Updated: Oct 1, 2020
If you are looking for work as an illustrator, don't be shy, start posting your work to various social media platforms. The social media platforms I am on are Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, to name a few. There are many more, of course, and the list is growing even as you read this. I have gotten several people message me for art they have seen me post.
Begin to reach out to your family and friends by letting them know that you are looking for illustration work. You might have to do some family portraits, pet portraits, homestead images, and illustrate Aunt Sally's children's book that she wrote when she was in college. There is nothing wrong with getting your foot in the door by doing these projects. It shows that you can be versatile and open to a variety of subject matter.
You may want to consider approaching local cafes, gift shops, tattoo parlors, teacher resource stores, various businesses in your area, and other local venues. Simply ask if they might need any of your services. If you get “no” as the answer from the local venues you approach, remember, don't give up. There is nothing wrong with working on illustrating a menu for a diner or a cook book for the ladies local charity club.
Think about volunteering with your church, Vacation Bible School, a homeschool group, senior citizens center, daycare center, or scout group by doing illustration work for them to grow your portfolio. This also could lead to work in the local community and businesses through word of mouth. Rely on and cultivate word of mouth whenever possible.
Other ways to get different kinds of illustration work are to research markets devoted to children's books, graphic novels comics, and art for Fantasy, Sci-fi and Children’s Book Conventions. These resources often have contest and submission opportunities throughout the year. My favorite con is the Megacon in Orlando every year. It is a huge con that last for four days. As well, there are also a lot of smaller cons that go throughout the year. Just Bing or Google and a whole list nationally and globally will pop up. I one day hope to attend a European con in the future and maybe a Children's book convention overseas.
Look into the many kinds of graphic designers and illustrators books that are published every year. You will find various companies that are looking for illustrators to create greeting cards, fabric designs, clothing designs, wallpaper, and other merchandise. A good resource for this information is the annually released book, “The Artist and Graphic Designers Market”.
These are just a handful of ideas for different kinds of illustration work for artists. I personally have been working on some children's books; a coloring book; teacher supplies to sell in my online shops; sticker sets; and illustrations in the genres of fantasy; fairy tales; bedtime stories; spiritual art, and Appalachian themed illustrations. Periodically, I will do commissioned pieces based on a variety of types of subjects. If I have time, I absolutely will do pet portraits and other things for people. Doing so grows my portfolio; grows my client list; enhances my reputation as a professional illustrator; and it, literally, illustrates my flexibility as a Creative.
I hope these words were an encouragement to you and got you thinking of different ways that you too can find illustrator work, as well as enhance your portfolio. Anyway, I hope that some of my suggestions have served to inspire you to not give up and to try new things to get your work out there! Have a wonderful and creative day!
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