Teagan White is getting a lot of attention in the illustraton world! Whites' illustrations have been applied to T shirts, album covers, Iphone and laptop skins, posters, as well as website designs. This artists illustrations have been described as a mixture of fine art and graphic design, Whites exploration of the natural world is also apparent in her typographic studies. I had the opportunity to ask Teagan White a few questions about how she manages promotion and business in the illustration world today.
1. What was your first paid job?
My first paid work was album art for a band called Bill on a small label, Contessa Records. I started out with mostly album art and other work for bands.
2. How do you promote yourself as an illustrator?
I think that simply posting your work online is the best self-promotion any illustrator could do. I get a lot of work from my portfolio on Behance, and a little from other sites like DeviantART, Society6, and the Keystone Design Union which I am a member of. The wonderful thing about the web is that other people will basically promote your work for you by blogging about it or sharing it on Facebook, tumblr, etc.
3. What social network services do you use to announce projects and news?
I have a tumblr, teaganwhite.tumblr.com, that people can follow to get updates about when I post new work to my website, and sometimes I'll post about features or interviews I've done recently. However, the most thorough and up to date collections of my work are on DeviantART and Behance.
4. How often do you submit work to galleries and or call for entries?
I never submit work to galleries because I don't really have a budget to frame and ship work and I don't see the process as financially beneficial to me as an illustrator. It seems like gambling, trying to make money that way; if I'm doing work, I'd rather be guaranteed payment for it. I've been involved in a few local exhibitions when my school approached me for entries, but otherwise I have to turn down offers to show work for the time being. I enter illustration competitions if one of my instructors wants me to, but again, I don't feel that it pays off.
5. What generates the most feedback from your audience?
I get an equal amount of feedback from Behance and DeviantART.
6. Did you build your own website?
I did, I pretty much coded it from scratch, or, rather, modified it from my previous design which was a modification of the design before that which was a modification of the design before that and so on back to when I learned to code to change my myspace layout.
7. How do you find new clients in toady's market?
I'm extremely lucky in that I've never yet had to solicit work. I end up working with nearly all of my clients more than once, and many on a regular basis, and I hope that as I gain more exposure I'll continue getting enough work. If getting work becomes a problem I will look for an art rep, send out mailers, put more effort into marketing myself online, and maybe work part-time at a design firm to supplement my freelance work.
One other note / Something I wish someone had told me sooner: Whether you're selling work or freelancing, be aware of the impact of income tax on how you price anything as a sole proprietor. I've been slowly learning how important it is over the past year, and, long story short, you need to be able to set aside about half of your income to pay back in taxes.