I had a birthday this month (which was slightly emotional). It's only a number though, right? I also graduated from college with a BA in Studio Art/Graphic Design. And my daughter graduated high school to put things into perspective. I had always wanted my degree and it seemed like it would take forever to complete it, but I started back 2 1/2 years ago with the intention of getting an Associates in graphic design at the community college and then discovered one more year at the university would get me the BA so I kept going. One major thing I learned about myself as I finished this process was that I really want to be an Illustrator and I already knew everything I needed to know artistically to be an Illustrator or where to learn it without a college degree. But I'm still glad I got the degree. In my graphic design program I learned the extremely valuable skills of design layout and Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.
Right before graduation, I miraculously had 3 freelance illustration projects lined up. All of them are different. Today I finished the first one where I designed some scrapbook papers which was really fun. And I'm halfway through digitally illustrating a children's book which I'm excited about because it's my fourth and I'm actually getting paid this time! I will hopefully be able to share that at the end of the summer. My last commission is a set of watercolors which I can share as I complete them.
I have applied for about 14 graphic design jobs. I've had 3 interviews and gotten a bunch of "sorry, we chose someone else, letters". But maybe that's OK because I really want to illustrate anyway. I'm trying to take this as Providence telling me I'm heading in the right direction.
It's a little scary, but I may blog about my progress. I was very inspired by Holli Conger's one year diary about becoming an illustrator back in 2006....Last year I designed a postcard for a class figuring I could use it to market myself but I never did anything with them. Last week I sent 2 postcards out and applied to one magazine online. I know it's not very many considering the odds, but it was a HUGE step for me and now that I've sent the first few, it feels less daunting. I just need to do some research and add some companies to my mailing list. If any of you are in the same situation, let me know. Maybe we can encourage each other. :)