I often get e-mails with the same question: Tell me, please, how a young beginner illustrator can begin a career in the right way? What programs should be used, etc.?
In my creative life there was a time when I thought that I already knew all the details of the job. I stopped thinking like that :))). Now I definitely know that I know nothing. I am in military reserve and never learned to draw professionally, but this is what I am doing for living now. Passing by a complex path of creativity, I think that some of my thoughts and observations will be useful to you.
First of all, as a beginning illustrator you have to understand what you can do and what you can not. Which direction of the field do you want to choose? You need to learn what is trending, what is in-demand. If you plan to draw children's books, I advise you to go to the bookstore. Take a look at the books on the shelves of the store and try to remember the ones that you like. Pay attention to the names of the artists who drew the books. Study the works of these people and think, can you do at least roughly the same?
If you want to become a magazine illustrator. I recommend you register in a specialized social network and explore works and opinions of professional artists. And of course, regularly examine fresh magazines that have illustrations. Just think ... can you do the same? Or better?
If you decide to draw a game. Pause the game and look at how the characters are created, what's interesting and what is not, and again, answer your question: are you drawing the same way?So, if you have decided on the direction, the first thing you need to do is to build your portfolio. Without having your portfolio, it is unlikely that you will get any order.
If you become a children's illustrator. Draw a full-size turns out from fairy tales, draw characters. Draw random gift boxes for children's holidays. Draw greeting cards.
It works similarly in the magazine field. Illustrate an article about finances, about life, about sex. Impose it on the turn out, play with text block, fonts. Your works should look convincing, as if you made them for an order. The customer must be sure that you are not a random person.
If you draw games. You need locations, you need characters drawn not only in one position. You certainly need to draw three or four types of characters. So that the modeler could make a model of your drawing. Make a texture. Draw a house, a mill, a fortress. Draw characters for games on cellphones.
People who have studied usually show in portfolios their training, graduate theses, sketches. You are not able to do so, so take this part very seriously. You should understand that without a portfolio your chances are as if you are with one dollar in a pocket in front of the casino doors. And what do you have? A couple of drawings in a notebook? No, you have to create a portfolio.
Now that you were able to form a minimal portfolio, you need to register on the websites that have employment postings. Post your resumes on as many advertising platforms as possible.
Save your most striking material in PDF-format. Files in PDF format are smaller in size compared to other formats, and they do not have to be backed up. And ... send them to the publishers. Addresses of publishers can be found on the pages of books and magazines. And of course Google will help you. Personal contacts will not hurt as well, if you live in a city that has publishing houses. It is like a man on an island that sends messages in a bottle. But ... anyway the message should be made wisely.
The next stage is monitoring of areas where your potential customer may appear. Respond to the orders correctly and do not jump over your head. Do not scream that you will make it for less. Once you do it you will never earn more. If you agree to draw for less money, which, in general, you do not have to be ashamed of at the beginning, but do it with dignity. Get a deal. Negotiate trough personal correspondence, without showing it on public display.
And the most important, always draw, draw and draw again. Practice, generate characters, style, perfect your skills. Do not wait check it at the actual battle. If you do so, you will most likely be with a hole on the side.
What to draw with? Use whatever you want. The main thing is that your artwork will always pass through the preparation in Photoshop, then it will be embedded in program and printed on the printers that understand Postscript.
And think, if Adobe Software is accepted everywhere, then your geek friend who said that CorelDraw is the best vector program and it is better to draw with it is wrong.
If you work with vector graphics, study Illustrator immediately. If you prefer raster graphics, then there is a great choice. These are Photoshop, and Painter, and the SAI, but you will be required to have layers and CMYK color mode. Do you want to see giggling designers behind your back? Do you want to receive mail from that one who does not know and want to speak with a manager ... and you would have to give the same weird explanation. They do not understand you, you do not understand them.
No matter which program you use, you have to know at least the basics of preparing an image in Photoshop. You need to know even if you are a watercolorist, because it is the 21 century.
You should draw using a graphic tablet. I recommend Wacom tablets. Choose any model, in the process you will decide what you need: a very expensive Cintiq, or rather relatively less expensive Intuos or Bamboo.
All that I said is only the first half of the iceberg. The second half is luck or good fortune. Our profession is creative, and it is very important in it to know when to be in the right place at the right time. And if once you are a lucky one then maybe you might skip the first half. But also remember. Lucky ones are those who fulfill all the conditions. Good luck!
Ilya Esaulov on the web