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10 Rules of Effective Self-Promotion

(Illustration by Frank Hansen) One of your most important tasks as a Freelance Illustrator is to put your work in front of the right people, make them remember you, and make them feel compelled to hire you for their next project. As many of you know from experience, this is a full-time job in itself, and many artists are uncomfortable with the very idea of self-promotion or simply don’t know where to begin. Others would rather spend their time doing nothing but creating art. The fact is, without promotion, there’s no work to keep your business afloat. While there are as many ways to approach the art of promotion as there are artists, there are definitely some key elements behind an effective marketing strategy. Here are some basic rules to follow to get the most out of your promotional efforts: 1. Be Unique In order to get Art Directors, Art Reps, and anybody else to notice and remember you, there has to be something about your work, your brand, or your marketing strategy that they haven’t seen before. The most common way to achieve this is with your portfolio, your website, or your promo mailers. Try and think outside the box to find other ways to stand out. 2. Be Relevant If you’re aiming for a specific market, make sure you’re promoting yourself to the people who work in that field and only show work that they can relate to or see themselves needing in the future. 3. Be Consistent Try to give Art Directors a good idea of what they can expect to get if they hire you for their next book, t-shirt, or album cover project by showing a consistent style or method of working. 4. Stay Fresh Being consistent doesn’t mean you have to bore your potential clients, or yourself, with the same type of work day in and day out. Show your target audience that your Illustrations can be dynamic and exciting. Try to be inspired and to inspire others. That is, after all, one of the things that makes you an artist. 5. Use Social Proof Testimonials and a solid client history can help to convince Art Directors and Agents that your work is desirable by others and can help to sell their product or service. The power of “social proof” should not be underestimated. 6. Make Connections Seek out and introduce yourself to the artists and Art Directors in your target market. Build real relationships with people and become a part of the community. 7. Stay on the Radar

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or publicizing interviews or features of your work. you will have a much better chance of being noticed and remembered amongst a growing sea of Illustrators who are fighting for the attention of the same Art Directors and Art Reps as yourself. http://escapefromillustrationisland. Keep your marketing efforts on a regular schedule in order to stay on people’s minds and show them that you’re constantly creating new work and growing as an artist. What’s your experience? Please share your thoughts in the comments section of this post. This will only serve to annoy them and cause them to remember you for the wrong reasons. such a showing your work in a public space. If you follow these guidelines with your future self-promotion. Melanie Matthews permalink January 19.. it can be one of the more creative aspects of your business if you try to see it as another opportunity to express your true artistic voice.com/2010/01/19/10-rules-of-effec. is to create your own personal artwork.10 Rules of Effective Self-Promotion « Escape From Illustration Isla. Promotion doesn’t have to be painful. Create Personal Work One of the best ways to express your true artistic voice. In fact. Related Posts: Artist’s and Graphic Designer’s Market 7 Elements of an Effective Portfolio Website How to Be Attractive to an Art Rep Would You Hire You for an Illustration Project? Stay up to date with more Illustration resources from EFII via email and social networks: Share this: ← 68 Useful and Inspiring Illustration Resources Podcast Episode 18 – Gary Taxali → 14 Comments leave one → 20 Arr! 15 StumbleUpon 1. and vision speak for itself. I’m not a social butterfly by any means. marketing and making contacts part of the freelancing illustrator’s life terrifies me a bit. This has the advantage of allowing you the freedom to let your style.. 2010 8:31 PM The whole promotion. it’s nice to have something to tell them about.. as well as stay fresh. creating unique and memorable promo mailers. 8. If you’re going to contact a potential client. passion.. 10. Don’t Overdo It Never harass an Art Director or send updates too frequently. Don’t make the common mistake of sending out one promotional mailer or email and then sit back and wait until somebody contacts you. 9. I also wanted to say that the illo for this article is awesome! Reply 2 of 8 10/23/2011 2:27 AM . Make a Splash Try to do something exciting to grab the attention of your potential clients. I’ll be referring back to these rules when I do start doing some major promotion though.

Also. Maybe the best way is to think of one’s artwork as good friend that you’re promoting. and it deserves going into greater detail in the future. but should be short enough to deliver if you were caught for a few moments with an Art Editor or Publisher with whom you wanted to connect. I think I’ve read those comments from Arisman before.” The elevator speech is an intro you create that tells about yourself in 30 seconds or less. Reply Thomas James permalink* January 20. Thomas James permalink* January 19.10 Rules of Effective Self-Promotion « Escape From Illustration Isla. However I’ve read Marshall Arisman warn that one shouldn’t get too “gimmicky” and avoid having the promo distract from the work you are promoting. but at the same time we want our work to be noticed. Ginger Nielson permalink January 20. please visit my website to see my current work.. 2010 1:17 PM Thanks Ginger. (introvertedness?) I’m personally getting psyched about getting creative with my promo materials. Mine goes something like this: “Hi there. I create illustrations that are perfect for picture books and beyond. 2010 8:10 AM Good rule of thumb. but I think the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. There is a dragon in my basement and a magic wand on my desk. He suggests as an example sending a well-made booklet which he says would be substanstial enough to avoid getting tossed but straightforward enough to showcase the work. 2010 9:33 PM Thanks for commenting. Thomas Reply 3. then it is another chance to be expressive.) You may have one or two of these short speeches ready depending upon whom you wish to encourage to see more of your work.. Here is my card.. 2010 8:49 AM Great points. if that helps us get over typical intoversion. It should invite interest in you and your work. Reply 3 of 8 10/23/2011 2:27 AM . http://escapefromillustrationisland. Nate permalink January 20. Nate. It’s a good idea to be able to get your message across quickly and in a memorable way. Reply 2. if you can try to make promotion a creative experience. Perfect your “elevator speech.” (Actually that one is only 23 seconds so I have room for a smile or two. 2010 11:44 AM I value these tips and will add one more. If you come up with some creative promo ideas. I’m Ginger Nielson. Definitely counterintuitive for artists to perpetually try to be social in some way .. Reply Thomas James permalink* January 20. The “speech” does not have to be given in an elevator.com/2010/01/19/10-rules-of-effec. That’s a great point. I’d love to see them or hear about them. Melanie. He reccomends a book(let) of a personal sincere series of illustrations. It sometimes seems unfair that we have to spend so much time looking for new work.

