How other fields inform my work

In marketing, we love ourselves a specialist. A product or service that is easily classified, consistent and equal. It has its perks: we know what to expect and can make quicker decisions. But as employees or entrepreneurs, we can benefit from being more well-rounded, even if we don’t draw on those skills every day. 

I studied game design, interned at a game company, started my career as a designer for a film distribution company and then went on to work as a visualizer for a huge non-profit company before becoming a full-time freelance illustrator. All these steps in my adult life inform the way that I shape my work and business.

So what other skills do I use?

3D referencing – During university, our curriculum consisted mostly of making 3D artwork. As a result I’m experienced in creating 3D scenes and can create complex reference in a matter of hours without needing physical tools, where others would need to search for the right pictures, build physical maquettes or hire models and set up the right lighting.

Art for marketing – When I worked at a film distribution company, I learned the difference between marketing art and art for other disciplines. There’s a set of requirements to art for marketing – extremely clear compositions and storytelling – that often becomes equally important or secondary in other forms of art. I learned to be extremely utilitarian and how to work with someone else’s IP.

Soft skills – When I moved on to visualizing for a big non-profit, I gained a lot more responsibility and independence and had to learn a lot of soft skills quickly. Even though I drew a lot and learned more technical drawing skills, I also learned how to manage expectations, pitch projects, keep all stakeholders involved and how to keep other parties accountable and on track. In managing relationships as a freelancer, this is invaluable. Many people have a romantic image of an artist being able to just paint all day. In reality we have a lot of other responsibilities; a lot of which have to do with soft skills.

Even though my path to freelance illustration has been full of twists and turns, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My time as a student and employee has provided me with a unique set of skills that are extremely useful in my current day-to-day business. 

What is your unique skillset?