The start of my “cultural calamity” illustrator’s advice blog!

hello there fellow illustration students!

so i have decided that since i will hopefully be leaving the illustration educational realm and graduating, that i should pass on my hard-earned wisdom!

I mean I wish someone was there to guide me and give me bags of relevant research when I was doing any of my projects. that I why I have decided to pass on my knowledge to all you bright-eyed ,naive students. I have based all the information in this post on experience and very intense research. in this blog I have only included the summarized version of this magic book to guide those of you that are ,,,well like me!

I have included great web resources,some great books to check out and some general advice ,on how to deal with sticky situations and how to muddle through your creative blocks and depressive slumps as illustrators.

an extremely important fields I shall be discussing is that of mixed cultures. I myself have found it difficult to function as an illustrator in two very different cultures,I have also found it hard to express my self. but now I have found my voice and have an aim, a manifesto, a ME brand! I know EXACTLY what I want to do and my goals are clear and concise. when you reach your happy place and have this epiphany you will feel at peace. I want to help you get there as soon as possible. so I hope that my blog entries will help you in your research,pitching,business approach,and just help you be at peace with who you are and what kind of illustrator you are.

I have come to the conclusion that i am a maker,an innovator and a fashion textile illustrator,but i am also obsessed with the 1950’s pin-up girls nd i illustrate using 3 d medium.such as dolls and clothing and crazy dress silhouettes and photography. I have tried to pave the way for all you illustrators who want to justify your creations as illustrations in your university practice. Yes I haven’t “made it” yet ,but this advice is advice,you can take it or leave it, it isn’t some 10 step guide to success,it is a simple “ive been there,so i know what i am talking about”,situation. i shall try to save you the trouble of researching and making the same mistakes as i have. so here we go:

to start with I shall be summarizing,what i have learnt from Picaresque, my trips back and forth to Ochee Socially creative studios,and dealing with prospective clients and the industry:

  1. Don’t panic! play it cool, if you have patience and revisit your trips/emails/conversations, that caused your initial over reaction, you will find that they were not that bad! so that conversation with your role model, didn’t go as bad as you probably first perceived.
  2. This also means that you should not read into things. never assume anything, so if an illustrator was pleasant and liked your work, it doesn’t mean that you have a job, or will ever have a job with this person. there are no hidden meanings in business correspondence. professionals are clear and cut throat so don’t take it personally either.
  3. this is vital, if you do not understand ask! and ask again! it doesn’t mean that you are dumb or a bad illustrator,no one expects you to understand a brief first hand that’s why you have roughs and re writes and editors. Most professionals i have dealt with have been impressed with my honesty and the fact that i just came out and said that i do not understand what they want. One client stated that not asking actually causes them major problems. illustrators misunderstand and go off on tangents,he said this results in “very expensive rubbish”.
  4. Take initiative. the industry will not come to you,even if people commission you a few times,they will not forever. you have to go and get what you want. some people dislike my loud approach,but that works for me and for the people who i am approaching. so when you feel ready to take initiative do it your way, send emails that reflect YOU, AND YOUR STYLE .just be prepared you will get a million rejections and a million and one non repliers.Here’s the bright side, you WILL get that one yes that you crave for.
  5. Be ambitious. why not, life is too short to think negatively,go after your idols,your role models. put it in your head that you WILL work with one of them one day and work towards that. contact them again and again. I personally WILL work with Vivienne Westwood or Betsy Jhonson or Tim Walker . even if they are famous now, they had to start somewhere, they are just people. so contact them, apply to “impossible” jobs,drop off your illustrations in person.
  6. another very important thing. just because you are a student, does not mean that you shouldn’t be given money for your trouble.DEMAND TO GET PAID!

looking for a nice cat to love and share tuna with,unfortunately a bit of a snobpart two:

Ideas, potential and musings from abroad.

I am egyptian,Turkish, and i was brought up in Wales so kind of Welsh. basically this has caused me a lot of confusion. especially as an artist and designer, but it has helped me finally given me a voice and a true individual style. i aim to help culturally challenged illustrators as my self through this blog as well as any illustrators!

so i went back to the mother land recently and spent some time at an amazing magazine. where i observed their art team at work. here  are some of the observations and suggestions from my trip.

  1. I have found that where ever you are in the world it is vital to research ,ALWAYS always research. without research you have no leg to stand on. you must research everything, the culture of your audience or destination,age, trends,news,popular tv,fashion,graphics,animation! anything and everything you can get your hands on that is remotely related to ,in this case where you are going, or who you are going to work for or see.this will help you to understand different cultures and it will help you work and design and illustrate for the right audience.
  2. Egypt and the middle east definitely have major potential for us illustrators. why not broaden your horizons and work abroad? you will get paid very well and mos of the time your opinion will be held in high esteem. every degree in egypt,from the UK is considered a degree from Oxford or Cambridge. In egypt you will also have a lot more freedom in your illustrations to do what you feel is best. you will be THE illustrator not AN illustrator.
  3. always have a presence. when you walk in a room to quietly research or interview people,or pitch. be who you are,who you want to be, how you want to be perceived,first impressions are great but lasting impressions are vital!

some things not to do, please: do not take stereotypes from any culture and exploit them. look for the deeper smaller details that make this culture what it is ,that make it rich and quirky.

watch this space for more tips and tricks! next week there will be a brand spanking new installment!

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