Self-marketing decisions

  • @kevin-longueil Thank you Kevin! And your work definitely stacks up!

  • @smceccarelli Thank you for the advice, really helpful :-)

  • I wanted to mention what happened yesterday: it sort of makes the case. I put all "Alice" illustrations in a nice layout last week and posted them on Behance. Yesterday morning at 5 am (my time), the Behance editorial team featured the project on the Illustration collection - the feature time is 24 hours, so it ended at 5 am this morning. The pickup was really good (about 3700 views) - and during the past two days I have been contacted by six prospective clients. Most of these are uninteresting or plain weird (one Chinese company contacted me to do designs for children slippers ... !?), but I have arranged a couple of follow-up calls to discuss two potentially legit ones. So, yes - it's quite an interesting platform to promote on...

  • @smceccarelli Thank you so much for sharing all this information! This is very valuable to other artists. I was really wondering what to do with Behance, because it seems so overwhelming when you begin. I really like what you did with the layout of your projects, you gave so much ideas of how to approach it!

  • How does Behance work with regards to getting seen? Can I place tags?

  • @eric-castleman Yes - every project can get a description (not seen by the viewersI and up to 10 keywords. The keywords are also not visible to the viewer (not in a prominent spot anyway), so they are not like tags, they are more like metadata.
    Knowing how I use Behance from the other side, (when hiring illustrators) I tend to set keywords not on the content (unless it´s very unique) but more on the genre and general categories (children’s illustration, fairytale, etc...).

  • @smceccarelli can you comment more on how you updated your IG as you mentioned in your original post? Also, do you have links to the blogs and videos you went thru?

  • @tombarrettillo Here is what I did with my IG channel:

    • I converted the channel to a business account. I did not do any paid promotions and I am not sure I ever will, but the business account gives you detailed analytics, which are quite interesting;
    • I deleted all posts that I was either not proud of, were not consistent with illustration for children or had low engagement (I left some of the early ones, though, even if they had low numbers by nature). While deleting, I paid some attention to getting a consistent grouping of threes as much as possible (see below). I deleted all that is not illustration or illustration-related or not my work.
    • I switched my posting schedule to “campaigns of threes”. Because IG shows your work on a 3-column grid, this gives your profile layout a nice consistency. Now (since four weeks) I post three illustration at a time on Wednesday (my day of highest follower-activity) within 2 hours. The three illustrations are stylistically related or share the same color-palette or even the same story.Another option would be to show process shots and then the final, or the final and then details, in groups of threes. Note that I always try to have material for social media activity. If I cannot post the project I am working on (as is the case for book projects and any client work) I reserve part of my studio hours to do stuff specifically for Instagram. Depending on what it is, I will re-use the same material for Twitter and FB (I try to keep the channels separate now - but I will repost illustration work because I cannot do more than three per week just for social media).
    • I spent some time researching influencers and I use their hashtags or mentions (depending how they prefer it). Some that work really well are ChildrenWritersGuild, Illustration_Best and (on Twitter) Colour_Collective. ChildrenWriterGuild now picks one of my IG posts nearly every week - and every time there is a spike in following.

    I do not have links to all the blogs and videos I watched on this, but I found the one that led me to change all my IG strategy:

    How to grow IG organically

    It´s for designers and it´s very long, but it was so interesting for me that I watched it twice. Do go and look at the examples he mentions in between - they are highly inspiring!
    The whole channel (The Futur) is actually super interesting, but maybe it is because I do a lot of graphic design and motion design work in my day job - so I can connect to the content (which only marginally touches on Illustration).

  • @smceccarelli thanks for posting all this! I find I struggle with the social media side of things- I have an Instagram that I use predominantly and somewhat neglected Twitter and Facebook accounts. I had never really considered a Behance account properly. Needless to say this has helped me rethink how I use social media. A cull of Instagram posts that I am not happy with/ that are irrelevant had never occurred to me and I'd also completely disregarded twitter- so thanks again for sharing this insight!

  • Is there a way to bookmark this thread? I'm going to re-read this a bunch of times.

  • @laurel-aylesworth To bookmark a post just click on the three tiny dots next to the "reply quote" and up vote down vote buttons - click "Bookmark" - you can access what you have bookmarked by finding those three dots again on your own profile page - they are in a blue circle at the top right for me - click on that and the dropdown menu will have "Bookmarks" in the middle of the list

  • @smceccarelli This is great.Thanks for taking the time to type it out. Now that I have some finished illustrations, I need to start tagging ChildrenWritersGuild, and will work on sme of the other suggestions you mention.

