I once said, to a peer on my illustration degree course, that if I should ever be presented with a lifelong contract to work as an illustrator, on an average salary, that I would sign the document in blood. That’s how far-fetched the idea seemed in 2006 when the big, bad real world came knocking on my tax-free door.
Just to be clear, I’m an illustrator now and have been, full-time, since November 2008. So how on earth, in the inaugural Dot London Awards 2015 have I – as a sole freelancer – been shortlisted in the final six for the creative agency of the year award? It’s left me scratching my head over the past few weeks.
But now that I’ve put the kettle on and deconstructed the past few years of my career evolution, I realised that maybe this isn’t down to some loophole or secretarial error.
The period 2008-2010 was more or less exclusively about establishing myself as a decent quality editorial illustrator. It was a feasible entry point into the arts, where there are more opportunities for new graduates given its lower risk and less bureaucratic nature than, for example, the advertising world.
In my third year as a professional, after a few productive trips to London, I met the right people, who brought me in to work on animated television trailers for Channel 4’s Skins and murals for a series of major UK branches of high street clothing retailer, Next.