Old Man piloting a Mech

Click below to watch the videos of me working on this page. Click here to purchase the original inks page.

Finished Colors - level up by using diminishing returns

Want to own the original page? Click here to grab a one of a kind.

Illustration: Washington Outgunned

If you haven't listened to the soundtrack to Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton on Broadway, then you need to stop and do that right away. It is so good that I'm now reading Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton, never a U.S. president, created our financial system, the coast guard, first Secretary of the Treasury and was George Washington's right-hand man during the revolutionary war and his presidency. In this illustration, I incorporated lyrics from "Right Hand Man" as General Washington was introduced in this play.

Watch the speed drawing.

The following video shows the process of creating this illustration, starting in my sketchbook, creating basic shapes in Adobe Illustrator and then finishing it all off with digital inks and color in Adobe Photoshop.

In this episode of illo talk, I tackle the challenge of

Becoming a Working Freelancer

What is the best approach to take to become a freelancer and how do you attract clients?

"I've said it many years and nobody ever takes note of it because it's not the answer they want to hear...be so good they can't ignore you... If somebody's thinking 'How can I be really good' then the people will come to you" - Steve Martin

Know it, Do it, Show it, Repeat

The challenge of becoming a working freelancer is two-fold. On the one hand, you need clients willing to pay and on the other hand you need a body of work that proves you are worth being paid. It seems like a catch 22 situation, but it isn't. You don't need clients to build a body of work, you need a personal project.

  • Know what you want to do
    • Be specific
    • Can change over time, but focus and let it evolve
    • Do something good, when that stops working, do something else good
    • Do it
      • Create the type of things that you'd like to create
      • Choose a personal project that will help you create and showcase what you want to do
      • Work for free, but work for yourself
      • Many people wait for clients to do the work that they'd like to do, but a client isn't going to hire you if they haven't seen you make things.
      • Show it
        • Wip, Show your work posts, the story, or narrative of your work should be shared
        • if you are constantly creating and sharing your work, then people will see what you're making and you'll be known for that type of work
        • you'll build a body of work that you can use to promote yourself.
        • Repeat

Other tips mentioned in this episode

  • Seek to make people's lives better
  • Follow people on Twitter and interact in a non-creepy/fanboy way
  • Support other creators on Kickstarter, Patreon, etc (give and take, law of harvest)
  • Be Patient it'll happen
  • Be consistent
  • Have a website (not .wordpress, .blogger, weebly, but a dot com/net/ whatever. Even .ink or .art)
  • Design your site to feature you work. Focus it.
  • Social media

Suggested Reading, Listening and Watching

If you'd like me to talk about something specific or you want to be notified of future episodes, illustrations etc, then jump over to corykerr.com/email to subscribe to my email newsletter. Hit me up with questions at corykerr.com/questions

illustration: Benefits of Exposure, aka: exposure vs exploitation and the value of creative work

In the following process video, I draw this image in Photoshop on my Wacom Cintiq while talking about some issues that businesses and creatives face.

Talking about the value of creative work in business and why businesses benefit from paying for quality work. I also discuss why illustrators, photographers, musicians, designers, etc should charge for their work and when, rarely, to do it for exposure.

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Jake Parker's Video about Exposure

I'm getting to the point in time my career where I want to warn younger creatives of some of the lessons that I've learned the hard way.

99% of the time, someone promising "exposure" is just someone trying to get something for free that they should pay for.

In this video, I discuss the difference between exposure and exploitation in the hopes that business people and artists can have mutually beneficial relationships.

I discuss at length the concept of relationships based on a balanced exchange of value. That value can be money, altruism and, on rare occasions, exposure, but often, that "exposure" is actually exploitation in the form of an unbalanced relationship where one side is getting a significant amount of value and not giving any value in return.

illustration: Molotov Misogyny & Killing Creativity

I made this image to show that women are still having to fight against misogyny. I used the imagery of stone/wall for misogyny as a barrier and a Molotov Cocktail as a representation of the ongoing fight.  The idea of the power that women is represented by the fire. The Molotov Cocktail breaking through is the hope that the fight is working.

When my daughter started school, my longstanding concerns about the way school is structured became very real and concerning. You see, I believe that America's current school system is structured to create Model T factory workers, not creative, thinking adults. During the industrial revolution, America needed robots, but lacked the technology to build them. Instead, we began to train our children to be robots.

In today's education, children, all of whom are naturally creative and artistic, are told to sit down, be quiet and do exactly as they are told. Art, music and thinking are disruptive to the system and to the classroom environment. Over the course of years, our kids are trained to follow instructions, not to think for themselves and this has led to a loss of creativity.

The illustration merely shows creativity entering a school house and conformity coming out. The world can make robots now. We don't need people to be robots. We need people to be people and to think and create.

Learn more about this by watching this TED Talk.