Career Q&A: Independent Illustrator Joshua Budich ’00, Visual Arts

Published: Feb 11, 2013
Silver Linings Playbook illustration by Joshua Budich.

Every so often, we’ll chat with an alum about what they do and how they got there. Today, we’re talking with independent illustrator Joshua Budich ’00, visual and performing arts, about what it’s like to start a business in the arts — and to create screenprint designs for some pretty big names. Most recently, he was one of a small group of young international artists to create original screen prints inspired by this year’s nine Best Picture Academy Awards nominees (he illustrated Silver Linings Playbook).

Name: Joshua Budich
Job:  Independent Illustrator
Based In: Maryland

Q:  What would you most like people to know about the work you do?

A:  I’ve been working as an independent illustrator for various galleries, and media agencies around the globe for the past 6 years or so. My main focus has been in producing small-edition screenprints. I work primarily in a digital format, utilizing various software tools in conjunction with a Wacom drawing tablet; everything from the initial sketch to final illustration.

Q:  What’s the coolest job you’ve done so far?

A:  It’s hard to pick just one job as the “coolest,” as I consider this my dream job. So, each and every new piece is more exciting than the last! But, if I had to choose, I’d put these at the top of my list:

I’ve also had some serendipitous opps to rub shoulders with some big names: Arnold Palmer, Weird Al Yankovic, Seymour Cassell, and the cast of Silver Linings Playbook. Not too shabby!

Q:  What’s the toughest thing about running your own business?

A:  The toughest thing has always been the careful balancing act between being the artist that actually produces the work, and being the all the more logistical roles that are the backbone of the business (buying supplies, tracking sales, running the website, promotional emails to the mailing list, social media director, packing and shipping, etc.). On those days where I’m chomping at the bit to dive back into a really engrossing illustration, and having to quiet my mind enough to focus on packing and shipping print orders… Those are the really challenging days!

The reality of all this is that there is no one without the other. In order to make this whole “art thing” work for my life and provide for my family, I must play both roles, artist and business manager, and play them well.

Q:  What advice would you give to students trying to make art their work?

A:  You are your biggest supporter. Be a shameless self-promoter! Get your work out there, with no fear. Learn to accept criticism for what it is, constructive or otherwise.

When dealing with clients, always give yourself a “way out” or a “back door” for making changes to your work, and work on anticipating the types of changes that clients will make. Use “non-destructive” design if you work digitally in programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator. Understand the difference between a concept and a final piece, and never over-commit.

Q:  Do any UMBC experiences stand out, when you think about moving from student life into professional life?

A:  I always loved the critique sessions we would have at the end of each project we were assigned. You learn more from your peers than you ever will working in a vacuum. Everyone’s perception of your work is unique and valid in its own way, and many times they’ll see things you won’t. These critiques with faculty and students really helped me to prepare for the transition from student to professional artist.

Another experience that definitely stands out, would be meeting my wife our sophomore year. We’ve grown up together. She’s kept me humble, and given me a lot of perspective. Her critical eye has been invaluable to me as my work continues to evolve.

Q:  What job (commission or personal) would be your dream job?

A:  I’m living my dream job, so each new project I get is absolutely amazing to me! I can’t complain, I’m a lucky guy. If I had to choose, I’d love to continue working in other media; editorial/commercial illustrations for magazines, movie poster designs for a Hollywood movie studios, or concept art for Pixar or Lucasfilms.

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