6 Ways to Make Money as an Illustrator

6 Ways to Make Money as an Illustrator

Sometimes when I’m asked what I do for a living and I say I’m an illustrator, I get some confused looks from folks who aren’t sure what that means. 

“Oh, like children’s books?” is the inevitable followup question, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it also tells me that there may not be enough awareness surrounding the industry and just how much Illustrators can do for work. 

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Now on INPRNT

Funny how the simple act of softening my style feels so vulnerable for me. It feels like sharing the less cynical side of me, when the cynic is the one that’s kept me safe.

But the cynic is also the one that’s held me back, kept me within the bounds of my comfort zone. It’s been comfortable, but like a snake I’ve been ready to shed that exterior.

The reception to this new way of working — and ultimately, of seeing the world — has been received quite well, to my surprise. And prints of these new works are now on INPRNT. It’s a print on demand site that makes gallery quality giclée prints, and artists must be voted in to have a shop.

Ferns of Minnesota INPRNT
Wildflowers of Minnesota Kendall Quack INPRNT
Datura Kendall Quack INPRNT

I wrote a little bit more in depth about this shift in style in this month’s patron only newsletter over on Patreon. If you like these posts and would like a more in depth look at my process, a pledge over there would be very much appreciated! Patreon allows me to sustain my living and continue making art. And I may or may not have a very special release coming up in the next week that will only be available to patrons ;) Click here to view my page.

Thanks for looking!

Small Art for a Big Cause

This year, Light Grey Art Lab is hosting a charity exhibition of small artworks online and I was asked to participate! Proceeds from each sale will go toward the ACLU, The Wilderness Society, The American Red Cross, and The Humane Society. Each archival art print comes in an 8" x 10" frame, gift-wrapped and ready for you to give to someone special.

Atropos - Deathshead Moth and Belladonna Illustration

For my contribution I made an African Death's Head moth and belladonna using a new style I've been exploring.

We were asked to choose a charity from the list for proceeds from our art sales to go to, and I chose the Humane Society. No surprise, I have a big soft spot for pups and cats and all small creatures that rely on us for safety. This charity was also the one with the least number of people contributing which makes me want to cry! Every time I interact with a sweet little pup I think about how good and pure dogs are and how much they need us and how important education about pet ownership is and how important no-kill shelters are. 

Visit the Light Grey Art Lab website to view more work that’s featured this show.

I also shared some process images of this piece on Patreon.

Thanks for looking!

Black Friday Shop Update

I usually protest Black Friday, refusing to participate in such a blatant display of capitalism. This time of year tends to be particularly difficult for me already, but something about the gross monetization of a sacred festival (yule, the winter solstice) sits weird with me.

So, instead of running some kind of crazy deep discount Black Friday sale, I’ve just released several new drawings in the shop and new designs on Threadless. The “Black” in Black Friday in this case does not refer to the dread experienced by retail workers, but instead references the nature of my drawings — that is, blackwork.

Lots of snakes with this update, and lots of thinking about pagan festivals. I don’t relate to Christmas time from a Christian perspective, but I do relate to the tradition of honoring the darkest time of the year, and the return of longer days. Especially here in Minnesota where the sun is now setting around 4:50pm, it feels appropriate to rejoice in the sun’s return.

Now is a time for reflection, for turning inward as the sun seems to be doing. We can take a look at our harvest — the literal fruits of our labor, our corn and wheat and squash, as well as the fruits of our mental and emotional labor, the energy we’ve invested in relationships and ourselves — and determine our steps moving forward. What will we plant next Spring? What new frontiers will we explore when the golden light expands across the valley?

In addition to original drawings, I’ve also released a holiday collection to Threadless — some of these designs are available for a limited time only.

Solstice Pig Skull

All these designs are now live!
The originals can be found in the shop and the other designs can be found on Threadless.

When "Want To" Becomes "Have To"

We have surely all experienced lulls in motivation. If you’re an artist, maybe you’ve had spans of time where you just couldn’t bring yourself to get into the studio. I’ve been hearing the question a lot lately in creative circles, “how to you stay motivated to make art?”

It was Chuck Close that said “inspiration is for amateurs.” And lots of professional artists I’ve heard answer this question reply with what amounts to the same thing. The art is the motivation. Art gives them life. It drives them. Sometimes, art keeps us going when all else fails.

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