Today the conversation turns to freelance illustration. I asked Linda Ann Vorobik if she had any professional advice for individuals entering the field of botanical illustration or natural science illustration. She replied:
Keep your day job. OR, if you are impassioned, know that you may be “suffering, if you want to sing the blues”. I was fortunate in that I followed my passion during a time when there were finances that allowed me to do so. My first job after college was supported by a grant (I worked as a technician transcribing rare plant data for The Nature Conservancy). The work was still work, but it allowed me to think about my intellectual love: botany. Later I received a fellowship that supported my graduate work. Granted I still worked half-time during my schooling, and WORKED to get my PhD, but I think it is a tougher world out there now for young people. And although I have been busy, I have never acquired an income that comes close to supporting a comfortable life. I have an interesting life, and am very grateful for it.
Another bit of advice: couple your training as a natural science illustrator with some complementary training, for example, in the sciences (like what I did), or graphic arts. Or, there is always marrying well!
Do you have any insights to share about life as a freelance illustrator?