Guest Post-Will Terry-New Ways to Market Your Illustration


In this informative and insightful post, Will Terry delves into the current state of the industry. He deals with the changes he’s seen it go through in the duration of his career as well as the steps he’s taken to be able to continue to survive within it.
Whether you agree with his opinion or not you have to agree that things are changing. Our industry is in a constant state of flux and as artists it may simply no longer be good enough to be good or great artists.

Check out the video and let us know your thoughts in the comments. Do you agree or disagree? Can you think of others within our industry who are examples of Will’s ideology and are making their own paths and finding success? Let us know!



  1. Lisa M Griffin

    Always enjoy listening to Will… down to earth advice, tips and help. Great artist and business man – honest and forthcoming about creative industry.
    Thank you for sharing this,

    PS Over 3,000 project… wow! :)

    • WilsonWJr

      It’s so nice Lisa to have someone who’s willing to not only let us look over his shoulder while he works but also will turn and explain to us his thoughts and feelings about his profession and experiences. Will is a blessing to those willing to listen!

  2. lynn adams

    another fantastic video – I’m just starting out in illustration and finding it so difficult to get a break – you have given me a whole different way of looking at it – there is work out there it’s just finding the best way to market what you do best

  3. David R. Vallejo

    Agreeing or disagreeing with Terry is not the point of viewing this video. There has always been an entrepreneurial spirit for successful illustrators, maybe more so now. And it’s no secret that the industry has changed and is changing. I think creating your own path is a great idea, and again, is really nothing new, but a reminder that we as artists need to get off our butts and stop waiting for someone else to give us work. Success is for the few who are willing to do that.

    • WilsonWJr

      David, you probably wouldn’t be surprised at what folks in the art community disagree and argue about. I wonder sometimes if it’s because many of them don’t want to admit that being a good or great artist simply isn’t enough anymore. Many are poo pooing the whole idea of the direction the industry is going. Even when you have folks like Will giving their personal experiences as evidence. We’ve been surprised on more than one occasion about what people have disagreed with. (Which is their right of course.) We just wanted to address it before it even got to that point. His message is sound. Agree or disagree but at least listen. That’s what we are hoping people will do and then make up their own minds and make their own plans with that information. We hope anyway. Sounds like you have been on the right page for a while! :)

  4. Teri

    I agree! It’s about time artists value themselves enough to take there creations into their own hands, and make those creations work for them. Art is not valued in so many areas of our society, for example it’s the first thing that gets cut in our schools, not to mention the whole “starving artist” attitude. It’s hard to value art if the collective is constantly being trained that it has little value. We must value ourselves, we must retrain the collective, that the artist and their creations have value, starting with saying no to stock houses. : )

  5. Mili

    This video is a bit exhausting to watch, but I do agree.

    In my case, all I ever wanted to do is become a classical Disney animator. That was it. Since I was twelve years old that was my goal, and I worked to the point of having very little life outside of school to achieve it. However, in my second year at Sheridan College that job vanished.

    Can you imagine what it’s like to be so focused on one goal in life, and have that goal vanish? It is like racing in a speed boat that disappears from under you, and suddenly you are drowning in a sea of possibilities. There are so many options, that you are floating in one place having no idea which direction to take.

    Since I have worked my ass off all of my life, I can honestly say that I can do anything. Trained as an animator I can work in a variety of styles, I can also write, direct, design, edit,… Anything. There are things I do not particularly like–such as designing machines, or props, or buildings–but when necessary I can do that as well.

    My parents emigrated to Canada when I was young and I am the only artist in my extended family, so I have no connections in the art world to count on–other than the wonderful people I met in college, but we are all in the same boat.

    So, for years I tried this and that, hoping that one day I’ll figure out what it is that I should be doing. After lots of soul searching, I discovered that I like drawing more than animation, so I tried to make it as an illustrator.

    Then one day I woke up and realised that I’ve been working myself to death for peanuts. I also discover that it is next to impossible to get a trade illustration job unless you knew someone who would get you in the door. It’s simple math. With publishers in Canada releasing about 20 picture books a year, while Sheridan alone pumps out about 300 artists a year, not to mention that publishers are working with already established illustrators… Well, who would want to hire me?

    It really does not matter how great you are, because with the software available anyone can be good enough.

    Entrepreneurship is the way to work. Why fit in, if you can stand out?

    I quit everything and have decided to get my own ideas out there. It is terrifying, but it is also more rewarding. I’m learning business and marketing as I go along, and am trying to keep up with all the crazy new technology out there.

    I have just started and I’m already happier than I was before. So, when I suceed I’ll let you know how I did it on my blog. :-)

  6. lawrence

    brilliant talk

  7. Cindy

    As an advanced/beginning illustrator (and older than most), I really appreciate Will Terry’s overview of the illustration business.His recipe for success is what I’ve been realizing for a couple of years now. That is, perfect your craft, find a niche, and market up the wazoo! For those of us with a “day” job or family obligations, carving out time to devote to art is essential(and exhausting) but ultimately rewarding. Thank you Will Terry for your honesty and the folks at Once Upon A Sketch for another informative post!

  8. Lisa Moldau

    Such an informed and inspiring video – huge thanks to Will and Once Upon a Sketch. This post is full of great knowledge, key advice and motivating pointers for anyone breaking into illustration and wanting to progress more. Yes it’s about an income, of course, but Will’s spot on that we need to change the mind set from ”hire me” to establishing our own entrepreneurial traits


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