We had the good fortune of connecting with Josh Shalek and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Josh, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I am a freelance illustrator. I came upon the idea by a process of elimination. I eliminated the ways in which I didn’t want to work and arrived at the one that seemed to hold the most promise. Instead of working to get a job, the work I’m doing all goes toward my goals. There is no extraneous effort.
Working for myself, I can choose the type of jobs I take on. I also set potential clients’ expectations of what I can do. It’s all on me, which is both a bit terrifying but also very rewarding.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The path to where I am now has been winding. When I was young, I wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist. When it became clear that path was no longer viable, I began self publishing my own comic books. The pandemic and time constraints made it difficult to continue on that path, so I began making illustrations and posting them on social media. People seemed to like the portraits I posted more than the other art I made, and I got requests for personal portraits. Instead of turning people away, I charged a small fee and it really seemed to take off. As I’ve gotten better at portraits, I have been able to charge more. I’ve also gotten into different kinds of illustration commissions, which in turn makes my portfolio more diverse.
I’m sure this is not where I will stay, creatively or business-wise, but for now it’s nice to know I can earn a bit as a freelancer.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When I lived in Tucson, Arizona, some of the best places were downtown. 4th Avenue, with all the shops and restaurants, is a fun place to spend some time. Since they’ve completely revamped Downtown Tucson, it has become a true destination. But my favorite place to go whenever I’m in Tucson is Saguaro National Park. It’s a less-visited park, which means you can sometimes have a trail all to yourself. The views of the mountains and even the city itself are incredible. It is a place full of life and peace.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife, Adrianne!