Artist Resources

Advice from RB Freelance Artists – April

Make Some Noise

Have you ever considered having your very own freelance career? Of course, you have! We want to help so we’ve invited some of our Redbubble artist community to share experiences and advice.

This month we’re chatting with freelance artists Gaia Marfurt and Daisy-Beatrice.

Gaia Marfurt was born in Rome and currently residing in Italy with her husband and four small children, Gaia recalls creating fantasy stories, playing with dolls, and performing with her youngest sister as a child.  the European Design Institute of Rome and I started working as a comics writer,

After graduating from the European Design Institute of Rome she began working for many Italian children magazines as a comic and illustrator and her freelance career was off.

Gaia MarfurtThe most difficult thing in being a freelance artist is… to be constant in your work. When you have a job in an office, you have to go there every day and work for 6 or 8 hours. But when you are a freelance artist, probably working from home, sometimes with children and a house needing you… well it’s so easy to get lost in the everyday things to do for your family!

You begin projects and you leave them to die because you seem not to find any time for them. You feel guilty because you seem not able to be a professional artist and a good mum!

Ok… take a long breath, relax, keep calm and try to progress by little steps! :D

Be constant. Try to do something, just a little, but every day.

Walking together is better, so I recommend you to join an Artists community on the internet where you can give and get advice because sharing your problems will make you feel much better!

"Be constant. Try to do something, just a little, but every day."

I find weekly challenges and contests very stimulating. I use to enter a design every week on the Spoonflower weekly challenges. Look for interesting courses online. I think Lilla Rogers Studio creates really good courses, but there are many others on the web (many of my designer friends found the Make it in design courses useful). These are especially useful if you want to improve your Portfolio.

The next step will be to try to contact companies interested in your work. You must do good research online. You don’t have to submit your works everywhere, you have to understand which Company can appreciate your style.

I wish you good luck and don’t forget to work hard but always in a happy mood! :D

'Flying Elephant' wall clock by Gaia Marfurt

Daisy-Beatrice began her freelance career a couple years ago. In addition to adding her work to Print on Demand sites, she creates illustrations for the Stock Image market and accepts commissions from companies looking for something unique.

Daisy-Beatrice: ‘Art is Work.’ This simple quote from iconic New York designer Milton Glaser has shaped the way I operate as a freelance illustrator. My first takeaway from this quote is that if you want your art to sustain you financially, you need to treat it like work.

It’s the best feeling in the world to wake up knowing you’ll be creating art all day in the comfort of your own home. But to make it work financially, you have to be disciplined with your time, limit interruptions during work hours, and think like a business person as well as an artist.

Milton Glaser also makes the point that historically, art was always created for a purpose, and generally for money. Which brings me to my second major takeaway from this quote: never, ever, ever, ever work for free or give your work away. Artists just starting out often fall for the trick of doing work for free in exchange for some vague promise that ‘we’ll recommend you, you’re bound to get more work out of this.’ News flash – it never happens. All that happens is that you reinforce the widely held notion that original art has no value, and artists should work for free (or a coffee or whatever). When people ask me to work for free, I say something like ‘Sure, and you’ll fix my car for free, OK?’ No-one ever accepts my ‘deals’, and they don’t ask again. :)

"Whatever it is that makes you ‘you’ – pour that into your work so that people can see your heart and feel like they know you."

My final tip for freelancers just starting out is to think about what you bring to the market that is unique to you. Work out what you can inject into your art that sets it apart, and makes it covetable and instantly recognisable as yours. Do you have a sneaky sense of humor? Can you create mood-altering color palettes? Can you streamline and simplify like a boss? Whatever it is that makes you ‘you’ – pour that into your work so that people can see your heart and feel like they know you.

And have fun! And don’t stay in your PJs all day. And don’t drink too much coffee just because the kitchen’s right there. :)

'Hipster Owlet' wall clock by Daisy-Beatrice

Share your own tips for success in the comments below!

Make Some Noise
Jen W

Jen W

Redbubble Community Manager, Photographer, and Artist Champion