You have to be ready.
Because when the gigs come, it’s showtime!
Today is packed.
I have two quick illustrations I need to do for my regular long-term illustration gig.
I have two more elaborate illustrations that I need to make progress with on a tight deadline.
And I have a long-term secret project that I need to make specific progress on.
If being a full-time illustrator means you need to spend your whole day drawing, well then I’m there!
Jokes aside. I think you have to be ready in order to get work. Because when the work comes, it’s not the time to figure out how you will be doing the work. As. an aspiring illustrator so much time is spent thinking about how to get work, I think some time needs to be spent, thinking about how you will handle the work you do get!
Here are some of the things I need to be ready for:
I need to be ready to ALIGN with my clients. Illustration is a team effort, and your creative goals need to be aligned with your client’s business goals, so you need a deep understanding of your client’s goals. What got me ready for this was 10 years freelancing and doing sales, and another 10 years working in startups.
I need to be ready to make and execute a GAME PLAN for my illustrations. How will you ensure a good result within the available time? You need a predictable way of working. If you need time to ‘experiment’, work that into your way of working. 7 years ago I was introduced to the concept of design thinking at Stanford, and that helped me think in terms of processes vs just throwing energy and hours at a problem.
I need to be ready to FOCUS on deep work on one project, then quickly mentally shift modes for the next project. And I’ll need to be able to handle the inevitable distractions that will be thrown at me.
I need to be ready to PRIORITIZE and give appropriate energy and time to the projects in front of me, but also to the machinery that helped me get those projects (posting on social media, sending out newsletters, etc).
Before you start to get a lot of illustration gigs, the thinking is always about getting the gig. But if you’re not ready to deliver when you do get the gig maybe it’s still time to work on that capacity and ability to deliver. Because when the gigs come, it’s showtime!
A couple of related things:
In this one, I talk about maintaining a backlog