I’m a member of Wordsmiths, and I’m also an illustrator. Here is my perspective as a children’s book illustrator.
Here are some tips and questions to ponder about setting illustration goals.
Write them down. Nearly everything I’ve read about goal setting recommends writing goals down. Sometimes every day. Some even recommend memorizing them! A lot of experts compare this to a roadmap; something to follow or fall back on when you get lost. One of my first steps was to assemble a portfolio of artwork. By taking classes and making assignments for myself, I have been able to get my portfolio up and jogging. What do I want my artwork to accomplish? What are my goals for my artwork? What are the steps I need to take?
Be specific. Making precise goals helps to determine what actions need to be taken and whether your goals are being accomplished. As I attended workshops and met other artists and writers, I learned how much diversity there is in the field of children’s books. It seems like there is something for every artist, and that gives me hope. But I realized too, that my goal, “to illustrate children’s books,” was too broad. I began to look more closely at the type of artwork used for different genres of books. I began to define my style and figure out where my artwork would fit in. Are my goals too general? Do I have a time table to pace my goals? What type of book is best suited for my artwork? Do I like to draw certain things, people or animals? Do I have a consistent style?
Make a commitment. Working by myself, at first, was lonely. I missed getting immediate feedback from others in the art department. As time went by, the loneliness made arriving at my home studio more difficult. Solution: Join a critique group! What activities are going to help me accomplish my goals? Can I do these activities on a daily or regular basis? Do I have the right equipment to help me accomplish my goals? Do I need to learn new skills? Have I included recreational or inspirational activities? Do I have a positive attitude? How is my physical and spiritual health?
Get motivated. I’ve tried non-artist jobs, but it just doesn’t work for me. I’m very grateful that God has given me this talent to make my livelihood. I also get a kick out of seeing my artwork in print! I really enjoy giving visual order to things imagined by me or another author. I have hope that my artwork brings joy to kids. I believe my artwork makes the world a better place. Why do I want to accomplish this goal? How will I benefit from this goal? How does this goal complement my values?
Go get ‘em!
-contributed by Veronica Walsh, Illustrator