The absence of illustration jobs. What to do?!

The absence of Light

What happened?! What am I doing wrong?!

Update on my life

Now I am two months working as a professional illustrator. I am not drowning in work at this very  moment. But I do have some awesome clients at this moment. I can tell I finished a cd cover design for a amazing band I saw at a show about a year ago. I finished a book cover! This is something I am actually pretty proud of since it is something outside the box. No dead people and other grim things to be found in this design. I think this could open some doors for me so I will keep you updated on this one.
Besides that I am still working on artwork for Roadburn Festival. You might be known with my work I did for Roadburn 2015 and 2016. Now I can promise you I came up with some other type of work than you know from my hand. It is a lot darker and I think there will appear more dark dystopian art in the near future because I found a solid bace to work from.
Ofcourse the mystery book project is still going strong.

Now for the thing I am going to talk about. On social media I saw a message. Someone asked in a group how we (illustrators) cope with hardship. I think we all experience bad financial times, a revival of the early days of you as a professional. But how do we work with this? What can you do to earn some money or get new projects moving?

Doomhorn design

1. Time to study!

I think this problem is the same problem you have when you just start your professional journey. Even the big guys experience poor times. So let me discourage you; it is not going to be more easy.
You have a sh*tload to do or you have all the time in the world where you can spend your time doing nothing.
Oh wait, there is your first option. Keep on creating things. Use the time where you are not working for someone to experiment more with your style or improve your technical skills. As I already mentioned, it's all or nothing. Never waste time. Being an artist is not just a job, it is  a way of life.
There is so much to see and do and you know it. Be creative! I know it can be a bit overwhelming to finish the last project on the list. Maybe you had a very busy period with long days and now you have nothing. Don't be surprised by this sudden nothing. Embrace it and take the chance to do things. See it as a little productive break.
So to summarize this. Don't put your pencil down and start studying. Visit a museum or a city you would like to visit that could boost your inspiration. You can find typography, posters, wall paintings/graffiti, shop windows, decorations, architecture, music and whatever you find interesting!

2. You find your clients, your clients don't find you

Second thing you can do is a bit more focussed on finding clients. That actually is the thing you can do, try to find jobs. A bit late when you start looking but it is never too late! Maybe you were already working on this you should continue your search. You don't have anything to lose at this point. In fact you should push this to the limit. Send an email to everyone, call clients, send a reminder to people you already worked with be and stay active. Try to keep your art in the picture with social media, sending cards and so on. Since you are not disturbing your workflow at this point you can invest your time in networking.

3.Start selling your soul to the Devil! (Or stuff to your audience)

Create things for sale. If you don't have any projects for clients you can start your own project. Keep the joy in your creative life! I am currently working on leather patches.
Official CAVUMscriptorium patches.
Real leather, picture is engraved and therefore it will never fade!
It would be nice to have a whole line of patches and other leather items with my artwork engraved in it for sale. When I don't have that much to do I am working on this. Designing items for metal heads who could use some items to wear besides patches from bands. The thing is, metal heads are more interested in artwork and design than you would expect. Since I am one of them myself I can tell you that. The hard work of making music and taming the volume of their music goes hand in hand with great cd covers and designs. What brings me to the next point.

4. Become your own living business card

When you can't find clients, be your own client. If you play guitar and you like to play in a band, start a band and make art for your own band. If you like to design posters, design posters for your own company or make plans for a exhibition. Look for options where you can act like a company. I know it sounds depressing when no one needs you as a designer but again, it is not just work, it is fun and your life. Enjoy doing what you like to do.
When you are your own client you can decide how you would like to see posters and other designs. You can make something by your own wishes and how you think it should be. When you put this online or in your portfolio you can show people what you really would like to do. This is you at your best. Make this personal work your identity in art. There is no better business card.
drawing I made for fun. A snoring, Jack drinking humming bird. Based on Lemmy (RIP)

Create promotional stuff

Promotional materials are awesome. Creating post cards for example. You can design those for sale but you can also invest some money and time in designing these to send to publishers and festivals. People like to get gifts, that is nothing new. So try to design things you can give away. A business card is easy to throw away. Well, normal business cards are easy to throw away. You are a designer, you can think up something to make this special. Small posters, little flyers or magazines, coasters, pens or whatever you can put in an envelope is good. In fact, I am going to do this very soon.

Hope you liked this topic, and it helped you out a bit!

Kind regards,



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