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Bread and Butter

DECEMBER 14, 2011

Every illustrator would love to be able to fill up their time doing the very plum assignments, like Time magazine or New Yorker covers. But in reality a lot of us, myself included, must rely on getting some assignments that may be a little less glamorous but are no less important, to earn a living in this business. The bread and butter jobs. If it’s a project that you know fits your style and you have the time, why not do it? That’s how you build your client base.

When I got an email from Shape magazine asking me to do a series of plates of prepared food, comparing a healthy meal to a less healthy one, I didn’t hesitate to accept. I’ve illustrated a number of cookbooks so I was familiar with this type of work. I also knew the assignment would fill in a gap between a couple other jobs and that it would be fun and pretty straightforward. Art Directors Susanne Johansson and Sarah Munoz were great to work with and the job went very smoothly.

This all brings me to an exchange I had a long time ago with my former Greek landlord, who didn’t speak English very well. (He turned out to be a great landlord and a real gentleman). When I was a prospective tenant and he was interviewing me, he asked what I did for a living. I replied, “I’m an Illustrator, that’s my bread and butter.” He looked at me incredulously and asked, “You sell bread and butter?” Well Mr. Anastasopoulos, I guess I do sell bread and butter – sometimes.