CONGRATULATIONS! Marcia Strykowski is the winner of Linda Oatman High’s Book, THE AMAZING ELEPHANT. Please send me your address.
On the third Tuesday Christina or Christy Ewers Tugeau of the Catugeau Artist Agency will answer questions and talk about things illustrators need to know to further their career. It could be a question about an illustration you are working on, too. Please email your questions to me and put ASK CAT in the subject box.
Today I want to take up a couple of more PROMOTION QUESTIONS that might be on your minds. (DO send in your own questions…I KNOW that there are many all artists have. Don’t hesitate…. it’ll help YOU and all other artists too!)
1.) To follow up with last month’s information about promotion with portfolios (including the on-line all important one!) I wanted to talk a bit about media. It’s great to show all sort of media techniques if you enjoy doing them and do them as well, and get the emotive response you wish to create from each. One subject or mood might call for oil, where another might be a wispy, dry watercolor treatment; one a tight hard line generally, while another a fluid, varying line full of energy. I find that most artist prefer one or two (and maybe b/w treatments separately) and will be proficient enough with them to show both. It’s almost more important to be consistent with your STYLE than your media, though one will effect the other. As I mentioned, you want to let the buyers KNOW WHO YOU ARE. So showing them confusing styles and techniques all at once might confuse them, and work against you being REMEMBERED and hired. I’d suggest always ONLY showing the very best you do and in a style or two that will help WOW the socks off of them.
2.) Some newer artists wonder WHAT to draw and paint and show buyers. I could almost answer ‘anything.’ You are showing off YOUR style. Do what you like to do! But of course there are subjects that are always being sought after….KIDS all shapes and sizes, ANIMALS of all sorts, interaction between said KIDS and ANIMALS. A start. Remember they come in all sizes and shapes, ethnic backgrounds and attitudes. And don’t forget the little known animals. Now think of situations that might come up with these. (and adults, old people, robots, dinos, toys, balloons, ships, trucks, planes, city scenes, country farms, seaside etc. etc.)
HOLIDAYS…always big! and not just the big ones…. Just got a request for St. Patrick Day ideas from a buyer today! Other events too like weddings, birthday parties, first day of school, first day of camp: Trips – to sea side, mountains, cow or pig farm, into the ‘bit city’ or a relatives home in the city (or farm or ‘burb” or grandma’s house): a horse ride, plane ride, shopping with grandma, fishing with grandad, visiting friend in hospital, birth of baby, new puppy, going out to the garden, the pool, etc. etc.
INTERACTION is very good to show always, so put more than one child/person or animal or combination in with these situation and you’ve got a mini-narrative. That is what buyers REALLY like to see. And do more than one with the characters you decide on. I always suggest just LOOKING with a sketch book in your hands when you are out and about. There are subjects and events all over and around your days….every day!
3.) Lastly today I want to talk about the Illustrator Showcase Directories, as I neglected to do so last month. The reason I didn’t mention them is really because I’m not sure how I feel about them. I advertised in several for most of our 24 years! We are an agency with 30+ artists and I need to be KNOWN and seen everywhere. This past year was the first we did not advertise in a big Directory and it was our BEST year since the ‘recession-crash!’ But we ARE known and seen. We do a lot of postcards, and email ‘blasts’ and ‘cold-emailing’ with new samples and reminders. We all have websites now where so much can easily be seen once they are bookmarked by the buyers. Directories are wonderful for Advertising and maybe Editorial markets because it’s hard to know about and send to all the potential buyers in those areas. The Children’s Book Industry is a bit more containable. The thousands of dollars that a page will cost an artist in a directory can better be used in postcard mailings every few months to the 250 or more names you can easily get from your association with SCBWI or other sources. And you get several different opportunities then to ‘be across their desks.’ I’ve been told that buyers in our industry will look at THE BOOKS once when they come putting stickies on pages they like. They might even go look at the artists website and bookmark them. But then they seldom ever look again at THE BOOK. I’m fond of all our years with THE BOOKS, but I have a hard time recommending them for the best promotional opportunity for a single artist in Children’s Books.
NOW SIT DOWN AND WRITE DOWN YOUR GUESTIONS TO “ASK CAT.”
Hope this illustration by Kris Aro McLeod will inspire everyone to send in a question to Chris and Christy. Kris was featured on Illustrator Saturday in 2012. Take a look.