When it comes to making money from illustration, the road can be a bumpy one, even for people that have been working at it for years. If you’re just at the beginning of your illustration career then it can seem almost impossible to land that first big commission, but finding and sticking to your style is one of the best ways to get there. Recognizing and playing to your strengths is more than half the battle, the other half we’ll explain right here!
How to Find and Capitalize Your Illustration Style?
Search Engine Optimisation
It can be tempting to spread ourselves thinly across a variety of different styles in the hopes of attracting more work, but often this has the very opposite effect. Finding your own style and sticking to it is one of the most powerful ways to find the customers that you want. If, for example, your illustration style fits under the broad umbrella of ‘Anime’ then consider how it could be broken down again. Perhaps you are particularly talented at drawing anime focused around food, maybe gambling Anime is more your style, or even cute animal anime. All of these two or three word terms will provide a much more clear and focused SEO.
If you’re a client searching for someone to illustrate your restaurant menu in an anime style, you’re far more likely to search for ‘anime food illustrator’ than just ‘anime illustration’. In the same way, you’ll have much less competition with other -‘anime illustration’ brings back 976million google hits, whereas ‘anime food illustrator’ brings back far less at 27million. In this case, the riches really are in the niches.
How Many Images?
Choosing how many images to use on your homepage is, to some degree, a personal choice. Generally speaking, choosing 3-5 of your best images is pretty safe advice. However, that’s not to say there isn’t space for flexibility. A large part of which images make it to your homepage will depend on how cohesively they work together. With a lot of images, it becomes harder to create a ‘house style’ and the page can become cluttered.
If you’re set on using many images then a good way to combat this problem is with thumbnails. Hone in on small parts of the work. Preferably bits that follow a similar color scheme and use them as thumbnails. Then create a clickable button which allows potential clients to see the image in a large version. This method of including a portfolio on your homepage can work particularly well for artists who include a lot of detail in their work. however, also want their homepage to appear clean and professional.
If you’d like a more minimal style, a bold but beautiful way to style your homepage is
with just one spectacular image. Choose a standout piece of work and make it a feature, ideally taking up two-thirds of the page or more. Pick out key colors from the work and use them for headings and subheadings. So, treat the homepage as an illustration in itself. Using your skills in this way shows both. Your talent as an illustrator and also your ability to lend a hand to new tasks.
Colour Scheme On Your Illustration Style
Whilst we’re always told to use a white background. But sometimes it pays to think outside the box. If you’re an illustrator with a particularly bold style then why not incorporate it into your website? Malika Favre has a bold style that combines all the best of Op-Art and Pop Art. Her website is clean and crisp but her bold, primary color scheme creates a brand all by itself. Giving a color scheme the focus of attention on a homepage. Like this is a brave move, but for this style of illustration, it works brilliantly.
It’s important not to forget the impact that colors have on our brain. Some illustrators who have a dark or mysterious style may benefit from using a black background. The dramatic chiaroscuro effect of Justin Maller’s homepage is created by bursts of light and color against an inky black backdrop. The site feels dramatic and masculine, the crisp, clean lines appear beautifully and the whole impression is very clever. Imagine it with a white background and the effect multiplies enormously.