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How did you get your first job and what was it?

Every aspiring illustrator has the experience of working hard, trying to promote yourself but not getting any responses. Feeling like you would never be able to work as a professional.
I had that experience too.

Luckily, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program at SVA was really good about getting students motivated into self-promotion mode. So I had started promoting myself early, when I was still in school. Every time I made new work, I added onto my website, then every month I created new promotional materials printed from my home-printer and sent them out to a hand made small mailing list of my ‘dream client’s. Nothing happened. Nothing happened, in fact, for more than half a year of consistently doing so. There were classmates who had already gotten job or two. I felt like a loser.

Then after six months of feeling like a loser but not giving up, I got a call from AD Minh Uong of Village Voice (he is now at New York Times) for a small black and white illustration job. It was the best day of my illustration life I would never forget.

Looking back, it was nowhere near a best illustration I have done, but it was decent, and it was publishable, and most importantly I worked really REALLY hard, and Minh knew it. Then he and fashion writer Lynn Yaeger ended up giving me a fashion column to illustrate every week for a while, which lead me to work with various magazines and newspapers later on.

If that first job has not come to you yet, don’t give up. work hard, and always try to be better. And The Day will come to you.

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