Illustrator Jon Contino was interviewed by The Great Discontent:
I started freelancing immediately after college. When you leave school, you’re conceited. I saw other people who were making money and I thought, “I’m better than those guys and I’ll make twice as much as them.” I tried the freelance thing, but I couldn’t get it together–I had no clients and no money. I ended up taking a job at a local agency that served only financial advisors and every client wanted the same thing done in the same way. It was very limiting and I was out of there after two months. The next job I took was for a print broker that did design on the side. Everyone who worked there was a designer, but the majority of their money was made from designing and printing club fliers, so it wasn’t the exact position I was looking for. I also took on some pet projects and got a taste of doing some cool stuff and actually making money. About a year after that, I decided to open up my own studio and try my hand at it because I was done working for someone else.
I love origin stories.
Contino is one of my favorite illustrators, but even guys at the top of their game like him had to start somewhere.