4 Creative Tips to do Before You Graduate



Hey everyone ,

Leaving art college or university can be both an exciting and nerve wrecking time for the upcoming graduate. Whether your in art college or university here in the uk or internationally and are ready to pursue your creative career its always best I think to plan and prepare before the big leap.

I remember when I graduated from my bachelor’s degree  I thought everything would  be plain sailing, though when you actually leave you realise how that bit of planning can help in being efficient and organised in working towards your creative goals and knowing what to do next. So to lend a hand I’ve put together 4 tips on what to do before you graduate in 2014 for pursuit in a creative career.

1. Research : If you know in yourself that your next step is to venture into creative freelancing in your specialism then the best thing to do is gather your research. Looking into things such as freelancing rates, how to register your business, potential business funding or scheme’s available in your area may just help you plan out what course you need to take to do what you love.

2. Prepare your portfolio: The key thing thats going to help skyrocket your creative career is your portfolio and the work you have in it. Now having completed your years of degree or college work you’ll no doubt have a portfolio full of lovely projects. However if  like me you came away with dust covered dissertations and little of a portfolio you may feel abit daunting knowing there’s more work to do.

So whether your portfolio is ready or not you need to have it professionally presented for people to view it such as potential clients, agents etc. If your wanting to build up your portfolio from scratch then ideally allocate yourself maybe 3-6 months to build it up to have some fresh  new material that your truly happy to promote and using themes like those found here on illustration friday maybe a great place to start generating idea’s.

3. Set money aside : If you’re able to its always a good thing to put money aside to later on use to invest in your business. This will enable you to buy the necessary start up equipment and materials that you need to effectively do the work to a standard that will enable your creative business to function.

4. Gain advice and mentoring : Starting out your own creative venture isn’t easy so I feel that gaining all the support, advice and mentoring that you can will be worth its weight in gold. If you don’t already know what a mentor is or have one a mentor is somebody who can be in your field of practice with experience of the industry who is there to give you advice and guidance to help you along the way now and then.

I am lucky enough to have two wonderful mentors so my advice would be asking someone who inspires you but also who you have established a relationship with whether they would possibly consider mentoring you.  Either way mentoring isn’t all take, no doubt you’ll have skills and advice you can exchange so its a win win situation either way.

There’s also a variety of business support and advice centres locally no doubt aswell as online for you to access such as enterprise nation, the design trust and the princes trust so please check them out.

Hope you found this little post helpful, kudos to you for getting through all your studies and here’s to a creative venture yet to start! Have you decided where you’re venturing on from here?

Image : “Do more of what makes you happy” illustration by  Lindsay at Unraveled design .

Posted by Kate Leonard on 06/07/14 under artists

  • Edith Kiriakova

    How do I find a mentor? I know some excellent illustrators, but I feel uneasy approaching them and asking for help

    • Kate Leonard

      Hey Edith thanks for commenting sorry I wasn’t able to get back to you sooner but here goes. Finding a mentor isn’t quite as hard as you might think , its generally just about being genuine in your interests and intentions and approaching people in your practice who inspire you and may have helpful advice and such to give whilst your own your creative journey.

      Starting out its just about making friendships with people who share the same interests as you and from there through your emails back and forth you’ll generally get a feel for how the relationship between the two parties pans out. So for example if a creative practicitioner takes the time to answer your email and is open to kindly answer any of your questions this is a really great start because they are genuinely open to helping you.

      You can also share your own aspirations, experiences and inspirations with them and just share abit more about yourself and where your wanting to go with your creative career. It’s just a case of building up a good relationship over time to the point where your confident enough to ask whether they would kindly be your mentor.

      Being a mentor doesn’t really require to much time or commitment on the mentor part but they’re just generally there to offer experience, advice, and resources of information that maybe vital for you as your going along whether via email etc. My mentor is a designer maker and though you may think they’re very different fields from my illustration, she’s an amazing friend and reliable source of information on the business and product side of things so each has different skills and experience to them.

      It may also be that you have skills and knowledge to offer to the mentor themselves and therefore this makes the mentoring relationship equally giving :) . For example you may have learned of new things in college or university that might be key for someone else to know.

      Though lastly something to consider is that some illustrators may be willing to help anyway that they can, where as others may have tight deadlines and work schedules to commit to so its important to keep in mind some may kindly turn down the offer of being a mentor. Although dont take it to heart it doesn’t mean there’s not someone out there willing to help you on your way , they were no doubt in your shoes years ago so a helping hand when they started was no doubt very much appreciated :).

      If you have anymore questions just pop me a reply or email and I’ll be sure to help in any way I can x kate

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