How I became an Illustrator

Practice, patience and hard work. Above all persistence.

I wanted to share my story of how I become an Illustrator in the hope it gave some information and inspiration to those who are also looking to get into the creative field.

It took me a while to get my foot in the door and start my career. Perhaps because I failed my exams the first time around so didn’t get into University. However, I never let that stop me. I knew what I wanted to do and I kept practising and self-learning till I got there.

I started working as an in house Graphic Designer in 2010 and have never looked back. Working in-house became tedious so I moved to an agency that worked with many clients.

In house design is a great place to start your career, but if you are after something that pushes your boundaries and creative flare it’s not going to work out for you in the long term. It becomes tedious after a few years, especially as most of your work will be produced using templates.

Stepping out of this environment and moving to an agency really allowed me to home in on my craft and work with other creatives on bigger projects.

Collaboration at the start of your career is a must, you can’t do it alone, it’s just too lonely and you really won’t have the skills to produce quality work. Unfortunately, those 3 years at uni you can’t step straight into the job and be the best unless you are some creative god.

I’m not a believer that you should need a degree to become an artist or designer in any form, but it most certainly does help. Even after working in the industry for over 10 years with many happy clients I have found it difficult to get work without this piece of paper saying I am qualified to do so.

While I stand by the fact that you do not need to be ‘qualified’ to be a great designer or illustrator I decided to do my degree via distance learning, just to get that piece of paper, a few years back. I 100% regret even starting it.

Not only did the degree cost a lot of money but I didn’t learn anything that I didn’t already know from working in the industry. Maybe if I went straight from school it would have been different. I already knew how the industry worked and I read a lot of books and with the internet anything you want to know you can find a huge amount of knowledgable people who are willing to share their knowledge.

It’s testament that anyone who has the skill, and willing to put in the hard work it requires can do anything they put their mind too.

This is just my experience but I think it gives hope to others.