March Meet The Maker - Day 6

Day 6 is Full time / Part time


I started working as an illustrator before I graduated in 2003, I’ve been illustrating ever since. Over the past 16 years I’ve illustrated over 50 children’s books, mostly for the American market. I’ve also sold over 3.2 million books, a fact which continues to astonish me. In addition, I’ve illustrated for magazines and TV shows. These days I divide my time between working on books, working on smaller illustration commissions and working on illustrations for my own shop and range of illustrated products. 

I realise I am very fortunate to be able to do something I love for a living but I sometimes think people don’t realise how full time it can actually be. When you’re self employed, full time can mean literally all the time. From first thing in the morning before the school run until the early hours if there’s a deadline to meet. Weekends are sometimes hypothetical and school holidays are often just another working week. Being able to continue working even when you’re tired and fed up or ill and ensure you still respond professionally to clients is a skill that you have to develop and it isn’t always easy. 

You also tend to be responsible for everything, so while my job title might be illustrator, I’m also doing the accounts, marketing my work, promoting my shop, negotiating and communicating with clients and publishers, responding to endless emails messages and DM’s, coming up with new ideas, trying to learn new skills, printing and packaging orders, calculating overseas shipping fees and trundling off to the Post Office once a day. 

It’s sometimes frustrating to be told “how lovely” your job must be by people who have a stable monthly income, reasonable working hours and a pension, but having done it for so long now I can’t really imagine doing anything else.