When you have a part time job that doesn't need you as often as you like, it's easy to begin to feel guilty. I had that problem this past week. I wanted to go to work and make some extra cash for the family, but at the same time I wanted to stay home and work on illustrations and look for potential markets. So, I have to remind myself, that even though I didn't get to work much for money now, I did get to work at pursuing my goals which will pay off in the long run.
I went through my art work and found I need to really get focused on creating my portfolio. So, I got to work making new sketches and plans for pieces that will be good quality. This is a new experience for me because I have almost always made art as I feel like it, not with great purpose. Realizing I had so few that suited me was not, I realized, a good excuse to put off setting up a web site where I can display my portfolio. After all, I need to keep it evolving and changing anyway, so why not start with work I have now? Not having the quality I think I should have has kept me from go after my dream anyway! So I now have a domain name of my own and a web site. Check it out by going to the portfolio link at the top of this page.
Last night I stayed up to get serious about collecting submission information for magazines. I have a copy of the 2012 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market which is a great place to get started because there is so much information is in one reference. I looked up the listings they have to double check information and get any additional that was left out. Plus I looked at some of the online samples that some of the magazines have because there is no point in sending a sample pack to a company that wouldn't match up well with my stuff.
I started a sketch with a particular magazine in mind on Thursday evening. As I have been reading, I get the feeling sending samples that will cater to the magazine's interests might be a better way to get their attention. Reading, Breaking into Freelance Illustration by Holly DeWolf is so full of great information about branding, marketing, finances and contracts. I highly recommend reading this book for anyone seeking to become an illustrator. I am doing the best I can to follow her advice, though I have to say I still feel overwhelmed when I read her book because there is so much to do!
Keeping up with weekly goals is challenging and very distracting, but I'm learning a lot about recognizing when I am stressed, although I have not perfected a method of dealing with it yet! I'm feeling really excited to be moving forward and I feel like I am nearing a place of action that will allow me to make opportunities to actually do illustration as a job.
I had really mixed feelings about my Illustration Friday entry for this past week's theme, but I know I am still growing as an artist. I can't let myself get discouraged and quit. Even if I am not satisfied, which I may never feel satisfied with my work all the time, I have to keep at it. The momentum is building, so here I go!