Making a living week: Day 1

Today we had three different and interesting speakers talking to us in the Making A Living week.

Will Hudson

The first talk today was from Will Hudson, the founder of It’s Nice That and a partner in HudsonBec group. He also talked about their educational platform Lecture In Progress which has tutorials and help for students and young professionals.

Will Hudson showed us a video: 6 Rules to Success by Arnold Schwartzenegger. It had some good advice.

  1. TRUST YOURSELF. Who do you want to be, not what? What makes you happy?
  2. BREAK THE RULES. Think outside the box.
  3. DON’T BE AFRAID TO FAIL. Can’t always win, but you must push yourself.
  5. WORK YOUR BUTT OFF. No pain, no gain.

Will Hudson also had some good tips of his own to give us. He talked about looking for work and emailing possible employers. He made a point that “rather send 5 good, well targeted emails than 50 bad ones”. Also he stressed the fact that you should only take on work that you are enthusiastic about: “Lukewarm is not good enough.” And when you are enthusiastic about something give it your 100%.

In the end of the first talk the Head of Visual Communications, Susanna Edwards made a point that thinking about career after uni may sound intimidating and thinking how far for example Will Hudson has gotten compared to new graduates, you should keep in mind that the journey to a successful career is cumulative and it can take unexpected turns. So you should be open-minded and give things a go.

Handsome Frank Illustration Agency

The second talks was from Jon Cockley, co-founder of Handsome Frank. He started by talking a bit out who they are as a company.

Jon founded the company with his cousin and the compan  is named after their grandfather. They believe in  building things on relationships and knowing the people well who they work with. He said they know every illustrator who they represent personally.

He also mentioned their Tweet A Brief Exhibition which I found really interesting. They receive creative briefs via tweets (max 140 characters) and then the artists will take those briefs on and the work is displayed at the exhibition.

After introducing the company and talking what they are about Jon moved on to give us students some valuable advice. He talked about so many things.

Think of yourself as a brand

  • Think about everything you do and what it says about you, (work, social media, profile pictures…)


  • Have a consistent style and technique across your portfolio
  • Have a really varied subject matter in your portfolio (-> consistent style but show you can use it in variety of things)
  • People want to see what they are going to get
  • If your portfolio only has cats in it, you will only be asked to draw cats

Mini series as a good way to show your skills

Looking for work

  • Try to give something to people that they won’t throw away
  • Only send well targeted emails

Portfolio and Meetings

  • Don’t just have an iPad or laptop with you, have physical material
  • Give them an experience that can’t have on their own

Website/Online portfolio

  • Think about brand, tone of voice… and what those things say about you
  • Impress with your work, not with a fancy website, (just show your work well)

Feedback and Amends

  • Feedback is an important part of being a designer/illustrator because you are doing the work for someone else, not yourself.


  • Think about: Do you want the jod? Do you need the job?
  • how long the job will take you? (-> have a daily pay figure in mind)
  • Where the work will be used? Which media? (Tv, billboards, products…)
  • How long it will be used?
  • Have a clear signed contract which states all these things
  • Try not to work for free, they always have some money included, even just 100 pounds.

Do you need an agent?

  • NO
  • You can perfectly make a living on your own
  • But and agent can help in finding work
  • Also, for a very successful artist an agent can be very useful in tackling emails/job offers/quotes, so that they have time to work on the creative stuff
Intern Magazine

The last talk of the day was from Alec Dudson, the editor-in-chief of Intern. Intern is a magazine for and by the young creatives. The magazine offers exposure to students, graduates and aspiring artists and all work is paid.

Alec really stands for paid internships. He himself has experienced how difficult it can be to find work and paid internships.

He said you should never agree to an offer where your work is exchanged for just publicity. Publicity is not an acceptable way of payment.

He also talked about how both “soft skills” and “hard skills” are equally important when it comes to work. Hard skills are  the technical skills like photoshop and illustrator etc, and soft skills are things like confidence, teamwork skills and being nice… He stressed the fact that you can be the worlds greatest artist but if you are a dick nobody want you in their studio. Also the most successful artists in this world aren’t necessarily the best ones but the ones who have the confidence to promote themselves to get work and to keep work.

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