Illustrator Nancy Liang on knowing your worth

Illustrator Nancy Liang’s gorgeous ongoing personal project ‘100 Scenes of Sydney’ explores the present culture of Sydney: The current cityscape, events and urban life. We asked the 20-something NSW-based artist about the inspiration behind her new series and how she developed the confidence to ask for fair rates for her artistic work.
By Grace Jennings-Edquist

Have you ever struggled to know what to charge in terms of freelance rates? How did you learn how to ask for what you’re worth as an artist/illustrator?

Definitely! During university I worked on odd editorial jobs for small independent publications, but had no idea how much my work should be worth. I was making a tiny amount of money for a lot of work. I had no leads and believed setting yourself low was the only way to break into the industry. This NEVER should be the case for anyone – but sadly I feel many still do it.

The find for self-worth for me was slow and I am still in the process of learning. I am lucky to have mentors who guide me and my agents at The Jacky Winter Group fight for my rights.

For those who may not be a position like me, there are many organisations you can join that offer their services online to help creatives through freelance rates such as Illustrators Australia and The Association of Illustrators in the UK (that I am a part of).

 What inspired the 100 scenes of Sydney series?

Sydney is going through what I feel is a dramatic development phase where much of the existing spaces are being replaced by apartments – see the King’s Cross development proposal. I feel it is somewhat my duty to preserve some of those spaces through illustrations.

This project uses a much simpler colourful collage technique as opposed to the heavy detailing and mostly monochrome style of my usual pieces.

Find Nancy Liang’s onling portfolio here. She’s also on Instagram here, and her GIF blog (Over TheMoon) is here.