Contributed by Joanne Caputo.
A new art business book has been released by Art League member Michael Fleishman. Coaching readers from the first steps to ultimate success as a pro, Starting Your Career as an Illustrator is a navigational guide blending business, concepts, philosophy and technique.
Fleishman is a freelance illustrator, graphic artist, and teacher of commercial arts with more than 30 years of experience. Formerly on the board of directors for ICON6, the national illustration conference, Fleishman has been a contributor to various trade publications and has authored seven other books on illustration, design, and creativity. He lives in Milford with his wife, filmmaker Joanne Caputo.
Starting Your Career as an Illustrator (available at Amazon) is also a bit of a technical how-to book, from advice on education and targeting the right state of mind, to opening up shop and finding the best venues. It’s certainly an inspirational work, definitely a professional overview, and even a personal lifestyle guide. In addition, direct candid conversations with 200 professionals up and down the career ladder offer extensive research and a global pool of resources. The book’s wide panorama of information promotes a group approach to problem solving.
Contributor Peter Arkle, an illustrator for The New York Times, frames it nicely: “It’s an exciting, fun, and informative behind-the-scenes tour of illustration. Advice is given, facts flow freely, and it becomes clear that being an illustrator—doing work you love—really is a very satisfying career choice.”
The book’s topics include:
• Creating a portfolio
• Making initial contacts
• Developing a financial plan
• Setting up an office
• Acquiring supplies and equipment
• Pricing your own work
• Marketing on the web
• Nurturing a growing freelance business
Fleishman believes that young artists thinking about an illustration career should regard themselves as militant visual problem solvers, coordinating typography and imagery that are vital components of graphic design. (An illustrator often teams with a graphic designer). In addition, an illustrator’s images and ideas must have impact; they must make the viewer think and react. Being able to use one’s head, heart and hands to create illustrative works can build a wonderful satisfying career.
Citing a relevant quote, Fleishman quizzes, “Who said ‘We are the music makers . . . we are the dreamers of dreams?’” Stay tuned for the answer, if you don’t know.
“Be prepared to dog-ear pages and dust off that highlighter,” another contributor, Chris Sickels (of the award-winning Red Nose Studio) tells you. Sickels creates 3D illustration and stop-motion animation, and makes his images come to life with textures, light, and a lot of elbow grease.
From the other side of the drawing board, agent Scott Hull says, “We can no longer get by on being the wacky creative who can’t be held to any kind of standard. The sooner we get over this notion of having to ‘speak the language of business’ and just get on with it, the better off we’ll all be. This is why you need to read this book.” Hull is a designer-turned-creative entrepreneur who developed the busy national agency, Scott Hull Associates, from Dayton, OH.
Back to that little pop quiz, it was Willy Wonka—who, in the movie, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, is actually quoting Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s famous poem, Ode. Wonka goes on to say, “There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination.” And Fleishman totally agrees.