Here, Bethany shares what she has been working on since graduating and some top tips she has learnt in managing life as a freelance illustrator.
What has been your favourite project so far? And why?
I did a series of icon illustrations for Arts University Bournemouth and poster designs, rebranding their ‘Give it a Go’ sporting scheme. I had just finished my final major project at university so it was a refreshing change to working on a children’s book. I got to create different pieces of work that I wouldn’t have usually including a different colour palette. I am really pleased with the final result, which also led to more opportunities for me.
If you could say one thing to clients (or wished they knew already to help the process) what would it be?
Thankfully I haven’t had too many bad experiences so far, however I probably have two tips that could be really helpful:
- It is important the client communicates exactly what they want from the beginning. If something is missing that the client wants but hasn’t told you about, it can make the whole process a little tricky when trying to manage their expectations.
- Secondly, keep the illustrator updated on any feedback as soon as possible. Waiting for replies can be quite long at times and can be especially frustrating when there is a time scale on the project.
Any favourite tips to manage your working life with finances and/or planning?
The best thing for me since moving back home is having my desk in a separate room to my bedroom. My desk has been in my room for the past three years at uni and this made it really hard for me to separate working life to anything else.
Now my desk is in a separate room I feel like when I sit down to it, that means work!
As I am just starting out, the best tip with finances is just keep on top of it. You can’t say ‘I’ll do it later’ – sort it out as you go so you know where you are with different clients.
When it comes to planning I keep a diary with all my deadlines in it and dates so I can keep track with where I am. This helps me to balance a number of different things at once.
What are your thoughts on social media? Do you find it useful for your business?
Social media is the best tool for any illustrator or designer out there. It is accessible to anyone making it so easy and at the tip of your fingertips at all times. For me Instagram is the best social media platform, you can follow other illustrators, find inspiration and gain a following which could lead to jobs and commissions.
I always try to post on Instagram when I can (around 5 times a week). I share my current work and what I have been up to on a daily basis. People really invest in what you are doing and creating. You can also post your work wherever, creating a portfolio all in itself. Instagram is how I was discovered to work for Culture+, so it does work! Social platforms are such good business tools when used correctly.
What’s next for Bethany Lord?
I am currently working on illustrating a children’s educational book for a publishing house that noticed my work over the summer at D&AD New Blood festival. I am balancing this and smaller other freelance projects alongside my MA degree at Kingston University. It’s a lot of work but I am very excited to see what’s next. To be illustrating a children’s book is a dream come true, especially so soon after graduating from university.
See more from Bethany here and follow her on Instagram @bethanyalicelord