How to be an Illustrator – book review

By Darrel Rees

Published by Laurence King

ISBN: 9781780673288

Review by Kathryn Smith

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Soon there will be a new wave of illustration graduates and there will be questions many of them will be sharing, How can I get that first gig? Will I be able to find work? Can I sustain myself as an illustrator full time? As a final year student I also share these concerns and this book has been able to inform me of practices, strategies and given me pointers in becoming an Illustrator I had not thought of before reading.

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How to be an illustrator offers practical help and guidance to aspiring illustrators. The book gives eight detailed and informative chapters from the beginnings of a illustrative career to forward thinking industry decisions to be made once an illustrator is established, focusing on creating portfolios, approaching clients, find jobs producing, cost, promotion, studios and agents.

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The book offers advice and solutions for a new illustrator, who may be unsure of what is to be expected of them once they join the industry. I found myself discovering parts of being an illustrator I had not considered before reading this book, such as including the billing of clients and an illustrators copyright. The book offers an insight into the life of being a professional illustrator with Rees giving many examples of his time working as both an illustrator and an agent. Through each chapter we have interviews with illustrators including Guy Marshall, Luke Hayman, Bruce Ingman, Marc Boutavant, Yuko Shimizu, Sarah Thomson and Brett Ryder, which delves into their experiences and provides advice.

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I found these sections to be the most interesting parts of the book and wish there was more of them included, in addition of the artists illustrations alongside the interviews gave the reader insight into the type of person was being interviewed.

How to be an Illustrator is an essential read for aspiring illustrators covering all aspects of being a professional illustrator and offering examples and experience from a range of illustrators. New graduates to reading and taking on the guidance provided will have a better chance of establishing themselves as a member of the industry.

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