Guest Post-Dani Jones-Advice for New Illustrators and Art School Graduates
You just graduated from art school. Congratulations! Now what?
There is a lot of ambiguous advice out there like “get your name out there” and “create a portfolio” – but how exactly do you do it? Based on my experience, here are some essential and very specific things I think you should do.
1. Create at least five new portfolio pieces.
2. Keep going.
Start making new portfolio pieces right off the bat. No matter how good you think you are coming out of school, chances are you still need to go a bit further to reach pro level. New illustrators suffer from lack of experience and confidence in their art. The only way to get over it is mileage.
For my own portfolio, I had replaced it with almost entirely new work within my first year after graduation. Another year after that, I had done it again.
I haven’t rotated my portfolio as quickly in recent years as I’ve grown in confidence and skill, but I still consider personal projects and portfolio development one of my top priorities. As an illustrator, you will find that creating new work will always be a challenge. It is how you keep your art fresh and aim your future work in the direction you want it to go. It is especially crucial and important in the early stages of your career. Establish this habit now.
Make a website
1. Buy a domain name.
2. Buy hosting.
3. Design and launch your site.
Your website will be the cornerstone of all the marketing and networking you will do throughout the course of your career. It is the first thing a lot of art directors look for when they come across a piece of art that they like. It is the home of everything you make and do.
I recommend getting your own URL vs. having a blogspot/tumblr/wordpress/etc. address. You can use their services, but get your own name, at least for your main website. You are going to be using this domain throughout your career. Invest in something that is your own. Also, use your name, not some weird nickname or company name.
After you buy a name, you need a host. Think of the host as like the house your website resides, whereas the domain is just the address that directs you to it. You can either buy your own hosting space and upload your own site from scratch or use something like Blogspot or Tumblr that is already pre-made, and attach your domain to it.
Here’s some places you can buy domains and hosting:
(what I use)
(You could also use GoDaddy which is popular, but I dislike their commercials and service so much that I’m going to tell you not to.)