Aw, thank you. Ok, I always feel like my replies are too wordy, so have some bullet points:
- Social Media: like it or not, it’s useful. I’m on several websites, some are primary (I try to participate actively most days), some are secondary (I just try to keep them updated, check them periodically). Release your work into the wild.
- E-mails: I wasn’t quite aware in the beginning that you’re supposed to keep sending them even if you don’t get any replies. If you want to work for someone, keep sending them updates (not too often! Every few months, or when relevant). They might reply one day.
- Postcards (or other nice souvenirs): see above. Follow up with an e-mail within a week, max two.
- Research: necessary for 2 and 3. People have to know you exist in order to hire you, but you have to know THEY exist if you’re getting in touch with them.
- Be nice. Really, be generally nice to people, online or offline. You never know who’s going to become a person who hires illustrators. Also, just be nice because.
- Be persistent. Not irresponsible-annoying-inconvenient-persistent. Nice-level-headed-persistent. Although who knows, you wouldn’t believe how many people got started on their careers by doing something crazy or lying to someone.
- Do quality work. Probably the most important? Keep doing your thing and putting it out there, even if you’re not getting paid work. It should be obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t quite grasp the concept and think a degree entitles them to a career.
- Be aware that there isn’t one formula. Everything I wrote above is the generic, cookie-cutter points you’ll generally hear, but there are a thousand people who’ll tell you a thousand different things. Forge your own path (frankly, you have no choice).