Professional Practice

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1, WHERE TO WORK?

(Above is a photo of my actual desk)

So, this is my third year of my illustration degree and it's time to start looking outwards. It's very daunting and we are living in a crazy time of covid so who knows what the future will bring. I have to be real with myself, I am living with limitations- I have a lot of time consuming commitments, children, a small holding and chronic migraine. I live rurally where it can feel like it's hard to find much employment for creatives or to connect with the industry, none of this is going to change any time soon so I need to find routes that I can take working within these parameters.

In this module I will seek to find clarity and direction and educate myself on the illustration industry and see what appeals and where I might fit in to that.

My first stop was 'Lecture in Progress' where I found out there is such a thing as an 'Artist Illustrator". Ah, that's what I am then (or could be) it seems. I have got a lot out of my time studying but have frequently have the feeling that I am trying to fit myself into a shape that isn't me. Like fitting a round peg in to a square hole. This can be a really disempowering experience but developing resilience in the face of adversity is really worth learning, especially when hoping to work in a creative industry that is so competitive, and sometimes you just have to make the best out of a situation and take what positives you can!

Articles from 'lecture in Progress'

artist/illustrators

https://lectureinprogress.com/journal/caroline-dowsett

https://lectureinprogress.com/journal/ben-giles-from-tree-surgeon-to-collage-artist

https://lectureinprogress.com/journal/rose-blake

One thing of note: all the above illustrators are great BUT I would love to see more from people in different life circumstance, people who I can relate to more directly ie: live rurally, have family commitments, who are at my age and are just starting out.

Presently the only way I promote my work is through Instagram, I enjoy it but don't ever seem to make any headway in terms of people seeing my work. I have friends asking for prints and have nice connections with other artists but thats about it. This article was useful regarding this: 

https://lectureinprogress.com/journal/instagram-reflections

After university I would like to learn more about pottery techniques and learn how to create hand thrown pieces using a wheel. I'm really interested in illustrated ceramics and I feel the combination of the two would satisfy both my interests- drawing and creating images and the process of making by hand combined.

I think I would be best suited to freelance working/being self employed. I am drawn to the idea of creating products from my images like cards, prints etc. I have been quite keen to experience screen printing to see if this is something I could set up at home with a view to creating fabric products.  

Article about having different income streams:

Think I will definitely give some thing like society6 a go, I also like the idea of doing process videos because I love watching other so much.

https://lectureinprogress.com/journal/kei-maye

 

My Work

My work reflects a peaceful, beautiful communion with plants, animals and the natural world- they are flowing and colourful and all painted/drawn/collaged and carved by hand. Sometimes there maybe a female figure or face. They are quite stylised and have a resemblance to folk art.

I love the slow process of making things by hand- whether craft or painting. My work reflects the life I aspire to live- a slower and more connected, more meaningful pace of life. 

 

2, Skills Audit:
 

Self assessment: such a hard thing to do! I'll start with what I recognise I need to work on.

  • Obvious thing- computer and general tech skills. I work almost entirely analog and I don't have a desire to change that- that is essentially what fulfils me. However, I recognise the need to possess some of these skills. I am able to use a scanner and get my work ready for print and I am able to create this website, Instagram etc to promote my work. If I had more skills in photoshop or procreate I would be able to have greater scope in what I create and what jobs I could apply for. I don't realistically see myself getting my head around photoshop and buying it etc but I do have procreate and would like to get more proficient using this tool. I'd like to be more confident in being able to manipulate images and add text etc instead of having to slavishly draw every element of a piece. For example- our current project for Eden Brewery would really benefit from these skills.

  • Constant and on going development of artistic skills- I will always be a student! I'm always looking to further my abilities in this area. In particular I need to work on being able to draw more realistically, use perspective etc as this will add depth and credibility to my work.

  • I need to be more confident and proactive in promoting/seeking work. 

  • I find it hard to break out of my own 'thing' which can be detrimental to projects but can also be a positive in ways.

What I'm kind of okay with:

  • I'm inspired and motivated to produce work and don't find it hard to develop my own ideas. I love learning new skills, for example at the minute I am doing an online course in collage. This leads to being able to always develop my work in new directions.

  • I am working in a recognisable style- I have themes, images, motifs, colours etc that I tend to use.

  • I am a reliable worker- I meet project deadlines.

  • I'm good at communicating with others and working as a team.

  • I really enjoy my work.

 

 

3, Action Plan​

Having looked at different areas of illustration and thought about my aspirations I need to formulate an action plan which puts in to practice short, medium and long term goals which I can start to implement to progress myself along the creative path.

Short Term: (now, daily, the coming weeks)

  • try to draw from life everyday- even if just for 5 or 10 minutes and even if I feel the outcome isn't very good -persevere.

  • keep investigating areas of illustration and looking out for creative opportunities.

  • keep adding to content and to instagram -consider also using a facebook page.

  • Work steadily through the projects for my degree and don't get too overwhelmed or bogged down by them.

  • keep looking at/finding new artists and illustrators that inspire and interest me- keep trying out new techniques, mark making, materials etc.

  • keep in touch with things that inspire/interest/nourish me- can't create from an empty cup.

  • Get back in touch with the people who have expressed interest in buying prints- get more made in reprographics.

Medium Term: (end of this academic year and the year after)

  • Create a stunning portfolio that I'm really proud of and that reflects who I am.

  • Finish degree with hopefully a good mark and then celebrate or just feel proud of myself :)

  • Look in to what equipment to possibly set myself up in self employment- a printer/scanner/computer or look in to options of getting things printed by another company.

  • Make a business plan with some eye to finances, set up costs.

  • spend some time becoming more familiar with Procreate.

  • investigate the possibilities of learning more ceramic techniques- learn how to throw using a wheel.

  • get in to self promotion and find things that will drawn people's interest- an audience.

  • consider more fully where/how to sell work. consider contacting local galleries/shops etc who might want to sell my work as cards, prints etc.

  • consider having a few different income streams -redbubble etc.

  • keep drawing/improving.

Long Term: (everything else if we haven't had an armageddon)

  • My long terms goals as an artist- to work freelance, producing my own work and occasionally working for clients. I would love to produce a varied range of products using my images as well as selling originals and illustrated ceramics.

  • I would love for my day to day routine to include a physical process of making whether this is painting or ceramics.

  • I imagine selling through a variety of outlets- an online shop and some thing like redbubble, local galleries and shops and maybe artists craft fairs (if they ever reopen)

  • looking out for creative opportunities and commissions.

  • I also realistically imagine to maybe have another income stream which may not be a creative one.