Seb Agresti on his first year as a full time illustrator and learning to balance that freelance work load
- Lucy Bourton
- 1 October 2018
Back in March 2017 we published an article about Dutch illustrator Seb Agresti. You all seemed to love him as much as we did, and since then Seb’s work can be seen in pretty much every magazine with perusing. Little did we know, though, that just a week before we wrote about him, he’d taken a “leap of faith,” quitting his job to become a full-time illustrator.
“A lot has changed since the last time we spoke,” Seb says over email, after we’d trawled through post after post of his better than the next new work. "I was very lucky being approached by The New Yorker for an illustration early on and they’ve been giving me steady work ever since,” he says. Since then, he’s gone on to be approached by art directors at the likes of Monocle and The New York Times. He’s even turned his hand to animation in the past 12 months, found time to produce package designs, worked on a few t-shirts and he’s currently designing his first album cover, too.
The illustrator got his dream job; he’s an illustrator! And being “able to spend all my time and energy on my own business, and not to be in-between jobs, has been a really great experience,” he says.
Seb, then, has been busy. Ridiculously busy. It’s more than understandable that freelancers have a habit of always saying yes to work, a downside to not knowing when the next commission is going to come knocking on your door and Seb admits, “it has come with its challenges”. “Working on a lot of short deadlines, one after the other, became really stressful and overwhelming at times and I really learned saying no to certain projects the hard way,” the illustrator tells It’s Nice That. “I have recently started taking on less assignments and have been enjoying working on the ones I do because of it. I have come to understand that sometimes you’ll have to say no even to things you’d like to do in order to be able to do the things you really, really want to do.”
Despite the steep learning curve he’s riding, Seb’s illustration prowess has never faltered. His work still features the bold colours you’d expect to see in older 60s magazines accompanied by a bold black outline that set his name firmly as an illustrator to watch and, as it turns out, one to commission immediately. Somehow he’s managed to hone a style and realise the importance to take time off every once in a while to “travel, read books and take time away from the work, to keep doing things fresh and fun,” he says. “In my own experience, running around trying to do many jobs and pleasing everyone along the way just burns you out after a while.”
Looking towards the future, and with a work ethic in the bag, Seb wants to get back to personal work, the work he made in the first place. Recently holding the book Grundfunken by his friend Jose Quintanar and “seeing how beautiful it was,” particularly made him realise this. “Making a book and doing a series of paintings are things I want to do, so for a while now I have collected ideas and sketches over the year.”
So, even though projects of Seb’s are still ongoing, 2019 looks bright for personal accomplishments with a plan to take some time off, but still work on what he wants.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.