“Pricing Game” For Illustrators


I’ve been a member of the Graphic Artists Guild for a couple of years now. They frequently host webinars on various topics related to business and art. The webinars are open to everyone for a fee unless you’re a member. Then they’re free. That alone makes a membership worth the cost. To give you an idea, here’s a list of past webinars.

On July 30, 2014 the Guild will be hosting a webinar/workshop for illustrators called “The Pricing Game”. Four experienced illustrators will each share an example of a real-world project, give you a chance to quote your own price, and then tell you what they actually charged and discuss some of the how’s and why’s of pricing your work. Here’s the official description from the Graphic Artists Guild website:

Do you feel like  you’re rolling the dice every time you bid on a new illustration project? This workshop is designed to help you learn what other working illustrators are charging, and how you can defend your pricing decisions. We will be presenting a project from each of four experienced illustrators, showing a range of project types. And we’re following up the Pricing Game with a discussion with our illustrators on how they estimate on new assignments, manage their client’s expectations, and follow through to successfully close a project.

The four pro illustrators are Marty Blake, Mark Monlux, Ed Shems, and myself.

Register or get more info here.


Be Your Own Boss: Freelancing Tips & Tricks


Every year at the CTN Animation Expo I give a workshop on the business side of freelancing for artists. I’ve finally recorded it as a 2-hour webinar, which launched today at TaughtByAPro.com: http://taughtbyapro.com/course/be-your-own-boss-freelancing-tips-tricks/

I did my best to share what I know about promoting yourself and pricing your work. Topics include:

  • The Pro’s and Con’s of Freelancing
  • How To Stand Out As A Freelancer
  • Getting Started As A Freelancer
  • Building A Marketing Machine
  • Tips For Making Your Website Work For You
  • Ways To Find Prospects and Leads
  • Tips For Effective Cold Calling
  • Ways To Promote Yourself Effectively
  • How Much Should You Charge?
  • Tips For Talking To Clients About Money
  • Tips For Negotiating Effectively
  • Spotting Bad Clients
  • Professional Practices That Will Help You Stand Out


The 2-hour webinar is broken up into 7 mini-sessions to make the info easier to digest. Cost is only $10 for one month of on-demand access to the whole thing. There’s also a lot of other terrific courses being offered on the site. I’m honored to be in such esteemed company.

I’ve Been Interviewed on “Creative Independence”


The super-talented-illustrator-and-all-around-nice-guy Bob Ostrom and his co-host Chris Wilson have re-launched their Creative Independence podcast and have given me the honor of the first interview! I prattled on about my Kickstarter campaign for the Pose Drawing Sparkbook, including what I learned and what I’d do differently next time. Give it a listen. And if you like what I have to say, you can get more info in my upcoming webinar “Kickstarter Tips and Tricks”.

Webinar: Kickstarter Tips and Tricks


I’ve put together a webinar about my Kickstarter experience called “Kickstarter Tips and Tricks”. I’m going to share what I learned, some mistakes I made, and what I hope will be lots of helpful advice for anyone thinking about doing a Kickstarter. Eventually I may sell the webinar on my website but for now it will be one of several webinars that are part of the “Strategies For Creative Freelancers” event on January 30, sponsored by HOW Design University. It’s a one-day event but if you sign up you can watch the webinar online 24/7 for an entire week,, download a copy to keep, and also get a  PDF of my notes. More info here.

EDIT: Use the promo code “CFWIN2014” and get the entire event for only $99.

2013 Creative Freelancer Conference Recaps and Round-Ups

One of the best-kept secrets in the freelancing community is the HOW Creative Freelancer Conference. I’ve attended it several times and always come away with my head swimming with new thoughts, ideas, and advice on how to work smarter, treat my clients better, and as a result boost my income. It’s not an exaggeration to say my income has gone up well over 50% since I started attending back around 2007-ish, and a large part of that is due to things I’ve learned from the conference.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend this year’s conference, but others who did attend have posted some great blog posts and recaps outlining what they learned. There’s some great stuff here! Most of it has been gathered into one Pinterest page by Ilise Benun (who co-founded a terrific company, Marketing Mentor). Or, you can click on some of the links below:

Top Ten Things I Learned At The Creative Freelancer Conference by Jill Lynn

The Dark Art of Pricing by Jessica Hische

A New Perspective: The Creative Freelancer Conference by Kimberly Salisbury

Creative Freelancer Conference Recap by Loretta Robinson (Part 1, Part 2)

Resources For Making People Love You Madly by Colleen Wainwright

CFC: My Ten Specifics Behind ‘The Awesome’ by Deidre Rienzo

The People You Meet And The Books You Read by Luke Mysse

Episodes of the Reflex Blue Podcast related to the conference.

Now….get out there and work smarter!

EDIT: Next year’s conference will be May 12-16, 2014 in Boston. Mark your calendars!

Illustrator Will Terry On The State Of The Illustration Biz

[youtube_sc url=h_YDztn3vxY width=430]

My friend and fellow illustrator Bob Ostrom pointed me to this video from illustrator Will Terry, who takes to YouTube with some candid thoughts on the current state of the illustration business. It’s long (49 minutes) but a must-see for anyone interested in trying to make it as self-employed illustrator. (Is there any other kind?)

Terry has been freelancing for twenty years, most of it in publishing and advertising, and has worked on thousands of projects over that time. Over the years he’s seen much of the market erode and he does a good job of explaining several reasons why things are much tougher now than they were when he started in the biz. He is also hopeful, ending the video with some inspiring thoughts on where to go from here. I really appreciate his honesty and candor, and I found many of his closing statements to be inspiring.

In my fifteen-plus years of illustrating I’ve only dabbled in publishing off-and-on so my vantage point is a little different, but by and large I think his observations are spot on. The times they are a-changin’ and many of the traditional methods of making money as an illustrator are paying diminishing returns. Some well-worn paths are getting craggy and overgrown, and new trails will have to be blazed. To stay successful we are going to have to be more saavy, more passionate, and more entrepreneurial.

Give it a listen, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Oh, and after you watch the video be sure to check out Will Terry’s blog. There’s some good stuff there.