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Freelance Illustrator - Toren Atkinson (MacBin)

Freelance Illustrator - Toren Atkinson (MacBin) - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Dec 27, 2006
( Rating: 1 Star Rating)

Do you spend hours doodling sketches on your notebooks when you should be listening in class? If you're into drawing, an illustrator may be the perfect job for you! Get the scoop on becoming an illustrator/artist.

Do you spend endless hours doodling sketches on your notebooks when you should be listening in class? If your teacher caught you, would they think it was any good? If you're a talented artist, becoming an illustrator may be the perfect job for you!

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The Artist

A lot of people would love to be in Toren "MacBin" Atkinson's shoes. Toren is a 31 year-old freelance illustrator for role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and Call of Cthulhu. He's been working professionally as an illustrator for about six years. Wow! Imagine getting paid for something you're passionate about?

How'd he go from drawing at home to getting his sketches published in books? "I've always been drawing so it only made sense that eventually I'd be good enough for publication," says Toren. "When I thought I was 'there,' I just started sending my portfolio out to publishers I'd like to work for."

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The Job

Toren will get an assignment, do up some sketches and often take pics of his friends in costume or browse through magazines for various poses. He prefers drawing from photos cuz he can get a more realistic looking sketch. Once he's done sketching by hand, he scans it into the computer, makes any necessary touch-ups in Photoshop, and emails it to the publisher.

Some of his credits include work for Dungeon Magazine and the Call of Cthulhu Rulebook. He's also done artwork for Web sites, CDs, as well as, cover art for board games and books. He's in the process of doing art for a game called Spaceship Zero, which he co-wrote and should be released in November of 2002 by Green Ronin Publishing.

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The Good & The Bad

Toren is a freelance illustrator, which means he works for himself and companies pay him for his services. One of the best things is being his own boss. But it can also be one of the worst things too. Working for yourself can also be bad at times too. What happens if there aren't a lot of people looking for your services? You don't get paid.

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How Do I Become an Illustrator?

Like any job, going to college or university is a definite plus. Taking art courses to benefit your artistic hand is a great idea. Being an illustrator is a job that requires talent - something that can't be taught. Toren does have some tips though. Grab a copy of Artist's and Graphic Designer's Market. "If you have your own unique art 'style' that can help a lot - though it always helps to be flexible in this industry," says Toren. Practice, practice, practice. You also need to be able to make your deadlines to get repeat business from a client.

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The Dosh

A yearly salary is tough to estimate cuz it varies and depends on the artist but companies usually pay at least $100 to $150 US per page of black and white artwork. So the amount of money you make depends on how good you are and how many pictures you have published in a year. "I still go to garage sales (partly because I love scavenger hunts)," Toren says. "But I can afford to eat out and go to the dentist!"

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Fun Stuff

Toren's been invited to conventions and events as a special guest where he gets to meet other artists, writers, and celebrities. He once met, Peter Mayhew, the guy who played Chewbacca. Toren says, "Most of the people in this industry are great folks and wonderful to work with." Another awesome part of being in the role-playing game industry is that you can get a lot of gaming books and swag for free!

Toren's fave thing to draw is definitely monsters! "I love to be creative and you don't have to adhere to many rules when you're drawing something that nobody has drawn before," Toren says of sketching. If he wasn't drawing he'd love to do production artwork for sci-fi action movies or video games. That'd be pretty cool but I think a lot of peeps would love to do what Toren's doing now!

  • For Spaceship Zero and Wrath of Rage, check out www.greenronin.com.

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    Dear Dish-It In The Forums

    rainbowpoptart
    Yes, purely for the fact that you should not "hate" your sister (or anyone, for that matter).  I'm guessing by "get in trouble for her", you mean she does something wrong and the blame is all put on you? Yeah, little siblings tend to do that a lot. My brother did for the longest time, until my parents found out how much a liar he is. She, hopefully, will grow out of this eventually. Either that, or your parent[s]/guardian[s] will eventually see through her. You lose your friends to her? By this do you mean your friends want to hang out with her and they want you to tag along and you don't? Or do you mean your friends chose your sister over you? If it's the latter, then perhaps you shouldn't have ever referred to those people as friends. You'll find friends who'll prefer you over your sister, I'm sure of it. The only thing I can tell you to do is try to get along with your sister. Every group of siblings has their cats and dogs moment in life, but they grow out of it (most of the time; there are, of course, circumstances where it doesn't work out that way). Please be grateful for your sister, even if you two fight a lot. You never know how much you need something until it's gone.
    reply about 2 hours
    liddielover
    i hate my little sister because i get introuble for her and lose my friends to her.is that wrong?
    reply about 3 hours
    skylar245
    skylar245 posted in Friends:
    "rainbowpoptart" wrote: "skylar245" wrote: Teacher said to wait for the Bus Driver and the counselor, she just talks to me and doesn't tell The Princible Then maybe try telling the principal yourself, and you should also report that the driver, teacher, and counselor haven't done anything to help you. If that fails, tell another trusted adult, like your mother. I'm sure someone you're close to would do their best to get justice. This is a major problem and it's a shame no one's done anything to help. ​No one listens to me anyway but my friends
    reply 2 days
    rainbowpoptart
    rainbowpoptart posted in Friends:
    "skylar245" wrote:Teacher said to wait for the Bus Driver and the counselor, she just talks to me and doesn't tell The Princible Then maybe try telling the principal yourself, and you should also report that the driver, teacher, and counselor haven't done anything to help you. If that fails, tell another trusted adult, like your mother. I'm sure someone you're close to would do their best to get justice. This is a major problem and it's a shame no one's done anything to help.
    reply 2 days
    skylar245
    skylar245 posted in Friends:
    "rainbowpoptart" wrote: "skylar245" wrote: My bus driver does NOTHING about it EVEN IF HE SEE'S IT! he only wrote the two girls up but not the girl that hit me Then report them to a teacher or the school counselor. Behaviour like that is not acceptable in the slightest. ​Teacher said to wait for the Bus Driver and the counselor, she just talks to me and doesn't tell The Princible
    reply 2 days