Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Chariot Tarot card

The Chariot Tarot card is about will, success and power. Power comes from one's own ability to direct his/her energy and to make his/her life what they envision. (Rachel Pollack - The New Tarot Handbook) I have shown the energy coming out of the hand to show the control of energy in The Chariot, as opposed to The Magician where the energy is coming out of the mouth, with less control. The white and black chess pieces represent the positive and negative life experiences one has throughout life.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

How to Market Yourself as an Illustrator

I feel like a noob posting on this topic, as I am just getting started in the illustration industry, but thought I would share anyway.

1. Have a professional website

Get a website and name it with your first and last name, so people will remember your name. For example my website is Having an actual website and not a blog or tumblr is important as it makes you appear more professional. Post your best work in your portfolio; aim for 8-12 images. I first started with about 8 images and it has grown from there as I have created client work and personal work.

2. Create a mailing list

Build a mailing list of clients you would like to work for. I want to work in the editorial field, so I went to my local Chapters store and went through their magazine racks. I jotted down the names of the art directors and their contact info. I use a CRM to manage my mailing list; I use Insightly, which is free. I also recently discovered this list of art directors at Illustration Age. I would recommend to aim for about 50 contacts to start, and you can build from there.

3. Send out self promo emails

You will need to create self-promotional work, or pick your best 2-3 portfolio pieces. Send these images out, along with a short introduction of yourself and a link to your website. If you are lucky the art director may email you back acknowledging they will keep you in mind for future projects. I send out self promo emails every 2 months or so. Keep creating new work so you are always sending fresh work to the art directors.

4. Mail postcards

Another way of promoting yourself is to mail out postcards featuring your work. I tried this and didn't get any feedback, so I haven't done it since. I personally find email is more effective (plus it's free!). Printing and mailing postcards can also be quite expensive. But if you want to create a special mailer, this is a good option.

5. Join networking groups

Recently I have joined a business networking group that meets monthly. I find it helpful and inspiring to meet other entrepreneurs on the same path as yourself. This is also another way to meet potential clients.

6. Open online shops

There are many online shops to choose from now. I personally have a Society6 shop and a Threadless shop. Society6 I like because they do all the printing and packaging for you. Of course there is also Etsy if you want to personalize your packages and mail products yourself.

7. Have art shows

A great way to showcase your work is to see if any local coffee shops or restaurants want to show your work. These places are good because they are more likely to feature new artists. Shameless plug - I have an upcoming art show at The Wallflower in Vancouver in October!

8. Get into directories and annuals

Another way to reach art directors is through directories. Directories feature illustrators work and their contact info and are sent to art directors around the country. 3x3 has a curated directory which they offer to illustrators that enter their annual illustration contest. Be prepared to pay a pretty penny for these printed directories - a single page can cost several hundred dollars. The advantage is they are sent to thousands of art directors around the country. 3x3 also has an annual illustration contest where you can enter an illustration for possible publication in their annual. These contests are good to enter, as they get you in front of art directors that are judging the contest. You can also be picked to be featured in the 3x3 annual, which is additional exposure for your illustration work. There are several of these contests - 3x3, Applied Arts, Communication Arts, to name a few.

So those are my thoughts on marketing yourself, hope you found it helpful. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Tower Tarot card

This week's Tarot card is The Tower. The Tower symbolizes upheaval, release and revelation. It can be seen as destructive, but does not need to be seen this way. Energy is released in this card, and it can be positive changes or upheavals in life. I chose to stay on the positive side of interpretation, and left the tower intact, instead of being destroyed, as it sometimes is depicted.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Illustration / Design Process

In this post I will be going over the process of an illustration project. The process for illustration and design are similar, so this process can be applied to design as well. The example I am using is an illustration I did for The Progressive a few months ago.

1. Brief - The first step in the process is the brief. This is usually in the form of an email from the client, and it outlines the details of the project. In the case of The Progressive, I received a copy of the magazine article to read, as well as some notes from the art director outlining what they are looking for, or don't want included in the illustration. The article was on animal rights, and the art director's notes included things like they didn't want any violent or bloody imagery. The brief should also include the size of the illustration, whether it is colour or black and white, and the deadline for the project.

If you are working with a private client, for example a logo for a small business, you will have to write  your own brief. This will involve asking your client questions about their company and their project so you can get all the details you need. For example, when I am designing a logo for a client, I have a questionairre that I get them to fill out, or ask them questions over coffee, so I have a good idea about their company and what their needs are. It is also important to have a contract written up and signed before you start working on the project.

2. Research / Thumbnails - The next step is research and thumbnail sketches. In the case of illustrating a magazine article, I read the article two or three times, and circle words or phrases that I think are important or stand out to me. I may also doodle to jot down ideas. I may do more research into the parts I circled in the article. I usually also jot down a list of words that come to mind.

Next stage is thumbnails. Thumbnails are quick little sketches that take only a few seconds or minutes to do. This is where you sketch out ideas really quickly and play around with different compositions. The important thing to remember in the thumbnail stage is not to censor your ideas. Sketch out every idea you have. I like to sleep on my ideas at least one night, so my subconscious brain can work on ideas that I have. I find the next day I have stronger ideas that come up overnight.

3. Roughs - In the roughs stage you go through all your thumbnails and pick out the strongest ideas. Usually art directors require three different roughs, so you pick out your three strongest thumbnails. Then you do a larger rough sketch of each of the thumbnails. Roughs are still really loose sketches, so don't spend too much time on the drawing. As long as they are clear enough so the art director can understand what is going on. I like to send colour roughs, so I scan in my sketch and colour it digitally. My process might be a little different, as I also tend to collage my sketches together into the final rough. It is just how I work and I find it works best for me.

4. Client feedback - Once you have the three roughs done, you send them off to the client. The client or art director goes over the roughs and either picks the one they like best, or emails you back with feedback and changes to make. This stage requires some back and forth between you and the client until you reach a sketch that the client approves. In this stage it is also important to establish boundaries, for example you will only do 3 revisions, and any further revisions require additional payment. This is important to outline in your contract.

5. Final artwork - Once you and the client arrive at a sketch that is approved, you can go ahead and create the final artwork! The client may have minor tweaks to the artwork at this stage, but hopefully they are minimal and don't require too much work. I usually upload a high res file to Dropbox and also send a low res jpeg to the client so they know what to expect. And you are done! Whoo hoo!