I'm finding it quite difficult to find regular illustration work. Do you have any advice on how to get a constant flow of work going? How long did it take for you to break into this industry? - Ivy
This is a slightly tricky question as there is no singular answer that would suit every artist. Even after working as an illustrator for years the work flow can be up and down, it's just the nature of the industry, sometimes you are in fashion, sometimes you're not and you need to be prepared for the quiet times (read don't spend all your money). Most of us agree that the more work you create the more you get, so in quiet times it is really important to motivate yourself and generate work, but more importantly get that work out there, if people don't know you exist its pretty tricky for them to give you work. Keep social media up to date, work to grow your audience, update your website (get one if you don't have one). Try and say yes to group shows, mingle and be friendly, submit to books, answer interviews when you can, and push yourself - it won't just fall on your lap, you need to work for it.
Being flexible with your style can also help get more work, I know from working at Jacky Winter that good Vector artists are always in demand, and being versatile is helpful (something I could be better at). It is also important to be critical of your own work, think about who you want to work for and target your content to suit what they would be interested in, if you're not getting work, is it through lack of self promotion or do you need to look at the quality of your work? Do you have enough work for a client to trust that they can anticipate what they would get if they were to commission you?
I did my first exhibition in 2007 at which time I was working as a photographer too, It really did take a few years for me to start getting any decent work, and for people to recognise my style as belonging to me. You just need to build from the bottom and slowly momentum picks up, work well for your clients, be positive. Sometimes it was pretty killer draining, but I still wouldn't trade the poor slow years for a normal day job any day!