Friday, August 4, 2023

Making A Living as an Illustrator: Balancing Career, Values, Income, & Play with Susie Ghahremani

Susie Ghahremani is an award-winning artist whose work is licensed, exhibited and sold internationally under the brand boygirlparty. She's also a RISD alum whose children's books include STACK THE CATS, SHE WANTED TO BE HAUNTED, as well as many others. 

In Susie's session she shared examples of the many streams of income she's set up and how they do or do not fulfill her personally, professionally, financially and creatively. This was such a helpful way to think about prioritizing and assessing one's own potential income streams. Susie shared a ton of great, personal career information while walking us through how and what she works on. 

Besides making children's books Susie also makes her own products, takes part in art shows, does editorial illustration, takes commissions, runs an Etsy shop, licenses her art, teaches, and on top of all that makes things just for the fun of it! Susie has a Patreon where she's graciously set up a blog post answering all the Q&A audience questions from her SCBWI conference session. (I've already asked (demanded) she consider hosting a class series expanding on this session, so whenever that happens I will update this post with that link here 😗). 

Susie's books

A sample of Susie's latest products

Susie broke down how each income stream positively or negatively impacted her career, values, income, or opportunity for play and creativity giving attendees an excellent framework to use for themselves. 

Here Susie shows how personal work and public events align for her:

Susie gives some tips on working on your own products vs. working with a team/publisher/collaborators. There are a lot of risks with making your own products and work, but it's also full of really big joys and unexpected wins. Making books with a publisher lets them take on more upfront risk and can also be full of big joys and unexpected wins, but most books do eventually go out of print and that's sadly not in your control.

Self care for long-term career and physical longevity (Ott lights!), taxes, and so many great tips in general are touched on!! Susie has had to battle copyright infringement (she was interviewed on NPR!) and does an amazing job in the session of helping attendees understand how to protect their work and themselves (this could be a standalone class all on its own).

Susie touched on overwhelm with juggling so many different income streams. She has found a balance that energizes her, but doesn't expect anyone else to follow that. She recommends knowing yourself and accepting where you are at—everyone has different physical, emotional, and mental capacities to consider when figuring out life and career goals.

Susie’s next release will be the picture book MEMORY GARDEN written by Zohreh Ghahremani (her mom!), publishing in 2024 with Godwin Books / Macmillan. 

No comments:

Post a Comment