A Year as an Illustrator: Part 2

3 Apr

In case you missed Part One, it’s here.

Anyway…

This past month with my illustration endeavors has honestly been quite – at moments – testing and discouraging.  But, from what I hear, that’s pretty typical off the start.  I didn’t get any new clients or jobs and after mailing close to 200 postcards, I haven’t heard anything back.  But again, I guess that’s typical.  So, I have had my days of frustration and feeling a bit, I don’t know – low about things, but I remain optimistic and keep at it.  Let’s just say though the phone hasn’t been ringing off the hook (which it probably wouldn’t anyway, since most people email).

I did sign a contract for a new greeting card last month and my syndicated work is going fantastic!  I have written some of the best material (in my opinion) that I ever have.  It’s just too bad that my feature is a bit limited at the moment because of the market.  However, this year I have some things in store for it that ARE in my control.  At any rate,  I keep getting happier about the way Break of Day is going (I mean, I’ve always been happy with it, but you know).  I look back a year ago and cringe at some of the material I was cranking out.  (I say that every year.)

BUT – this is a post about illustration.  My first plan as a child was to just be syndicated and do that (ha!  my timing in life is impeccable), however, due to factors beyond my means, I have illustration as well that is another great potential for my line of work.

One major thing that I did this past month was a lot of good ol’ fashioned PR.  I was out and about meeting new people and letting them know who I was.  I handed out quite a few business cards after striking up conversations.  So, we’ll see where that goes.  A lot of times it doesn’t lead to much but “That’s cool!  You draw!”  but someday I might bump into the president of a major publication and he’ll have me doodle on his napkin.  You never know.

So, a little discouraging this month?  Yes.  But, that has always helped me in the long run.

I’ve actually accomplished everything I’ve ever set out to do in my career.  I was in MAD Magazine, became syndicated and am in other publications.  My biggest issue though is – yes, I hit these goals, but consistency hasn’t happened.  I can be in MAD one month, and then not for another year (I don’t know how Al Jaffee does it).  Never consistent.  Same thing with some clients.

That being said, I’m VERY consistent with my syndicated work and I do have some repeat clients that I keep great communication with (where others just want one job and that’s all).

The month of April I’m going to be focused on several things.  For one, stop eating so many donuts.  For two, I’m sending out more postcards.  I’m focusing on the local market though this month.  I figure they might know me from the newspaper everyday, so that can’t hurt.  Plus, I’m going to start to look for an artist rep.  I’m not sure how that’s going to go considering I don’t have many illustration jobs out there – just mostly cartooning.  However, I have a lot of credentials.  We’ll see.

Along with that I’ll continue my greeting card work because – well – it’s fun!  And I’m happy about how my profits are made off sales, so there’s some potential in these.  This market is kind of a mix of illustration, cartooning and writing – depending which way the wind blows.

Something I decided NOT to focus on – which I was excited about at the beginning of the year – are new cartoon markets.  Cartoons don’t make much money in hardly any publication.  There are a few regulars I’ll be submitting to, but not really any new ones unless some with potential come along.  I don’t know why growing up I thought cartoonist in magazines made so much money.  It’s pretty impossible unless you get in many prestigious ones or numerous small markets.  Sure, you can.  And they’re rewarding.  However, with my current laughable income, I need to focus on stuff that can afford me time to maybe do that line of work in the future.

Sorry I don’t have much more for you.  That kind of covers it for now.  So month two of my illustration journey is over.  And it was kind of a number two (crappy).  But call me crazy, I keep pushing forward with everything.  I’m a bit behind with things like buying a house, having a savings and raising families – you know – the small stuff (my poor wife).  It’s all delayed due to my overwhelming desire to conquer this business no matter what.  So though I might die trying, I’m still remaining encouraged about the future.  After all, I’ve actually “made it”, yet – income hasn’t been part of that.  And I’m guessing that’s kind of a necessary part.  So, onward we go!  Let’s flush this second month.

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One Response to “A Year as an Illustrator: Part 2”

  1. bearmancartoons April 3, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Send me your donuts

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