Category Archives: Art & Business

New Kickstarter: “Pose Drawing SparkBook” + Free Download

Illustration by Cedric Hohnstadt

I’m excited to announce the launch of my first Kickstarter, the Pose Drawing SparkBook! It’s a super-charged sketchbook, custom designed to help artists put more life and personality into their drawings. It will include 100 drawing exercises, 32 pages of instructional content, and hundreds of additional drawing ideas in the back of the book.

I’m really excited about the potential for this book to be a great resource for storytelling artists of all kinds – whether they work in animation, character design, storyboards, cartoons or comics.

To help spread the word I’m giving away a free list of 100 sketchbook ideas taken from the back of the book. Get yours here:


In order for the SparkBook to become a reality I need to raise enough funds. In exchange for a small contribution to the project you can get several rewards, including the book itself (with free ebook version) or other resources I’ve created. You can read all about it and watch a promo video over on my Kickstarter page.

Would you consider helping spread the word? Just use the share buttons below, or copy and paste the following into your favorite social media:

Free download: 100 Sketchbook Ideas For Posing Your Characters:

Thanks a bunch!

2013 Creative Freelancer Conference Recaps and Round-Ups

One of the best-kept secrets in the freelancing community is the HOW Creative Freelancer Conference. I’ve attended it several times and always come away with my head swimming with new thoughts, ideas, and advice on how to work smarter, treat my clients better, and as a result boost my income. It’s not an exaggeration to say my income has gone up well over 50% since I started attending back around 2007-ish, and a large part of that is due to things I’ve learned from the conference.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend this year’s conference, but others who did attend have posted some great blog posts and recaps outlining what they learned. There’s some great stuff here! Most of it has been gathered into one Pinterest page by Ilise Benun (who co-founded a terrific company, Marketing Mentor). Or, you can click on some of the links below:

Top Ten Things I Learned At The Creative Freelancer Conference by Jill Lynn

The Dark Art of Pricing by Jessica Hische

A New Perspective: The Creative Freelancer Conference by Kimberly Salisbury

Creative Freelancer Conference Recap by Loretta Robinson (Part 1, Part 2)

Resources For Making People Love You Madly by Colleen Wainwright

CFC: My Ten Specifics Behind ‘The Awesome’ by Deidre Rienzo

The People You Meet And The Books You Read by Luke Mysse

Episodes of the Reflex Blue Podcast related to the conference.

Now….get out there and work smarter!

EDIT: Next year’s conference will be May 12-16, 2014 in Boston. Mark your calendars!

Creative Freelancer Conference on Twitter

As I write this, independent creatives from all over the country are gathered in San Francisco for the Creative Freelancer Conference, which is part of a larger event known as HOW Design Live. I’ve attended several times and it’s always been worth my while. I’ve learned a great deal, made some valuable connections, picked up lots of tips for working smarter instead of harder, and come back energized and inspired to tackle the “business end” of being a self-employed illustrator. For most creatives learning about business issues sounds about as fun as doing your taxes, but the folks that run the conference somehow find ways to make it truly exciting and inspiring.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend this year. Each year the attendees are encouraged to tweet insights, nuggets, and goodies they are learning using the hashtag #CFConf. If, like me, you are not spending your weekend in a hotel conference room in San Francisco I would highly recommend punching that hashtag into the Twitter search window and see what you get. I’ll bet it will be worth your while.

Giving Tumblr A Try

More and more artists, especially in the animation community, seem to be flocking to Tumblr. I’ve decided to tag along. One the one hand I don’t really need yet another social network to stay on top of (I’m already active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Behance, and every once in a while I still make an appearance Pinterest, DeviantArt, and Google Plus.) On the other hand, I get a lot of inspiration from following other artists and so I want to go where the action is.

In order to follow anyone on Tumblr I had to create an account, so I slapped together a page and uploaded a couple of sketches. At the moment I’m swamped with client work but once things slow down I’ll give it a closer look and see what I think. If I like it I might kick in for the long haul.

If you also Tumble, you can follow me at

EDIT: Some artists are actually shutting down their blogs and replacing them with their Tumblr pages. For the time being my blog will be staying right here as part of my website and I plan to keep posting as always.

Updated PDF Portfolios. Get ‘Em While They’re Hot!

Free PDF Portfolio Downloads from Cedric Hohnstadt Illustration

It’s been over a year since I last refreshed my PDF Portfolios. Since I just posted a brand spankin’ new logo, I thought it would be a good time to update them as well. The new portfolios come in four flavors: Character Design, Toy Design, Illustration, and FPO/Comp Art. Click the links to download or grab them off my Downloads page. They’re yours to keep so print them out, file them away, or share them with your friends.

Contact me if I can ever be of service and, as always, thanks for your interest in my work!

Illustrator Will Terry On The State Of The Illustration Biz

My friend and fellow illustrator Bob Ostrom pointed me to this video from illustrator Will Terry, who takes to YouTube with some candid thoughts on the current state of the illustration business. It’s long (49 minutes) but a must-see for anyone interested in trying to make it as self-employed illustrator. (Is there any other kind?)

