Finding Inspiration, Finding your style

  • Be around other artists’ work all the time
  • See as much work as you can, don’t limit yourself to your field
  • Explore different techniques and styles, keep churning out work as long as you’re at uni
  • Learn to take feedback

Places I got inspiration from

How to get commissions

  • Be in the right place at the right time
  • Put your work out for people to see
  • Make contacts in the industry and use them
  • If people like your work they will pass it along. People love giving recommendations
  • Get your work to a level where you are confident enough to sell it

Book Commissions

  • You get the total number of illustrations you’ll have to do
  • Read the book and figure out where your illustrations might go
  • Send the publisher a list of page numbers, get feedback on that
  • Work with rough sketches to work out layout, tone and content of your illustrations. Stay in constant communication with the publisher throughout the process. The client will know your style, so sketches can be quite simple.

The Olive Fairy Book


  • Detailed line work in pencil
  • Patterns in watercolour on a seperate sheet (using a lightbox)
  • Scan both sheets and finish colouring and textures in Photoshop

Get the character and style of handdrawn illustration and the precision and control o digital tools.

Personal Projects

  • Keep doing personal projects even while youre working
  • Keeps your love for the subject alive
  • Lets you discover and experiment with new techniques
  • Might get you new comissions


Do you get paid for pitches, and at what points in longer projects do you get paid?

Different publishers have different policies, but you usually get 33% up front when you sign the contract and 66% when the project is done.

Where do you get references for your work?

Mostly just Google images. Don’t spend too much time looking at one image though, just use them as reference to get things like architecture correct.

Not as much in the general industry, but I do keep in touch with people from my course. However, people in the industry are generally happy to help if you have questions.