Q: With freelancing for magazines and stuff, is there a time of year that is always busier than others? Is there one that is slower? If so, why?
A: I’ve noticed over the years that the first few months of the year and October were busier than others, and November/December were always the slowest months when it came to getting freelance illustration jobs. The discrepancy was obvious enough that I finally asked one of my art directors why that might be. He told me it was all about budgets.
Most magazines and periodicals operate under budgets for things like illustration, freelance writing, etc. They get X amount of money to spend on that kind of content. By the end of the year they are out of budget money and can’t buy much illustration. Early in the year they have fresh budgets and, having gone without much illustration in a few issues, go on a little shopping spree. October is busy because that’s when publications are working on their “year end” issues, which are often their biggest issue of the year and generally eat up whatever illustration budget they had left. The rest of the year is pretty consistent.
With regards to being busier at some times over others, as an illustrator who does a lot of caricature any big national election year tends to make the late summer/early fall busier.
Thanks to Steven B. for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me your questions and I’ll try and answer them here!
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903 New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550
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