Hello David and all,
I was not meaning to sound harsh as regards my reply to Lynne's response
dilemma--it's just that we as medical illustrators frequently get well
intentioned inquiries from people who want to know about our biz, and we
just don't always know what's behind the inquiry, or have time to reply
I respond better if there is a phone call, when I can politely ask the
person to call back at a less frantic moment. I almost always take twenty
minutes or so to talk with someone to describe my work and the market--after
all, I can usually draw while I'm talking, but I can't draw while I'm typing
on the keyboard! And I'm always happy to try and help young illustrators
with guidance and mentoring, if I can.
My main message: to prospective job hunters and other interested people, I
would ask all to think twice before sending lengthy surveys, or e-mail that
requires lots of time to answer. As a cold caller, you have no idea how
many e-mail messages a person receives or how full their schedule is, and
perhaps e-mail is not an appropriate avenue for dealing with this sort of
inquiry. For me, a phone call is better, because I can get a feel for the
true agenda that the caller has in mind.
A word about competitition--I am the first to say that there is plenty of
work for all who want to work hard to be illustrators, particularly if we
discover our niches, and fill a particular need in the market--but the
specter of competition is real, and I think we all have stories ( I'm
talking freelance here) of how we were undercut by someone who came in and
bid low, or some such. I am slightly sensitized to cold calls, and I have
indeed received some that sounded as though someone was trying to feel out
the market, learn my working style and fee structure, etc., for competitive
Ultimately the illustrator with the best work and reasonable rates, and who
provides value-added service will get the jobs, so competition should not be
a worry--it's just that occasionally I'm skeptical of the info seekers'
motives. There is no substitution for personal interaction.
I'd love to hear people's feedback on the competition thing.