So a couple of weeks ago I was just googling illustration internships for want of doing something vaguely productive during the summer and I think I got up to emailing the agencies on page 10 of the results before I got a response. Advocate being one of my first points of contact with the professional illustration world (up till this point it was limited to a screen and my crummy little desk in my room and a couple of lecturers at uni), Ive got to admit I was pretty nervous when I first walked into the slick, shiny white gallery with ridiculous numbers of lights on the ceiling, portfolio in hand, only to find that there was no real need to feel intimidated at all. Everyone was pretty chilled, with the odd person popping in to ask if I wanted tea or coffee, going for the yummy cranberry/brie/bacon sandwiches at Palmers across the road, and doing regular importing/theming/ administrative jobs.
I guess the most important part was getting to be familiar with Advocate’s artists and illustrators work. Importing work, theming work, wrapping portfolios to get sent off in the mail may seem boring at first but I took it above all as an opportunity to become familiarise myself with the industry and getting to know what kind of stuff is out there on the market, whether it be children’s book illustration or greeting cards design. It also made the prospect of becoming a professional illustrator one day seem not so far off, but very realistic and enabled me to see what kind of possibilities there were in this line of work. This experience was complemented by an awesome opportunity to show Ed my portfolio before he escaped on holiday, imparting a useful, objective opinion of the strengths within my work currently, and what I might want to work towards with regards to the current trends in the industry.
So no, it was not as scary as I thought. Illustrators are not doomed to pursuing a measly 9 to 5 job that has nothing to do with being a creative in order to survive. You can really make a living out of drawing, its not the childish myth its made out to be. You just need to know who you are, what you like, be committed to it and find a lucrative outlet. Thats pretty much all there is to it.