Questioning Creatives

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This article was written on 10 Jan 2018, and is filled under illustrators.

Stephanie Hofmann

Hi, my name is Stephanie Hofmann, was born and raised in Germany and now live in London, where I have been working as a freelance illustrator for the past few years. seance
When did you decide you wanted to be illustrator?
I always loved art and drawing. When I left school I knew I wanted to do something creative and ended up studying graphic design, as that seemed the most obvious thing, if you wanted to make a living. I worked in various graphic design jobs whilst practicing illustration on the side, and gradually started to get work in that field. I finally made the decision to leave my graphic design job to become a full time illustrator a year and a half ago, which was the best decision ever.

Would you recommend studying at art school?
I am a self taught illustrator, so I can’t speak about studying illustration, but I went to college to study graphic design and have been able to apply those skills to illustration, so it’s definitely been helpful.

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How long was it before illustration became your primary form of income?
It took around 7 years. I started doing small jobs in illustration on the side and been working as a surface designer which helped improve my drawing skills.  I did some online courses, which introduced  new markets to me, specifically editorial work, so I did pieces for my portfolio and sent them out to magazines. Some people would give me the opportunity to work for them, which added to my portfolio which then helped with getting bigger jobs. I did some work free at the beginning, and I know this is frowned upon, but for me it helped open doors and to gain experience and confidence without the pressure of being paid for it. My income is made up from different income streams, the surface design is a big chunk of it and editorial/other illustration work makes up the other half.

Could you describe your typical day?
I like getting up quite early, around 6, and then go for a swim or run. I’ll then settle into work with a coffee. I tend to make a plan before I start the day what I will work on, whether it’s client work, admin, marketing or personal projects and try to stick to it. Once I start working I just get up to grab something from the kitchen to eat, I usually finish working around 6 and  after will watch a film, go to my running club or see friends. I tend to work most days, even weekends. If I don’t have client work I tend to do personal projects to improve my portfolio.

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What do you wish you’d know when you first started out?
That people will give you a chance if you reach out to them. I am quite an introvert naturally so putting myself out there wasn’t easy, but I have been pleasantly surprised by being given a chance without too much experience and so far only had lovely experiences with art directors and the people I have worked with.

What’s the best thing about being an illustrator?
Being able to immerse yourself in different subjects. Every job is different and I really love doing research and coming up with ideas for each job, it never gets boring! And also, seeing your work in print feels amazing

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What’s the worst thing about being an illustrator?
Having to do marketing!

If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be?
A vet or marine biologist.

Any other tips you could share?
Be patient and work hard. I have to put a lot of time in to make this path work, but for me it’s worth it. I love what I do and it never feels like work. When there is no work I recommend doing your own projects to improve your portfolio. And it’s a good idea to have a money buffer in the bank, as income can vary a lot, or have another part time job to have solid stream of income that covers the basics!

www.instagram.com/steffi.hofmann
www.stephaniehofmann.co.uk

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