Has anybody ever questioned your reputation as a creative? That really uncomfortable moment – have you experienced it before?
Very often it’s disrespectful. But take time, suck it in – you’ll make it, regardless of anyone who questions you. It takes time and effort. And, more than anything, you’ll have to study. More on this later on.
Artist vs. illustrator
There is a huge difference between an artist and an illustrator. Every artist starts on a journey that involves personal illustrations or art projects. To be able to join the commercial illustration world, you have to sacrifice a part of your artistic flair and dedicate your time to understanding your client, the business of your client and how an industry works.
This involves brand and content analysis before the project begins, industry studies, and many other steps along the way. As an illustrator, you often get to work with various types of clients from different industries. It does not mean you need to be a genius of all things, but basics make a difference. So, carry on learning, co-creative!
The best advice we can give is to get to know your clients’ problems so that you can provide the best visual tool to help solve their problems. Once you’ve understood the crux of the problem, sit down and learn the basic industry language, get to know the specifics, and then filter it through your creative brain.
You may think: ‘it’s a hell of a lot of things to become an illustrator!’ – this is the best way of becoming a top player in the competitive world of commercial illustration.
That said, here is the plan for you to become THE BEST COMMERCIAL ILLUSTRATOR:
First of all, you are born naturally creative. So, be careful don’t kill these vibes too early. Creativity is the key driver to make you good at what you do. Technical things can be learned.
Secondly, you’re discovering a skill that allows you to express your ideas through visuals – drawing.
Thirdly, start doing your art.
From then on, you enter the transitional period – from being an amateur illustrator you transform into the professional or commercial illustrator. Don’t get too excited, however – it takes time. Be patient and carry on – it will come.
It involves working with piles of content sent to you by the client. Wait, I know what you’re thinking now… Is this really what an illustrator’s career involves? – Well, it does in part – to visualise content, notably graphic recorders, who work illustrating the verbal content at the real-time of event, as well as Data illustrators and Business illustrators. (I think we have chosen the hardest way, it takes a lot of content processing). On the other hand, you become smarter every day and get to know the latest world trends. For example, you’re let in on ‘The secrets of the financial world and digital currency’ or can discover ‘The greatest nanomedicine inventions’ before anyone else. Even though you’ve signed those NDAs, of course! For your own ears and self-development only, until it goes live. But, hey, you will be two steps ahead already!
So, choose the industry you are interested into work in and get smarter every day. There are a lot of industries to choose from. The more specific you are, the greater you become through practising your craft in one single direction.
At Smartup Visuals, we work with lots of verbal and written content. Before, our office would look like a lawyer or clerks’ office. Thanks to the digital age, this has changed.
Our expertise grew from a rather wide range of content visualisations, down to more distinct types of illustration.
Starting as Graphic recorders or, in other words, Live Scribers, we have gained recognition in our field and among business organisations and corporate institutions. We value relationships with clients and keep building knowledge about them with every project we have.
Our experience led us to the realisation that we are not only Graphic Recorders, but that we also help clients to capture, simplify and present complex information in tangible visuals forms – namely those of Data illustrations and infographics. The innovation twist we decided to implement was digital scribing – digital infographic creation. This is the service that requires our Graphic Recording skill as well as technical skills, that include working with digital vector illustration.
Our illustrations also move and tell our clients’ stories. And this is a powerful way of presenting new ideas, pitching to clients, launching products, and so on and so forth. The viewer is taken through a visual story of complex information, in a very pleasant visual way. This is called whiteboard animations or explainer videos.
To conclude all that has been said, take your time, develop your strengths, identify your weaknesses and choose your style as an illustrator and perhaps the industry that you like the most and become an A player in it!
It takes years to achieve excellence and prove your skillset and expertise through work and recognition. But patient practice makes perfect. You have heard this, but only through hard work will you earn the confidence as an illustrator. That brings respect and trust and recognition and, finally, your agents and client base.
We are very proud to finally have been invited and promoted by the Directory of Illustration and join the Northern American market, amongst some of the greatest talents in commercial illustration.
Our Graphic Recording and Business illustration is heading to the US and we are bloody excited to show the world what we are made of! Join the troops, people.
Off you go, we are waiting to see what you do!