If you start chasing a career in this field, you’ve probably read tons of articles about basically how to survive as an artist. Everything from finding your style, to passive income, to getting clients and more. It can all feel a little bit overwhelming, and this pressure can easily start to translate into your work. If you live in fear as a creative, trying to follow the rules for a successful career, it can really start to hold you back and actually prevent you from attaining what you’re trying to achieve. For example, if you start thinking that you need to have a concrete style within your illustration work, you’ll be repeating things over and over again and you won’t allow yourself to try new things like exploring new mediums or new ways of drawing things, and in turn, you’re being more and more held back and not letting your work evolve naturally as it should.
Since I started my career in this field, my work has seen a lot of change. I went from drawing in ink on paper and scanning it to colour it in photoshop, to black and white digital illustration, to full colour digital illustration to exploring with different mediums like gouache, watercolour and coloured pencils. Changing it up keeps it interesting for me, and seeing how much my work improves every time I allow it to evolve naturally makes it all worth it. It hasn’t always been easy to accept it though, if I felt like I hit a wall and needed to change something, the thoughts would consume me. Things like “what will they think” “will they still like my work” “will I still get clients” were all fear-based questions that would come to mind to the point where I couldn’t sleep. The more I accept the growth and change, however, the more confident I grow as well. For one, I’ve never had less clients because my work has shifted a bit, in fact my client list continues to grow and this year has been my busiest yet. I also feel more in tune with my work than ever before.
Like any new skill, learning about how to have a career in this field is just as important as learning how to draw properly. It’s also important to remember that things take time, and not to rush them too much. It’s easy to see other illustrators online and assume they’ve got it all figured out, but behind it all I’m sure they’ve had their struggles as well, even if they’re not vocal about it. Allow things to grow and develop organically, don’t resist wanting change and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If you’re anything like me, this is probably what you plan to do for most of your life, and when you think about it in that sense, what’s the point in rushing or allowing fear to take the wheel? Confidence comes with time, and the more you can trust yourself to do the right things, the more confidence will grow.