Advice to a Class from Real World Freelance- Part 4

Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Laura C. who is a first year Media and Animation student at The Art Institute of Orange County. For her report, she was required to interview someone in the Animation Industry to get an idea for the field and the types of jobs that are available.

In the next series of posts, I will share with you the questions she asked me and my responses based on my journey and perspective as a Freelance Artist. Please feel free to comment below with any questions you may have for me, and I would be happy to answer them for you. 

Interview with Michael Voogd - Freelance Artist
Animator – Illustrator – Caricature – Comic Strips – Instructor

How long did it take to get your business up and running?
I realized the first thing I needed was a website to promote myself, and some business cards for my face-to-face meetings. After launching my website I started scanning in my old drawings just for visual stimulation to give viewers a taste of my style. Then I searched sites like craigslist.org for people that needed artist to hire. I was professional in my email responses to their ads, and always included my new website for them to view my work. I knew that if I could get them to reply to my emails, and begin a conversation with them, that I had a chance. And sure enough, within the first week I started receiving personal replies and offers. In fact, two of my current clients I found on craigslist, and I am still working with them 3 years later!

Remember, it’s all about presenting a strong portfolio, and NOT necessarily about having a degree! People don’t care that I have an Associates in Art Degree. What they care about is what they see in my portfolio and what they will expect their projects to look like.

Were there any setbacks?
A-B-C… Always Be Closing. Or put another way, “Always Be Creating”. One thing I learned from my former sales jobs is to keep your “pipeline” full. Which means to always have projects that you are working on, while continuing to pursue new clients. If you just settle on working with your existing clients, you neglect your next paycheck, which you will eventually need. With this mentality, I have been able to avoid potential setbacks.

Is it ever hard to find new clients?
Not when you follow my previous advise. There is ALWAYS a need for ART. Some people have the vision, but it’s the artist that brings the vision to life. I do believe that you should have a specialty, or the art that you prefer to create. BUT, that is when you need to decide how you want to market yourself. In the beginning, I marketed myself (and still do to some extent) in the following areas: Animator, Illustrator, Caricature and Comic Strip Artist. I also am an instructor and teach drawing classes in the local home schooling community to fulfill a need for parents that want their children exposed to art, but don’t know how to draw. Versatility is important. There will be times that caricatures aren’t in demand, or illustrations; in which case you’ll need to market comic strips, or logo design, or tutoring. READ:

READ: Advice to a Class from Real World Freelance Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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