Illustrator Jill Calder recently paid a visit to college to talk to us about her work and experiences as illustrator. She was really fantastic to listen to and went through a lot of aspects of working as a professional illustrator.
For instance, she spoke about what it was like being represented by an agency (or two) and how that has helped with the business side of things as well as providing interesting projects to work on. She gave really good advice on the money issue, and as most of us leaving uni at the moment probably won't be represented by an agency when starting out, it was good to hear how a working illustrator deals with getting paid. The main point she made was to not let people mess you around with money, and that illustrators are providing a service and deserve to be paid for it, so I think it probably gave us all a bit more confidence when we might have to chase payments in the future.
She also spoke about how it can be a positive to have a more interesting looking portfolio to show prospective clients. She had had a couple hand made in bright colours and decorated to get people's attention. This isn't really something I'd thought about with my portfolio, as I generally didn't think I'd be showing many people a physical portfolio hat often, so mine is just a standard looking one. It could be something to think about in the future, especially if you have to leave it with someone to look at; I suppose a personalised folio could make the work stand out if you're not there to talk about it yourself.
Jill went on to show u some of her work and how she worked on a project start to finish. She stressed the importance of drawing, and spoke about drawing anywhere, and on anything. Whether it be a sketch book, scrap of paper, or even an ipad, it all has its uses and doing a quick sketch of something when you're out and about, could then help inform or be part of a new piece of work. I though this was really interesting to see, especially as I have done much drawing or sketching from life very recently. My own work is quite precise I suppose and I use a lot of straight lines and grids to make shapes etc., so seeing Jill's sketches actually made me want to do a bit more drawing, and not worry to much about how it looks, as its just another way of gathering information.
She made a couple of suggestions for a good way to work, and these were both 'be silly' and 'be serious'. This made me think of what must be a quote I'd heard someone say once, which was about the best people to work with are people who take their work seriously, but not themselves. And I think that it's similar to what Jill was saying about illustration, which was to take the job seriously and always try and do a good job, but also don't be afraid to have fun and be silly and playful with your work, when appropriate of course. Inject a bit of your own personality and sense of humour into the work, whilst still doing a good, professional job. I thought that was really good advice, because it not only makes the work more interesting to look at, but I suppose it would also make the work more enjoyable and fun to create. I think I could really do with taking this bit of advice on board and being a bit looser and more playful in my work. Although last time I added a sense of humour to my work *cough* mother Teresa card *cough*, people did not get it....oh well!
Over all the lecture was really interesting and funny, I could have listened to her for hours! She made some really good points and gave me some stuff to think about in relation to my own work. And it's always good to her another persons experiences and advice, as it helps answer some questions and give you more confidence in your own ideas.
And I also have a collection of envelope inside patterns scanned in. Go team.