Lecture in Progress — The AOI’s Lou Bones on why we need to stop treating illustration as a hobby – Article

Our Membership Manager Lou Bones explains how investing just one hour a day in the business side of your practice can actually help you move towards greater financial security. For illustrators who are getting started, she sets out some essential considerations – from putting together a business plan and creating contracts to better managing your time. 

“You are not just someone who likes to draw; you are a business and need to ensure that you are financially stable.”

Illustration is a huge contributor to the success of the creative industry, but we have a problem. We have reached a pivotal moment, and what we do now as an industry will define our future.

Illustration is booming, but illustrators are suffering
There has never been a better time to be an illustrator, and the global talent out there right now is mind-blowing! It’s possible to earn £40k to £50k a year, regardless of what areas of illustration you work in, but we don’t want it to take you 10+ years to get to that salary.

Very rarely do illustrators understand the true value of their work for a client. They are the reason the advert was funny or successful, the reason why mummy or daddy picked up that children’s book, and the reason why I bought that awful bottle of wine last week (it had an awesome label with a giraffe on it!). Illustration communicates ideas, connects with audiences and makes sales in a way that nothing else can. This is the true value of illustration to the client, and this is the value of your fee.

“You know what they say, time is money. Being freelance means how you manage your time is key to how successful you are.”

Knowledge is lacking
Being business-minded often doesn’t come naturally for illustrators. Out of all the creative industries, I’d say they are the most likely candidates to work for free and undervalue themselves. Illustrators can lack client and contract negotiation skills, industry knowledge, and confidence. On top of this, the vast majority don’t understand the factors that go into pricing and licensing.

This means that many are not getting enough work and are not achieving the fees, clients and conditions they deserve. This weakens our community – because more illustrators are coming in and staying at this level – as well as creating space for anxiety to flourish.

To read the full article head to Lecture In Progress


29th May 2019

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