Ready to start your illustration career?

Welcome to the Art Business Bootcamp Level 1!


Discover how to start from scratch and build the illustration career of your dreams from the ground up, one step at a time!


Vanessa, freelance illustration instruction at the Art Business Bootcamp online course

Freelance illustration is a tough nut to crack...

It sometimes feels so unnattainable and impossible, and there are very few resources available to help craft a game plan. It can be SO confusing and overwhelming 😫.

Does this sound like you?

  • You've built up a lot of art skills over the years, but when it comes to turning these skills into a sustainable income... 😱 You have no clue where to start!

  • You're exhausting yourself trying to post on Instagram 156 times per week, but is this really bringing you any closer to an art career?

  • Everyone and their grandmother told you that an art career was a bad idea so you got a "real" job, but you still can't shake the dream of making a living with your art.

  • OR you've tried getting illustration work in the past, but it didn't work so well and kind of shook your confidence. You're starting to wonder: is it even possible to make a living with my art? 😢

I totally get it, it's rough! I can help you figure this out.

Introducing the Art Business Bootcamp

Art Business Bootcamp Course graphic in mac monitor

What is it?

The Art Business Bootcamp is a step-by-step program that I've been developing for over a year. It's meant to take the confusion out of starting your illustration career. I help you go from aspiring artist all the way to full-time professional WITHOUT the hardships, overwhelm and doubts.


The Art Business Bootcamp is separated into 3 courses:

  • LEVEL 1 - Nail your portfolio

  • LEVEL 2 - Get your first clients

  • LEVEL 3 - Go full time

Meet Sarah.


Sarah is an amazingly talented illustrator who just needed a little strategy and portfolio revamp to really let her skills shine. Since working with me, she's illustrated her first children's book AND she has 3 more lined up on the way (!!!) 😲


"It's really just this advice that's transformed my career and kind of launched it!"

Sarah Nettuno

Children's book illustrator

How I built a successful freelance illustration career in less than a year!



From $0 to $40,000 in the first 12 months


Hi! I'm Vanessa.



I've been a full-time children's book illustrator for over 3 years now!


In that short time, I've managed to...


  • Illustrate 7 children's books (just finished my last one!)

  • Get signed by my wonderful illustration agency, Astound Us.

  • Build a large client list

  • Support myself 100% by doing what I love most: art!

Sounds pretty smooth, right?

Well... the success didn't exactly happen overnight. I want to be 100% honest with you here. The first 8 months, I was pretty much riding the struggle bus all day long, every day.



I had no strategy.

No clue what I was doing.

And no guidance.



But I did have one thing: a reason not to give up.



See, in 2018 I left my cushy studio job as a 2D artist in Montreal, Quebec to move to Ontario with my long-distance boyfriend, who came all the way from Germany.

He came to Canada on a study visa that was contingent on him studying at a college in Ontario, so I had to leave my job and move. He also couldn't work on a study visa, so I knew I'd have to support the both of us for a while.



But after sending my resume to all 5-6 studios in Ottawa, none of them hired me.



And then I started to panic!



All my life, all I'd wanted was to make a living with my art. And I'd had that for a few years, at the studio. There was no way I'd go back to a retail job!



So I dug deep, and started hustling. I decided if no one was hiring me, then I'd just have to freelance!



With no back-up plan, no safety net, I jumped right in.



It wasn't smooth sailing.



I made A LOT of mistakes at first! My first portfolio was completely wrong and I didn't get a single gig after sending it out to hundreds of people.



I was burnt out, broke, and starting to think maybe I just wasn't good enough to make this work. Every rejection took a little more of my confidence away.


Yup, that was me at my desk, every other day!



But I kept trying. Every time I was rejected, I tried something new.



For the first 8 months, I just kept throwing everything I could think of at the wall to see what would stick. Upwork, Instagram, DeviantArt forums, Facebook groups, Etsy, you name it!



I tried it all.



And eventually, it started to get better!



I figured out how to improve my portfolio to convince art directors to give me a chance. I focused my energy on what worked, and stopped wasting time on what didn't. I improved my strategy day after day, until finally...



I achieved my biggest dream: I got my first children's book deal!



And then another! And then I got signed by my first agent. And then I got the chance to work with dream clients, like Scholastic. Before I knew it, I was so busy I had to start refusing contracts.



Finally, I thought "I made it!"



Now that I've figured out a system that works (the hard way!), I want to share it with as many artists as possible! I want to shout it on the rooftops and help any aspiring illustrator who is struggling like I once did.



That's why I decided to create the Art Business Bootcamp!


Meet Arlo.


Arlo has the most adorable art that you've ever seen, but when I first met him, he was struggling to attract clients. The art pieces he was showing were ill-suited for his target market (children's books) and he only had an Instagram profile but no website and no idea where to start.


He signed up for the Art Business Bootcamp, took my advice and ran with it! He worked so hard and only 3 short months later, here's where he is:

"I completed my 12-piece portfolio the other day and sent it to some publishers and agents. I immediately received a reply from the Lemonade Agency, and today I have officially signed with them!


This is a good start, isn't it? Thank you, Ness!! Without your lessons and suggestions, it would never have gone so smoothly!"

Arlo Li

Children's book illustrator

No more wasting time!

Set up your career for success from the get-go.

