites where you can post your work and be sure to use correct keywords when doing so to make it easy for clients to find you. When posting your illustrations, have background texts to describe what you are communicating to the world.

Success will not happen overnight, and you will need to keep working on yourself as well as marketing your work. Soon enough, you will start landing clients, and if you do your job right, they will keep coming for more.

Handling clients

Finding a client is not easy, and once you do so, you should aim to impress. As such, be sure to show them your best works. Other than how good your portfolio is, clients also appreciate professionalism. Be pleasant, stick to schedules and work to meet their needs.

It is also essential for you to choose projects that are in line with your tastes. In this way, it will be much easier for you to satisfy the client with your results. Take an example of Mark Ulriksen who is an editorial illustrator. Over time, he has mastered the art of combining humor and insight to communicate with readers, and this had led to his success in the field. What’s more, he has a deep interest in sports, and this helps him come up with amazing covers for his clients.


Knowing what you are making and how much you are taking to the bank at the end of the day will help you be in control of your income. When people start working as freelancers, and the money starts streaming in, it is easy to get lost in the world of spending that at the end of the year, you have nothing to show for all your work. Avoid such pitfalls by keeping track of your money and engaging a finance expert where necessary.

With these tips on your side, you should be on your way to a booming career in no time.