Where do you start with illustration as an absolute beginner? Should you invest time in learning how to draw first, or should you start by mastering digital software? This was the question that my old friend from school asked me a few days ago.

Anya Kuvarzina
9 min readJul 20, 2018


Edited 08.07.2020

Being an illustrator is an attractive occupation for those who love to draw. It is creative and commercial with a prospect of having your work seen and admired by thousands of people.

However, to get to a stage of being commissioned and making a living from it takes commitment, perseverance and artistic skills. I believe that becoming an illustrator is not difficult, but you have to be smart about what you do.

From my experience, there are three main components to becoming successful at illustration:

  1. Confidence in your style
  2. Market awareness
  3. Self promotion

(and a bit of luck)

Tips for finding your visual style.

If you are an absolute beginner, then finding a way to express yourself visually will be the most important step in your practice.

Drawing is the most obvious way that illustrators use to express their ideas, so learning to draw will definitely be high on your agenda.

Check out these easy drawing exercises for beginners in this article.

How to kick start your drawing practice:

1. Get a sketchbook and use it to draw from life regularly — in any way you can.

In the beginning, a pencil and a blank sheet of paper become two most terrifying things on earth, so you will need to take care of your mindset before you begin.

Read this article for a few psychological tips.

The aim here is not to become very good at drawing, although that might also inevitably happen, but to become comfortable with your own creative expression. For example, if your drawing is…



Anya Kuvarzina