Becoming a Professional Illustrator
with Katy Smail


Learn how to start building your career as a professional illustrator.

This on-demand program will give you life-time access to all of the workshop content, so you can participate on your own schedule.


Sign up now | $97

Do you want to make illustration work your full time job? Do you dream of being a professional illustrator?

This three-day, live online workshop will show you how to start building your career as a professional illustrator. We’ll give you tips on how to how to develop your style, manage your time, build your portfolio, and market your work.

Katy Smail is an illustrator and painter represented by Kate Ryan Inc. in New York. She has worked on a wide range of projects from designing kids apparel to creating illustrated sets for fashion photographers. Katy has experience in surface pattern design, advertising, editorial, and childrens illustrations. Her past clients include Target, Saks Fifth Avenue, Converse, Julep Beauty, Seventeen Magazine, NBC Universal, Macys, Parents Magazine, and Hanna Andersson. Her illustrations have been featured across national media including DesignLoveFest, Refinery 29, Design Sponge, Style.com, and Art Hound.

This workshop will give you an inside look at how Katy built her career as a professional illustrator, and leave you with a roadmap for building your own illustration career.

Sign up now | $97

About the instructor:

Katy Smail is an illustrator and painter represented by Kate Ryan Inc. in New York. She has worked on a wide range of projects from designing kids apparel to creating illustrated sets for fashion photographers. Katy has experience in surface pattern design, advertising, editorial, and childrens illustrations. Her past clients include Target, Saks Fifth Avenue, Converse, Julep Beauty, Seventeen Magazine, NBC Universal, Macys, Parents Magazine, and Hanna Andersson. Her illustrations have been featured across national media including DesignLoveFest, Refinery 29, Design Sponge, Style.com, and Art Hound.

The Schedule:

Session One: Developing your skills

Passion is essential, but it is important to take the time to learn basic drawing and visual communication skills before you commit to life as an illustrator. This could mean attending an art school or simply setting time aside each day to teach yourself. Taking the time to practice your art and experiment with style will allow you to find your own voice; a valuable asset in this industry. This session will give you an inside look at how Katy developed her skills.

She’ll talk about:

– Learning to trust your intuition and find your path as an artist.
– Why it took her so long to call herself an illustrator, and why it is important to do so
– Taking the time to understand when and how you work best, so that you can make the most of your working hours, and learn to schedule time off.
– When, and if, to decide to commit to being an illustrator full time. Being emotionally prepared for the ups and downs of making a living from your art.

Session Two: Building & sharing your portfolio

Once you have established your personal style as an artist and feel confident in your passion for illustration, then it is time to share your work with the world. This session will give you an inside look at how Katy developed her own niche outside of traditional illustration, how she can help you create a portfolio that is designed to attract projects you are passionate about. Take the time to build a portfolio that you feel great about; creating work without clients is the ultimate freedom!

She’ll talk about:

– How to present and share your work: website, social media, printed matter.
– How to hone your visual style into a marketable commodity
– How to share your work on social media. Creating boundaries that allow you to interact without it taking over your life and crushing your confidence.
– Retaining and protecting your style in our world of image bombardment and constant “inspiration”
– Organizing portfolio visits with prospective clients; with or without an agent.
– Developing a thick skin. Not everyone will love your work, and that is ok.

Session Three: Making Money & Life as an Illustrator

The final step in building your career is learning how to make money from your illustrations. It is important to understand that in the beginning you will likely be doing work for free, or little money, while you develop your portfolio and build your network. Learn how to manage your commitments so that this is possible, and useful, for you. Freelance work is rarely steady, so it is helpful to be pro-active, determined and emotionally prepared.

She’ll talk about:

– How to market your skills and find potential clients.
– How to make the most of your connections by collaborating and trading favors.
– Building a network of other creatives who can give you critical feedback, potential paid work, and emotional support to help you navigate the ups and downs of the industry
– The basics of contracts, pricing and copyright.
– The importance of self-care. How to avoid burnout by finding your desired work/life balance.



Sign up now | $97

This three-day live online workshop will give you access to:

3 Recorded Sessions

Our recorded workshop sessions allow you to work through this entire program on your own schedule, and our private Facebook group will give you a chance to connect with the other participants.

3 Email Lessons

Each session includes a daily lesson packed with resources to help you put everything you learn into action.

Comprehensive workbook

All of the content is packaged into a downloadable comprehensive workbook that will give you lifetime access to the recorded workshop content.

How does it work?

How does it work? You will get a downloadble PDF that will give you access to all of workshop content. This on-demand workshop includes access to three recorded sessions with our instructor Each session includes an hour-long video, downloadble worksheets and other free resources. You will also get access to an exclusive facebook group which will connect you with 200+ artists who are building the same type of business as you are.

What if I don’t like the workshop?

We want everyone to leave 100% happy. Let us know if you are not totally satisfied with the workshop, and we will give you a complete refund.

Who’s this workshop for?

This workshop is for creatives who want to build a business around their passion.

Who created this workshop?

This course was created by Katy Smail in partnership with Modern Thrive.

What if I’m just starting out?

This workshop was designed for creatives at all levels. This workshop will help you find the path to building a business around your passion. (regardless of where you are in the journey)

Got another question?

Email us:  modernthrive@gmail.com