@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...
@sarah-luann your teacher's story is really helpful. I guess I'll experimenting in the hopes of setteling on something I like. 😊
@smceccarelli purging my portfolio is a good idea. I'll do it every few months from now on. But with a new baby I'm not producing enough art to purge. Lol.
Thanks for the advice ladies!!
I wanted to post some updates on Instagram, because I am really impressed by the effect of the “campaign-of-three” concept. I started posting in sets of threes in November 2017. The number of followers has nearly doubled since then - currently growing at 100-200 new followers per week.
What I am noticing also is that the more the pieces are linked together (that is, part of the same mini-story), the more profile views each gets: and profile views are much more interesting than “likes”. I guess it makes sense if people see a post that is evidently part of a story, they want to go to the profile to see the rest.
Also to mention: with a business account I get lots of analytics. I am noticing that (with very few exceptions) not many people find posts based on hashtags - the majority of impressions are from the feed. So hashtags may not be as important as I was led to think (though of course, why leave them out?).
Sharing for anyone interested in trying it out - but I also have to point out that I am not sure if this helps business in any way. I`ve only ever got one good business lead from Instagram, and that was for one particular post I had made about a year before.
@smceccarelli I'll definitely try it this year. Thanks!!!