Some 5 months ago, I decided to become an illustrator, whatever shape that might take. Potential shapes range from doing some illustrations every now and then, to full time drawing. Whatever shape it will take, I will call myself an illustrator.
It was in a time where both the academic job market and my enthusiasm to be part of the academic world tanked, that I decided to become an illustrator. Having done a thousand degrees in linguistics, I was still hesitant to call myself an academic, or a linguist, or a lecturer. I thought I needed more evidence before calling myself those things. A chat with a close friend made me realize that I could and should call myself an illustrator. Not only as a way to introduce and present myself to others, but also as a way of thinking of myself. I illustrate and that makes me an illustrator.
I have searched through the internet about how to go about setting up a small business as an illustrator, both practically and psychologically/emotionally. Lots of the stories you find online are rags to riches stories of people who have made it. Often they were young when they started, fresh out of art school. Often it didn’t involve a massive career switch in the middle of a pandemic.
These blog posts will be just that: a guide to myself and others on how to start one of these illustrating journeys. It will serve as a paper trail for myself to look back on thoughts and to mark sources I have used in the process, where I can remind myself to chase up this thing or do that thing.
Reminder for now is the podcast episode of Ctrl Alt Delete with Cathy Heller (of the podcast Don’t keep your day job): enthusiasm is the most important thing (got loads of that), and it’s not all or nothing. Most people are not Lady Gaga but still spend their days making music and loving their job and making money from it.