I find that a lot of people, including myself, always love hearing about who was someone’s first big freelance client. Its always fun hearing stories about people getting to work with Disney, Target, or Coca-Cola. Unfortunately those are three major clients that have still eluded me over the years.
For me, my first “big client” wasn’t even as big as it is now when I first started working with them but they quickly grew to be one of the most popular table-top games in the history of… lets face it… the world. The game I speak of is none other than Cards Against Humanity.
For those of you living under a rock or in a monastery, is a fun party game for “horrible people”. It has to be one of the most fun games I’ve ever played and also the most non-PC, immoral, game ever created.
Before I was brought in on CAH, I had worked with Max Temkin (co-founder and pretty awesome designer himself) on some illustrations for one of his first projects, Humans vs. Zombies. From there we did a couple of projects here and there, mainly he felt pity on me and brought me some fun projects that I was chewing on the bit to work on.
Now because of my friendship with Max, I was super lucky enough to jump on the CAH band wagon pretty early back in 2011 just a few months after their official launch. Max came to me looking for some fun simple illustrations for the a email campaign they were doing for Christmas.
I was ecstatic to be working on this project, it seemed like a pretty big deal, even without CAH being a big hit like it is today. Later, Max came to me again with some more fun projects and I got to do more and fun projects I had never done before.
Now, I look back at the work I created back then and I think “Omg… I wish I could re-do all of that work” because I was still a snot nose college student creating these illustrations. The important thing though that I realize as I reminisce here is that I had this amazing opportunity to work with a game that I can talk about and people instantly know who I am talking about.
Ok, I’ve told you all of this and you’re probably like… is he just bragging here? Yep I sure am. But let me tell you why I’m bragging.
When you’re just starting out or you’re delving into doing freelance you always want nurture your relationships with people and you don’t want to burn bridges, especially early on. I started working with Max because he saw some of my work and asked for me to create some stuff for Humans vs. Zombies which lead to him creating my first website and on to the work I did with CAH.
You never know where your next contact or client will take you. All I know is that, I’m thankful for the time I worked with Max and bugged him with emails saying “Need any help?” or “Got any new projects for me?”. God… I was so annoying, but he really saw potential in me and helped me out in the beginning.
Just remember that in our creative community, there are more people out there willing to help you and lead you to bigger and brighter opportunities. You just have to be open to them.