I don’t necessarily believe I can call myself a professional artist if I’m not making most of my income from it. As it is, I work a day job that I’ve been at for almost a decade, and have spent the last 4 months taking on a night job as well. Interestingly enough (probably only to me), my artistic output has actually increased recently. I’ve forced myself to cut out a lot of TV watching and web browsing, and have taken to eating my lunch while I work, then using my designated lunch hour to work on art. I have so little time each day to create, that I don’t take it as for granted as I used to. I’m focusing on the task at hand when it’s time. It’s all been very counterintuitive, I guess.
Anyway, it’s just been announced that my night job is laying everybody off at the end of November. In spite of the fact that my car died last week and I bought a new one, increasing my financial burden, I think I’m going to be okay. I worry more about those who made most or all of their income at that company. Also, as it was a delivery job where I routinely made 100-mile round trips 3-4 nights a week, I wasn’t looking forward to having to do that when the snow started falling.
However, the time management techniques I was forced to employ while tackling kids, work, art, my health, and my finances these last few months have made me more determined than ever to increase my income as a freelance artist. I plan on spending December-February by using the time I was at the night job as effectively as I can on freelance work and personal projects. Even if it’s not as financially safe, it will certainly be more physically safe for me to spend the winter months at my drawing table rather than on icy roads until 1am. I guess my mindset has undergone a shift, and I am realizing I have what it takes to do this. I am not nearly as good an artist as most of the illustrators I admire and follow, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for my current skill level.
So, as current projects go: 1) I’m currently illustrating a children’s book that the writer is self-publishing (see pic above). It is honestly for very little money, but I’m doing it in a style that I can pump out rather quickly, and I’d really like to have some children’s book samples to put in my portfolio as soon as possible. I’m actively applying for other freelance jobs in the same vein.
2) I’m collaborating with an old friend of mine to turn my Inktober drawings into a coloring/activity booklet. We’re shooting to make them available for purchase as soon as possible for Christmas.
3) My children’s book cover parody prints were pretty successful at Comic Con this year, so I’ll be adding to the series. FanX is in March, and I can’t wait! Along with that, I’ll be figuring out the best way to get an online store up and running. No reason I should only be selling this stuff twice a year at conventions, right?
4) Lastly, Cooties is something I’ve realized I can’t leave alone. I’m writing and researching, and hope to bring it back in a much improved fashion. More on that later.
Please comment if you have any time or project management techniques that work for you; I am always eager for ideas to improve my situation!