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What to do while still in school to jumpstart your Illustration career for the BYU Ilustration Dept.


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slide from my presentation to illustration students on what they should be doing to give them a leg-up when they graduate.

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What to do while still in school to jumpstart your Illustration career for the BYU Ilustration Dept.

  1. 1. Wise Elephant: BYU Illustration What to do while still in school to get a jumpstart…
  2. 2. Warning: Illustration is impossibly competitive
  3. 3. My suggestion: Quit now, find a trade ;)
  4. 4. How do you find success in an incredibly competitive field? 2 paths…
  5. 5. 2 paths: 1. Get a Rep. 2. Make great work, & get connected (these are not mutually exclusive)
  6. 6. Can’t get a Rep UNLESS… - You make work that is currently marketable - Have built a reputation (won awards, done great stuff, made some money)
  7. 7. Your formula, being a student, then is… - Get a Rep (nope) - Get connected - Build your reputation
  8. 8. Illustrator = Sole Proprietor So you’re marketing yourself Think: Multiple degrees of multiple distribution channels Please, no reliance on one main contact “guy on the inside”! Not now, maybe later.
  9. 9. Build your reputation, let’s call it your Story - Create your own offense - Always keep moving - Differentiate yourself
  10. 10. Create your own offense: NBA Commish says: in order to play in the NBA you have to be able to carry the team offensively. Get crafty, be innovative, find your strength, and dive head first. Wits, guts, and moxie.
  11. 11. Always keep moving: Movement creates opportunity! Take a walk, pick up the phone, send emails, update your SM account, start a new drawing, clean your room. Do not sit still and wait!
  12. 12. Differentiate yourself: - Are you an illustrator? Maybe? What type? What medium? - Be specific! Define yourself, and then… …pro-clarify it…
  13. 13. Example 1: I work in oils, on canvas, mostly figures, people… becomes… Representative imagery using traditional mediums
  14. 14. Example 2: I draw dragons breathing fire… REMAINS… I draw dragons breathing fire (if your description is clear and specific it differentiates you)
  15. 15. NOTE: - Freedom to reinvent yourself even after you thought you’ve committed to a style - Be able to define new style simply and clearly
  16. 16. Multiple degrees/channels: - Blog/Site - (Links) - Network(s) - Pro contacts
  17. 17. Blog/Site, make it your own: Spend the money on hosting - for portability - easy to change look/feel - own domain name/email/brand then…
  18. 18. Blog/Site: Update it DAILY (at least) Formula: - Relevancy - Current-cy
  19. 19. Blog/Site: Relevancy: - Posts should relate to the outside world “I ate a tuna sandwich” = “Eating this tuna sandwich reminds me of this great artist I saw at the Tate Modern…”
  20. 20. Blog/Site: Current-cy: - Have to post often (daily) - Is my topic current? - Using relevancy can I make it current?
  21. 21. Blog/Site: Links: - Seek out your peers - Artist you admire Where to link? - Links from your blog-roll - Links from within posts - @ Soc. Nets (twitter, FB, etc.)
  22. 22. Pro Networks: Illustration Repositories: - (Illoz, theispot)? - Choose one - Build it up, link to it - Commit for 4 months - Then evaluate (move on?)
  23. 23. Social Networks: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter - All is best - Update your status - Keep finding people - Make a BYU Illus group - Ask questions/answer q’s
  24. 24. Pro Contacts: - List: make one or get one - Opt them in (call first) - Chip away (do it over time in a manageable fashion) - Be consistent in your message (stick to your script, practice it)
  25. 25. Pro Contacts: Follow-up - PDF portfolios (customized with note) - Your name/contact info on the first page/last page - Only drop YOUR name (don’t try to impress them with who you know) - Thank them! (they don’t hear it often enough)
  26. 26. ALL Contacts: Keep Connected Each type might prefer a different com. Method: - Monthly email - Facebook email - twitter updates - Phone them if it feels right - Snail mail thank you cards
  27. 27. Reps? When do I contact a rep ONLY IF: - You’ve done all of the above - Have your story/description DOWN A rep will probably have advice for you… - Only follow it if it feels right - Each has their own market angle - Don’t take anything personally!
  28. 28. Recap: - Create your own offense - Always keep moving - Differentiate yourself Via: - Blog/Site - (Links) - Network(s) - Pro contacts
  29. 29. Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with you all! Contact me anytime: [email_address] 317.259.9201