Illustrators possess an incredible creative skill which I am truly jealous of. They can bring to life worlds both real and imaginary with a few strokes of a pencil. However, when it comes to selling their work and going for big clients, self-doubt can hold them back. I was approached by someone who was looking a coach for illustrators, who was advertising himself on the pay-by-the-hour websites instead of reaching out to high-paying clients. My mission was to help him gain confidence in his abilities and steer him towards higher-paying clients.
Breaking Free from Pay-By-The-Hour Websites
The illustrator had been offering his artistic services on pay-by-the-hour websites. While these platforms may have provided him with some work, they limited his potential for growth. And on those sites his work is always compared with many others often based on price, so there is a race to the bottom in terms of fees.
During our coaching sessions, I explained that to attract big-paying clients, he needed to showcase his talent and expertise on his own website in a way that demonstrated the value his skills as an artist brings to any project.
Showcasing Only the Best
One of the illustrator’s biggest concerns was his website. He had been displaying a broad range of work, including lots of commissions for a costume company. This costume work, while creative and fun, didn’t really show off what he was capable of. And to be honest, it looked cheap and cheerful, not premium work.
Hidden deep on another page was a wealth of amazing scientific drawings – highly accurate animal portraits – which weren’t being seen at all.
We decided to focus only on his best pieces that truly represented his artistic identity. By eliminating the clutter and emphasising quality over quantity, we ensured potential clients could clearly see the skill and creativity he could bring to their projects.
He’d also done a lot of work for museums, so we discussed the virtues of creating pages based on potential clients. So, while he had done many different types of work for museums – scientific illustrations, brochures and signage – putting them together on one page made it easier for those working in the museum or gallery space to be able to see how they could use his work.
Learning from other Illustrators
One of the first tasks I set the illustrator was to share with me the websites of people he admired. Together we analysed their portfolios and the way they were presented online, noticing the simplicity and crispness of their designs. These artists showcased their finest work with confidence, making it easier for potential clients to understand their artistic vision. By studying their approach, Alex gained valuable insights into what his own website needed to achieve. When we went back to his site, we could see how he wasn’t signposting people effectively enough. His menus were overly fussy in their design. The headers were so big that two thirds of the screen was wasted, making people scroll to see content.
After the session, he tweaked his content, bringing in a simple colour scheme and background to make the headings clearer and text easier to read. He also tightened the header, so that it was under a quarter of the screen, meaning people didn’t have to scroll at all before getting a flavour of the content. All this was an instant win with people who are going to give your website just a few seconds before moving on.
Maximising the Website’s Potential
As an outsider reviewing his website – and as someone who often commissions people with his skills – I was able to provide honest feedback. When I read his “About Me” section it was all about his creative vision of his art. We then read through the competitor’s biographies, which were much more focused on what a potential client would want to know. That’s always a good way to look at ‘about me’ pages – what does a client want to know about me in order to engage me?
The illustrator went back to his about me page and gave himself a clear title, so people knew what skills they were buying. Further more, he streamlined the copy focusing on what clients want to know. It read better and was full of confidence.
Approaching Big Clients
Throughout his coaching journey, the Illustrator’s confidence was growing. Armed with a revamped website, he is now prepared to approach big clients.
Coaching the Illustrator to become more confident in selling his skills was a rewarding experience. By focusing on showcasing his best work with his potential clients in mind, he now is armed for the success.
Our next session will over the next stage; reaching out to new clients and asking for referrals.
Looking for a Coach for Illustrators?
If you’re looking for a coach for illustrators, book a call. Together, we can talk about your challenge, and the actions you can take to move forward.