What could be harder than picking up your entire life and moving it to a foreign country? Picking up that entire life in the foreign country and moving it back to your home country! (and also learning how to spell foreign already, Aja– it’s been two years since you started being a foreigner, you’d think I could handle the spelling by now)
And while my plan was to have everything sent home by now (HA!), things are in motion to get most of my things packed and sent next week. And soon I will be without internet and my keitai, just a lonely soul, sitting in my apartment, staring at my laptop, willing the internet to work without a connection. Finding a Wi-Fi spot in rural Japan is more difficult than it is in the cities (which is already difficult). Luckily, I’ve had internet borrowing offers from some awesome neighbors, so I can at least communicate with the outside world. Not having my keitai will be devastating, though. And as much as I want to jump right into iPhone ownership when I get back to the States, I know that won’t happen right away, and I’ll be stuck with my old dumb phone from 2009. Yep, my American phone is that old. I’m a believer of the “if it ain’t broke…” philosophy.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to also juggle getting prepped to dive into the freelance world. The site revamp was step 1… ish. But now I need to ask myself some important questions:
- Who are my ideal clients?
- What makes me ideal to them?
And these are super important questions, as they will help form where I will go next in contacting art directors and the like. Before I came to Japan, I was super watercolor girl, with some marker work on the side, and very occasional computer colors, but it was mostly watercolors. I’ve always dabbled here and there with things, but watercolors has been my constant since high school.
While I’ve been in Japan, the tide seems to have shifted against watercolor work, and more towards computer coloring then ever before. I’ve even had more than one artist friend tell me that traditional mediums are dead. Even while here I made the shift, but more out of a necessity due to not having my tools. But the last illustration I did, where I got the resources to be able to do watercolor again, proved to be my most popular piece in the last two years. I don’t see much watercolor illustrations appear on my feeds, and that makes me sad. But the question is, is that because the market has demanded people make the shift to digital, or it was just a personal choice that looks like a market curve?
I still think my strongest skill to offer are my watercolors, so that then brings me to the answers to those two questions, and that’s where I am a bit stumped. Who wants watercolors now? And why would people want to hire me for my watercolors? These are not easy questions, and they will take a while to find the answers to, unfortunately.
To you illustrators out there, I pose the same two questions. Who are your ideal clients? And what makes you ideal to them? You might surprise yourself what you come up with.