So here’s where I’ve been in the last nine or so months:

Illustrating for print work; mostly repeat clients: Nickelodeon Magazine and Las Vegas Weekly being the two top repeaters;

Sending out a few postcard mailers and finding my returns to be kind of not that great;

Daydreaming about quitting my freelance work and earning better money doing something else (obviously, the dreams weren’t good enough!);

Working with a few cool companies to make some cool prints and wallets;

Wondering what my strengths and weaknesses are, devolving into OH GOD WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE every couple of weeks;

Courting a rep to then receive some really great feedback and really start looking seriously at focusing in my artwork and keeping it to a high caliber;

Experimenting a lot, adding in texture, upping my drawing skills with practice; now I’m working with painted tissue paper a la Eric Carle;

Finally meeting up with some local illustrators (Tiny Army) last night and feeling pretty re-energized and positive.

There probably were some assorted things besides that, but that’s the gist. Where have I gone? Where am I going? This is what preoccupies me now. The way I see it, every so often I have a breakthrough creatively– getting somewhere I wanted to be but not realizing it. And every time that happens it makes me introspective. I may think too much actually about this. Strengths and weaknesses and all that nonsense. Improving my lot so more art directors take notice. But besides that I know I need to get wiser on the business end of illustration– I know a fair amount but there’s much more I know I don’t know.

And then there are things I know but I’ll admit I’m pretty nervous to implement. Last night’s meeting reiterated a point I was told a few weeks ago by my pal Luc Latulippe: cold calling is essential. An illustrator at the meeting told me it’s got to be done; but I’ll admit the idea terrifies me. I inherited my dad’s good old hatred of the phone, and now it’s biting me. I get pretty anxious about these things, even to the point of fumbling and getting kind of panicky over the phone. But hey– it’s facing your fears, and it’s something I know I’ve got to do– obviously I can’t coast on my good emailing charms alone.

This means writing myself a script; a simple, short yet sweet message to call art directors with and practice it religiously until I don’t need it anymore. I’ll try writing one in the next few days and post it up here; any critiques to it will be most appreciated.

So on a business end, of the constant war of promoting yourself I want to get these things done in the next month:

File my taxes

Don’t cry or tear my hair out when I file my taxes and realize how much money I owe

Write a script for cold-calling

Prepare a list of art directors and call them

Develop an actual e-mailing list again. Daniel suggested Mailchimp and based on how great his mailings look I may take them on.

For me this a heady list. The cold-calling and the taxes are the big things– one day I am totally going to hire an accountant and shove all my paperwork to him or her– because I really hate taxtime.  But you gotta do what you gotta do, I guess!


The dead live!!!

March 6, 2008

I don’t want to dwell upon the fact that TS has been sitting in a ditch for a year or almost that much– because I’ve known all along guiltily that I should do something about it. Let’s be honest here though fellows: the past nine or so months have been a serious revelation to me; I’ve had to rethink my entire business, wonder where I’m going, and start making plans. And in retrospect it was a little presumptuous to post this blog with three years of experience– not that I regret doing so!  But it’s been hard to keep up with and feel like I’m capable of delivering.

So to the scant few that will see this, I want to apologize for letting this blog die. I was inspired last night to dust off the ol’ girl and take a keen look at her. Why? Well, last night I met up with fellow illustrators in Phoenix, under the guise of a meetup group called Tiny Army. (and spearheaded by the awesome Daniel of Steam Crow Press– check his site for handy info!) While it was just our inaugural meeting, I found myself feeling pretty energized and loving illustration again. (Not unlike what happened at APE last year) And as a result the positive vibes and sharing of information led me to want to bust this thing out of its prison.

A bit of a revamp is in order though; I’m going to level with you, I’m no expert. Providing tips only will only get me so far; so I’m going to take this on more of a personal level and document what I’m going through, and hopefully still provide advice and discuss important things as well, and share. Sharing is big, folks– so I hope I can keep doing so. And this is a work in progress, just like my career is, just like we all are– so please offer me suggestions, tell me what you like to hear and what you don’t, and share with me. Maybe in the future this can grow to be a group advice blog, but for right now it’s all on me, so I’ll try and give my point of view and my experiences and hope you’ll all find something worthwhile in it. Baby steps for now.

Thanks everybody!

– meg