Frans Kusuma permalink February 16. permalink July 9. Reply Max Scratchmann permalink May 18. like an artdirector it can be confusing… .10 Rules of Effective Self-Promotion « Escape From Illustration Isla. happy.I make cute children illustrations.C.com/2010/05 /03/fine-tuning-your-portfolio-part-3-segmenting/ Also.J. soft. funny. I’m thinking about splitting my portfolio in sections.com/2010/01/19/10-rules-of-effec. Thomas Reply 6. 2010 1:28 AM My big problem of all these points is that i’m not consistend and have a various style... 4. but. People who know my work recognize my style (they say) because it’s detailled and i use the same kind of colors. Self promoting is quite daunting. I also don’t want to focus on one style but let it grow over time. http://escapefromillustrationisland. Max Reply 5. classy illustrations.I make feminin. 2010 5:33 AM Hi Frans. elegant. Mike Nation permalink February 14. . . I don’t think that one is better than the other so it’s hard to focus on one. it doesn’t pay to get too comfortable using the internet as there is still no substitute for face to face meetings and physical mailings. 2010 1:12 PM Awesome information! Concise and straight to the point. it will get easier overtime. 2011 7:52 AM Hello. “dark” illustrations.com/2010/06/07/podcast-episode-38-christoph-niemann/ Hope this helps. This is too something that I quite struggle with. 2010 9:01 AM I definitely think that some artists can be successful in multiple styles. Here’s an article about segmenting your portfolio: http://escapefromillustrationisland. Christoph Niemann talks about his approach to working outside the bounds of style in Episode 38 of the Escape from Illustration Island Podcast – http://escapefromillustrationisland. M..And i make freaky disturbed. But for somebody new. What do you think? Reply Thomas James permalink* July 9. We live in a very fortunate time where everything is at your fingertip because of internet.. 4 of 8 10/23/2011 2:27 AM .

Post Comment 5 of 8 10/23/2011 2:27 AM . This is helpful info. I have sort of started calling publishers. and many of them say to send your work to an e-mail they then give you . I have my own website with my online portfolio that I am trying to get the word out about what it is I do and these are great tips to help get me there.mikelnationstudios.com AiPod class of 2013 Reply 7...com/2010/01/19/10-rules-of-effec. Tutorial from Vector Tuts – 13 Illustrator Tutorials for Creating Successful Print Self Promotions | Lethalia Leave a Reply Log In Log In Log In Notify me of follow-up comments via email. Tamara Campeau permalink May 30. These are very good responses to something that I have found challenging for awhile now. they mostly said just send us 1 or 2 pieces and we will decide from then if we keep it! so do i send work later on still? or will it be annoying for them if they had rejected you before ! Another question is . but to the publishers i spoke to. http://escapefromillustrationisland. Is your business smart enough? 2. I do find it challenging because of shyness. what do i say when asked my experience. to eventually have) but a lot as a realism painter! Should i mention sometimes my painterly side? Reply Trackbacks 1.. Great information here! Thanks. no experience as an illustrator (which i have been working on a lot this past year . One of my questions is how do u know afterwords if they keep the work? because i have done some research and they say usually to send some new update work at every 6 months about to the companies you contacted. Being an introvert myself.10 Rules of Effective Self-Promotion « Escape From Illustration Isla. Mikel Nation http://www. These are clear cut resolutions here that I had never really thought of. color and b&w. to reach out and network myself and my work. I’m a newbie . Notify me of new posts via email. they only want 1 or 2 pieces usually.. 2011 3:22 AM hello.

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10 Rules of Effective Self-Promotion « Escape From Illustration Isla.. Contributing Artists James Arnold Michael Byers Amanda Crawford Brandon Dawley Peter Diamond Michelle Duckworth Mark Fullerton Frank Hansen Oivind Hovland Glenn Hustler Matti Kemppainen Gabe Lanza Michael Marsicano Melanie Matthews Julissa Mora Caleb Morris Victo Ngai Diana Ponce David Price 7 of 8 10/23/2011 2:27 AM . http://escapefromillustrationisland....com/2010/01/19/10-rules-of-effec.

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