As a self-employed technical illustrator, I create graphics for operating instructions, maintenance handbooks and other technical documents. I did not illustrate the instructions for Lego or Ikea but they are good examples. Where the theme is relevant, I also work in related fields such as regular illustration and graphic design.
Why I love my job:
I’m lucky to have pleasant customers and project partners across the board and work on various projects with them. I no longer accept every order and make sure I establish a balance between customer projects, my own projects and leisure time.
Important skills in my job:
In addition to a basic technical understanding and graphics, it is important to have an external perspective too because many of my graphics are for customers who are not yet familiar with the products. Before starting out, I analyse the task in detail and ask lots of questions because I first have to understand the products and processes in order to explain them to others.
My biggest accomplishment so far:
The initial stage of self-employment seems to be behind me and I now know how to handle fluctuations in turnover, payment defaults and other problems. I have lots of returning customers and sometimes I even receive a tip!
How I found my current job:
After completing graphics training in Salzburg, gaining agency experience in the Pongau district and studying for a Bachelor’s degree in mechatronics in Villach, I set my sights on a career as a technical illustrator. Since there are no training opportunities and virtually no advertised vacancies in this field, self-employment was the only option for me. The risk was manageable with specific customer projects, a low level of investment and a financial buffer.
What I learned for this job during my studies:
I started the Media and Interaction Design course after it was first set up and completed it on a part-time basis. It was somewhat detrimental to my self-employment during the two and a half year period but it was good that I had already begun pursuing my career path prior to my studies. I was able to derive benefits for my field from all of the subjects and projects and worked intensively to define my own style.
As part of my Master’s thesis on ‘#openillustration’, I was able to combine all of my previous training with self-employment. I would have liked to develop the project further but since there was no money forthcoming in the foreseeable future and I could not secure any funding, I decided to concentrate instead on my regular customer projects.
Job prospects in my field:
I have found my niche in technical illustration and as far as I know, I am the only freelancer in Austria to specialise in this field. Nevertheless, it took a long time to gain a foothold in the industry and I still have to undertake a lot of educational work.
Visually perceptive, connected to nature and generally very satisfied with my situation.
About my job:
The Master’s course gave me lots of suggestions for combining the fields of technical documentation and interaction design and I would love to carry out more projects in this context. I spend more time in the countryside after completing my studies so that I can get out into nature regularly alongside my experimental developments and customer projects.