There is a lot of talk about salary, and what it takes to make a living as an artist, but I have to admit that there are two questions that I keep asking myself:
Will I have to quit my job to find something on the freelance side?
Do I have the freedom to explore more projects?
The answer to the first question is yes. As of now, there is nothing really wrong with the freelance life. I’ve found that if you are not trying to make money, there are plenty of opportunities outside of being an artist in your portfolio to make a living.
In addition, most professional artists do not want to do jobs that involve “borrowing” a job from an older artist, which can be a real problem if you’re younger. Most freelance artists can’t afford to take “borrowed” jobs for the rest of their working life due to salary/productivity considerations. So, while there are a lot of people who wish they could switch careers in their 30’s to do some freelance, they simply do not have the resources to do it.
I have a hard time finding people who want to do projects for very little money, because it is not financially feasible. I personally have a great time as an artist on my “free time” but working on projects with high time commitments is also a no-no for me.
The answer to the second question isn’t very clear, but I think it is pretty simple: find a “niche” genre of work. I see a lot of freelancers doing web comics and comics about superheroes or fantasy creatures. A lot of them make very little money from those kinds of projects and I have no doubt that if you could turn the hobby into a full-time job, you could make way more money.
A good way to start looking for a job is to check out sites like FreelanceJobs.com, and of course look for a site offering a wide variety of online job searching options. For example, if you’re a storyboard artist, ask about the sites listed under their “Storyboard Artist” category, like “Storyboard artist for web comics.”
Where To Begin
There is a great deal of information on freelancing out there, but I think all freelance artists should learn how to find a portfolio that can be considered your “first” portfolio. The following is a simple outline of what I recommend as starting points. I will often start small and move
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