Archive for the ‘Creative Futures Week’ Category

Karen Cheung: Freelance Illustration and Animation:

This presentation was given by a freelance illustrator and animator – Karen Cheung. Her work is quirky and unique and includes the animations “Headache Hotel” and “Welcome to the Zoo” . Her presentation focused on self promotion and how to advance your career.

Wth portfolios it is impotant to keep them concise and not just to cram every piece of work you have ever done in the portfolio. Tailor your portfolio to the client or agent you are seeking to do business with. Do research as to what exactly they are looking for.

Don’t just sit there … be proactive with taking your work and showing it around. Look at the other employed artists’ work … see what they do but don’t copy.

Learn to take rejection and learn from it !

Be versatile.

An agency may be useful, particularly if you lack confidence or are shy at self promotion. Agencies take a cut of your earnings, but the artist doesn’t have to deal with money and contracts directly. Using an agency may result in bigger clients which you may not attract working freelance. Working with an agency may mean tight deadlines, which may impact on the quality of your work, and you may need to compromise at times.

Advice she gave:

During University: Work hard, trust yourself, listen and have fun !!

After University: Be brave, work even harder, persevere, don’t take it personally, keep playing and exploring.

Self Promotion: Websites and blogs, sell your work, take part in conventions and artist trails.

Don’t forget your tax return.

Overall I found this presentation to offer valuable advice about working as an artist after university. Karen Cheung offered a lot of useful tips for self promotion.

Karen Cheung’s website: http://www.karencheung.co.uk/index2.html

Examples of illustrations by Karen Cheung:

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Building an Audience – John Allison

John Allison, the author and artist of comics such as Scary Go-Round, Bad Machinery, gave a presentation which gave an insight into the evolution of his own comics, showing how his work has progressed and highlighted what worked and what didn’t. He gave lots of invaluable advice, which can be summarised as follows:

You should have an audience in mind. It is important to have a clear focus on the direction you want to go. Write for yourself, but always be aware of your audience. You audience is valuable, so it is important to be consistent, as often comic readers dislike too much change. Change can shock an audience.

Putting your work behind a paywall can lose you an audience, people will give you a chance online because it is free.

Don’t be shy. If you are gifted you are generally shy and you are your own worst critic. Confidence is key … if your work is “slightly good” then it is good enough to sell.

Make contacts with people who do similar work to yourself. Conventions are important for making contacts.

Be realistic.

WebComics that Work

Hark! A Vagrant: Heavily researched with light humour, so can connect with both high and low brow readers.

Nedroid: Simple visual language, funny and appealing.

Achewood: High-brow ‘New Yorker’ audience. Built more around the words.

DO IT YOURSELF – anything you can do … if you can do it, do it yourself !!

Use your art for other things. Build up a portfolio of things you can sell. T-Shirts are very popular and good to design. Make books – inkylittlefingers are good for short, cheap runs on self made books. You’ll learn a lot about business and working by selling things. Evaluate how others do things, the sort of people coming by to see you and your work, etc.

Study successful people.

Advertising is free money – Avoid overloading your website with adverts because it will annoy your readership.

Pinch pennies like there’s a war on. Learn to save and stay in the black.

Things John Allison wished he had been taught:

‘Exposure’ is meaningless. It really wont get you anywhere.

The difference between success and failure is usually a lack of intellectual curiosity. Keep learning, everything adds to your work and makes it richer.

The lower the price of a job, the more difficult the client will be.

Learn how to be a pain about money. If people don’t pay you why would you want to deal with them again?

Fake mistakes. This will give you time to work on other things while your client mulls over changes you will have already made.

Most publishing deals aren’t worth anything but a good one is worth everything. Only work with people who are going to help you, and people you trust.

You have to make an impression on someone to be remembered. Business cards will get thrown away

Overall I found this to be a really valuable presention containing lots of useful advice to help me in my own professional development.

John Allison’s Websites:



John Allison – Bad Machinery:

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