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Archives: General Knowledge

There are a million book covers out there—some amazing, some not so much. What separates the heroes from the zeroes and how can you create a book cover that achieves its goals and gets people talking? In this post, I’ll explain what makes a compelling book cover and how you can improve your cover illustration game.

Some illustrators are able to jump headfirst into a robust career from the get-go. However, most illustrators need to work a day job while pursuing illustration on nights and weekends for a number of years until they’re prepared to make the leap. While each circumstance is unique, here’s what I’d suggest for transitioning from my own experience:

A-a-a-a-n-d we’re back! Hope you all had a nice summer! As I mentioned in my last official post, I had to take a bit of time off from the blog to fully focus on a couple of big projects. Luckily, they’re mostly done so I can now return to dishing out advice and info. And, since the school term is starting and Fall is here, this is a good time to get things back in gear with a plan of action.

As a beginning illustrator, there are a variety of things necessary to jumpstart your career—from updating your portfolio to putting out a new promo piece. The following plan can help move your career forward in just a few short months:

Those who follow my illustration and writing career will know that two weeks ago I announced my new book, The Secrets to Ruling School (Without Even Trying), which will be published by Abrams Amulet on September 1st, 2015. Selling a book can be a challenging experience and I thought that this would be the perfect time to talk about how an aspiring author/illustrator can make that dream a reality.

Occasionally, as an illustrator, you’ll have downtime—whether it’s waiting for sketches or final art to be approved, having a hole in your schedule, or just plain needing a break. When that happens, it’s not time to grab the Playstation and veg out on the couch yet or go on that sweet vacation as there are still many things to be done. Here are some illustration chores to consider when you find yourself with a little free time.

I recently had an interesting Twitter discussion with Darren Booth about metadata and protecting artwork online. Darren expressed disbelief at how many illustrators don’t include metadata in their files when posting their work to the web and was wondering if there was something he was missing. My answer—and this is not meant to support not including metadata—was that there was a trend to strip it to make smaller file sizes. As we discussed this more on Twitter, it got me thinking generally about how illustrators can protect their work online and what trade-offs, if any, they sacrifice by doing so.

When you’re selling yourself as an illustrator, it’s not necessarily your illustrations or a fancy website that’s going to get you jobs—it’s trust. What you’re selling is trust that you’ll do high quality art, deliver on time, and be easy and professional to work with. Trust is the thing that gets you work.

So, how do you build trust?

It happened again. Someone reached out from the internet with a burning question and I took the time to answer it. And they didn’t even bother to thank me. It’s such a small thing, but this happens to every professional. And if you’re that person who’s not saying “thank you”, it’s massively hurting your career.