Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 15, 2018


On the third Tuesday Christina or Christy Ewers Tugeau of the Cat 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.


Promote! Promote! Promote!

As I have said SO many times in my 25 years…. they can’t HIRE you if they can’t SEE you! So constant, new, exciting promotion sent out to buyers is essential.  And we recommend strongly that that promotion be POSTCARDS.

I heard recently that some reps are not doing postcards any more.  WHY I ASK!?  I can’t imagine, unless their artists no longer wish to do them….again, WHY I ASK!?  5×7 sized postcards are LOVED by buyers and appreciated as they show at least two images that they can hold (often relating those is a good idea) and if they like them, they are easily pinned to their walls, door, boards, lampshades etc., and KEPT and easily seen daily.  Then when a project comes up…there you are smiling down on them from the wall!

Postcards are very inexpensive relatively speaking and reach a large list of people…even outside the children’s book industry if you wish to expand your list. Check out periodic sales from companies like Vistaprints and such.  Try for three or four times a year if you can.  And keep sending till they tell you not to!

Now for some hints to help you decide what to put on those postcards.

CHILDREN and ANIMALS…all ages, sizes and ethnic backgrounds and species. expressions, interaction between characters.

TRY TO TELL A STORY...This is the children’s industry. It’s about story.  You can do it in one, but you have two opportunities in a postcard!

BE CONSISTENT IN STYLE…you do not want to confuse the buyers by showing them very different styles on the one postcard OR in subsequent mailings.  You want to be REMEMBERED!

ONLY YOUR BEST WORK… better to wait than send something you aren’t totally proud of. Check all the contact information! You’d be surprised what gets left off!

TAKE RISKS…BE DIFFERENT AND INTERESTING…. you are trying to stand OUT so do something that’ll stop them in their tracks. And that can be very a simple image!

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEMES….can be fun and make you more memorable.  Holiday, activity, end of school year, start of one, or summer, or hobby, a poem,…anything at all!

CHECK NAMES AND ADDRESSES….before sending.  This list changes constantly it seems! SCBWI of course is a wealth of info for this (as is this blog!) Google people too.

SEND TO EDITORS AND ADs! and agents as well….. a treat!

Now your on-line portfolio is essential too…especially when you are sending out postcards to draw them TO this portfolio.  Keep it fresh, simple to view (no gimmicks like movement or sounds) Put new work up fairly often so they’ll learn to come back and back. Take old work off regularly and anything you’ve gotten more than one negative response to.  12 to 15 pieces so they’ll see it all….and maybe links to other types of works or dummies etc. should they wish to see more.  LET THE ART DO THE TALKING!!…it’s telling them about YOU.

Instagram and other ‘social sharing’ places are great too. But having a real on-line website is truly essential. Buyers expect it, and they do revisit them if they like your work initially. The postcards lead directly to this website and flushes out the story about who you are and what you can do for them.  Blasts are great too, but the buyer might miss it on a busy day and it’s often gone! or you send too many emails and that can lead truly to deletion.  Missed opportunities!  Art buying is often very intuitive.  What hits a buyer one day may not have been noticed on another day. That’s why you keep sending…. one might really catch attention and start a conversation!


Thank you Chris for another great article. I am sure it will help many in the illustrating community. 

Please help keep this column going by sending in your questions.


Hope this illustration by Nicole Tadgell ( will inspire everyone to send in a question to Chris and Christy. 

Send them to kathy(dot) and put ASK CAT in the Subject Area.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. ALways fantastic information, ladies! Thank you 🙂


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