Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wobbily Painted Stones III: Overalls.

'Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work'.
Probably my favourite quote of all time.

Thus far in this gently sporadic collection of bits of advice, I've covered expectations on leaving college, and Ethics:

I'm going to post other chunks of information culled from twenty years at the mucky coalface, and compiled from a very long seminar I've delivered many times over the years (with regular updates for changes of landscape and technology) in the hope that they are useful for people wishing to learn, and make a living from, the same (or similar) trade as me.

It IS a trade. Remember that. We're not here to be superstars. Or to get gongs, massive public acclaim, tons of birds, money or film credits (though some illustrators have done all of those things).

No. Our job is to turn this:

- into this:

and be accountants, directors, marketing managers, financial planners, account handlers, traffic managers, the human resources department, tea lady, media planner, student liaison, bailiff and PR guru at the same time. As well as the odd bit of drawing.

For me, this sometimes doesn't happen till right at the end of the day, when I've dealt with the hectares of email, web stuff, brief reading and printing, skipping through the manuscript I've been sent, discussing things with the ever-patient assistant or accounts lady, blogging, updating my website, accounting software, banking, done stuff in town, and made my phone calls. That moment is nice - pencil in hand, I finally get to 'the real stuff'.

But of course it's all 'the real stuff'. You're a business, and as soon as you get comfortable with that idea, the better. You might well end up actually doing 'the work' at night time, when everything else is done. But that's OK, as long as you do (and as long as the client knows, and you're keeping on top of their expectations.) For now, then, I recommend this book as a way to get started in arming yourself with the detail of running a creative business, ‘The Illustrator’s Guide to Law and Business Practice’ is by Simon Stern, and published by the Association of Illustrators. It's not their latest book, but it's still a great guide to the basics of law, copyright, fees, licences and more. Don't buy it from Amazon - get it here, and support the only trade body we have in the UK for our industry.

That's it for now.

Next, I do The Web. All of it. Yeah - you best get that kettle on.

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