Robert Ball | Working From Home

Robert is an Illustrator and has created illustrations for Star Wars, Game Of Thrones & many other books & publications. He got to where he is now basically by accident, via dead ends, mistakes, failures and fortunate accidents. He’s experienced terrific highs and crushing lows because in a creative career you put everything into your work and put yourself out there for it to be criticised – loved or hated.

Robert Ball

My notes:

He started out in 1991 making graphics for computer games like Robocop and went on to being employed by a company as a graphic designer. On the side he blogged and shared his drawings with the world and realised that his heart was still in illustration. He found inspiration for his work from his surroundings – subways/streets etc creating bright colourful artwork of everyday life.

His Moral –


At the age of 39 he decided to become a self-employed illustrator working from home. And the turning point in his career was when he created a poster for a film exhibition which spiraled into a much bigger job than he had expected as he created a series of illustrations of Baddies from films, he made 50 of these and then 50 Goodies. These were then bought from the VMA shop and that led to more and more work off the back of that.

He’s done illustrations for wine bottles, crisp packets, toy boxes, posters, you name it.

He gets the majority of his work through his Agent – The Artworks & their American Company. Working for an Agency is ideal for him because he is not good with the money side of getting jobs so he lets them handle that…haggle the price with clients and then he earns 25% commission which works well for him.


He repeated how important it is to have the correct content in your portfolio, it should only contain the best of your work and only the work that you want to attract more of.


If you work for a company they will put you through training so you must do the same if you work for yourself. Keep your experiences fresh, learn new things to keep expanding and widen your knowledge as an artist.


Your career is just a journey there is never an end.

DON’T just sit and procrastinate, go and do something, anything as a distraction – walk, swim, cinema because when you have hit a brick wall, sitting and over-thinking everything is never healthy. You need to separate yourself from it and then come back with a clear mind.

DON’T Regret stuff, it’s a waste of time. There is always going to be things you wish you hadn’t done or done differently but there’s nothing you can do about that, just move on and keep learning from everything.


It was interesting to see the path that Robert chose and where it took him to where he is now, and I think it’s reassuring to see that there isn’t a golden rule to success except work hard, fail, learn and keep experimenting and just keep working doing what you love.