A few weeks ago we had a special guest come talk at SAE Brisbane – Sarah Beetson. Here’s just a little bit of info about her:
Sarah Beetson is a British Fashion Illustrator and Artist who is based in Australia. She graduated in 2002 and spent a year gaining experience in London, working for Mary Portas, POP Magazine and Stella McCartney, before establishing a career as a freelance illustrator, and as a talent scout for Global Agency Illustrationweb. Sarah’s extensive client list has included The Telegraph and The Times, Penguin Books, The British Fashion Council, MACCosmetics, Delta Airlines, The Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian Mag, Ford Germany, and Perth Fashion Week. Her accolades include Creative Review’s Best in Book for Illustration 2011, and The Metro Award 2012 (shortlisted). Sarah has exhibited her art in London, Paris, New York, Portland, Ottawa, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Gold Coast and Brisbane. She creates her illustrations by hand, using a wide variety of mixed media. She spends time annually in Europe and North America; a suitcase of art materials and A4 scanner in her luggage so that she is able to work as she travels. Sarah’s art explores contemporary politics, celebrity and the perversities of popular culture.
There were a few things that I found interesting from her talk. Firstly, I was pretty amazed at the amount of work she has accomplished. I can’t remember if she talked much about how long each piece takes but she had such a large amount of work that she showed us and she didn’t even get through it all. And even though she has a very specific style, it has been used by such a large range of clients. Ikea, Wall Street Journal, Trader Joes, lots of magazines and even a few airlines, just to name a few.
Something else she said really stood out:
“You never know the full value of your images”
She may have done some work on an image, not knowing that it’s exactly the kind of image some big company is looking for to use in their global marketing campaign and next minute it’s plastered all around the country on bus ad and billboards or something. I think it’s really good to know and it kinda motivates me to keep developing ideas and images.
She also talked about having an agent. I think it worked for her because she was freelancing, but also because she had a very specific style throughout all of her artwork. But I guess, as long as you have a portfolio that demonstrates what you’re capable of, having an agent would be a good idea. Something to keep in mind if I ever want to just be a freelance graphic designer. I’d probably have to work at expanding my portfolio and focusing my style.
One more thing, she talked about the turnaround she would have for some projects. For one client, I think it was Wall Street Journal, they would call her up in the evening and she would have one full day to finish the piece…Ahh, yeah sure, I can get that done, I just won’t be sleeping for the next day and can someone please go and get me some coffee… That is one quick turnaround. I think she mentioned that time difference worked in her favour for some of these instances so I would hate to think of what that turnaround would be like if it didn’t. That’s one way to be motivated to do the work I guess. And I guess experience would be a big help. No way I would be able to do that at the moment. Time management is becoming more and more important and figuring out the best methods that will work for me.
There was other stuff she talked about but that’s enough for now. It’s always cool to hear from people who are working in the industry and the things they have found helpful to them.