I just graduated from art school. Now what? I want to break into illustration. What should I do?

I was overwhelmed with the prospect of finding work when I graduated art school in 1992. I soon realized I needed to polish my social networking skills and gain an understanding of business etiquette in the field of illustration. I contacted established illustrators and asked a lot of questions to those who would give me the time. From these conversations, I learned a lot. So, if you were to contact me, here are some basic points that I think may help a recent art school grad:

(Obviously, these suggestions are based on my experiences and may not apply to all. Consider them starting points for entering the field professionally.)

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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.