Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Breaking into Freelance Illustration - book review

Recently, I read "Breaking Into Freelance Illustration" by illustrator and author Holly DeWolf. I actually learned about the book before it was even published. A couple of years ago, Holly asked me if I would be interested in contributing to the book, and I was very happy to oblige. I knew Holly from the online community of illustrators, and I knew that whatever she was writing would be something I'd be eager to read myself! Her book saw the light of publishing day in September 2009 (F+W/HOW Books) and I of course could not wait to get my copy from Amazon. When it arrived, I couldn't put it down.

Three things I love about this book

Its a creative business book that's also a fun read
There is no slogging through the content in this book. It's packaged well in fun-sized, easily digestible morsels. This helps make it an addictive read. It's a flexible one, too—for the reader, it would be as comfortable to consume the entire book in a few longer sittings, as it would be to pop off a few pages at a time over the course of a couple weeks, say, on your daily commute.

It features real-deal conversations, observations and advice from a variety of active, working illustrators and designers
I love that there's snippets from working professionals from all walks of illustration: children's, editorial, art licensing, logo designers, and more. This not only helps to illustrate personal experiences in so many different areas of the industry, but it also illuminates how similar all of our experiences as creative professionals are, how we all often struggle with the same fundamental challenges, and how some general solutions to these problems can be retro-fitted to our own particular situation with just a fresh eye and an open mind. Though each of us may concentrate on different areas of the industry and, as such, have very individualized,  specific goals for our respective work, there is more that is fundamentally similar in all of our experiences than is different.

A great introductory book for young illustrators... and a good reminder manual for the established
Many business books for creatives tout the same, classic, tried-and-true fundamentals. Good advice is good advice, right? This book shares some of the same, but also shares so much more—Holly's voice shines right through the words on the page. She's personable and honest, like a good friend who doesn't sugarcoat things. Holly acts as an invisible mentor, dispensing some real tough-love advice, but in a completely comfy, "positive-vibes" type of package. She definitely has a way with words, proving a strong ability to cover a lot of material in a way that's neither overwhelming nor disorganized, while maintaining her loose, conversational tone. All in all, it's an easily digestible book on the business of art that's great for artists who have an aversion to business books.

There is a lot more to love about this book. If this mini-review has piqued your interest, I hope you will pick it up!


roz said...

I feel like saying, "Yeah, what she said!". Great review!

andi butler said...

You rock, Holly and Kathy!

a : )

Jannie aka Chickengirl said...

I love how you take the time to give great indepth book reviews!

Kathy Weller said...

Thanks guys! :) :)

Jannie, Wouldn't'cha know it, I composed it mostly on my iphone. (Thank you iphone and BlogPress application, for helping to rescue my blog! :))

PeeB4Ugo said...

Great review, and an awesome book by an incredible author....Well done ;)