The Big News: Strong and Free(lance)

Tentanda Via - The way must be tried.
-York University motto.

I've made a decision. I've given notice to my good, full-time job and I'm going to go professional. Full-time freelance fine artist & illustrator, occasional speaker on the intersection of art and science.

This year, I completed my Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts that I had left in limbo over a decade ago. Michelle is a full-time primary school teacher now, and is encouraging me to take new steps in my career. I really
want this. The time is now.

Inspired in part by Brian Switek's "
So you want to write a pop-sci book" series on Laelaps and as an offshoot to my Going Pro series on Art Evolved, over the next few months I'll start writing about what it's like freelancing, and what steps I'm taking to aim for success. Of course I won't discuss clients or jobs I'm working on (at least until showing off successfully completed artwork), and other than the occasional post for something new in my reproduction shop, I won't be using this series to jones for jobs.

Since I was 14, I've been working with a steady paycheque. Now, I'll leave the security of my full-time job in late summer or early fall. I want to discuss what I'm doing to be prepared for this big shift. I'll make mistakes, and learn lessons, and I plan to share them in the Strong and (Free)lance series.

With the blessings of my fellow Art Evolved admins, Craig and Peter, I may be posting this series of Going Pro on both blogs.

I have a lot of people to thank for the encouragement and advice while I've been considering this shift. My wife Michelle has been cheering me on, and has incredible confidence in me. I've spoken with image-makers Carl Buell, Jeff Hayes, Eric Orchard, Tanja Sova, Sean Craven, Craig Dylke, Chris Zenga, and Felice Frankel about the decision at various stages, and it's helped a lot. (Jeff, you tipped it over the edge!) A special thanks to Coturnix and Sugarman for the invites to ScienceOnline that made this path clearer. And thanks too, to the many people -bloggers, authors, scientists and art fans - who've commissioned a work or purchased a print from my online store. Each of you have made this a pleasure.

Most of the commissions I've performed over the last 3+ years of blogging here on The Flying Trilobite were unsolicited. I'm proud of how my artwork has resonated with the secular and scientific communities. To turn it into a career, I need to seek opportunities myself, and not wait for them to come to me.

Scared and elated and ready.
Bring it.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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