Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tales from an Illustrator: Reflect and Move Forward.

Ciao Everyone!

First! My column, TJ on Illustrations, is up and I will post the new column every Friday. I will do more of these types of posts over there as it’s also like my personal diary type of thingy, but less rambly. To stay up to date, do hope over and subscribe. I promise, you won’t be disappointed ^_^

Okay, with being official and all, I knew that I had to come up with a more solid plan. You can’t just say ‘Oh I will start a business and sit back and relax or skip around being happy’ No. Next to that, my budget isn’t big, so I looked into other ways to get myself more noticed and get to know other creative people. That was my main focus point, to let others know that I’ve entered the Illustration World! What’s the point in being an artist if no one knows about you?

Quick doodle
I'll the most important things in a nutshell, because I can’t write every little thing down. It would probably bore you to death. This year has been all about being seen, getting noticed, working on more commissions and researching lots of things.

There are a lot of free portfolio sites and I signed up for several of them. Sounds good huh…but the real deal is that you have to keep them updated. I did pretty well for a little while, but then more projects and commissions started coming in and well…I started to update less. You see, when I registered as a ‘one lady business’, I got a few responsibilities, like a quarterly VAT registration and an hour registration. The horror. I had to set up my own administration and it takes some time to get used to it, because you don’t want to get in trouble with the Tax people.

Even though I didn’t update as much as I wanted too, I did have an increase in views and in subscribers. Though a Big Thank You goes out to everyone who shared and re-tweeted everything I did!! This played a huge part as well.

The Frosty Ladies (2011)

Next to this, I also signed up for Zazzle, Etsy, Redbubble & Society6. I did mention Zazzle last year, but the reason why I never mentioned the others on my blog is that I didn’t have anything good to sell yet. Or at least not good enough in my mind. I kept telling myself to schedule more time for personal projects, but with my already existing commissions and the fact my grandad got sicker…I really had to juggle with my time. I did my best to keep an eye on my time management, sometimes I just didn’t have the time to do everything I wanted to do. I will have a shop soon though, but this will be in a different post :-)

I started to use my Twitter and personal Facebook account for work and staying in touch with people. And you know, I did get a better view in interest when I created my fan page. Next to this, it also makes sure that I keep updating more regularly (Doodle of the Day!!). I have fans to entertain...hehe :D

So looking back, I definitely worked on more and bigger commissions and I got to know lots of lovely people. I also got a clearer view on what I want to do and what steps I need to take in order to get there. I added all my experiences in a rapport for a fund application as well. Up till a few weeks ago, I didn’t feel confident enough to send it in. Why? One of the requirements is an art diploma. I don’t have that, so by collecting everything I did in a year on my own, is hopefully enough to convince them to grant me the fund. Fingers crossed!
Hippie Lady (2011)
My learning points? Not doing waaaaaay too much! I easily said yes to a few projects and afterward I thought 'Whyyy did I do that?!' Also, knowing went to let things go and start anew. I can ponder about an illustration for too long and sometimes…you just have to let it go. Third, it’s best to stick to a limited number of social media and update that regularly. It is really time consuming to keep it all up to date!

I hope this was a bit interesting for you to read. It's probably best to do a quick update post every now and then, because doing it like this just make the post super long! And I don't want you guys to go like 'read, read, read...oh look birdies!!'...hehe. Birds are lovely though...

Take care everyone and you can still join for the Birthday Doodle Giveaway! Just comment on the correct post and not this one...



  1. Really great advice! When I first started writing years back, I remember signing up for every writing/blogging networking site. It is so much better, as you said, to just stick to the ones you'll update otherwise you never leave an impression anywhere. You deserve all of your success, and then some.

  2. @ Jen: Hello! Thank you :D It was so difficult to narrow it down to the post I have now! I could tell much, much more, but that would be like a novel.

    After my first year of blogging, I canceled many accounts as well. It seems it's like a routine to go through everything and cancel the ones you don't use anymore. Here is to both of our success in whatever we want to do <3!!!!

    *raises coffee mug*

  3. TJ, no matter what venture you choose to enter, I have no doubt that you will be a stunning success! You are so unique and that shines through in each and every illustration you do. I wish you all the very best. You deserve the rainbow!

  4. You are an inspiration, my friend! I love how you just keep going and trying new things. I look forward to checking out your new stuff for sale sites later. You're a smart lady to get them up well before christmas! :)

    Have you ever checked out Perhaps you can get funding for your project there...?

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  6. You have covered ALL the arts with this article. Good work, TJ!

    Please go to my latest post to read about the silent auction for breast cancer. Thanks!!

  7. @ Cher: Sweet Cher! Thank you so much! So happy you’re with me on this journey! Gazillion of Hugs to You!! Xoxo

    @ Rachel: Hi Rachel!!! So lovely to see you here and Thank YOU!!! I will have things up for Christmas soon. Halloween didn’t work out, but Christmas has to work!

    Kickstarter is on my list!! I need to look into it soon (waves) Xoxo

    @ Shahanara: Thanks muchly!!

    @ Judie: Ah I did?! How cool :D Thanks so much and I stopped by! Really impressive! Ciao xoxo

  8. You're on the right track, TJ and better yet you have a good head on your shoulders!

  9. Lovely to see you here Dennis and thanks so much! It's always good to hear that :D

    *checks head* Hmmm I do think it's a good head haha! Ciao!


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