Every now and then I am asked for my thoughts on how to get started as a designer or illustrator. When I’m asked these sort of questions, I’m never quite sure how to answer. Beginning a career, discovering a path, building a freelance practice can get ugly—it’s by no means a simple progression.
That being said, there are a few principles that hold true for everyone. I’ve learned a lot over the past year or so, and learning has been a common theme for me of late as I evaluate circumstances, observe myself and others, and generally work towards building a creative identity. The mindset is as important as anything, and with the understanding of these basics you’re equipped to battle the odds and with some perseverance, elbow grease and maybe a little crying over rejection emails, construct a creative career ex nihilo.
With this in mind I’m beginning a series titled Tools of the Trade (Or, How To Think Like a Freelancer). These principles apply to any area of design, and honestly to most areas of life, but these are particularly lessons that I’ve been learning in regards to freelancing and the creative industry. They’re mental tools, if you will, to stash in your mental toolbox and pull them out regularly to hammer things into shape. Disclaimer: I’m not one for inspirational phrases, which become clichés without context, and these shade a little closer to that line than I’m usually comfortable, but these have personal meaning and I think can mean something personally to you as well. Less of a meaningless mantra, more like lessons learned.
So, get your toolboxes ready and stay tuned!