New years resolutions always sound like a good idea, but sometimes it's hard to stick to, or you just don't know to go about it.
To make life easier for you, we've rounded up a year of top industry tips to help you make the best of 2016 and get you on top of your career game.
01. Find your niche
Finding your niche, or speciality, might help you hone in your skills and identify your audience. This way you can target your clients and build a brand for yourself and a lucrative career.
It's no secret that freelancing from home can have its distractions. Learn how to stay in "the zone" and you will maximise your time, meaning there is more room in the day for play, or an extra couple of freelance gigs.
It's integral to make time for personal projects. Don't believe us? Learn from expert illustrator Dave Palumbo and stop putting them off in favour of comissions.
This might seem an unrealistic expectation for the new year - we all suffer from it from time to time. However, Titus Linter's tips really can help ward it off and know how to reign your thought back in to the case at hand.
More and more artists are seeing their dreams come true with crowd sourced campaigns.
Read how Kickstarter could help you fund that personal project you have been putting off and Gumroad and Patreon could mean bill payments are no longer a major stress.
Pinterest is an invaluable tool for artists. Learn why top industry professionals are using it to inform and organise their projects and why you should be too!
Modern technology is great – you can now become famous in the comfort of your own home.
Follow the tips for finding your niche, how to best gain online exposure and then read Ross Tran's story of how he became an internet art sensation and learn from a success story – done!
Sometimes work can suck all the fun out of art, motivation can dry up and all you want to do is throw every last sketch attempt in the bin, put on your PJ's and watch Lord of the Rings in your onesie, lamenting the "fact" that "you suck".
Face your demons head on with Donato Giancola's tips to keep that passion flowing (and some tip-top advice on painting techniques to boot!)
It's not what you know, it's who you know, and that is true for pretty much every career. You need collaborators, support from people who know what you are going through and a neverending flow of fresh inspiration.
All of these things come together, and more, at conventions and expos - they aren't just a chance to meet your idols, and waste all of your hard earned cash on prints you no longer have room on your wall for but if you follow our steps, they can be instrumental in helping your own career along.
Take a risk this year – you might find it's the best thing you ever do. Seeing your work in print, especially in a highly regarded book like Spectrum can really improve your confidence.
Even if you don't get accepted – ask for feedback, try something new next time – failure is only a learning curve!
If you aren't quite ready for Spectrum, why not submit to ImagineFX's FXPosé section?
Like this? Read these...