Terry has been freelancing for twenty years, most of it in publishing and advertising, and has worked on thousands of projects over that time. Over the years he’s seen much of the market erode and he does a good job of explaining several reasons why things are much tougher now than they were when he started in the biz. He is also hopeful, ending the video with some inspiring thoughts on where to go from here. I really appreciate his honesty and candor, and I found many of his closing statements to be inspiring.

In my fifteen-plus years of illustrating I’ve only dabbled in publishing off-and-on so my vantage point is a little different, but by and large I think his observations are spot on. The times they are a-changin’ and many of the traditional methods of making money as an illustrator are paying diminishing returns. Some well-worn paths are getting craggy and overgrown, and new trails will have to be blazed. To stay successful we are going to have to be more saavy, more passionate, and more entrepreneurial.

Give it a listen, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Oh, and after you watch the video be sure to check out Will Terry’s blog. There’s some good stuff there.

New Logo


After fifteen-plus years of running my own illustration studio I’ve finally gotten around to creating an official logo. Long, long overdue and very much needed. In the future I’ll be using this on all my correspondence and branding. If nothing else it should make it a little easier for busy art buyers to recognize my work by having a consistent icon/image to connect it with. Plus, all my raving fans will finally have something to tattoo across their biceps. You’re welcome.

I’m On Instagram

instagram iconA few weeks ago I decided to join the cool kids and get an instagram account. I’m not sure how to share the link outside of the Instagram website (if that’s even possible) but all you Instagramers can look me up by my username, “cedrichohnstadt“. If you follow my studio on Facebook ( you can also see my Instagram activity there – although it seems a bit buggy. Sometimes things show up in the feed, other times not.

I plan to primarily post sketches, doodles, and other artwork, and occasionally other items of interest. For instance, I posted a few pics from the CTN Expo a couple of weeks ago. But mostly it will be artwork. Look for me on a smart phone near you.

EDIT: I guess Instagram recently made some changes to their still-very-minimalist website (either that or I just didn’t know how to navigate it correctly) and you can now view my page on your web browser. Here you go.

Come Hear My Presentation at the CTN Animation Expo

The CTN Animation Expo is without a doubt a “must-see” event for anyone interesting in working in the animation industry. On Nov. 16-18, 2012 hordes of animation lovers will once again be descending on the Burbank Marriott Convention Center for three days and nights of animation goodness. There’s still time to register if you’d like to attend.

Just like last year I’ll be giving a presentation on freelancing called “Be Your Own Boss: Freelancing Tips and Tricks”. Here’s a summary:

In the current economy more and more companies are hiring artists as freelancers. Unfortunately many talented people wind up earning less than they could, or miss out on opportunities altogether, because they haven’t understood the business side of being an artist.

Cedric Hohnstadt has owned an illustration studio for over fifteen years and has created work for end clients such as Hasbro, Disney, DreamWorks, Coca-Cola, Verizon, Best Buy and Target. After working on hundreds of client projects he’s learned a lot of business skills the hard way and now he’s here to pass on some of that info on to you. He’ll discuss how to know if you are cut out for freelancing, how to promote yourself, how much you should charge, how to talk to clients about money, and look at different areas where an artist can find work outside of the animation industry.

My presentation is scheduled for Saturday, November 17 at 12:00 noon in the Exec Boardroom. It’s classified as a Workshop which means that seating is limited and that the Expo organizers have tacked on a very small extra charge to attend. I’m not sure about this year but last year it was only $5. I’ll try to cram as much info in as I can and afterward we can all go down the hall for an informal Q&A session, so you should definitely get your five bucks worth. Last year my talk sold out so don’t wait too long to sign up.

As a freelance illustrator and character designer I draw a lot of inspiration from the animation industry. This talk is my humble way of giving a little back. I hope to see you there!

Sketch Cards

Every once in a while I sit down and doodle up a few sketch cards. I buy the blank cards at my local art supply store, then get out some colored pencils and markers and have fun. No pressure. I just draw whatever I feel like. Some turn out, some don’t. The ones that do I send to past clients and/or potential future clients I’ve been trying to connect with, along with a hand-written note inside. It’s a great way to stand out from all the clutter that crosses an art director’s desk, or to keep relationships from growing cold. It’s also much more sincere and authentic than an email blast or a postcard campaign.

Another benefit: creating the cards doubles as sketchbook practice. Only instead of shoving all the drawings into a closet I’m sharing them through the mail.

The only downside is that it can be very time consuming way to connect with clients. As a result I can’t send out nearly as many as I’d like. On the other hand, if a client is worth connecting with, they’re worth spending a little time on.

Here’s a few of the cards I’ve mailed out recently:

sketchcard-lionsketchcard-elephantsketchcard-leopardsketchcard-babysketchcard-moosesketchcard-bear-mountainssketchcard-rabbitsketchcard-kid superhero