My smartest investment as a freelance illustrator
If you would ask me about the smartest investment I ever did for my business, I wouldn’t hesitate. It’s my beloved iPad. Yet it took a little while for that love to blossom. My iPad spent nearly half a year gathering dust. Too. Many. Options. Luckily, I found a way to get the most out of it. Including a lot of profit. No wonder I give courses in it now…
Becoming a freelance illustrator
I had just decided to réally give Gouden Lijntjes (my company) a chance, 3.5 years ago. Because I had no idea where to start, I decided to go to an event for illustrators in Rotterdam, which I encountered on Facebook. Not that I called myself an illustrator. Or thought I could draw at all. But hey, it seemed like an interesting group of people and there would be an inspiring speaker (fun fact: that was illustrator Marloes de Vries – of whom I’m a big fan ever since).
There I met illustrator Annemarie Gorissen (who makes gorgeous drawings for magazines etc). She had brought her iPad and showed me a couple of pen stories. Now thát seemed convenient! I had no clue how to build the skills to draw just like her, but I felt: I need this little toy.
Creative without a budget
Problem: I was pretty broke. I had just come back from a big trip, and my best plan to stay off of my parents’ couch was to couch surf my friends anti-squatters home in Londen for a month or so (thanks, Kirs!). I did build up a bit of savings to survive my first couple of months as a freelance, but to take such a big chunk out of it right away….
How to start illustrating on your iPad?
And yet, I did. A big iPad Pro WITH an Apple Pencil, extra storage ánd a fancy Moleskine cover – while we were at it (if you want to know the specifications, check the FAQs at the bottom of this page). My shiny new toy arrived at the doormat, and I turned up in London with an ocean of time on my hands. The only thing that didn’t show up… was my motivation to start illustrating. I just didn’t know where to start! There were so many apps. So many options WITHIN those apps. Not to get me started about my lack of drawing skill. Ever now and then, very carefully, a cartoonish drawing appeared along my Sunday poems, but that was it. The first few months of my young relationship with my iPad went down quite passionless.
Making professional digital illustrations on your iPad
But then. I started doing research. Studying. Practicing. I am SO happy that I made the effort. Ever since, I’m pretty sure my iPad has earned back its value about 20 times. No jokes. A few examples of how my new skill helped my business tremendously:
- I got pretty crafty in making my own digital illustrations (“You want a calendar design in Turkey? No problem, I’ll send it your way!”)
- I very quickly produced sketches and professional mockups for murals (“U want an estimate for murals along your WHOLE office? Not a problem, I’ll make it match and give you an impression of how it will look in the room”)
- My company branding took a leap (“Why don’t I DRAW my own business cards?”
- It became super easy to experiment with different styles and “materials” I didn’t dare to take on IRL (“hello, new ideas for workshops!”
- Eventually, I discovered that, after all that research, I could just as well teach my OWN Procreate courses. And BAM – a new additional business model was born.
- I could go on like this for a while…
Investing in your creative dream life
I realize I sound like a walking ad for the iPad (which rhymes). I promise, I’m not being paid by Apple (unfortunately;). I also don’t mean to convince you to make a huge investment when you’re really not down for that. What I DO want to say: sometimes it is pretty good to follow your gut feeling and invest in YOURSELF – even thought it might seem you are not ready. You set a new standard, to which you will automatically adjust your life. Instead of waiting for your life to be ready for that new standard.
Learn how to draw in Procreate
If you happen to need a little help with that step, I’ve got something fun for you! You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time. I teach an elaborate online course in which I teach you how to draw on your iPad in the app Procreate. My favourite app of all time. So you don’t have to waste month procrastinating and doing research. I’ve researched it all for you, and poured all that knowledge into 10 super convenient videos – divided into 2 courses that match seamlessly. We talk about the elaborate functionalities of the app. Together with the fun, practical lessons filled with handy drawing tips, you will make the prettiest illustrations in no time. And… even make your own GIFs! Which you can use to add as stickers to Instagram stories for other to use and… okay. I’m getting off track here. If I list all the endless possibilities of this app, you’ll still be reading next year.
What you need to do, is NOT wait any longer, but simply START. And if you like me to help you along a bit during that start, with my Procreate course, feel free to check out more information, a sneak peek, and reviews here.
What was your best investment or favorite tool as a freelance illustrator? Let me know in the comments!