pie4dinner asked: Hey Jacob! I'm a student studying to be an Illustrator in Chicago & i was wondering if you had any words of wisdom on anything/everything/all of it. What did you wish you knew when you were 20?
Well first of all, I’m honored that you would ask me my thoughts on this. I think about this subject a lot. It was very difficult for me to get started with my illustration career, just from a lack of information mostly. And since I’m only 24, so I’m still at the beginning of a hopefully fulfilling journey. When I first graduated, I was lost. I got pretty desperate and began picking the brains of more established illustrators, which is the smartest thing I could have done.
Some artists pretend that the ‘hang in there’ attitude is all that you need. But there are standards that are mandatory for getting work. Some examples: you need a real online portfolio with a domain name, a social media outlet (twitter is nice), and you should be sending out your work to potential clients, NO EXCUSES. it all seems daunting at first, but it becomes a routine part of your daily life. All of these things make life much easier or you in the long run. There’s much more to be said, but I’ll save that for later.
Things to keep in mind at age 20: if you make art constantly, you will grow and flourish. Keep pushing yourself and finding new ways to make your artwork fun and exciting TO YOU. You will get discouraged. You will get scared. You will feel ashamed, stupid, and delusional. Just keep making art, and pursue inspiration. Because if you stop, it’s over. It’s all worth it when you start getting freelance jobs or whatever your goal is. Don’t be jealous or hateful towards other artists. I doesn’t help. Your time will come, but you can’t wait to be proud of yourself until then. Be happy every day, because you’re living the dream.
Hopefully this isn’t long winded. But one more thing: if there are no opportunities for you in Chicago, then move! It doesn’t have to be forever. I moved to New York in the spring, and I’ll probably move back to Chicago by this upcoming summer. I met a lot of great people out here who have similar career goals as me. Do whatever you want. There’s nothing you can’t do. Be honest. Be respectful. Be genuine. Spread the fucking love. This whole illustration thing is much more like a family than anything else. Don’t be afraid of your family, they want to help you.
I can go into more detail if you want. Or if you want more private advice feel free to email me. I would love it: firstname.lastname@example.org
That goes for everyone too. And if I didn’t answer your question, then I can try again haha