The truth about being an illustrator. (peptalk time)

Hello there, it has been a while since I updated my blog. I am rather busy with keeping things going. I have some cool projects where I am working on at the moment but I am also looking for a part time job to pay the bills. So I think this would be a good thing to write about today. The truth about being an illustrator. This because it is not all fun and flowers.

You are making amazing artwork, you have a great portfolio, you are enthusiastic and you know how to do things and you never missed a deadline. You are one of the best. Perfect, but nobody is waiting for you. All those art directors and companies care as much about you as the entire universe gives about human existence. The universe doesn't give a shit. Life is a chaotic place and nothing makes sense. So that's about it.


That doesn't sound that great does it? Well that is because you care too much about being a successful artist. You do have to make money, and you do have to convince all those people you can do things and they need you as an artist to make things better. But does it matter if you can't convince everyone? You are most likely going to hear more "NO." than "Yes! We need you!". But what does matter is that you can do what you love to do. Therefore it is okay to get a job next to your existence as an freelance artist. Finally you will get there.
Yesterday I was at a stoner/doom metal show at Baroeg. It was amazing and I got to see a friend again who came over from Ireland to check this show out. He remembered me of a conversation we had when we first met at Roadburn Festival two years ago. I wanted to quit my job so bad and start as an illustrator and he said: Don't worry, you will get there one day. There you have it, now I am a freelance artist. Now a fact from the professional field, it is never going to get easy. So keep that in mind. I wanted to give up so many times but I know I can't do that. I am made for this and I will always keep on doing what I do.

Don't give a crap.

I think you should start not giving a shit either. No one is going to reject you because they think you are not good enough but just because they don't have the time to look at what you do, there is no money to take a risk to hire you, or they don't care about what you are doing because they are in their save zone already. If you are a good artist you are always balancing on that edge of everyone's comfort zone. But there are those few free spirits who are willing to take that risk and trust you with their ideas and they make things great. They care about great art because they think that makes the world more beautiful or they think your work reflects what they think or want to communicate to their audience.
You have to accept that you are not the one that is in that picture of fame. Your art is. That was the reason you started being an artist! Your art counts, not you as a person. Today I discovered I liked that place in the shadow of my artwork. I can hide behind that and say whatever the F*CK I want and get payed for it! That is freedom! And if that means you need to get a second job to pay the bills, just do it. It is not a step back it is just adding something to make things more easy for you. So again, stop caring. Other people may live that dream of making a lot of money but when you have a lot of money and you die you are still a rotting corpse. When you die as an artist you art will still be around so in fact you immortalized yourself one way or another. my other blog where I post pages from my sketchbook.

Be responsible.

I sold a piece and I suppose most of you did that too. Your client was more than happy with that piece of art you did! He or she is going to keep that and their children probably are going to keep it too if they like it. Maybe they don't like it but then they most likely won't throw it away but sell it. Someone else now has it hanging above their TV. That is the responsibility you have to carry. Make great art because that is going to stay around longer than you will. It would be terrible to leave something behind that you hated your whole life don't you think?

What IS important?

There are people you should care about. Not those big compagnies who don't know about your existence but your colleagues. From those people you can learn to express your thoughts even better. You can add more esthetic value to your art, you can make people laugh or cry, you can learn that magick from those artist you love. So don't be afraid to ask your favorite artists for advice. Most of them like to interact with their colleagues because being an freelance artist is a pretty lonely life.
So I am open for questions of other artists! And if you are looking for some exposure, you can leave the link to your portfolio in the comments and aks feedback of others who read this blog.

I hope we can help each other out to make it worth being an artist!

Speak soon,



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