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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Endings and Beginnings

"For last year's words belong to last year's language.

And next year's words await another voice.

And to make an end is to make a beginning."

(TS Eliot)

Well it's been quite a while since I sat here and wrote. Around 26 days ago I finally came to the end of my journey as a student of design and illustration. I think that the first week after finishing was one big let go as I allowed myself time to rest and regain my strength for the journey ahead. The next week became a planning week - figuring out what my next step was. I decided on the following things:

1. Illustration is my passion, my focus, my growing skill and my dream. I will pursue this until I can make a living off it (and then keep going).
2. See number one.

But to work as an illustrator full-time is a tricky business (see any three of my interviews with Melbourne illustrators at the end of last year for insight into this!) 
Interview with Andrea Innocent 
Interview with Laura Wood 
Interview with Elise Hurst

TRYING TO FIND AN AGENT - Staying patient!
A week before the end of completing my studies I sent off my portfolio to a selection of illustration agents. I have been continuing to send off folios to agents every week since then. Most of these agencies suggest that the volume of portfolios they receive every month is more than plenty. Due to the high numbers of hopefuls they suggest not to expect any feedback or even to hear from them unless they wish to represent you. This kind of hopeful waiting is comparable to my former career as an actor. After going to a casting/audition there's a window of time where I used to be hovering around my phone waiting. After many years of working (and not working) in that industry I became more relaxed about it with the notion of "if it's meant to be, it's meant to be". This action of letting go was not an easy one. But at least it's prepared me for this silence and reminded me to stay patient. 

REDBUBBLE - T-shirts and more!
In the meantime I have decided to just keep working on my craft. Gathering my supplies, making networks and creating my own opportunities. I figure the more seeds I throw into the soil the more chance of a harvest (and being able to pay my rent!) I opened a Red Bubble online shop so that my work might be available on t-shirts, hoodies, phone cases, cards and stickers. At this point I have three designs available on the Red Bubble. Check them out here: Lou Endicott - Red Bubble shop

FREELANCE - Wearing shoes at home!
Last week I decided to really go full time with this freelance life. So every day I have been waking up and getting dressed (including putting on shoes) and going to my home office. I have been making lists every day and ticking them off as I go. I have been lucky enough to drum up a few clients - through online channels and word of mouth. I am working on a logo/branding design for a corporate consultant who works to help people find presence and confidence in the workplace. I have also created a logo and business collateral for a young Mum up in Qld who is launching a kids lunchbox business. I also volunteered to design a poster for a charity fair to raise funds to build schools in Africa. And I am donating prints to this fair to be sold to help raise funds. 

Here's a snap shot of my "boss" - my cat Ruby.

And I'm illustrating my first book! Well, it's not really a "book deal" as such. It's a one off piece in the style of a children's picture book that a client is going to present to his girlfriend when he proposes to her in a few months time. The book contains stories of their journey together. And I get to illustrate them. It's a small business deal but the stakes are high!  It's also a great tester to see how I work with a writer and their ideas. To be given the precious contents of a person's story with their soul mate is an absolute privilege. To be entrusted to create the visuals is a lot of fun - but big responsibility!! Let's just hope his girlfriend likes the book and she says yes! Here's a rough thumbnail of one of the illustrations:

Last week I was given a hot tip that the publishing house Scholastic were looking for manuscripts for children's picture books and also for illustrators! This of course had me LEAPING to the computer to redo my illustration portfolio and rework my illustrations to show just what I could do if I was commissioned to make a picture book for children. All my fingers were crossed when I sent that email out into the ether I can tell you! 

A little under a week after sending out the portfolio to Scholastic I decided to send a manuscript in as well. Three years ago I had a dream of illustrating children's books. I wrote my own book and even did a little mock up with illustrations.  I sent it off to friends and family for feedback. I wrote and rewrote the story over and over. I then enrolled in a short course to learn about illustrating books for kids. And three times the course was cancelled due to lack of numbers. I shelved the book and went back to my life before at the end of 2012 making the decision to study design formally. So last week I dusted off my manuscript and wrote and rewrote it again until I was happy with it. Then I sent it off for consideration. I have a feeling that manuscripts take even LONGER to be considered than illustrations. The illustration on the right I drew in 2011 - feels like an age ago! But the dream is still there….

This process reminded me how much I love to write. I write regularly for a music blog and review music, interview people and generally promote new artists. (if you are interested see here: It's My Kind of Scene - music blog)
I have been writing for this particular blog for the last year (as a love job - not a paid job). So I guess that writing has become a part of my life almost without me being aware of it. 

SUPERGRAPH - Prints still for sale!

On Valentine's Day weekend earlier this month I had my first professional art fair showing. I had three illustrations up on the 
walls at Supergraph Contemporary Art Fair. And those three designs were available for sale in A4 print form. It was so amazing to be there on opening night walking around the Royal Exhibition Building here in Melbourne and feeling like I was a part of the industry. My favourite part of the night was walking past my work and then seeing a couple pick up the little slip of paper and pencil in front of it and write down it's details - that's one sale there!

 There are still prints available on the Supergraph website. Check it out and share it around! Prints for sale - Supergraph website

DRAWING - everyday!

Of course with all of these opportunities and little bits of joy and lots of handwork I have been drawing every day!
I think though, I have written enough here for today.
So with this new beginning I am ending this post for today!

With much creativity and heart.

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