PK 113: The Freedom of a Freelance Art Career – Interview With Acclaimed Illustrator, Derek Stenning

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The freedom of a freelance art career can help you see the world and lead to all kinds of exciting opportunities. In this interview, artist Derek Stenning reveals why he’s never looked back

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It’s a great freedom to have and you’ve got to take advantage of that stuff when it presents itself.”

Derek Stenning

The freedom of a freelance art career can be liberating for many artists.

But for acclaimed illustrator, Derek Stenning, not being tied down to an office or studio job has enabled him to live and work in some amazing places and even collaborate with concept art legend, Scott Robertson.

So how did he get started and build upon his career? You’ll find all the answers you need in this week’s podcast interview…

Derek Stenning on the Freedom of a Freelance Art Career

Derek Stenning is a concept artist and illustrator currently based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

He’s been working in the games industry for 15 years now and has a passion for painting which he applies to all his concept art, illustration, and personal projects.

So how did he get started as a freelance artist?

He says: “I worked in a studio environment for many years, so when I started to break off and do my own thing, I knew a lot of people who still wanted me to work with them.

“When you’re starting out, it can be hard to build a client base, but it’s a lot easier now thanks to online portfolios etc.”

And what inspired him to make the break and go it alone?

Derek explains: “For me it was more situational. I’d worked in Vancouver for years, and then I took a job in Victoria.

“Microsoft was starting a studio there and some of my friends had been headhunted and asked if I’d like to get involved.

“The studio didn’t really work out, but I stayed in Victoria and started to pick up freelance clients soon afterwards.”

But Derek didn’t just stay in Victoria. Having realized that working freelance gave him the option of working anywhere in the world, he decided to travel around.

In fact, he and his family moved to France last year and spent time living in the picturesque Loire Valley before moving around to explore the rest of Europe.

In this week’s interview, you’ll hear how the freedom of freelance art career enabled Derek and his family to experience new things, and how being open to collaboration led to him working with a wide range of artists, including an exciting book project with concept art legend, Scott Robertson, and his publishing house, Design Studio Press.

Here are some of the questions we asked Derek about the freedom of a freelance art career

  1. How did he build up a client base? (01:55 – 03:44)
  2. Why did he go freelance? (03:45 – 05:57) 
  3. What’s it like to work & travel? (05:58 – 14:30)
  4. What was it like to work with Scott Robertson? (14:31 – 19:05)

We hope this week’s podcast interview gives you a real taste of all the exciting opportunities available to you as a freelance artist.

Has the freedom of a freelance art career persuaded you to leave the office job behind and pursue your passion for creativity?

Get in touch below – we’d love to hear from you 🙂

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Wednesday morning 8AM EST.

Cheers,

Mitch

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