While it may seem like simply creating art in your bedroom, when you begin your career as an illustrator, you’re actually starting your own business. One of the things you’ll need to be aware of are the startup costs for getting yourself up and running. The good news, though, is an illustration career has a very low overhead. You don’t need employees, transportation, or retail space like a lot of other businesses. All you need is a website, some materials to work with, and a few hundred promotional mailers. (OK, you might need a little bit more than that, but not much more.) Here’s a basic list of what the average illustrator needs to start their business and the associated costs:
Ten years ago, I started teaching a Professional Practices class for illustrators at Parsons the New School for Design. Since then, I’ve had many graduates come up to me, wishing they could repeat my course now that they’re out of school and actually living what I was talking about. I decided to build this website as a repository of all things related to the business of illustration—not just for them, but for anyone interested in learning more about this creative field. This site is intended for new or aspiring illustrators to learn the best practices towards starting a successful career.