How to start an illustration business #2

Recently, I decided to take the plunge and quit my job at Ambassadors to pursue a full-time freelance illustration career. I'm as excited as I'm frightened, and overwhelmed as I sometimes feel I need to think of 38471 things at once. Which is why I wanted to document my journey as a freelance illustrator, even if no one reads it. I feel it's a great thing to look back on in a few years. And hopefully, someone might learn something from my struggles, so their freelance journey can be less stressful.


In my last blog about this subject I talked about my old day job, getting ready for freelancing and my first assignments, for Lake Coloring and Throw&co. Wonderful as these assignments were, they didn't pay enough for me to be able to stand on my own two feet. I needed money for a desk, a chair, a laptop and preferably, a new Wacom, as my old one was already 10 years old and had scratches all over. I also needed more money to survive the first few months in case business would be slow.

Then I got an email all of a sudden, from Earth Creatings. They wanted to Kickstart a campaign to raise money to buy a French chateau, which they wanted to rebuild into a retreat for designers and creatives. They were looking for someone to create an animation that displayed how lovely their idea was!

Funny how the internet works. When I asked them where they found my work, I found out We Are Playgrounds had posted a profile of me. I had been volunteering for them for a few years, writing about new creative talent on their social media accounts.

Tip 2: make sure you're all over the internet. Not just social media, but blogs, other people's websites, etc. You never know where your client is looking for artists.

It seemed like a really cool project, so of course I said yes. It was really challenging because I had to storyboard, design, and animate a 2-minute animation in less than 2 weeks... while working fulltime at my day job. Luckily there were some strategically planned days off, and I could work nights and weekends, so I managed to pull it off in time. (Of course, these days happened to be some of the hottest of the year, and my workspace looks out over water. I had to look at swimming kids for the whole 2 weeks while I was working. I'd like to think someone was testing my work ethics).

With this job I earned a little bit of extra money, and with that and my savings I would be able to buy a laptop and survive for a few months. It was time to register my business and take the plunge.


What I also did, and highly recommend, is joining the AOI, the Association Of Illustrators. With their campaign #NotAHobby they help illustrators all over the world growing their business. It's a little investment, but SO WORTH IT, especially when you're just starting out. Their website is filled with resources and helpful articles on licensing, contracts, finances, promoting yourself, prices, everything you need to know to start your business. It helped me enormously in my first few months, as it would take me ages to obtain all that information myself.


Next time I'll tell you more about how I spend my time after quitting my job, and how I managed to get new clients! Thanks for reading!

Iris van den Akker

Illustrator & 2D animator

hello@irisvandenakker.com

+316 46 28 13 63

  • E-mail
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Vimeo
  • iconmonstr-behance-1