Illustration of a little mouse looking at flowers

How I discovered children’s illustration

The short answer is „it found me”.

After studying Design at University, I went on to get a graphic designer job in an advertising agency. I wasn’t very good at it, nor did I enjoy it, but I didn’t know an alternative existed. My luck changed in 2014 when a friend of mine told me about a job opening at a company that made girls’ games.

I got the job and I learned that people can get paid for drawing (digitally, but still). I met a lot of illustrators and lovely people that became my friends and felt like I found „my tribe”.

Here are some examples of the work I made back then, including the test illustration for the job (I was a beginner, be kind, haha). You can also head over to my Behance profile to see more of these.

During that time, I learned Adobe Illustrator and started making illustrations in my free time, entering this whole new world I didn’t even know existed, and continuously searched for ways to improve. I learned a lot from my colleagues and felt inspired and motivated seeing each of them grow. Thinking back, that support system meant a lot and this is why I recommend a studio job (if possible) in the early stages of this career.

In 2015, I started posting my drawings on Facebook. The project „Kids & Animals” was a definite turning point for me. I received many commissions from people who saw these images and was offered to illustrate my first children’s book. Also, I got a contract with a stock resource website, which allowed me to go freelance in 2017.

Since then, I’ve been a freelancer on and off, depending on the things happening in my life. Sometimes I chose the stability of a studio job, other times the possibility of better suited projects.

Some important things I learned along the way:

  • that marketing is crucial for a freelance artist—I was looking at things the wrong way for many years, feeling that I would spam people if I posted too much or that self-promotion would be considered sleazy. When promoting yourself, it’s not about you as a person, so you shouldn’t feel bad about doing it. It’s about your work and how that work, if seen by the right people, could help their businesses or enrich their personal lives;
  • people will ask you to create the work they already see in your portfolio, so it’s important to update it frequently with the kind of projects you want to make again;
  • try to make connections with the people in your field, they are so important when you need some advice with a project or just want to talk to someone that goes through the same things as you.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

Teodora


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