Making a Living as an Illustrator

Panelists include Jillian Ditner, Clayton Hanmer and Ben Weeks
Moderated by Bob Hambly RGD


This panel discussion addresses the current state of illustration as a profession.

Based on their knowledge and experiences in the workplace, our panelists share their insights on how they make a living in the field of illustration.


Questions that will be addressed:

  • What is the biggest challenge you faced in launching your career as an illustrator?
  • How has the illustration field changed in the past 10 years?
  • What is currently your ‘secret weapon’ as an illustrator? (favourite tools/software)
  • How do you charge for your work?
  • What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in terms of billing/pricing your services?
  • What advice do you have for emerging illustrators putting together their portfolios?
  • What particular skills or behaviours do you think a person needs to have to be successful working as an illustrator?
  • How do you deal with the intake of work requests? Do you use online tools to work with clients?
  • What are the main ways that you market yourself and your work? How do you attract new clients?


Moderated by: 


Bob Hambly RGD 

Bob is the creative director of Hambly & Woolley Inc., a Toronto-based, multi-disciplinary design firm he co-founded with his partner, Barbara Woolley RGD. Over the past 25 years, the firm has received over 350 national and international design awards. His creative mind is always at work at H&W, where clients benefit from his fresh perspective, eye for detail and knack for personal service. Bob lectures frequently on design and design-related topics to varied organizations, associations and schools.




Jillian Ditner 

Jillian Ditner is an illustrator and designer who combines her knowledge of science and passion for visual communication to create accurate and compelling visuals.

Jillian studied fine art and printmaking at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and received a Master's Degree in Design from York University in Toronto. Most recently Jillian earned a graduate certificate in Science Illustration from California State University, Monterey Bay, where she honed her observational skills and pursued interests in naturalist subjects, most notably bird behaviour and anatomy. These pursuits led to a fellowship at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where she be participate in a four month residency this Fall.

Jillian also creates conceptual pieces along with her scientific illustration practice and her work has been featured in books, editorials and campaigns throughout North America. She recently designed interpretive signage and installation graphics for a botanical garden in Costa Rica. 


Clayton Hanmer 

Clayton (aka CTON) is an illustrator whose crude, energetic comic style has given him a surprisingly broad range of clients from The New York Times to National Geographic Kids. He has illustrated several children's books including the recently released 'Half-Truths and Brazen Lies: An Honest Look at Lying' by Kira Vermond (Owlkids Books, 2016). He lives in Toronto, Canada with his super awesome wife, amazing daughter and weird cat named Graphite.


Ben Weeks 

Ben lives with his wife and kids in Toronto. He works as an illustrator and creative director since starting his own business in 2005. He got a Master’s Degree on full scholarship after graduating from Sheridan College prior. Select clients include New York Times Magazine, Pentagram, TD, Mozilla, Honda, Microsoft. Designers are the main people he works with. Ben also taught, paints and has advised non-profits pro bono. 


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