It’s been a little over a year since I decided that I wanted to make illustration into my job. In this time I’ve made some progress, had some luck come my way and moved a few steps down the path towards my dream career. The thing is, I’m certainly not there yet.
Self Promotion & Social Media
Looking back over 2017, I was happy to note that I’ve made progress in certain areas. Despite being innately reticent about showing my work, I bit the bullet and put my paintings online. I now use Instagram, Bahance and this website. I also started making YouTube videos to document what I’m up to, and to help my work reach a wider audience. So far, I have 17 followers on Instagram, and I’ve had a couple of lovely comments, which have been very inspirational for me. Although this might not sound like much to some, I’m proud of this because I’m further than I was last year.
On YouTube, I have 18 subscribers and my videos have been viewed over 500 times. While that might not sound like a lot over the course of one year, I’m still happy because it’s better than what I had before, which was none. However, I’ve only made 7 videos, working out to approximately one every 7 weeks. Considering my aim was to make one video a week, it’s pretty obvious that I have to get a move on with video production in 2018!
I have finished a lot of paintings, some of which were used to advertise local produce. This helped me add a little to my portfolio, but most of my work has been self-directed, with self-initiated projects forming the bulk of what I do. Whilst this offers a lot of freedom to explore, it doesn’t help pay the bills.
A Happy Chance
One wonderful thing to happen this year was that I was contacted by a company who asked me to write for them because they found this blog. Although I had started the blog as a platform to showcase my illustration, I love writing too, and was very happy to take on the work. It’s become my first paid freelance commission.
I had abandoned my blog in the spring as I was having trouble posting consistently, so needless to say it was a big surprise when I was contacted.
The writing has been ongoing for three months, and it has been great fun. The company came with a clear idea of prices, which has also helped me gauge how much to charge. Writing is definitely something I want to feed into what I do (the blog is called ottiliascribbles for a reason!), and I think this is great motivation for what I have achieve in 2018.
Room for Improvement
I started an Etsy Shop this year, with the dream of creating a passive income stream which would essentially manage itself. Some people are very good at this, and make a lot of money through offering printable planners, stickers and worksheets on Etsy. However, these people add a lot of items, and make them very practical. In contrast, I only added two and they did not fit a particular niche. There have been no downloads to –date, leading me to think that I might have more luck with physical items rather than digital ones. An area I want to explore in 2018 is making high-quality prints to sell in my shop. Another is to write and illustrate my own children’s book, but more on that later…
My Thoughts for the New Year
I like the Japanese phrase keizoku wa chikara nari, or “perseverance is strength.” I think this is really true, and something which I am making my motto for 2018. Perseverance really does pay off when you’re a freelancer. I am certain that I can make my freelance aims reality through more hard work, perseverance and constantly challenging myself to be better than I am.