what are you loving about illustration right now?
Illustration is always unpredictable, but for me, I've really been enjoying my work with books. I've just finished my first book for children as author illustrator. Starting on my next book this summer. I enjoy this work- designing an entire project with the scope of a book is very long but really enjoyable to own so much content.

how long did it take for illustration to become your full time job?
I wasn't able to make enough money to call myself a full time illustrator until about 2-3 years out. I was putting together 25-35 jobs a year my first two years, but my third I had about 75. At that point, I was able to quit my part time job doing Art Direction at the New York Times and hung out the shingle. I think that is about normal for most people, though it usually takes longer if that clock starts right out of undergraduate school. Very few illustrators right out of school can do it full time in 2 years.
what are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?
I'm sure that the format of how and where our work appears is going to change- but the need for images and illustrations will not go away. I think its a great market, mainly because our culture is becoming more and more visual. We are entering an age when 'visuality' it the currency of ideas. What a great time to be an image-maker!
How has your work been changing recently?
It swings back and forth between stuff that is very polished and drawings that aspire to come straight out of my sketchbook. So, I try to shift if up with my editorial work to stay fresh, trying different colors of pens, sometimes even using flat graphic shapes that I create digitally. In contrast, my recent book work has been the most formally rigorous work of my career.
advice for new / young illustrators
Generally, I tell new illustrators that you have to work hard to find a place for yourself in this field. Don't be afraid to tell people that you are new, but also don't be afraid of being passionate and excited to get those first jobs. Every art director desires to work with someone who really wants it. Talent is over-rated, desire trumps everything else. Most young illustrators should take the pressure off of themselves to do it all in the first month or year... it takes time and patience and persistence! Keep a sketchbook with you at all times!

advice for established / old illustrators
Not sure I would have much advice for my peers other than keep up the inspiring work and remember to be generous to those younger illustrators who are just starting out. I benefitted tremendously from the extreme kindness from some titans in the field and I'll never forget it. Keep a sketchbook with you at all times!

all images copyright John Hendrix - check out his site: http://www.johnhendrix.com/ or join the more than 79 followers of his excellent blog: http://www.johnhendrix.blogspot.com/


  1. I have loved John's work from day one.

  2. I have loved Kyle's work from, like, day two or three.
    Thanks ryan, great blog.

  3. close enough, thanks John :)