By Eric Fortune

Back in the day(a Wednesday so I’ve heard) during my senior year of art school I remember getting some common sense advice from my teacher, Joe Kovach. He proclaimed “Always have a cushion of money in order to pay for a few months of bills”. Sounds simple enough. But as many of us know starting a career in illustration can be difficult to say the least.

Here’s a saying you may have heard before, “feast or famine”. Sometimes you have so much work on your plate all you can think about are deadlines. And sometimes you’re frantically promoting yourself just to get work to trickle in. Right out of school…FAMINE. Getting an opportunity to prove your artistic worth can be trying. I eventually snagged one of a few full time illustration jobs. Having a 9-5 was good and the money was steady. However, prior to making the jump to freelancing full time I recalled the sage advice of my mentor and saved as much money as possible for a rainy day. I worked my full time job and took on as much freelance as possible before putting in my two weeks. Even with the cushion I had saved up there were some really stressful times when freelance had dried up to the point where I considered changing my name back to “Diamond” just to make ends meet. School loans ain’t cheap.

I recently gave this advice to an art buddy who tends to live a check to check, what happens happens, stressed out life style. He shrugged. I guess it depends on whatever lifestyle you want to live. Saving up for a rainy day and living within my means allows me to focus on my art and not get too caught up in things I don’t really need anyway. Recently, I had to replace all the tires on my car(damn you all wheel drive) and the water line leading to my house had burst(damn you burstable water line). Which brings to mind two other relevant sayings “shit happens” and “when it rains it pours”. Best to be prepared.