For some reason… when I imagine an illustrator, I think of Gandalf The Grey covered in paint and surrounded by several half-empty cups of coffee.

I’d never met one until I had the pleasure of speaking with Raglan-based Hilary, who has successfully converted her passion into a career.

Here’s my conversation with Hilary Campbell, Illustrator…

Where does a typical day take you and what are you usually doing?
I love working from home in Raglan, where I have an office for illustration and design work as well as a studio space for painting set up in the garage.

Typically, I get all of my admin out of the way as early as I can which gives me the rest of the day to work on client design projects or art commissions.

I try to spend at least one full day each week working on my own creative ideas – this allows me the chance to really develop my skills and ensure I keep up with trends in technique and style.

How did you become an illustrator? Was it a hard grind or did you fall into it?
Becoming an illustrator is something that has developed naturally for me. I worked in graphic design and web development roles for 4-5 years and gradually started building up commissions for artwork in my own time.

The more artwork I did, the more I realised that drawing and painting were what made me the happiest. I’m so happy when I draw.

“The more artwork I did, the more I realised that drawing and painting were what made me the happiest..”

What do you think makes a good illustrator?
If you are happy when creating artwork, I would say this is a great achievement in finding personal success!

In terms of being good professionally, I believe it is important to listen to the client and gain an ‘emotional’ understanding of what they would like.

Deliver work which is as close to their brief as you can get, and if you have ideas which go in a different creative direction it may be best to supply these as additional options, rather than the only result!

What is the best part of your day?
Receiving positive feedback from clients is really rewarding.

It’s always nice to hear that your work is appreciated. It is especially nice to see your own designs and artwork published around town.

“I can’t handle wasting paint!”

What is the worst part of your day?
I can’t handle wasting paint! So if there is paint left over at the end of the day, I’ll pick up a canvas and start a new piece just to get through it!

What exciting things are happening with technology in your job currently?
For me personally, the Procreate app for iPad accompanied by Apple Pencil has really changed the game. The Pencil is so intuitive, which makes illustration and calligraphy extremely accurate compared to using tablets in the past.

The app uses similar tools and layering to Photoshop, so it has been a seamless transition which I would recommend to anyone looking into digital illustration.

“I would expect that traditional illustrators may find it difficult to make the move to digital work.”

What do you think is the future of your industry and how will it affect the people working in it?
As technology advances, I would expect that traditional illustrators may find it difficult to make the move to digital work. Though with this being said, many clients and agencies may hold on to a love for the classic approach.

For someone wanting to do what you do, what is your advice?
Practice. Persevere. If you work from home, try to leave the house now and then…
Why did you join Freelance Directory?
I have been looking for a creative hub to join for some time. I’ve found that Freelance Directory offers a professional, trustworthy platform, which is run by very welcoming people.