Over the past few months, I’ve received emails and comments on social media asking questions on what the of watercolours I use, my work process and other questions related to being an illustrator and self employed person. So I’ve put together this short post to answer a few of those questions which I hope will be of use and helpful!
Q. Which watercolours and papers do you prefer using?
A. I absolutely love using Windsor and Newton watercolours as the colours are vibrant and I feel that they quality is very good. In terms of paper, I generally use 300gsm as the thickness is perfect for watercolour and I but them in bulk from Cass Art.
Q. I am a student and I would like to someday become an illustrator, do I need to study this at university and if yes, did you study illustration?
A. It’s amazing that you’d like to be an illustrator, I think it is definitely something that you can pursue at any point in your life and I don’t think that a degree is needed, but it can be of help in many ways also, so it’s definitely worth researching courses that are available. With illustration, it’s all to do with your ideas and style and if it’s something that you do every day, even if it’s just for fun, I think that it can gradually become your full time job which is how it happened for me.
Q. How do you keep all the financial aspects up to date and do you do your own tax returns or do you hire an accountant?
A. For a few years, I have kept to the same system of invoicing and account keeping where I manually do everything and keep them in organised folders (both digitally and printed copies). However, as I have become busier with work, I’m finding that I have less time to create invoices and keeping a track on expenses etc, so I have begun looking into other ways as to how I can minimise my time doing administrative tasks and luckily I came across QuickBooks which seems to be amazing and I might join them. Aspects that I like about QuickBooks is that I can create invoices on the go using an app which is perfect as I travel for events or to meet clients regularly and all expenses are in one place so it’s easier to keep track of them rather than flicking through receipts which can take ages when it’s the tax time of year!
In the beginning, I hired an accountant as it all seemed pretty daunting, but I now do my own tax returns online using Self Assessment and it’s super quick and easy after the first time, but if you struggle with any of the sections, HMRC have a helpline that you can call.
Q. I would like to do work experience with creative companies, do you think it should be paid or unpaid?
A. In my opinion, all work experience should be paid, even if it’s not minimum wage, but somewhere close as I think all peoples time should be valued, regardless of experience and this is a lesson to learn early that you should value your time.
Q. How long did it take for you to become a full time illustrator?
A. Funnily enough, it took absolute ages because it happened by accident. I studied the wrong course at university and then I had a graphic design job for 5 years after that and during this time, I was freelancing sporadically as an illustrator as well as illustrating as a hobby. I had no plans of making it my full time job, but I gradually got busier and it became my part time job and then a few years later it became my full time job which I absolutely love. Etsy and Redbubble helped a huge amount as I was able to sell my illustrations as art prints and printed onto products without having to invest on a website too early on. So that is why I firmly believe in the quote by C.S Lewis: Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.
Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to email me if you have any questions.