Since I left Japan 3 years ago, wow I cannot quite believe it has been quite so long, my goal was to freelance as an artist and illustrator. Little did I know the challenges involved.
I needed to build up an entire portfolio, a website, start a brand that was recognisable, and make some friends. It took me about a year to get those things under my belt. A portfolio, with a unique illustration style and overall brand that is cohesive takes quite a bit of effort and work. These things take time, you don’t just wake up one morning with everything done, and my illustration has changed somewhat since I started out.
I guess my art has taken years to develop, partly without me knowing. It’s still one of my favourite things to do, and I have to thank my mom and dad for encouraging me, when they thought that drawing snails with legs was a sign of genius. I’d have to say without doubt working on MissYucki and buying a Waccom tablet were two major turning points for me in realising that I actually wanted to draw for a living rather than be a fine artist.
After moving to the one of the most creative cities in the world, finding a job and introducing myself to the illustration circles here has been almost impossible, and I think I may have to blame my general public nervousness the most for this. Although my skills in picking up a new language are not that hot either, but I am happy to say I’m better at speaking in Spanish than doing math :)
After reading for days peoples accounts on the internet about illustrating childrens books and illustration in general, I was both terrified and inspired. Luckily I have had the support of my now husband (!) who has managed to pretty much single handedly keep us going over here in Barcelona! A year later, I had an etsy shop, a number of exhibitions, and a few illustration jobs. But my dream was still no where near sustainable.
I still hate getting out there, and saying Hey! The thought of it makes me shake in my boots! And yet somehow I still managed to curate and pull off 2 MissYucki exhibitions, 1 solo show, get published in an illustration book, with another one on the way, sell some work, and meet some interesting people. Mostly those people met me, and said Hi to me, which I am eternally grateful for. But to be honest I believe the accomplishments I have accrued are a small percentage of what I should be doing. And to be brutally honest with you and myself, (and I’m hoping forcing myself to write this down here, will jumpstart me) I would not have been able to survive here in Barcelona without Milos who has been my financial support for the last 3 years.
SO over the last few days I have felt I needed a bit of a make over business wise. This to go hand in hand with trying to turn over a bit of a new leaf towards pro activity. I started out with a bit of a website clean up, which is still on going. I wanted a cleaner look that edited a bit of the content, and showcased my illustrations in a more straightforward cleaner manner. Hopefully now it is somewhat easier to navigate and absorb.
I have been feeling somewhat disheartened by certain things that I cannot mention here for now, but hopefully the end is in sight, and I really wanted to jump over this hurdle with a high flying leap. Illustrating is a wonderful thing to do, but freelancing is somewhat terrifying and lonely. If you are not someone who constantly is able to self motivate it is a bit of a slap in the face, plus dealing with difficult clients is not always easy, especially for shy creative types like me. So with the aim to do more, I have created some goals:
1. To stop being so nervous about putting myself out there, so what if my Spanish is still awful, and my Catalan non-existent. Network Network!
2. To have another exhibition.
3. To branch out with my illustration onto other mediums, perhaps ceramics?
4. To actively “sell” my art by visiting shops and (probably awkwardly) showing them my prints.
5. Toughen up!
To this end I have ordered prints and will hopefully start saying hello to some new and exciting business ventures soon!
Do any of you have tips for Freelancing?