One of the perks of freelancing is being able to make a living from your passion, to submit proposal templates to who you choose, and sign agreement templates with who is the best fit for your work style.
If you know how to illustrate, and have been trying to turn it into your career, you also know how difficult it can be – unless you’re the NY Times illustrator, or have already signed an illustration contract template with a high-end fashion brand.
However, according to a survey, US-based illustrators can earn up to $948,000 per year, with $530,000 of that amount coming from commissioned work. On the other hand, 69% of illustrators say they would struggle financially if illustration work was their sole source of income.
So, which stat do we look at? And how can we work on ensuring freelance illustrators make a good living from what they love to do?
Here, we’ll look at ways you can learn how to illustrate for a good living in the freelancing world through illustration tips and ideas.
As an illustrator, your job isn’t to mix colors or demonstrate your painting or drawing skills. It’s to find the most direct and clear way to encourage a feeling or thought in a viewer.
This is the first step to producing high-quality illustration work you can sell for big money. If you’re wondering what the average freelancing rates are, check out Bonsai’s freelancing rates tool.
Here are some more illustration tips for high-quality work.
What do I want my illustration to do?
This should be the first question you ask yourself.
After this, you can decide what techniques to use to make that idea happen, then how to make these techniques visually compelling. While finding the most effective colors, medium or style will take a bit of experimentation, always remember to use illustration intelligence over looks.
When discussing how to illustrate high-quality work, sometimes (as difficult as it may be) you need to drop the idea of style.
Some illustrators tend to get caught up in certain types of illustrative style and whether or not they should incorporate more than one style.
However, the more you work, the more likely your own personal style will surface. By practicing regularly, and observing your own work, you’ll be able to discover details that lead you to an entire new seed for a body of work.
Pair these newfound discoveries with online tools such as Bonsai and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful and independent freelancer - sign up for a free trial today.
The best illustration guide will tell you how to observe yourself first, no matter what great work you’re exposed to for inspiration.
So, ask yourself questions along the way:
Understanding yourself as an artist and a freelancer takes time – and guidance. Surround yourself with inspiring friends and follow the most successful illustration freelancers online. Bonsai makes this bridge between you and top freelancing tips, tools, and mentors.
Start using Bonsai to carve your freelancing path – the way you envisioned.
Making a living from your art is possible.
However, figuring out how to illustrate for a higher income can be challenging.
Possible, but tricky.
The best way to become a better illustrator and make a higher income is by following the steps set by experts in the industry. We’re here with those steps.
Drawing skills are fundamental for a lot of illustration positions.
For instance, if you’re looking at a graphic designer or artist job (which tend to pay between $47,000 - 82,000/year), you’ll need to rely on your drawing skills to create ideas and concepts before putting it to screen.
Include freestyle drawing into your morning routine to encourage your skills to expand and develop. Try for 15 minutes every day and see how you improve after a month. Use Bonsai’s freelance time tracker to keep track of your morning routine drawing sessions (and your graphic design freelancing gigs once those start rolling in).
If you find self-motivation difficult, group drawing sessions may be your answer.
Track down a daily group drawing session with friends or community members. You can also start your own group where everyone gets together with daily inspiration (from YouTube or elsewhere) to draw from for an hour every day.
This helps boost your creativity and expand your skills while connecting with like-minded freelancers and local artists where you can share ideas, opportunities, and inspiration.
You can try this by yourself or with your drawing group.
Pick a topic, an online illustration guru (try Patreon, Gumroad, YouTube or Schoolism to find them) and go through their tutorials – slowly and methodically, while observing and trying it yourself.
Digital illustration tutorials or general illustration tutorials are a great way to expand your skills and win better-paying clients and gigs.
If canvas and paints are your go-to, try challenging yourself by transferring those skills over to digitally painting through Photoshop.
The same illustration principles still apply with Photoshop (color theory, composition, and perspective), you just need to learn different digital illustration techniques.
Try looking up digital illustration tutorials to learn how to illustrate on Photoshop like a pro.
If you want to set up a long-lasting and professional Illustration freelancing career, you’ll need support from tools and guides. Bonsai has you covered - sign up for a free trial.
Once you’ve watched and learned from all the online tutorials you can muster, you can try making a digital illustration tutorial yourself.
Creating a YouTube channel is a great way to bring in extra income from your art.
You could create videos on how to illustrate in Photoshop, or your personal drawing process while providing tips on how other artists can improve their own work. This will keep you involved in your craft, constantly learning and brushing up, while bringing in a bit of extra cash.
Now that you’ve amplified your skills and mastered some useful techniques, it’s time to look at some illustration positions that can help you support yourself comfortably.
Graphic design was on Forbes’ list of top skills to have for 2019. Graphic design can be implemented in any illustration job in this modern, digital-focused era.
However, whether you practice:
… you’ll still be valuable in the illustration freelancing world.
Let’s look at some of the top jobs for illustrators.
One of the most competitive fields to break into, comic book illustrators have a lot of fun while finding success in attracting commission work.
With this position, you’ll likely need to self-publish some comics along the way to help boost your visibility and reputation. No matter how talented you are, illustration school is mandatory to get hired full-time for big clients.
Once you land one of these positions, make sure you have your Bonsai freelance contract ready to rock as a professional and prepared freelance illustrator.
These jobs involve scientific or medical training as well as a B.Sc degree in a related field. This is because medical illustrators are responsible for depicting body parts and aspects of medical operations to help medical professionals, researchers, marketing agencies and pharmaceutical industries.
While a lot of schooling is required – it does pay off.
Medical illustrators and creative supervisors can earn anywhere between $62,000 - 175,000 per year in the U.S.
Working in advertising or design settings can be a dream for many illustrators.
However, this cut-throat industry involves a lot of experience including a high-end illustrator freelance portfolio website. If you have a portfolio and the guts to pursue this position, you can expect to make upwards of $56,000 per year.
Use this freelance illustration guide as a method of inspiration, advice, and direction.
By incorporating the right illustration tips, tools, and support, you’ll be able to turn your passion into a full-time freelancing job. All it takes is a bit of dedication, the right guidance and a solid grasp of the industry and all its opportunities.
Use Bonsai as your guide for all your illustration freelance needs – sign up for a free trial today and get begin building your prosperous freelancing career.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?