So guys, it’s actually happened. I’m a full time freelance artist. I can officially call that my job. Which is amazing and terrifying all at the same time. On the amazing side, I truly can not stress enough how satisfying it is to sit down in my little art nook every day and draw for hours on end. It’s surreal. I feel so mentally at peace.
It’s only been a few weeks but I already have more confidence in making original art, by which I mean creating something without a direct reference. I’ve started a portrait series (see a sneak peak above from my Instagram!) which I’ve had the idea for in the back of my mind for ages. This is one my first attempts to make finished pieces without direct references and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I’ll be sharing more about the series on the blog of course, when I have some more work done on it.
I’ve also had my first official freelance job! A local farm hired me to create their t-shirt and hat designs. That’s them above, and how they will look screen-printed. It’s the first time my work will ever be printed on something. I also love how that job fell into my lap literally the day before my first official work-from-home week. Kicking off life as a freelance artist with a paying job was so mentally satisfying. Currently, I’ve got a commission lined up and three spots open for October. Interested in commissioning a piece? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
As for the terrifying aspect of this whole journey, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. I still feel so uncomfortable saying, “I’m an artist”, when people ask me what I do. It feels fake. Like I’m playing pretend all day. Like I’m not really a working artist, I just call myself one. It is full on Fraud Police, as coined by Amanda Palmer. (PS, read The Art of Asking if you haven’t done that.) But I know that those feelings are just my personal worries and fears. I am incredibly grateful not only to have a supportive partner, but also amazing supportive friends and family as well.
“The Fraud Police are the imaginary, terrifying force of ‘real’ grown-ups who you believe – at some subconscious level – are going to come knocking on your door in the middle of the night, saying:We’ve been watching you, and we have evidence that you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING. You stand accused of the crime of completely winging it, you are guilty of making shit up as you go along, you do not actually deserve your job, we are taking everything away and we are TELLING EVERYBODY.” ― Amanda Palmer,
I know that life as a freelance artist, and really any creative lifestyle, is a process. And it’s one I still have a huge amount to learn about. Right now, other than any projects that come my way, I’m working on building up a better portfolio and working on self-promotion. I haven’t put a huge amount of effort into self-promotion and without it, I don’t get work. Becoming comfortable with self-promotion, and doing it more effectively is at the top of my to-do list.
Ultimately, I am completely thrilled with life as a freelance artist. As I stated above, I feel so peaceful each day. So satisfied. Being able to create art each day is fulfilling in more ways than I expected.