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Ray Frenden
I draw things for money and like to write.
I draw things for money and like to write.


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My go-to drawing setup of late is probably not what you'd expect.

It's hard to argue with the efficiency of a BFT (big fucking tablet). Intuos Pro Large here.

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A young, aspiring illustrator recently asked me how to become a full time freelancer. The answer is murky at best and provides no quick route to a stable career, but I’d like to think I learned a thing or two over the last fifteen-ish years that’s worth repeating.

I was lucky in that I started a blog before most folks were actively doing so. I posted a ton of work for at least five years before I got noticed from folks like Nike. It’s a numbers game. The more you put out into the ether, the better chance that the right people will see it.

Make a lot of work. Post it everywhere. Ev-er-y-where. Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Google+, Youtube, Twitter, Reddit, group blogs, art forums, sites whose content needs align with your work’s subject matter, and your own site.

If shotgunning the work into the world is half the battle, networking is the second. You’ll get notice eventually if you keep pumping out work, but develop a peer group in the meantime. These co-illustrators are more likely to get you your first gigs than anything else. You can’t go wrong with meeting, knowing, and being nice to a lot of people. Much of the time my success feels like a karmic reprieve for not being a dick.

Do the work. Make so much work that it’s persuasive as a body and speaks FOR you. Accept failures. Hell, accelerate the rate at which you fail. It’s the quickest route to learning what you need to do. And pretty soon you’ll have a base of fans or peers, or, if you’re lucky, both, that are open to what you’re creating.

That’s worth more than a big client or two. None of the work I’ve done for big clients has ever gotten me big clients. I didn’t even bother to put it into my portfolio when I was actively soliciting freelance clients half of the time. The esoteric, personal, honest stuff always has.

Be honest in your work. Make a shit-ton of it. Be nice to people.

That’s it.

I think I'll start posting here more often. Facebook is bordering on unuseable. I never see the content I actually want there.

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We'll miss you, Ryan.

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Unboxing and initial impressions of the Cintiq 13HD.

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Quickly sketching letters on my MSP19U and a new monitor arm.

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I'm starting a partnership with Harley-Davidson that, after freelancing for half my adult life, was the first opportunity to leave me speechless while on the phone with a client.

The conversation turned in a way that my seen-it-all, heard every request work-assumptions were entirely flipped. It's pretty fantastic to be surprised in such a complete way, especially when the use cases of a thousand previous clients left me utterly unprepared.

Today, l leave for Montreal as a part of Harley's Taste of Freedom Tour. I get to attend a Motorcycle Bootcamp, meet with folks from Harley, and attend UFC 158 (go GSP!). In the coming weeks and months, they'll be more events, and I'll even have some merch to giveaway!

Harley's instructors will teach me to ride and I'll document the process. After, l get to customize my own Harley, piece by piece.

It's easy to see why l was left speechless when l got the first call. Harley feels that my work embodies the spirit of their brand and now l get to put my body on one of their bikes! Nutty!

l'll be sure to post from the events. l'll need the evidence. lf you could pinch me every so often, that might help too.

#independents #frenden  #harley-davidson

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I've added my Manga Studio 4 brushes to the roster of tools available on my store. WOO.
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