While much of the world has been automated, and computer generated this and that have replaced many a craft and trade, one area that has resisted the march of the machine is original art. While computers can help in the production and reproduction of high quality illustrations, it still takes the human creative spark to take an idea and mold it into a piece of art.
If you like to draw or paint and you want to make artwork your steady career, one of the paths open to you is that of a book illustrator. Any book, even those produced and distributed electronically, can benefit from illustrations and cover art. Just look at the classics. “Alice and Wonderland”, “Tom Sawyer”, “Oliver Twist”, “Ivanhoe” are just a few of the books who were released with illustrations highlighting the text.
Since then, while book illustrations are less common, cover art has exploded, and is often responsible for tipping the scales when a customer is making a choice at the local book store. Or online, where the catchy cover of a new mystery or adventure book displayed on the screen can close the sale.
But how do you land a job illustrating or doing cover art? As with many professions, networking is the key.
Start with Your School:
Many colleges and universities have programs to help their graduates find their way in the professional world. Many of your professors, teachers and instructors have contacts in the illustration industry which you can use to get a start. You may need to try many before you find one that can help, but perseverance is often rewarded with success.
Join on Line and Real World Communities:
There is strength in numbers. Check out blogs and social networking sites dedicated to artwork in general and book illustration in particular. Engage in the forums. Comment on posts. Share your illustrations with your contemporaries.
Find some groups that get together and swap stories of successes and failures and come up with strategies to ultimately succeed. Can’t find a local group? Start one.
Find an Art Gallery Site on Line for Your Work:
There are a variety of sites that feature galleries of artist’s work where you can upload images. Keep your collection up to date, and reference it in your Facebook and other social media outlets. The more people who look at your work, the more likely it will be that you will find a customer.
Real world galleries are also a great idea if you can find some in your area. Though the audience is smaller, so is the amount of competing artwork and you have an opportunity to meet face to face with people who like your work.
Speaking of Social Media:
As with many businesses, connecting on line is a crucial marketing skill. Use your followers and those you follow to help spread your work and your progress across the web. Keep a well maintained web page with an up to date picture gallery. Include a blog to improve your search engine ratings and to help connect in a positive way with anyone who may visit your site.