Being a Self Employed Artist

As part of the degree I’m studying, we are encouraged to learn about techniques and services that will help us set out to be self-employed once we have finished the degree.

So today I am going to talk about a few websites designed to help artists, like myself become successful in their field.

1.  Amanda Hall Illustration  is a website set up by a successful illustrator. After being asked questions by emerging illustrators about what it is like being an illustrator, and how she has become successful.

The site has a number of pages detailing what to expect while getting paid as an illustrator, information about the advantages and disadvantages of hiring an agent and tips on getting work experience.

She even has a page full of links to other sites that might be useful to self-employed illustrators. Most of these are UK based sights but they are still really useful (

If there is any questions you feel have not been covered by Amanda, she has left her email on the site so people can contact her directly with questions.

Under her getting paid as an illustrator FAQ I learnt that although hiring an agent to find you work might get you paid more, you have to keep in mind that you also need to pay the agent a commission. However, an agent, along with finding you well-paid work, will often deal with all of the invoicing and chasing clients for payment.

I will certainly be referring to this site a lot in my efforts to become a successful illustator.

2. Emerging Artists Trust (EAT) is a Wellington based charitable organisation which aims to support emerging artists in visual, performance and film arts.

EAT offers artists mentoring, grants for projects (exhibitions, art projects, performances etc.) and professional development groups.

This site can be a really useful resource for emerging artists when they are trying to build a name for themselves, the mentors will help teach them how to manage their careers efficiently.

3. Nate Williams is an illustrator who posted a page on his website full of advice on how to become a professional illustrator. He pinpoints becoming a successful illustrator down to:

  • Having a unique, consistent style.
  • Technical Skills
  • Marketing
  • Tracking Work
  • Attitude

Nate even recommended a video tutorial site called that offers in-depth tutorials for digital software that will help self-employed artists/illustrators become more technically savvy. It is a paid video site but the tutorials are possibly better executed and more relevant than ones found on Youtube. 

4. Creative New Zealand  is funded by the New Zealand Lottery and Grants Board and their aim is to help develop a strong arts community in New Zealand.

They support New Zealand artists by funding artists, providing opportunities for artists and promoting New Zealand art both in New Zealand and overseas.

5. The financial side of being self employed can be boring and confusing, but it is necessary. For advice and information on tax, becoming an employer and managing finance Inland Revenue (IRD) has a heap of useful information.

IRD has a section devoted to financial information for businesses and employers. It even has a section for Business Advice and Support and information about Business Tax Information Officers.


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