BIG NEWS, FRIENDS.
I will be leaving my day job on July 31 to pursue illustration/this business full time.
What does that mean? Lots of things. I'm going to summarize in bullet points for a while because I have too much to say about it and I don't want to ramble on.
- This job has been hugely beneficial for me. I watched this company grow from an idea into a very impactful piece of Capital One's future. The design experience, creative autonomy, and business education have been influential in my preparations for this next step.
- I've saved enough money to give myself a year of runway to build this business.
- I've done a lot of prep work. Right now, all I need are time and space to execute.
Over the next few months, I'd like to:
- Grow my Instagram/digital following. This is going to be an aggressive push. I have ideas about how to make this happen but I'm sure there are a thousand other things I'm not even thinking of yet. I need more followers so that I can...
- Grow my online sales. I am not planning on making the Crooked & Beautiful shop my only source of income, but I would like it to be one of the largest and healthiest sources at the beginning of this process. This will be a lot of work.
- Build a portfolio to get work illustrating for middle-grade chapter books or YA books (think Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell). Along the way, I might find something else to chase with a portfolio, but this is my guidepost for now. Hopefully around January, I will feel comfortable enough to begin submitting to agencies for representation.
- Build a secondary portfolio for character design. This dream continues to simmer in the back of my mind. I don't want to jump from one full time job to another right now but I think this might be something I want to pursue later on. So in the background, I'd like to be thinking about how to structure a portfolio for this.
I suspect that by the time I finish these tasks, I'm going to have some other ideas. Hopefully I wrap up this list by the end of the year. The shop work and digital outreach will be ongoing, but I'm hoping to capitalize on the Halloween-through-December-Holiday-Season this year in order to drum up some interest in my work. At this point, I think the key to unlocking new opportunities lies in building that Instagram base. The more fans I have, the more customers I'll have, and the more ideas/opportunities I'll receive.
Am I scared? I am. I am terrified. But I've been dreaming about doing some version of this for a decade. The time has come.