What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Absolutely. For me, the learning is ongoing because tastes, styles, and technology are always evolving and changing. So I'm always doing something to stay in step, whether it's a painting and illustration techniques class to keep my drawing skills sharp, stocking up on the latest design books, or learning new animation software. I want to have as diverse an array of skills at my disposal as possible, so learning and continuing to educate myself is of paramount importance.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
My normal hourly rate is $50/hr. My rate is $65/hr if the job is a quick turnaround (client needs finished product in 1-5 days). However, if the project is so enormous in scope that hourly pricing becomes cost-prohibitive for a client's budget, I am willing to do a flat rate that is commensurate with the work and satisfies the customer's budgetary constraints. Let's have a conversation about it!
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I came into it almost as a matter of course. I've been drawing and painting since I was two years old. In grade school, a friend's mom asked me to draw some cartoon illustrations for an educational newsletter her company was printing to ship to schools statewide and I got paid $200 for the job. That was the first time I realized that doing something I loved and enjoyed so much could also be a job. Ever since then it seems I've always had requests like that. And the world is full of people who need a little illustration or design help, so I have always just thought of myself as someone who's able to help people out when they need artwork or something designed.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I do a wide variety of work, but the most common are posters (theatrical one-sheets and promotional pieces for film, tv, and live events), packaging and label design for DVDs and compact disc, and freelance illustration for a variety of projects (new media, video animation, online platforms and magazine articles).
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
In 2013 I was hired by Educational Service Unit #3 in Omaha, NE to create, write, and animate a series of online learning videos for their Trait-Based Writing program. I wrote the copy, storyboarded and designed the videos, created and animated all of the frames, and did the voice-over. It was such a great project because I got to use a variety of my skills and abilities on one project. The initial order was for 17 videos and I'm excited that they're making more this year.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
First, the customer should be a fan of the illustrator or designer's style. Their work should make you think "Wow! I'd love to have her design our stuff!" Second, the designer should be able to provide you with some samples of work that's reasonably close to the work you want from him. It doesn't mean that they have to have already done a roll-out for a medical center, but they should have something that looks or feels in the same ballpark as what you're envisioning -- something that shows you on paper that this person can visually achieve what your company wants. This is especially important if you already have a well-developed brand image and need to maintain continuity there. Last, the designer should be someone you feel you can easily work with. Flexibility is just as key as versatility. You want someone who knows that the end goal is to create material that adds value to you or your product and can adeptly apply their talents to that end. You don't want someone who's so married to their ideas as to be stand-offish. You want someone with a great eye who will help you bring your vision to completion.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
That things are continually evolving at an almost indescribable pace. What's in vogue one month can be considered trite or outmoded the next. So as a designer, a large part of my work is to expose myself to those trends while continuing to develop and nurture my own style and visual voice. At the end of the day, the client has to be pleased and excited about the work they're getting. But it would be great if more customers knew that a good designer is always looking for ways to make their product or organization current and relevant -- and that the process sometimes involves an embrace of the new and untested.