Thursday, August 15, 2013

What To Do While You’re Waiting!

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart.” ― Erma Bombeck 

I cannot think of anyone who enjoys waiting. It's one of the downsides to being an adult. We wait in line, we wait for meals, we wait for red lights and so on. When it comes to your career and your happiness while in it, we shouldn't wait. It's extremely liberating when we stop waiting for others to help us, notice our work or promote us. 

Too often I receive emails from illustrators telling me they are waiting for this to happen or for their portfolio to be just right or an agent to take them on. This waiting tends to put them in a holding pattern. If they become stuck for too long, nothing happens, no income comes in and they begin questioning their work. 

The internet is a fickle place and the illustration industry is not exempt. We could stay up all night worrying about it while feeling like we do not measure up to the worlds idea of what is viral worthy imagery. Or we could just keep making work and start taking charge of our own careers despite what others think.  

Being in the illustration industry is one continual experiment. We experiment with our work, style, work hours, types of clients, our tolerance level, our energy and our persistent nature to keep creating. 

It's in us to make things. It's how we're made. It's not complicated! 

We've all heard this expression: If you want it done right sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do it yourself.  

I think what makes a really great illustrator is one who sees themselves as a business, an idea generator and a creative entrepreneur. This also means going out on a limb by going in the other direction. The reality is, not all illustrators will get an agent. Some illustrators choose not to have one and some do not offer what some big agents need. 

I was once told that it was more likely to get hit by lighting then to get an agent. I personally have no idea if that is true or not. What I can say is this: do not judge your style, your experience or your success with that kind measuring stick. You'll drive yourself crazy! 

Being independent does have it's upsides! When you get a moment, make a list. 

So in the meantime while you feel you are waiting, just keep making. Time does not stop when you're in limbo so you might as well use that time for good. 

Go make something. Sketch an idea. Make notes. Create a great playlist to work to. Go for a walk. Connect with other illustrators. Join a group. Do something for someone without expecting anything in return. Be weird again. Make some mistakes. Experiment with your ideas. Enjoy the process.  


  1. Holly,
    I love this post. You are so right! Thanks for your wise words and encouragement.

  2. Thanks Dana. All the best. Cheers!

  3. Excellent words of wisdom. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Great post. I just finished my first novel and I related to what you had to say, too.


Lets continue the conversation...