Being an illustrator is not just fulfilling – it can also be profitable. If you have the skills and you want your art to serve as your bread and butter, you need to have the right tools. If you are interested in doing freelance work as an illustrator, here are five things that you shouldn’t go without.
Although we’re living in the digital age and there are numerous types of drawing tablets to choose from, an illustrator should always have a sketchbook. Drawing on sketchbooks allows you to focus on putting your ideas on paper, thus making it more advisable during the planning or pre-production phase of a project. Because you don’t have to think about mouse movements or keyboard commands, you can completely pay attention to your ideas and details.
A sketchbook is also handy, which means that you can bring it anywhere and draw whenever inspiration strikes. When an idea pops in your head, it’s best to put it on paper immediately so that you can always have something to refer to it when you need to use that particular concept in the future.
2. Drawing Tablet
A digital drawing tablet is an essential tool that should be present in an illustrator’s arsenal. Drawing tablets are designed to help you implement your designs with advanced precision as opposed to just depending on your mouse. With today’s technology, you can easily find a model that’s comfortable to use and that can help you translate intricate details straight to your computer.
3. The Right Software
Finding the right software means choosing the one that allows you to achieve the designs you want. So focus on that, and master the program that helps you do so.
Today, one of the most popular programs for illustrators and designers alike is the Adobe Creative Suite. If you’re an illustrator, you’re more likely to use Adobe Illustrator, but learning the ropes of related programs included in the suite, such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign, gives you more edge and a wider range of jobs that you can take on.
Consider your computer’s OS as well. If you’re on MAC, you can look into other design software such as Sketch.
4. Composition Know-how
Although art is mostly subjective, it’s still important to know the basics of composition if you want to create a career as an illustrator.
Learn what proper composition is all about. Study the ins and outs of choosing color schemes, typeface, and layouts. All of these have an influence on the message, mood, and tone of a particular artwork. Knowing the basics of composition lets you know what’s appropriate or not for a project. It also teaches you how to implement your ideas as effectively as possible.
5. Time-tracking Method or App
Conceptualization sometimes takes up so much time and there are days when inspiration seems so elusive. However, that’s not an excuse to get sluggish and say that you’re simply brainstorming.
As a freelance illustrator, you are also a professional who’s expected to manage your time well enough to meet deadlines. So whether it’s post-it notes, a planning notebook, or a time management app, you need to find a tool that will help you manage your hours and allocate time across your projects.
If you’re a freelance illustrator or designer and you have other tools to add to the list, please share them on the comments section below.