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  • Writer's pictureKim Timmermans

Starting 2021 with not one, but two personal illustration projects

When I started to take illustration seriously as a potential career path, I knew I had to focus on building a portfolio filled with work that I would like to get hired for, even though getting hired still felt like a unrealistic dream.

This year, I want to add more editorial illustrations to my portfolio. I also want to practice a more conceptual, abstract way of working. As I learned from previous experiences, the best way to do so is by giving myself an illustration challenge. I need to give myself concrete goals and a good balance between clear boundaries and creative freedom.

I came up with two monthly projects for 2021.

Project 1: A monthly editorial illustration

If I don't get hired (yet!) for my ideal jobs, I'll create them for myself.

The challenge I set is to work on one self-initiated editorial assignment every month of this year. As I need some boundaries, I have picked one theme for all of them: Every month I'll pick a subject dealing with climate change. Based on articles found on the picked subject, I will either illustrate an A4 cover illustration for the article, or 3 spot illustrations. If I have enough time and ideas I'll do both.

To make it easier for myself, I'll be using the 'Planet Poster' prompts of a Facebook group I'm a part of (Editartz). The Planet Poster project already started in October of last year, so the first 4 prompts are known: Deforestation, Coral Reefs in Danger, Melting Ice and Dying Ice Caps.

Project 2: Book Covers

My goal with this project is to develop a more conceptual, abstract way of working. I'll also be able to work on my lettering and graphic design skills.

Every month, I will pick one of my favorite books and illustrate & design a cover for it. In January, the book will be Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

Documenting the process

I have no idea if starting a blog in 2021 is a good idea or if anyone will ever read this (Hi there!), but it feels like the perfect way to keep myself accountable and motivate myself to carry on with the project. I will write about the illustration process here. And who knows, maybe it turns out I really like blogging too, even though I've probably missed the boat 20 years ago.


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