Nail your portfolio


This is the first and most important step in your illustration career! A great portfolio will open doors for you - a bad one will close them. Learn how to get it right the first time so you can start getting work now.

Target high-paying clients


In an ocean of exploitative illustration gigs that pay even less than minimum wage, find out how to get the attention of high-paying, quality clients that will actually allow you to make a living wage.

Go after your dream gigs


Spend some time goal-setting with me and figure out exactly what it is that you want out of your career, and what you can do right now to reach those goals in the shortest time possible.

Where do you want to be 3 months from now?

Vanessa in front of her illustration portfolio

My unique system, the 12-piece Portfolio Plan, helps you create an efficient portfolio that covers all your bases in just 12 illustrations.


If you create one illustration per week, you could be done with your portfolio, your most important business asset, in as little as 3 months.


If you already have some art pieces that you can use, you might not even need that long! 😳


If you've been struggling to put together a portfolio, have no clue what to put in there or have been working on it for what feels like years but are still no closer to being done, this is the help you need.

Meet Caroline.


She had been overwhelmed juggling the multiple facets of creating a portfolio, between creating individually successful pieces and also making sure they would fit with her business goals.


"It was Ness that helped me sort all that out. The thing with Ness is, she takes some pretty complicated things and she will just simplify them for you so that you always know the next step.

And this is what I needed."

Caroline Bautista

Children's book illustrator

Get some guidance to help you soar

  • Stop fumbling in the dark, unsure what the best path is.

  • Skip the years of struggle, trying everything to figure out what doesn't work.

  • Start moving towards your goals today with a proven, fast-track method.

What's included!

8 full-length

video lessons

Exclusive bonus materials: worksheets, checklists, templates, etc.

Access to the private

Facebook community


The Art Business Bootcamp Level 1

30-day money back guarantee

Don't take my word for it!


See what my students are saying...

"I just finished lesson 4 and am blown away. What a fantastic tool the portfolio planning sheet is. I listened to a lot of talks on what to include in a portfolio and I don’t want to knock them, but I never came away with an exact plan like I will have once I do this exercise.

It’s so clear and action oriented!"


Nicole LeDrew May,

Freelance illustrator

"The course enlightened me in so many ways. I was so glad I had the great opportunity to join the class. Ness gave us useful info about the illustration business and directed us every step of the way. She is so sweet and answers every single question.

Thank you so so so so much ❤❤❤❤"


Ponyo Laconca,

Freelance illustrator

"The class is perfect for any illustrator, beginner or advanced.

Vanessa put together a perfectly organized road map that really eases the way for us illustrators to understand and reach our goals, from finding your passion and market to setting your business plan. I found the amount of knowledge she gave us in this course is invaluable!

I am definitely gonna join the next round, thank you so much Vanessa!"


Ahmed Abdelmohsen

Freelance illustrator

"This course was just what I needed. I have learned so many useful things and have met some really nice people. 😊 Now, I have a firmer foundation to stand on as I complete my portfolio. This process has taught me a lot about myself as well. All of this has been an enormously impactful experience. Thanks, Ness for your generosity, for your helpfulness, and for your patience. ❤️"


Melissa Perkins

Freelance illustrator

The course curriculum

  • LESSON 1


    Lack of focus is the #1 most common and most damaging mistake illustrators make. Learn why positioning is so important and what the different markets in illustration are.

  • LESSON 2

    Your genius zone

    Learn how to find your niche and your own unique voice in the industry.

  • LESSON 3

    What's in a portfolio?

    Learn what you need to include in a portfolio and what skills you need to demonstrate to convince art directors to hire you.

  • LESSON 4

    Your 12-piece portfolio plan

    Follow my unique 12-piece Portfolio Plan system to create your own tailor-made plan that convers all your bases.

  • LESSON 5

    Website essentials

    What makes a good website design for a portfolio? What pages should I include, or exclude? What am I even supposed to write on my bio page? We cover all this in this lesson!

  • LESSON 6

    Adobe Portfolio tutorial

    Unsure how the tech works? Watch me build a website in Adobe Portfolio from A to Z, step-by-step.

  • LESSON 7

    Wix tutorial

    Prefer Wix? Come watch the step-by-step tutorial to learn how to set up your website on the Wix platform instead.

  • LESSON 8

    Set up your business

    Learn what it means to be a freelancer and how to set up your business right. We will cover business licenses, invoices and expenses, write a business plan and do some goal-setting!

Got questions? I got you covered!


When does the course start and finish?

How long do I have access to the course?

I already have a portfolio but it's not getting me work. Will this course help me?

What if I do art in many different styles and genres?

I'm really not tech savvy at all. Will I be able to follow along?

What if I miss the November 7th deadline, what happens then?

What my awesome students think

"The Art Business Bootcamp will help you set a strong foundation to have a long, sustainable career in illustration."


Chris "Christache" Ross,

Freelance illustrator

"A portfolio is really important in showcasing your work and attracting clients, and Vanessa can help with that. I found her insight really helpful, so I redesigned my website and it is better now."


Denise Tonner

Freelance illustrator

"I really appreciated her feedback, her positive criticism and all her tips to grow in my career as an illustrator. So I highly recommend her and her courses!"


Isabel Arias,

Señorita Rose children’s book illustrator

Have confidence in

your purchase!

30-day Money Back Guarantee


The Art Business Bootcamp Level 1

30-day money back guarantee