When Illustration, Design, and Code Meet: An Enthusiast’s Ace Tips on Growing a Personal Brand

When Illustration, Design, and Code Meet: An Enthusiast’s Ace Tips on Growing a Personal Brand

There are many talented individuals in the world of design, illustration, and code. However, not all of them have a following of more than 73k on social media, over 3 million views on YouTube, and as a cherry on top – a personal website with a .ME domain name

Yes, Mackenzie Child is the name, and creativity and sharing knowledge is his game. 😎

This young creative can undoubtedly teach us a lot of great lessons on how to build his personal brand and career, especially if you are a curious soul with many interests and projects! Here are some of the most important ones:

Be willing to step out of your comfort zone.

One-tenth of a second. Just a little bit more than a blink of an eye. That’s how long it takes us to evaluate a person, “label” them in a certain way and create a general idea that will be difficult to change.

When you take a look at Mackenzie’s website, you can see right away that he is constantly working on something. Looking at the things he’s been doing over the years, we recognize consistency, but also his willingness to step out of his routine and tackle new challenges.

Most importantly, he’s always on the lookout for new ideas and inspiration. He researches and steps out of his comfort zone and area of expertise in order to keep his artistic work fresh.

Grow your skillset and share your knowledge with others along the way.

Acquiring new and perfecting existing skills is paramount in the world of code and design, and Mackenzie happily shares his process and tricks of the trade.

This guy learned how to code – all by himself! He used Ruby on Rails to build 12 Web Apps in 12 Weeks. How awesome is that? From building a Reddit-style web app to a Wikipedia clone and Dribbble-type apps, he created easy-to-follow tutorials and shared nuggets of information on his personal website. Plus, as a part of a Design to Code Challenge, he spent a week designing a UI element and then the following one to code that same UI over a course of 12 weeks.

In case it wasn’t clear enough that this guy is all about testing his limits, we have another one for you – his 100 Days of Doodle Challenge, where he created a new doodle every single day for hundred days straight. By creating illustrations on his iPad and focusing on consistency and improving just a little bit each day, he worked towards his goal of getting really good at doodling and developing his skill set. He saw it as a necessary step for doing webcomics and similar projects in the future.

The best thing of all? Mackenzie speaks about his journeys and gives ace tips to other aspiring front-end developers, designers, and illustrators who look up to him. 

Take time to recharge.

Getting some “alone time” to reflect on previous projects, work processes, and oneself is what you can set you apart from others because it opens you up for creative thinking.

Mackenzie understood this on time and decided to make ME-time part of his routine – that’s the reason why you can notice a little downtime in his work. He talks openly about the importance of those breaks and what it means for him – putting the emphasis on the process of “recharging” and thinking about what he really wants to do creatively. The feedback he got from his followers after those videos was very encouraging as well, as people appreciate honesty and can relate to these issues themselves.

This leads us to the following – staying in touch with his community.

Build a network of friends and fellow creatives.

Another crucial thing for a successful professional and entrepreneur is simply to be a pleasant human being. In general, people are a great resource of ideas and a push forward when it comes to business endeavors, and Mackenzie definitely appears to be someone who invests his time into networking and building a community. Sometimes the most unexpected contacts can turn out to be the most useful ones, providing that they know who you are and what you’re doing. 

It might seem like a full-time job, but telling people what you do, building new connections, making new business deals, and getting commissioned is as important as your creative work. 

Don’t underplay the role of marketing and networking with other fellow creatives.

Yes, we know, sharing private details is not everyone’s favorite thing to do, but people like to know what others are up to, and that makes them feel like they’re a part of your world. And of course, you are always the one who sets the limits!

That’s why social media channels can be beneficial – they can help you share your work with a much broader audience. Although, be mindful when choosing which one you should use and how. Twitter and Facebook might bring fruitful results to illustrators and designers when it comes to building their connections, while Instagram and Pinterest can be a great way to share and promote your work.

Whatever you choose, keep in mind that social media is great for work-in-progress and behind the scenes moments, but that you should have one platform where you combine and feature the best of your work for people to find. This is especially important if there are pieces of your work scattered across the internet!

Feature your best work under your name.

Being a self-employed product designer and illustrator is not an easy feat. The Internet is where your clients are and whether you’re a freelancer or a small business, you need to get online. Mackenzie created a personal website on a personal domain name where you can find his work and links to his social media channels.

There are no half measures if you want to show others what you’ve got to offer!

Mackenzie’s example provides us with the reasons why investing some time and effort in building a personal website and showcasing your work is a good idea. In fact, we believe this is something all successful entrepreneurs would agree on: investing time in marketing and promotion of your work is necessary if you want people to recognize and appreciate it. Your great work is your best advert, but if you don’t put it out there, you risk selling yourself short. 

Mackenzie Child is a great example of how you can successfully combine several disciplines, many innovative projects, and still be a great mentor for others who want to become better at their craft. He showed us that having a strong skill set and a specific style is fantastic, but mixing it up and trying to keep things fresh can have far-reaching results.

There are many free and amazing tutorials, projects, and video series on his YouTube channel and premium courses on his website. We invite you to check them out and start making your dream a reality. Sky is the limit!

This article is part of the ongoing .ME Success Stories series – our way of bringing visibility to our community members, featuring their work and sharing what we can learn from them with you. Have your own .ME story to share? Let us know!

Author: Goran Bogunovic

Now, you're probably wondering how I got here! Running a marketing agency, educating people about branding, and helping you to develop your own presence online. To understand, you’ll need to follow me @Domain.Me

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