If you want to get an illustrator job or become a freelance illustrator, then this article will be very helpful for you.
Dan Mumford is a freelance illustrator working in central London, UK. Over the past ten years, Dan has worked within the pop culture and music scene creating everything from album covers, branding, and screenprints to new interpretations of classic film posters and albums. Clients include Disney, Hasbro, Apple, Adobe, Sony, Wizards of the Coast, Icon Motosports, CBS, Iron Maiden, Metallica, and many many bands and record labels worldwide.
Dan has had several gallery shows in America over the past few years and spoken at many festivals and events worldwide, including Adobe Max, Offf Festival, Bump Festival, Various universities around the UK, and more.
How was your University time?
– I went to Brighton University for three years to study illustration. I also did a foundation course in London at Camberwell. These four years were very formative for me. I covered a lot of different styles and techniques that I would have otherwise not known about. This was through a combination of tutors, fellow students, access to facilities, and just general experimenting. Overall, I had a great time, and it helped me work out what I wanted to do with my work.
Why did you choose a career as Illustrator?
– I didn’t really have an immediate plan out of university, and no specific plans other than to move to London and try and make a freelance Illustrator career work. Luckily I had some friends in bands that needed Illustrator artwork, so I carved out a pathworking in music packaging and branding for a few years to begin my career. It went from there, really.
What was your first Illustrator job or nuggets from jobs you had that helped you to get to where you are today?
-The first real job that made me realize I could make an Illustrator career out of my artwork was for a band called Gallows. They were friends who I had worked with on a few smaller bits. They then signed to a larger label and asked me to help out with their artwork. From there, It all sort of clicked, and I realized that this was something I could frequently do and actually make a living out of.
Books that helped you to become a better Illustrator?
-I am always taking in many things from many, many books, and online forums about techniques and ideas. There is no one place I can look to or advise people to check out. But I would say follow artists you like online through various social media. There’s often a lot of advice and tips that crop up on there.
Things are changing very fast in the design industry; how do you keep yourself updated. Please list techniques or design newsletters, podcasts, design events, etc.
-I try to move at my own pace with my work. I don’t want to be too influenced by outside sources or what other artists are doing. But I think you need to be on social media and be active so that people can see what you are up to regularly. That’s the modern world, so to an extent, you need to have an online presence.
Advice for someone looking for an Illustrator job?
-If you are looking to work in the design industry somehow, then look to what interests you outside of art. For me, it was about melding my love of music and art, so I worked with people I knew, friends in bands, etc. That way, I was able to create work for things that excited me. Also, make art for yourself, and put it out there, show people what you can do.
Lessons from Illustrator jobs that you couldn’t get.
-If you go down the freelance Illustrator route like myself, then you need to have a good business head on you. There’s a lot of time management and administrative stuff that can really get on top of you if you don’t keep an eye on it. Give yourself some time every day to take care of mundane things, email, invoicing, etc. Time management is key. If you can master that, then it always helps. Having a clear mind makes the workflow a lot easier.
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