1. develop a limited color palette that is unique to you

When you first start out in illustration, sometimes you get so deep into refining your style that you end up paying less attention to developing an evident color palette throughout your work.

If I’m scrolling through an illustrator’s Instagram profile and I notice a limited color palette within their work, their style and personal brand immediately becomes more memorable. As an illustrator, in order for your work to be recognizable and harmonious as a whole, it’s important to follow certain rules you’ve set for yourself, such as a restricted form system or a limited color palette. In doing so, you’ll allow yourself to step towards a consistent style that is distinctly yours.

Large hand dropping a tiny mic

2. don’t be afraid of self-promotion

I often find that many designers and illustrators don’t post much of their work online, either because they don’t care to or because they’re scared. I’ve been both.

Recently, however, I read something in the book Don’t Get a Job… Make a Job, written by designer Gem Barton, that has inspired me to post more of my work online with no shame. In the book is a short essay by Alec Dudson, founder and editor of Intern magazine. Dudson urges artists to not be daunted by the concept of self-promotion, saying, “You can be loud and proud about your work without being egotistical; if you don’t tell people you’re there, they aren’t going to find you.”

if you don’t tell people you’re there, they aren’t going to find you.

Regardless of what your creative practice is—if you make good work, SHOW IT! Because if you’re confident in who you are and what you make, the world will see that.


3. have something to say

The simple notion of having something genuine to say is more significant than most realize. There is beautiful work everywhere, but to me, the most compelling work is able to visually communicate a message with impact and clarity. Whether your message is social justice, women empowerment, or mental health advocacy, how can you manifest these powerful messages into your work?

This isn’t to say that everything you make has to change the world. Making things just to make them is equally as important to developing your style and voice as an illustrator. But if you also have the innate ability to visually bring influential ideas to life, why not do so to raise awareness to the things you care about? If you—not just as an illustrator, but as a person—don’t voice your opinions, then what’s the point?