I recieved an e-mail a while back with some questions about my background as an illustrator, and how I became one. Thought that I could share my reply in this blog too :)
How did you become an illustrator?
Well, I've always loved to draw and paint and somehow.. I just naturally gravitated towards it. I'm self taught when it comes to art and haven't really taken any real class to become better.. Yet. Just been practicing since I was 2 years old, and just kept doing because it's so much fun! I think many people and fellow illustrators can relate to this :)
However, I do have a 2-year long education in 3D and digital graphics, where we had to do internships, and that's how I got a foot in the door.
Today I'm hired at a game studio as a concept artist, and I also have my own small company since I work as a freelancing illustrator/artist :)
What does your workflow look like?
My sketches are often very small and messy in the beginning. I rarely worry about making things pretty at such an early phase, the ideas are more important. I don't even use an eraser, since I believe more in repetition rather than starting to correct and polish things too early.
When I've found a funny idea, I either redraw the sketch one more time to refine it a bit, or move on directly to Photoshop and redraw it from scratch. I never scan my sketches, since I'm too lazy and feels too time-consuming imo ;)
I start playing around, trying out rough colorschemes, and when I'm satisfied, that's when I start creating that pretty piece of art.
Here's a video showing how I sketch, and here's another video showing how I apply colors.
How do you approach companies/employers?
Do you just submit your art to them?
Yeah, that's pretty much it. Make a nice portfolio, send it to companies/possible employers and say Hi. They probably won't buy your work that way, but they may want to hire you for their projects, if they like your work. That's how I did in the beginning, don't do that as often anymore though. I've been focusing on trying to put myself out there through posting my work online, so that the right people will see me. Hopefully :)
How do you get exposure?
By creating awesome stuff. Hang out at the most popular forums and communities out there, such as Conceptart.org, DeviantArt, Behance, Twitter, Facebook, CGhub, etc. Networking with fellow artists out there. Stay active and stay friendly :) And stay humble! Your work will never be perfect, and there are always things that can get improved. Enjoy the idea of practicing and learning new things all the time.
Is it a fun job? :D
YES :D It's very demanding, and I had to work superhard to get where i am today(still got so much to learn) and it can get very draining from time to time. But it's definitely worth every minute and I would never trade it for another job. It's a lifestyle for me, since I truly love to draw and paint. Nothing boosts me more than the actual thought of being able to create something out of.. Nothing. It all starts with a pen and a piece of paper. It's the coolest thing ever.
What's YOUR story? :) Feel free to share them!