I started doing fashion illustration in a sudden way and I didn’t think it would become a real career path. It has been a long and rough journey, but I want to write it down to look back what happened.
I studied at Ho Chi Minh Architecture University, majored in Fashion Design. I completed all the courses but failed to finish the final project for graduation. Therefore I don’t have the degree, only the knowledge accumulated after 4 years in school.
After leaving school, I had a job doing design works for a local company. In March 2015, I posted the first illustration to Instagram, it’s about Margaret Zhang who is one of my online idols. The post got some likes, which encouraged me to keep illustrating and posting. I didn’t have any knowing about fashion illustration, I just combined my two interests: illustrating and fashion.
A few months later, I had an invitation to do book illustration commission for a popular writer in Vietnam. I was very surprised and overjoyed. I don’t have much money from that commission but that wasn’t important because my illustrations would be printed on thousand copies of the book. That was the first job relating to fashion illustration, marking a watershed in my career as a freelancer doing creative works.
I kept illustrating and posting to Instagram along with doing my day job. Unfortunately I got laid off and spent several weeks unemployed. During that period, I asked myself if it was the right time to seriously consider doing fashion illustration full time.
The answer was no. I had a lot of doubts but little courage. Therefore I applied for Visual Merchandiser job at Mango Man Vietnam. It was a full time job, so I had only weekends for illustration.
The job provided me a steady income but it was very boring, things repeating day after day. I got sick of doing the job, the only thing I want to do is drawing fashion, but I need to pay the bills, so quitting was not an option for me. The turning point came in February 2016 when I was extremely sick. I felt I could die because of the illness. It made me to revisit the question of following my passion.
It took 2 weeks for me to recover and to realize that I had wasted time not doing what I love. Life is short, and I have only one thing I want to do, so it’s now or never. I sent the resignation letter and officially became a self-employed independent artist.
There is a quote that I’m not sure who is the author : “At the present, you think that it is the most difficult period that seems to be impossible to overcome but when you look back and you will see that it is no longer important, just a small thing.
Thanks for reading :)