My first job with a magazine
Jack, in the early 2000s, was one of the most important Italian magazines. It was about technology, with an average circulation of about 100,000 copies.
I knew its Art Director and gained his trust, so he gave me the chance of my first graphic job for the magazine – it was a blue plastic cube covered in water droplets. From that moment on, I was a freelance graphic artist, and they kept calling me for other work.
I used to make simple photomontages of electronic objects, such as:
They provided me with the photographs and explained on the phone how they wanted them to be published in the article. Often the work was limited to:
- positioning the object on a mirrored surface to create the reflection
Just a few times, they gave me more complex work for which I had to use 3D graphics.
Today, I would say that what I did for Jack was not difficult from a technical point of view, but I was still inexperienced and I considered it as an opportunity to rise through the ranks. The earnings were good compared to today's graphic design market. In that period, I was also working as an employee, and with what I did for Jack – who gave me jobs almost every month – I earned a second salary!
My luck at that time was that I did a lot of work for them. Then the newspaper closed in 2012 and it all ended for me.
My work as a freelance graphic designer for a magazine with a circulation of 500 thousand copies
One of the most important Italian magazines is called Focus, and it's about science.
They contacted me via the BeHance website (this is my profile there) but since I didn't check it often, I didn't see the message. Luckily, they then called me on the phone, thanks to Jack’s Art Director, who gave my number to the staff.
I've been working with them as a freelance graphic designer for over a year now.
I immediately made my first cover:
I also did some other work for internal pages in the same issue.
For example, the image below is the Hindenburg airship that I recreated in 3D and placed above Capitol Hill in Washington. The other part of the illustration (Capitol Hill) was purchased on Shutterstock:
Then I did other jobs like these, which included another cover:
After a few months I started working on almost every issue.
This is one of my latest pieces of work:
It represents two people on a beach suffering of nomophobia (the phobia of remaining without internet access). I took the picture and then edited it with Photoshop.
Focus staff call me and explain the idea they have in their minds. They know that I work with photos, so we usually agree that I can take them by myself, and sometimes they give me stock images after buying them on Shutterstock or Getty Images.
For some jobs, like this Pontius Pilate:
- I found the model
- I set up a rudimentary set in a warehouse
- I post-produced it on Photoshop
Compared to what I did in Jack, the work for Focus is much more complex and so it gives more satisfaction. Although I have fewer jobs today, I can still say that I earn very well.
Unfortunately, they are on-call jobs, so there's nothing for sure and you always have to be ready.
Once they sent me a message on Sunday morning to do a job with delivery on Tuesday. I obviously did it!
The publishing industry (in Italy) is dead
The publishing industry in Italy is not healthy. Thanks to technology, people no longer read – neither magazines nor books.
Once, I created many book covers, but working on them today is very hard for a freelance graphic designer.
90% of book covers are made with stock images!
But, instead of complaining and crying when I realized this, I started making original photomontages to earn money reselling them on microstock agencies, trying to satisfy the needs of those who wanted to buy a cover.
Believe it or not, for illustrators today, there are many ways to earn thanks to the internet.
Selling content on microstocks
I purchased Daniele Carrer's course (learn more), which teaches how to sell photos and videos online, after finding his website while I was looking for information about microstock (the business in which photographers, graphic designers and video makers can earn money by selling their content).
At the beginning, I was not sure whether I should spend my money on it. But when I watched his four free videos I thought it was a good choice, and today I don't regret it.
After watching the first part of the course, I started to put into practice the teachings to create:
- real time videos
Daniele, congratulations for the course, your website and the posts you share. You give me energy!
From being just a photographer to becoming a stock footage producer
I have been a photographer for many years. I used a Canon Eos 6d and, lately, a mirrorless Eos Canon M50, which cost less than 700 euros.
I use the latter to create:
- stock footage at 4K resolution
since the agencies pay almost 100 dollars for every 4K stock footage sale.
My big problem is understanding how to sell my job. Daniele Carrer's course, however, has enlightened me.
The discovery of a software like Adobe After Effects
The advice Daniele gives in his lessons on how to use Adobe After Effects to edit time-lapses led me to learn more about that software. I discovered a tool that can give life to my illustrations and turn them into stock footage to upload on microstocks.
In addition, the course taught me something even bigger: how to become an entrepreneur with my passion!
Daniele Carrer's teachings are an encouragement not to give up and believe in what I do!