David Heredia worked for roughly 20 years as a freelance artist and often struggled to find fulfilling, well-paying work before finally finding success. Now, he wants to help other Santa Clarita artists learn from his experiences and mistakes.
Heredia, owner of Heroes of Color, is partnering with College of the Canyons to offer a free, three-day workshop called “The Business of Freelancing,” which will begin March 8.
Heredia began working as a freelance artist in 1997 after he learned he would soon be laid off from his full-time job. Over the years, he built up his career, and on top of accepting commissions from individuals and small companies, Heredia has been contracted by Disney, DC Comics and Pearson, and now has a book deal with Scholastic, as well as an art book he aims to self publish in June.
Heredia used to teach a similar freelancing course at Studio Arts in Los Angeles until 2015 when the commute became too much. He began to look for an opportunity to find a local venue to teach the class and after taking an animation class at College of the Canyons pitched it to Jeffrey Baker, head of the animation department. Last December, Heredia was invited to pitch his course to the a panel of several department heads at COC and got the green light to teach the course.
“There are a lot of artists in Santa Clarita, and it’s always inspiring for me to see them keep pushing,” he said. “I made a lot of mistakes throughout my career, and I want to be able to help these people who have these dreams learn from my mistakes. COC heard what I wanted to do, and when they saw that I was really thoughtful and current with my material, they wanted me to get started on this right away.”
The goal of the workshop course is to help aspiring freelance artists a way to sustain themselves by monetizing and promoting their work. Heredia said that COC does a good job helping artists hone their artistic skills, while the workshop will help fill the gap by teaching artists how to make a living using those skills.
Some of the topics that Heredia will cover include building a personal brand, social media, online fundraising campaigns and contracts. Much of the material will be taught via group work and interactive activities, so the attendance is capped at 30 students in order to ensure that each students receives adequate individual attention and that Heredia can tailor the class to meet the specific needs of the cohort.
“While the students can learn a lot from me, I also want them to be able to learn from each other,” Heredia said. “The course material keeps updating because of everything I learn and experience all over the years, like the social media and crowdfunding aspect. I wish it could be longer than three days because there’s so much I want to teach these artists.”
If the course is successful, Heredia said that the school wants to include the course in their catalogue as a non credited class and eventually turn it into a four-credit class. He is using his teaching experience to turn the course into a book.
“It’s amazing to see how much support this workshop is getting from both the college and the community,” he said. “I officially launched it on Sunday and it already has 13 students registered. Then I can take what I learn from the students during this course and use that to improve on it even further for the next time.”
To find out more about Heredia’s work and Heroes of Color and to register for the “Business of Freelancing Course,” visit https://www.heroesofcolor.com.