Countless artists and creatives will agree with Hunt on the topic of establishing one’s career: it takes hard work, toil and the utmost confidence in one’s talent. “It takes perseverance to establish a creative career, and can take quite some time to get really known. When I was starting out, getting my work seen by the right people and knowing how to find the contacts was tricky. Repeatedly hearing ‘we’ll keep your work on file and call if anything suitable comes up’ can be frustrating, but eventually the calls come and it gets a little bit easier. Having belief in yourself and your work is important so you don’t get demotivated when things aren’t moving along so quickly.
“Prioritization is essential for Hunt, even if it means putting off an exciting project for one due earlier. “[B]eing able to prioritize is very important. Sometimes the most fun commission I’m working on isn’t the one with the most pressing deadline. Also I’m never afraid to turn down work if I’m too busy. Taking on too much could compromise the quality of my work, and doing a great job is all important.”
Within his organizational routine, he factors in time to spend promoting his work — essential for a steady workload. “I always try to make time for promotion too, keeping my work out there in the eyes of commissioners, even when I’m busy on commissions. Outside of my big promotional campaigns two or three times a year, I’m doing a little bit every week, whether that’s researching new clients, updating the website and blog or approaching the press. [You need to] get out there and get your work seen by as many people as possible. You should never be afraid to show people your work. You may be the best designer/illustrator in the world, but if no one sees your work, you won’t get commissioned.”
In order to keep his perspective fertile, Hunt makes sure to devote time to passion projects. “I try to work regularly on self-initiated and collaborative projects. Working on other projects outside of commissions keeps me fresh, whether [they’re my own] projects, exhibitions, or just for fun. Doing shows and projects gives me interesting briefs to work on with complete creative freedom and the opportunity to experiment with new ideas and techniques. Recently I’ve been contributing to various exhibitions and projects, including InkThis ‘Dreams & Nightmares’ exhibition, ‘All Systems Go!’ at Florida State University and My Brand Project. I also have a London group show coming up in September 2008 with three other leading UK illustrators, which we’ll all be producing new work for.” Sounds like a good way to ward off creative burnout to us.