Monday, 11 July 2011

Some thoughts for new graduates.

Next year will be the twentieth since I left Central Saint Martin's.
I have been thinking about the differences between graduating in the early 1990's and now.

We have just been through a very tough recession as we had back in 1992. When I started at Central Saint Martin's in 1988 there were long lists of jobs for graduates on the head-of-department's door. By 1992 that list had dwindled to virtually nothing.

My first commission upon leaving came from "Guide Patrol Magazine" and paid the princely sum of £60. I was so pleased to get this work, as it represented the second piece of published work in my portfolio.
As soon as graduated I began the exhausting process of making appointments and taking my portfolio around to magazines, newspapers, advertising agencies and anybody else who would see me. I tried to make 10 appointments a week. I listened very carefully to and advice received from the people I saw, and tried to apply it intelligently. I even went to New York and visited companies over there.

When I look back at my 22 year old self, I admire her guts!

Gradually the commissions started building, but this didn't happen over night.  I took on a shared studio and finally had the great luck of finding my fabulous agent, Eunice McMullen. It was at that point that things really began to take off for me.

Today's graduates are so much more media savvy. They use blogs, websites and all that the internet has to offer. This is fantastic, but if I had advice for newly qualified illustrators, it would be do not expect the world to come to you; to keep knocking on the door; listen carefully to advice from people who you respect and finally, do not take no for an answer.

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting Emma, and good advice! One of the many good things about working with you is that you aren't precious about making changes (although we always try and be respectful to you as an illustrator!). If I was to give any advice to an aspiring illustrator it would be to really look at who you are submitting work to - and mention what you like about the publishers list, even mention a particular book or two you like. And try to submit illustrations that suit the publishers. And lots of illustrators do this already - but cute and fun envelopes, nicely designed letters, complimentary stickers etc catch the eye too. Sorry to hijack your post Emma, but it piqued my interest!