Thanks for wanting to get in touch. I get a lot of emails and put together some answers below to questions frequently asked. I try to reply to personal emails but sometimes there’s a long delay so I hope you find what you are looking for here. XO- Sam

1. How did you become a professional illustrator?

Illustrating, collaborating with fellow artists and designers and blogging is the best career I can imagine so that’s what I do. I’ve always been an artist, since I was a kid. I studied it and now I do it professionally. I’m represented by an agency/ gallery who handles contracts for me and some marketing as well (you can get an agent too but you need to be in the field for a little while first and build up a healthy roster of clients and learn how to manage your business a bit on your own before an agent will take you on). Many illustrators never go with an agent, preferring to handle everything themselves. Please note that your path will not be the same as mine. I know lots of artists with different stories. I suggest you look at a bunch of artists you admire and find out their stories to see if any steps they took resonate with you.

2. How do you get started and how do you make it in the industry?

Be comfortable with rejection. Constantly try to grow in your own work, keep going no matter what, look at the market to see what’s out there, figure out where you can fit in, carve out a niche, network online and offline, start a blog and devote your life and most of your free time to doing the work you love. The cream rises to the top. If you see your potential someone else will.

3. How do you build a professional portfolio?

Put yourself in the mindset of the client. Show them what they want to see. If you want to do conceptual pieces for the New York Times Op-ed page, you need to look at who they hire and what kind of work those artists do. Take a look at their sites, see who their other clients are and try to give yourself commissions as though they are real and going to be published. 

Design a website that showcases your professional work. You can have different categories such as “editorial, publishing, sketchbook” or “watercolor, ink, digital”. In your bio, you want to describe what you do and who you are. The more professional work you can add to your site to replace the personal work, the better. Over time professional work will be the majority of your site which is good. You will see that you have carved out a niche. It may be a different niche from what you set out to do in the beginning but you will hone your skills, begin to see the market and find your place within it.

3. How do you balance work and life? You’re a mom, blogger and professional illustrator.
I prioritize. I love socializing and going out to dinner and traveling but I mostly work and spend time with family and close friends. I’m very lucky to have friends in art, design and media so when I socialize I’m also networking and getting inspired by other creatives. I don’t jog as much as I probably should ; )

4. Can you blog about my product or artwork?
I’m so happy you are a fan of Maquette. I only post things I love and feel fit with my blog aesthetic. I don’t have sponsors anymore and rarely post about products. Sometimes I might love something but think it does not fit with Maquette. Please don’t be insulted. Thank you for sharing.