Friday, 28 May 2010

The Big News: Strong and Free(lance)

Tentanda Via - The way must be tried.
-York University motto.

I've made a decision. I've given notice to my good, full-time job and I'm going to go professional. Full-time freelance fine artist & illustrator, occasional speaker on the intersection of art and science.

This year, I completed my Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts that I had left in limbo over a decade ago. Michelle is a full-time primary school teacher now, and is encouraging me to take new steps in my career. I really
want this. The time is now.

Inspired in part by Brian Switek's "
So you want to write a pop-sci book" series on Laelaps and as an offshoot to my Going Pro series on Art Evolved, over the next few months I'll start writing about what it's like freelancing, and what steps I'm taking to aim for success. Of course I won't discuss clients or jobs I'm working on (at least until showing off successfully completed artwork), and other than the occasional post for something new in my reproduction shop, I won't be using this series to jones for jobs.

Since I was 14, I've been working with a steady paycheque. Now, I'll leave the security of my full-time job in late summer or early fall. I want to discuss what I'm doing to be prepared for this big shift. I'll make mistakes, and learn lessons, and I plan to share them in the Strong and (Free)lance series.

With the blessings of my fellow Art Evolved admins, Craig and Peter, I may be posting this series of Going Pro on both blogs.

I have a lot of people to thank for the encouragement and advice while I've been considering this shift. My wife Michelle has been cheering me on, and has incredible confidence in me. I've spoken with image-makers Carl Buell, Jeff Hayes, Eric Orchard, Tanja Sova, Sean Craven, Craig Dylke, Chris Zenga, and Felice Frankel about the decision at various stages, and it's helped a lot. (Jeff, you tipped it over the edge!) A special thanks to Coturnix and Sugarman for the invites to ScienceOnline that made this path clearer. And thanks too, to the many people -bloggers, authors, scientists and art fans - who've commissioned a work or purchased a print from my online store. Each of you have made this a pleasure.

Most of the commissions I've performed over the last 3+ years of blogging here on The Flying Trilobite were unsolicited. I'm proud of how my artwork has resonated with the secular and scientific communities. To turn it into a career, I need to seek opportunities myself, and not wait for them to come to me.

Scared and elated and ready.
Bring it.

- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***


Marco Meredith said...

:O Good for you! its must really be quite exhilarating(?) to make this step into the unkown.

Youve got the talent and I'll bet you've got the resolve to do this.

Wish you the best of luck mate.


Glendon Mellow said...

Thank you Marco!

I'm resolved.

Kevin Zelnio said...

Good luck Glendon! I'll do what I can to bring business you way.

Weapon of Mass Imagination said...

Just one point to correct there Glendon...

You HAVE Craig's blessing, and WILL be posting it all on ART Evolved :P

Good luck to you in your epic journey good sir!

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks Kevin!

Thanks Craig!

Heather Smith said...

Congrats on taking such a bold step! I'm sure it will be great!

Cinefreak said...

Congratulations and best of luck Glendon!

May all your clients be intelligent with as no personality disorders whatsoever.


Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks Heather! I am to make it great!

Thanks Geoff! A few disorders make it interesting though...

Anonymous said...





But, wow!!!

And good luck to you, you know I'll be rooting for you.

Heather Ward said...

Congratulations, Glendon! Best of luck!

Glendon Mellow said...

Exactly, Luna! That's what my brain has ben doing the last few weeks.

Thanks Heather!

I hope the ideas I put up about preparing to go freelance will be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Good luck!
And especially thanks for planning to share how it goes, sharing knowledge and information is the best way to empower each other as artists.
Oh, and visit:
It's really worth looking in their "Practice" section.(scroll down)
..and perhaps...
To steel yourself against the worst!

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks for those links, OP!

Three of my favourite blogs about art and being professional are:
lines and colors
Art Order and
The Art Department.

Rudi said...

Congrats on your decision.

I bet there is going to be a lot of ups and downs.

If the downs get you really down just come back and re-read this blog entry and you'll understand "why?" Then, the next morning you will feel much better.

When you have a lot of ups, don't forget the little people :)

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks Rudi!

Being able to bounce ideas off of yourself and the rest of the 'sauga crew has been great.

Kristjan said...

Congratulations on the new career move, and good luck!

Glendon Mellow said...

Thank you, Kristjan!

Tracey said...

That's awesome! Congratulations! I bet you'll have more commissions than you know what to do with pretty soon. I love Sci's tattoo - I might come after you for one myself someday!

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks Tracey! I hope you're right about the commissions. I should be launching my Etsy store later this month to complement the prints.

Thanks about Sci's tattoo! She was very definite on what she liked and what didn't work. I'm proud it ended up looking so nice and being so appropriate.

Always up for another one. ;-)

Irradiatus said...

Wow, Glendon! I am sooo very envious. I can't wait to see what you produce when it's literally your bread and butter.

Congrats on the decision!

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks Irradiatus!

I do have a lot of rough sketches and plans I want to realize. Some educational and thoughtful, some geeky fun and a few fanboy pieces as well.

Jason Thibeault said...

Hell yes, Glendon! The best way to make a splash is to throw yourself in. Pulling for you, man.

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks Jason!

I gotta see what happens. I'm a realist, I have to pay the bills, but I'm hoping some of the new work I have in mind will kickstart things.

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