Got a new commission? Let’s get to work right now!

We just received a new job request? Let’s start immediately. Let’s not procrastinate. Let’s not put it off. Even if we only spend a minute. By doing so, we make our lives so much easier. Waiting for the right time or inspiration is for amateurs. We are professionals. We get to work. Here are seven reasons why we should always start immediately:

1. We overcome the fear of the blank page

The first step, however small, is by far the biggest. It doesn’t even have to be a creative one. We just relax on the couch and go over the brief or Google and research our topic. How about a first sketch that takes just a few seconds? Or maybe we just prepare the folder structure. Personally, as an illustrator, I create a new job folder. This contains an “IN” folder, an “OUT” folder, a “RESEARCH” folder, and a new Photoshop file. No matter what we start with, and no matter how small the incentive we give ourselves, the moment we do, we switch our minds into discovery mode. We are already in the middle of the process.

2. We skip the agonizing phase of procrastination

We prevent the project from chasing us for days, weeks, months. By procrastinating, we lose precious time and moments with our friends, children, or even simply with the Playstation. Instead, we spend it waking up desperate, filled with guilt, and spreading our bad mood to the world. Let’s do number 1, and we automatically beat number 2.

3. We create more time for the extra mile

How about we surprise our client? The deadline is tomorrow, but we’re already done today. Who isn’t happy when an ordered package is delivered a day earlier than expected? Or we could use the time to present our work in a nicely designed PDF instead of just sending files named “version-1.jpg” “version-2.jpg” as usual.

4. We find time to experiment

The briefing has been worked through, and the result should deliver the desired result. Now we could use the spare time to try out our very own version and interpretation of the topic. Completely without pressure and only for our pleasure. Perhaps this freedom gives us the final impulse for an alternative proposal (which is usually faster to implement at this point), which goes beyond the customer’s idea. In the worst case, he will say, “Thanks, but let’s focus on the first draft.” However, our dedication to the project will not be unnoticed.

5. We can let the finished work rest for a while

Gaining distance from our work is always valuable. The client expects the illustration, logo design, or campaign idea the day after tomorrow. But we are already done with it today and go play with our kids, watch our favorite show or go to bed early with a clear conscience. Tomorrow, we take another look at our design with a fresh eye, make final adjustments if necessary, and achieve the best possible result. That extra time can be worth its weight in gold.

6. We minimize the risk of a worst-case scenario

We are close to the deadline, and life, fate, and nature suddenly strike: We catch the flu. There is no way to leave the bed or even eat, let alone work creatively. With the last of our strengths, we humbly call the client. Deadline missed, the client at best disappointed, at worst in big trouble, and we might never see him again.

7. We minimize the risk of missing our dream job (my personal nightmare and most significant incentive)

Each of us has a vision of a dream client: maybe a gaming company, favorite fashion brand, or a movie company. In a television program about my work, I am asked at the end what my dream project would be. I answered with a commission from Juventus Torino. A year later, I received an unexpected request from Juventus for 20 illustrations. It would have been unforgivably cruel if I had had to cancel that commission because I started too late with a current one.

How is it with you? What do you do to conquer your inner resistance? Or does time pressure do you good and maybe supports your creativity?

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Hi, I am Sergio Ingravalle, a Germany-based illustrator. I share my thoughts on creativity, freelancing, and illustration after 20 years of experience.

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Sergio Ingravalle

Sergio Ingravalle

Hi, I am Sergio Ingravalle, a Germany-based illustrator. I share my thoughts on creativity, freelancing, and illustration after 20 years of experience.

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