Monday, March 30, 2009


I just spoke to a gentleman who was interested in me doing a logo project for him. It was a very interesting project... exciting, I would say.

It turns out that he read my blog and was wondering why I would turn down an assignment.

The only time I would turn down an assignment, I told him, was if I "couldn't hit a home run".

I went on to explain that I went to the High School of Art and Design and that I went to the School of Visual Arts, that I've been drawing since I was a little kid, that I'm an artist and in ALL that time I've never done cartooning. So if he gave me an extensive brief and I agreed with everything he said and then ended his request with... "and I want it done as a cartoon" I would turn down the assignment.

This is because I know I would NOT be doing him any favors taking the assignment.

Bottom line... every assignment is important. There are no "small assignments'. All assignments need to be handled the right way and given all the time they deserve to be done right. If you can't help someone... don't take the assignment. Your reputation takes years to build... don't ruin it by taking projects where you can't help.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Going to Burning Man

What is Burning Man and what does it have to do with being a successful freelancer?

Burning Man is held once a year at the end of August in the Black Rock desert... 2.5 hours outside of Reno Nevada. You bring all your supplies in. You can't buy anything there except coffee and ice. You pack everything out and leave no trace. You get to be involved and have some great experiences.

And for me, Burning Man is a chance to get creatively recharged... you don't want to come up with the same solutions over and over, you will get stale.

You want to be fresh.

You want to come up with new ways to look at things... get peoples attention. Sitting in your studio all day isn't going to do it for you.

Here's a link to their official site:

Check out the image gallery and look at the great art installations, the art cars, the people, the desert, the dust storms.

Bottom line: Challenge yourself. Don't deliver the same solutions. Each assignment is a different chance to push the limits. Have fun with your art. And if you are interested, contact me for more info on Burning Man.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I just turned down an assignment!

In these tough economic times you might ask yourself "why did he turn down work?"

Good question.

To be a successful freelancer you must know your strengths and weaknesses.

Over the years I've went from traditional tools like the t-square and triangle to being and early adopter of using the computer for graphic design. Learning new programs and upgrading my skill sets has never been a problem for me and has helped me be the successful freelancer I am today.

But just like when when I was using magic markers to draw concepts, ads and logos... I turned down certain assignments like doing "cartoons". It wasn't what I could create at the level I was selling.

After questioning my prospective client for exactly what he wanted for his corporation, I decided that I wasn't doing anyone any favors taking on what he wanted.

Bottom line: I think I will work with this company. I made suggestions of how I could help them. If he comes back to give me his assignment I will hit a home run for him. So to be a succesfull freelancer.. help your clients by knowing your strengths and weaknesses. You will get more business and you will keep your good reputation by delivering 110% all the time.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Starting out and don't have much to show?

Your web site is one of the most important selling tools you have at your command to help you increase your business and become a successful freelancer.

Just starting out and don't have much to show? Here's what you can do:

Take an ad that you hate and show how you would do it better.

Take a logo that is bad and show how you would redesign it.

Love an ad campaign? How would you design the next ad in the series?

Show your samples side by side.

There are many people out there that are looking for designers just starting out. "Your work for me will look great in your portfolio." I'll tell everyone how great you are." "I'm just starting out too.. help me and I'll give you more work and some money in the future."

Wrong. These people will not respect what you do for them and since you are giving it away, they are not "invested" in it.

Believe me.. it's better to spend your time creating high end creative as an exercise that shows what you can do compared to established professionals.

Bottom line... build a web site to showcase your work then list your site with as many free sites that you can. The more links to you the better your chances are of being contacted. Always carry your business cards with you. You never know who you will meet. Direct them to your site and always get a fee for your services.