Whether you’re starting out on the road to becoming a professional illustrator, or further into your career but in need of a pep talk, these 9 practical tips from illustrator Vidhya Nagarajan will do the trick! Check out her full Artist Process Video here, and stay tuned for more conversations with working artists on our blog.
Vidhya Nagarajan is a working illustrator living in NYC. Her clients include folks like Google, the New York Times, and Apple. Vidhya’s colorful, expressive, and sketchy style is joyful and full of fantasy! She’s been working with IPMM for years, and we were super excited to receive such a valuable and information-filled Artist Process Video from her. So without further ado, here’s 9 amazing tips for fellow illustrators. (And really artists of all stripes!)
9 Practical Tips From A Working Illustrator
1. Starting Out — The Nitty-Gritty
Vidhya knows how it feels to strike out into the professional world as an illustrator, and how terrifying it can be. At the very beginning, you worry about making rent, having enough to pay your bills, and how to market yourself and your art.
She wants to let you know that everyone feels the same fear and anxiety, but that if you create consistently and truly put the work into marketing and putting your art out there, you will eventually get the jobs you need and deserve.
2. Patience and Perseverance, Even When It Really Sucks
Persistence is the name of the game when you’re a young artist. You just have to keep trying, working on new projects, reaching out to new people, and throwing yourself into your practice. Even if you feel like nothing is coming out of your efforts, you have to be patient. Vidhya wishes she knew this when she was starting out. The good things will come!
3. Keeping A Sketchbook
Vidhya keeps a sketchbook that also functions as a travel diary! She letters the name of the city she’s visiting and then illustrates sights and experiences she has over a day of travelling, using a single color per day. She has been doing this regularly for a long time, and eventually, clients started noticing and requesting work in the style of her travel diaries.
Keeping a sketchbook and working on personal projects is a great way to keep your skills sharp, and to create a substantial body of work in the same style or with the same themes to show to clients as example work.
4. The Upside Of Totally Digital Artmaking
Although Vidhya started out doing all of her illustration by hand, she’s learned to appreciate working digitally! Today, she uses a mixture of digital and manual illustration, but she loves that she doesn’t have to scan a million versions of her illustrations when working in ProCreate. She also likes that she can cut down on paper waste when working digitally, and work in layers, as she’s able to isolate certain aspects of her drawings to work on separately and hide everything else if she wants to.
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