Peri Will Tell You How to Get Started as an Illustrator

Moment of Truth

Photo by Kevin Dooley.

A reader posted a comment on Alex Eckman-Lawn’s awesome post and slideshow, From Sketch to Finish—The Journey of an Album Cover, and I thought I’d answer it in a blog post. So here goes. Here’s the question:

Hi, My name is David, and I was wondering, how can I get into selling my artwork as CD covers?

Here’s my answer:

Hi David,

Not speaking for Alex [the author of the blog post you commented on] here … but I’d start by getting to know local bands who are making CDs and letting them know you’re an illustrator (or artist, or whatever you call yourself). Put up a simple WordPress portfolio of your work and make your contact methods clear. Basically just network, which is easy in this case since you can focus on bands/music that you like, right? Go out to shows and get to know folks in bands and their friends.

Be really good about calling back and follow-through, and be careful what you promise. For example, don’t just agree to do the art for an album cover for $100 without being clear about whether they can request revisions, and if so how many (I have learned the hard way to be very clear about this). It takes a little time but take that time to figure out the specifics of what you want to offer, pricing, workflow, etc.

And above all do good work and be a pleasant guy to work with. Unless you’re some sort of legendary, sought-out artist, no one will want to work with you if you’re difficult or unpredictable.

In a nutshell, that’s how I’d start. Paying attention to the above stuff will start turning you into a professional. I hope that helps!

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About Peri Pakroo

Peri Pakroo is the founder, Publisher and Editor of Pyragraph. Outside her work with Pyragraph, Peri is a business author and coach, specializing in creative and smart strategies for self-employment, small businesses and nonprofits. Her focus is on helping people build structure for their passions to find success on their own terms. Peri is the author of several top-selling Nolo titles on small business and nonprofits including The Small Business Start-Up Kit, The Women’s Small Business Start-Up Kit and Starting & Building a Nonprofit. Since 2012 she has produced and hosted the Self-Employed Happy Hour podcast.

Peri accidentally started her first band The Moist Towelettes at the age of 40 with her husband Turtle O’Toole. Since then she has played in a number of bands including The Directory, Bellemah and her own downer-country project, Peri & the FAQs.

In 2012, Peri saw the need for a resource featuring the voices of a wide range of creative workers and the many different career paths they take. She founded Pyragraph to fill this need. Here’s the Pyragraph start-up story.

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