I’ve added three magazines to my Recommended Resources link at Amazon.com.
Communication Arts is a quality art magazine for creatives. It’s an expensive magazine printed on thick glossy paper, but it has a lot of good content. Several issues are themed around “annuals” (Design Annual, Illustration Annual, Photography Annual, etc.) which means that a big chunk of those issues contains the latest and greatest work being done in that media (at least, as judged by the editors). Lots of good content in the articles too. This magazine is hit-or-miss for me, meaning some issues I get totally absorbed in while other issues I just skim and then throw in the trash. But overall it’s good articles with a lot of very inspiring eye candy. (To browse the contents of recent issues, click here).
HOW is another art and design magazine loaded with great articles for creative types. Many issues are also based around a theme (i.e. Self-Promotion Issue, Business Issue, etc.) and each issue includes reviews of the newest books, resources, and software, as well as samples of some of the innovative and inspiring creative work others are doing. The content leans towards designers rather than illustrators, but there’s plenty of good content and helpful advice to go around. If you don’t want to spring for a subscription, there’s some pretty good content for you to dig through on the HOW website.
Inc. is a monthly magazine for small business owners. If you freelance, you may not realize it but you run a small business. Granted, your only employees might be you and the Deadline Troll who stands in the shadows tapping his foot and pointing at the clock. Still, its a business and you have to think of it that way. Reading Inc. will help you get in that mindset.
My favorite feature is called “Anatomy of a Business Decision”. In every issue they profile a small business owner who is currently facing a tough decision that could make or break their company, followed by snippets of advice from a few business experts. It’s fascinating to read the real-life stories and then ask yourself, “What would I do?”.
Case in point: The June 2007 issue features an article about a small marketing firm whose Cartoon Network promo inadvertently led to a Boston bomb scare that made national news. The same issue features the story of Jonathan Abrams who founded Friendster, a pre-MySpace site that spread like wildfire but ultimately burned out. (You can learn a lot from other’s mistakes.) Granted, your company may never be on the national news or go down in flames, but the point is to get you thinking like a business owner.
If you are interested in these magazines, or any of my other recommended resources, click here.