  • @smceccarelli Thanks for sharing all of this great information. I will take it into consideration as I move forward.

  • @smcecarelli i can totally back you up on behance. Just recently, 2 project managers reached out to me through behance. The first one was a small gig but the second one was from an illustration agency from China.
    Nothing is final though. However, it only goes to prove that behance really works. If I don't manage to screw this up, might be working on 2 projects in the future.

  • @nyrryl-cadiz Cool! Congratulations! Yes, one needs a bit to sort the interesting ones from the weird ones, but it definitely works to get leads!

  • I've been re-thinking postcards as well. I don't think I'm going to stop them completely, but I am definitely doing them differently. Rather than sending to a list of 500+ addresses like I did at first, a am editing it down significantly so that I'm only really sending to people I actually want to connect with--I am in a secure enough situation that I'm actually NOT ready to say "yes" to any opportunity, I really only have time and interest for the projects I really want to do. So, my mailing list is reflecting that.

    I'm also focusing less on Editors/ADs (which made up the majority of my list the first time) and adding a lot more agents, specifically those who are looking to represent author/illustrators.

    I too have only sent postcards twice, so its not much of a way to see trends, but the first time I got basically no response, but the next time I had a personal email from an agent--she wasn't ready to offer representation, but she basically said she liked my work and saw a lot of potential and would be watching my work.

    My theory is that agents don't really get many post cards, so they're more likely to actually look at the ones they do get. I would also love to have an agent before working on a real contract with a publisher, if possible, just because I know that I don't know as much about that side of things, so this shift in focus makes the most sense with my goals.

    I also had another positive interaction with an agent (same story--liked my work, not quite ready to offer representation... someday maybe I'll have a different agent story to tell, ha) through images I posted on twitter. So social media does get eyes on it sometimes :-).

    Speaking of, I'm so inconsistent on twitter it isn't funny. I need to work on that. Sigh.

    Anyway. Just my two cents.

  • @sarah-luann hi sarah! Interesting theory you've got here. I think it's worth checking out. I have never tried sending postcards but if I do, I'll try to test this out.

  • @smceccarelli thanks for this post. I was thinking of sending postcards next year, I will hit pause on that now.
    I do have a behance account, after what I read here I think I'll be putting more effort on my portfolio there.
    My only problem, I don't have a consistent body of work. With every piece I do, I enhance my style and change it a little. So now I'm not sure if I should be posting all my work in my portfolio. Any thoughts on that?

  • @doha I think we are always growing and changing as we do work, even the established pros. However, I also think we start narrowing in on our own sensibilities as we do that experimentation, so it isn't something to stifle for the sake of looking more consistent.

    I remember one of my college teachers, who did a lot of gallery work, talk about how he tried some pieces that he felt were really different and experimental. He wasn't sure about showing them because he was going in a different direction, very different from what he had been selling. He showed them to the gallery owner to see what he thought. The answer? "I think they just look like your paintings." He was at the point where something that felt super different or experimental to him was painted with his "voice" and was more consistent with his other work than he thought.

    That being said, I think that is a point that is reached after doing lots of work, including lots of experimenting and trying on different styles. Everyone is going to reach that point on their own timing.

    I don't think that a portfolio has to all look exactly the same stylistically, there just needs to be a few common threads throughout, if that makes sense.

    I'm no pro, though, so take this or leave it :-).

  • @doha The more work you do, the more your style settles and you find out what you really like doing. For example, I love how watercolor looks, but I really don’t like working with watercolor - so that settled that, after many many attempts.

    As for portfolio, I purge mine regularly. If you work steadily, you can probably clean up your portfolio every six months or so. I don’t think you can make it a rule, but there is nothing in my portfolio that is older than 1 or 1 and half years - probably the majority should be recent work.

    Style consistency is something that I really struggled with for a very long time - but both my agent and a couple of art directors I talked with say they do not really care. If the work is all good quality, they can point to the style and tone they want by selecting examples from your portfolio. The most important thing seems to be that each piece needs to be strong, no matter what the style is. That is difficult to accomplish already in one style - working in more than a couple at a pro level seems a very rare thing. I experiment a lot, but only very few things make it into my portfolio.

    As for social media...when I started my channels I posted anything: ideas, small sketches, anatomy studies. Now I use it more for promotion, so I am a lot more careful about what I put there - you still need to remain human, though, I think...

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