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Tom Froese

The Creative Process is Hard, but That Shouldn’t Come Through in the Creative Product.

Creativity is hard. The process is a rocky ride, with its ups and downs. There are many forks in the road, and many decisions to make. There’s lots of floundering. Is this the right thing, or is that? Should I place this element here, or over there? We often come up with many ideas but no confidence in any of them—but we should limit the client’s exposure to the creative process, because our job is to lead the process, and to come in with strong, sure-footed recommendations. …


How I Make a Living Teaching Illustration Online

While I spend most of my creative work time on client projects, the majority of my income comes from teaching classes on Skillshare. Today, I want to share with you why I think I’ve found success, and offer you some tips on how to do this yourself.

But first, some quick numbers. As of today, I have taught over 85,000 students, who have watched almost 5.2 million minutes of my class videos online. I release about 2–3 classes per year. My classes average over 8,400 students each and have garnered 1,817 individual student projects among them. Meanwhile, in my most…


How Can I Relate My Experience to Beginners In 2021

I have no idea what it must be like trying to begin as an illustrator today. Things are so different. When I started getting inklings about the possibility of a creative career, it was the early aughts. The dot-com boom and crash was in the rear-view mirror. The economy was in an upswing, after the disastrous double hit, first of 9/11 and then the stock market crash. Opportunity still seemed boundless.

It could have been my tender age and my general ignorance about most things outside of my small life at the time.

I had the space and time to…


Thoughts for Those Starting Out on the Creative Path Later in Life

There seems to be an emerging trend of people quitting their jobs and trying for an illustration career. It could just be what things appear to be from my perspective. As an illustration teacher, of course I’m going to hear from all kinds of people hoping to learn the craft and become illustrators themselves. And of course, this will include career-transitioners.

I don’t have the statistical numbers, but I do hear from quite a few people I would call late bloomers—people who decide well into their established careers to make the shift to a more creative role. Late bloomers are…


Do I Go Deep on a Single Topic, or Keep it More Broad?

Last week I started reflecting more deeply about my reasons for writing a book for illustrators. I started by unpacking why I wanted to give other fellow illustrators, especially those starting out, the “leg up” I wish I had when starting out. It turns out that was pretty simple: I just want to be a positive presence in an industry that can sometimes seem opaque and inaccessible. I am empathetic to the struggles of the beginner, and I think I have something to offer.

Today, I started to work out the second reason I listed in my original purpose statement


Getting More Specific About the Purpose of My Book

This week, I had hoped to work through my original purpose statement, going through the various reasons I wanted to write a book for illustrators in the first place. I have been calling these reasons my Big Why.

The first of such reasons was to give others the leg up I wish I had when starting out. I really got stuck on what I meant by “leg up”. I tend to overthink small details like this to the point where it all breaks down and nothing makes sense. …


With so many styles to choose from to represent a concept, how does a graphic designer approach choosing just one?

I’m going to shift gears today. I was going to continue writing about my “big why” for writing my book, but this question came up on the discussions in The Style Class, and I couldn’t resist responding:

As I have understood a graphic designer doesn’t restrict himself to a particular style. With so many styles to choose from to represent the concept, how does a graphic designer approach choosing one? Is there a guide or process a graphic designer has to follow? As I have understood so far, Context, Brand and Audience are deciding factors. I am unable to figure…


Today, I meant to write more around my purpose for writing my book, but so far, it’s been too overwhelming. I keep getting in the weeds. I thought maybe I could finish up this evening, but it’s not at all coming together as I’d hoped.

I don’t want to fail at writing every day, so I’m writing at least to say I failed at my initial hope. Better to write this more notional post and cross it off my list than to stay up all night and write a long and rambling but hard to follow piece.

Writing on stage…


Checking in With My Book Idea

Yesterday marked my 30th post — my 30th day of writing deliberately. Doing this daily has been a welcome addition to my life. While I am surprised by my own consistency, the act of writing itself comes quite naturally. This does not feel like work (yet). There’s always something rattling around in my head, and it’s almost therapeutic to have this as a means of getting it out.

I was chatting with my brother on Saturday, and of course, the conversation of what’s going on, what are we up to, etc. came up. When I tried to describe what my…


Is There a Magic Connection Between Running and Art?

Someone recently prompted a discussion about the connection between running and creativity. Specifically, they were asking how running in my own life has impacted and continues to fuel my creative practice. Running is definitely a huge part of my life, and in many ways, it is connected to my work routine. My workday runs from 8 until 5, and it is within these hours that I do most of my weekly running.

I wish running was more directly related to my art. For starters, it would be a dream to collaborate with one of my favourite running and athletic brands…

Tom Froese

Illustrator. Creatively Empowering Teacher/Speaker. Represented by Making Pictures/UK & Dot Array/USA. Top Teacher on @skillshare. www.tomfroese.com/links

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