How To Earn A Living As An Illustrator

I can. I will. End of storyWell, I’m afraid I don’t have the answers yet but join me as I attempt to earn a living as an illustrator!

In this blog I will be wearing my heart on my sleeve as I attempt to turn my passion for paper cutting into a full time career.

I began making things out of paper when I was really little; tissue paper flowers for my mum, a piano out of a cardboard box, a paper box with a kitten on it for a boy named Richard that I fancied at school. But, despite starting early, I had no idea that making things out of paper was my ‘thing’. I ignored it and got on with the important business of working out what to do when I grew up. Even after graduating in illustration in 2007 it still wasn’t clear to me that being an illustrator was the thing I was meant to do. With absolutely zero confidence in my work and no clue whatsoever about how to make a career out of it I settled into a sensible adult life instead. I bought a flat, got a job in television and built a life that didn’t have a single trace of me in it. It turns out that an inauthentic life such as this is completely unsustainable so, late in 2012, I had an epiphany/meltdown and decided that it simply wasn’t possible for me to live without doing what I love. I started making work again. I began by creating illustrations and wedding invitations for friends of mine and this developed into Hollyhock Papercraft – a fledgling wedding stationery business that I am still growing. Now, after spending a few months travelling, reconnecting with who I am and being inspired by new places and new people, I am ready to actually call myself an illustrator. It’s been a struggle even to get to that point, I haven’t felt deserving of that title when the income that I’m making from my work is minimal and I’ve been too scared to show my illustrations to anyone. But, I am an illustrator, I have always been one and now it’s just a case of sharing the work that I’m passionate about and making it work for me financially. I hope that sharing this journey through my blog will be helpful to other creatives out there who are just trying to make a living from what they love.

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