We also heard from Nicki Field, Head of Illustration at Jelly London, a unique cross-content production company. Jelly had a vision to represent illustrators and animation directors. Their list is deliberately varied and everyone is unique. People can be based anywhere and be represented by them.
Jelly markets towards advertising, digital media and magazines, with advertising being a particularly lucrative focus. Nicki says that the market for visual content is changing and campaigns are reaching people through promoted content on social media.
Part of Jelly’s role during these changes is to help to train artists to work with digital. They also represent lettering artists too. Brand association can be key in developing commercial aptitudes.
The things you make have to be true to who you are. Develop your style and keep evolving but make sure you love it.
Work on your niche or point of difference. Try to do something stylistically that helps you stick in people’s head. However, don’t worry if you don’t quite have one style. Your name is your brand and your personality is your currency.
Nicki says that innovation is important and you should do what you can to keep ahead, especially where digital and social media are concerned. You should think about what you can do that someone else can’t.
When you receive a brief, remember to think about the context. What will the lay out be? What should the overall look/feel be? See what you can do to maximise application to help people understand what you’re doing.
Shout about what you’re doing, you can’t be a wall flower. Initiate – the ebbs and flows of freelance mean there can be a lot of quiet periods, so try to get involved in a lot of different areas and create for a lot of different projects, to help keep money coming in.
You should think big and collaborate, embrace other people’s skill sets. Don’t waste a lot of time learning to do something that someone else can do. You should also know the value of your work and time.
Nicki gave us an example of a project which some artists worked on for free, for a charity. The exposure was really worth while and it was also for a great cause. However, not all projects which are unpaid will be worth your time. So learn to figure out what’s worth doing and how to turn down projects when you feel the pay isn’t enough.