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How to be an Illustrator
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How to be an Illustrator

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  215 ratings  ·  30 reviews
At last! Here is true practical help for budding freelance illustrators. This book helps you avoid the pitfalls that can ruin a career, with advice on crucial first impressions, how to create a portfolio and approach clients, how to negotiate contracts, and how to handle, deliver, and bill the first job. It discusses how to set up a studio, maintain a steady flow of work, ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 2nd 2008 by Laurence King
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The book is a 'how-to' guide aimed at students and people just out of art school. So it took a while before I got to information of general interest. The second half of the book is well worth the read, with plenty of useful tips and good information. I particularly liked the questions to ask yourself part related to agents and contracts.
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I adored this. I've been printmaking for a few years and the term "illustrator" always intimidated + intrigued me. This really helped define things for me and opened me up to all the choices within this broad career.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The book is full of, "Practical help and advice to aspiring illustrators," and loads of inspiration. Solid gold, from cover to cover.
La Lin
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I guess I would never be taught such specific things of an illustrator's life without reading this book. Even though this book is mainly covered the US and the UK's markets but it is still essential for any emerging as well as aspiring illustrator to have a sense of the career's prospect inside out. The author - Darrel Rees - is an illustrator, a collage artist and a founder of Heart agency so there is no doubt that he has a multitude of experiences to talk about in this book. Each chapter incl ...more
Rana Kadry
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That book is amazing for anyone who is new in the industry/market of illustrations (in UK, US or other similar areas). It was really useful for me with a lot of advices, insights and information I didn't know about before. I also liked the interviews from different illustrators or art directors, it was interesting to know their thoughts. I felt that reading this book has saved me a lot of time and that I have a clear vision now of the illustration as a business.
Katie Rosso
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I think this is a great, educational book. It must be noted though that the financial and copyright aspects, which are bonkers important, are London/UK-centric, as is the book. This means the rules may be different for US-based folks, and therefore the book is less useful (though it does lay out great tips about self-promotion)! Overall worth your time, I think
Kellie Fox
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A practical resource for the business side of illustration (fees, contracts, negotiating, agency representation, etc). It mostly focuses on editorial illustration, which is not a particular interest of mine. I would have liked a bit more insight into picture book illustration.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: textbooks-art
A informative and (thankfully) readable book about the business aspects of illustration. A must read!
Alif Nopianti
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very helpful for a newbie like me.
Zoe Hannay
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
so great i considered purchasing for reference.
Theresa Honeycheck
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Didn't really tell me what i was hoping. Informative though.
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wow... This book was amazing.
I'm currently on my second year at University studying illustration, next year will be my last, and I'm constantly worried I will be unprepared when the time comes for me to try seeking out agents, art directors and clients. My uni hasn't taught us much about finance or making contacts, so I figured I'd look up different articles and books that might help me prepare myself.

This book covers almost everything I wanted to know about illustration (what it doesn't cover I
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design
It takes more than talent (

Nowadays in order to be successful at anything, it takes more than just talent.

Understanding the market, having a mentor, and studying what the masters did, is just a start. We just came across a new book specifically targeted towards Illustrators; although the principles can probably be transferred towards any creative discipline.

How To Be An Illustrator by Darrel Rees offers practical advice to aspiring illustrators. You’ll learn all
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I got this book, I couldn't wait to read it. I really wanted to know all the details of how to be an illustrator, including how to run a successful illustration/graphic design business. This was my top pick of three. I also saw one called "Fundamentals of illustration," which I quickly dismissed as sounding boring.

Having gone on quite a binge of this subject, though, I'm finding that I already know a decent amount about running this type of business, and what I actually want to know is the
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
The list of movies to watch at the back of this book is probably the most surprising and best I have seen. I am looking for it online somewhere. I would never ever ever think I would love Martin Scorcese. I love him. And the Third Man? Terrific.

This is a reference book and I still haven't really read it cover to cover. But what I've read is good. He's British so the list of like "hey check out the onion--it's a great satirical newspaper" will confuse an American. But the interviews are great and
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone currently outside the world of freelance illustration this book provides a good insight to many of the basic aspects to doing business that are not covered at art school. It is interspersed with many interviews with illustrators and art directors about their experiences, who all add a bit of personality, wit and humanity to what could be quite a daunting industry to try and break into. Could have left out asking each person whether websites are important in self promotion these days w ...more
Amanda Wells
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Difficult book to review in terms of the emotive language goodreads suggests, but over all this book was really useful in setting out some key considerations and advice for becoming an illustrator in a commercial world.
An author more geared towards navigating the increasingly digital nature of promotion might have been useful in addition - but generally sound advice as an excellent start point... which I think is perfect given the title.
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Very useful for people hoping to make a career out of illustrating. As I am only just about to start at an arts university it isn't as relevant, but even things like presenting your portfolio advice in this book is useful food for thought. Would 100% recommended it to illustration graduates New and old.
Erik Mallinson
Apr 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book should be called How To Be A Freelance Illustrator. It mainly focuses on editorial and advertising illustration freelance and targets upcoming/recent graduates. I’m not interested in those fields nor am I a recent graduate. It just didn’t really click for me. I skipped the last chapter because it had to be returned.
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books on the business of illustration. Very practical and direct. There's obviously no one way to succeed, but if you read this you can avoid many pitfalls and just generally be much better informed about how the industry operates.
This book is geared towards grads or recent grads of illustrators. Since I don't have a background in illustration, it didn't really help me. I skimmed through it and there seemed to be solid advice still.
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was really informative, but the author made to set in the soul-crushing reality that you will probably never succeed in illustration.
Min Yee
I knew this is a great book for any illustrators but it's just me that picked up the wrong book. It's just the book is not suitable for me and my background is not up to that level yet.
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-english
Excellent advice for any budding illustrator. Applying the advice is, of course, another matter entirely... (but a matter not connected with this book.)
Brian Bowes
Mar 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book. It really offers a lot of practical advice and a great overview for the illustrator who's starting out.
Russell Mark Olson
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Super informative and confidence boosting. Will probably keep it by my drawing table for an indefinite period of time to dip into for advice and viewpoint.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lots of helpful advice-those who crave specific information about portfolios, self-promotions and meetings with art directors will love, love, love this book.
Kate Green
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: illustration
Really useful book about making the most of your time at uni, to finding work, to billing, to setting up your work space.
Jayfri Hashim
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book has the guidelines on how to start being an illustrator, very true and very helpful.
Joni Patterson
An in depth look at the BUSINESS of freelance illustration.
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