Very rarely is there a freelance sector that has such long-term and dedicated individuals offering that skillset but with artwork and now retouching, businesses have needed artwork since advertising began. Designing everything from printed posters, banners and signage, freelance artworkers offer a creative perspective that helps brands become memorable, working on clever logos and campaign art.
One of those long-serving artwork freelancers and frequent YunoJuno users is Dan Mills, who brings a wealth of 44 years experience to his client projects. We asked Dan how he kept on top of his skillsets, how he’s progressed through his career to digital artwork and what advice he’d give for anyone considering being a freelance artworker.
Having gone freelance in 2012, Dan recognised the potential of being self-employed after he was made redundant from his role at a large agency. After developing a love for design at school, Dan left at age 16 and went straight into the job he loves .
I've been working as an artworker for almost 44 years, from the age of 16 as a school leaver. I then got into retouching when the industry started to transition from mechanical artwork (traditional 'lick and stick') to digital artwork production back in the mid-late ’80s.
Since starting out in the industry, Dan has shaped his skillset to fit in with the ever-evolving world of artwork, keeping up with the changes and learning on the job. His advice for anyone considering artwork and who want to invest in courses is to look online
LinkedIn learning is quite good and if you have a Creative Cloud subscription, Adobe offers some decent ones too.
When it comes to giving advice to someone starting out, Dan recommends:
Be keen and hard-working, never be afraid to put yourself up for a brief, even if it's out of your skill range – it's usually the best way to learn new skills. Especially if you're working around people who are experts in their field as you can pick their brains.
With plenty of work in the market, Dan has been fortunate enough to secure a number of projects from both client referral and YunoJuno meaning he doesn’t worry about remaining productive:
Downtime is usually the hardest thing to obtain. I'm rarely out of a working situation which is why I try to make the most of it when I am.
For anyone concerned about their own years of experience as an artworker, Dan’s other piece of advice is:
If you're honest with the client about the range of your skills, they know when they are asking you to perform beyond your comfort zone.
Being adaptable in the world of artwork is a big part of keeping up with industry trends and with over 44 years of experience in the industry, Dan is very aware of the need to change. His last piece of advice for anyone looking to go freelance or who might be new to working as an artworker and retoucher, or simply a freelancer in general is applicable to anyone
Don't make enemies because you never know when they'll turn up as your boss!
If you’re looking for someone with a wealth of experience to help your next artwork project, book Dan via his profile here.