Eleanor Shakespeare: If There’s One Thing I’ve Learned

Illustration for the Guardian long read on the importance of refugees having the opportunity to work.

“If There’s One Thing I’ve Learned… it’s to be confident, friendly and efficient. Okay so that’s three things I’ve learned, but they go hand in hand and I think it’s the winning formula to being a successful illustrator. Confidence can take a long time to grow, and even harder to maintain. With freelancing, there’s so much personal attachment to what you do, and it can be difficult not to take it personally when people aren’t hiring you.”

“But if you genuinely believe that you’re doing good work… work that is unique, accessible and versatile, then confidence will come.”

“I also think a positive outlook can be infectious, and whilst I don’t want to be airy-fairy about it, I sometimes feel it can be a self fulfilling prophesy.”

“Efficiency is an obvious one, but requires practice and patience. It’s taken four years for my illustration career to reach this point and it’s not been without its pitfalls. But being reliable, fast and professional are absolutely vital, and it’s meant clients have recommissioned me on that basis.”

“Friendliness, for me anyway, comes more naturally. My relationships with clients are built on a mutual respect and understanding of illustration but also cultivated by simply being nice people.”

More from Eleanor can be found at eleanorshakespeare.com, via Twitter and on Instagram.