Congratulations, you’ve decided you want to turn your love of drawing into a career in illustration!
You dove down into the rabbit hole to see how deep it goes, and in your pursuit of excellence, you’ve gone pro—harnessing those hours spent doing something else to make a living, transferring them into your skills. The only problem: quitting your day job suddenly means the weight of your income rests squarely on illustration’s shoulders, and it’s rare to make a decent wage as a beginner.
The good news is that no time spent in your craft is wasted, so even while you’re hustling and just barely making it, you can build some really valuable resources that will provide immense payoffs later.
Read on for a modest proposal of what to do when the wider world doesn’t yet recognize the value of your work!
Old vinyl records are an absolutely fantastic resource for illustration and lettering inspiration! We recently culled our collection down to the essentials, and though we’ve never actually listened to this particular album, it made the cut because of the illustration on the cover. (Come on, surely we’re not the only ones who do this!)
A couple of notes on why it’s awesome:
• The regional symbols are beautifully stylized: 2–3 colors, simple shapes. The choices are interesting, too! Some agriculture, some natural landmarks, and one building for the NY area.
• The map shapes are so much fun! They’re drawn with just enough accuracy to be recognizable, but the outlines have been smoothed over and skewed. Especially check out the curves and points of the southern border of Texas, combined with that drop shadow—YUM.
• The cut-and-paste map is a really nice way of breaking up the standard layout and creating dynamic shapes. It makes you look twice, whereas a normal map is so familiar that it would only get a quick once-over.