animator hoping to become an illustrator

  • hi.
    I've been a creative director and animator for nearly 20 years, but I've always wanted to be an illustrator really. I draw nearly everyday for work, though it might not show! Hopefully being here will sharpen my skills.

    I just finished an illustrated book to help kids get over anxiety about Covid.
    The ebook version is free.

    my aging animation/direction site is:

    And my (just-starting-out) illustration site:

    Any feedback or advice would be much appreciated!

  • SVS OG

    @fpichel hi! Welcome to the forum! Which illustration market are you trying to get into? Editorial? Childrenโ€™s book? Licensing? Etc?

  • Pro

    @fpichel Welcome! I'm also a former animator who transitioned into full-time freelance illustration, so I'm here to tell you it's definitely possible ๐Ÿ™‚ Your skills in storytelling, art directing, movement and presentation will come in handy big time. Like @Nyrryl-Cadiz has said, your next step is to figure out exactly what kind of illustration you want to do - then create your portfolio website by laser focusing on that industry. A great thing to do is give yourself "fake" assignments to fill up your portfolio with pieces that look like they could be from a real job. Publishers want to see your work in action, if they're hiring for a children book they want to see children book spreads, so they can exactly imagine what your art would look like in that context. Right now I look at your website and I'm not sure what kind of work you are aiming for, so you need to focus that more. Also, I noticed your website loads very slowly (even on my fast computer). It's probably worth it to optimize it so it's snappier!

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz thanks - that's a great suggestion. I just threw together some random work I had on hand to make that site. I should have made that clearer. For work, I've done editorial illustrations, book covers, and graphic design for print, and now this children's book - most of which has come from my animation clients.

  • @NessIllustration good to know! I'm always telling my animation students that illustration is super hard to break into because there are just so many talented people doing something that's really fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Pro

    @fpichel I don't know, in my experience the illustration market isn't any more saturated than the animation market. I think freelance illustration is harder just because it requires some business and savvy skills that a lot of artists know nothing about (it's not really taught in school either). But when I left my studio job it took me about 2 months to get to a full-time income and I've been doing well since. I'm not that mind-blowingly awesome at illustration, I'm okay but there are many artists much better than me. My best strength honestly, is that I know how to make a good plan to achieve my goals! And that's always worked really well for me ๐Ÿ™‚

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