Postcard for Publishers

  • postcard.jpg

    I'm working on postcards to send to children's book publishers. I want to send this one next month so I decided to make it Halloween themed. I'm not sure of the girls pose yet but I'm wondering if there is too much detail in the room. I like adding as much information of the character in its environment as possible, but maybe for a postcard it's too much?

  • Oh very nice, though I think the book shelf looks incorrect perspective.

  • Yes, I agree with Steve about the bookshelf it seems to be sloping to the right too much. Great composition though and I love all of the detail!

  • SVS OG

    I agree, super fun composition! I always struggle with doing environments and backgrounds, I admire someone who will put that much thought into it. I'm wondering what the girl is doing, though. Is she just standing there with her hands out? That is the part that seems strangest to me. As for having too much detail, that is really your call. Do you want to show off your background or your character? Crop or not according to that decision.

  • Yeah the shelf looks a bit weird, ill fix that. Thanks Sarah for the compliment! I haven't decided on the pose for the girl. In the final piece she won't be standing like that lol. I think I'm going to have her interacting with the glass ball somehow. I was just having fun the background! Thanks everyone for the comments 😃

  • I think this is looking great. I love the Halloween theme, yay!

    I agree with others about the shelf perspective. Also, the center of the window and the table post are so close to creating an implied line. Might read better if you scoot the table over just a bit. Similarly, the post, crystal ball and cloth on the table are all very symmetrical-- you might shift them around a bit as well.

    As for the busy-ness-- I think all the details are great and add a lot of story to the image. I think as long as you use value grouping when you color, the image won't feel cluttered.

  • Ah, great eye on the table and window Maile! Didn't see that at all 😃 And you're right about the color and value with all the detail, I will be sure to keep ab eye out for that. Thanks for your help!

  • postcard2.jpg

    Some more progress on the postcard!

    Now I'm working on what kind lighting I should do for this piece. 😃

  • Love this so far. My only suggestions would be to have the cat in a more active pose. (clawing at the table, wriggling in the air, holding his tail cause it's scared...)

  • This is really cool--can't wait to see your color/lighting choices

    EDIT: One idea would be to have cool moonlight through that window, the pumpkins could have a warm candle light coming out of them, and that magic ball thing could be another (green? purple?) light. Also--it might be cool to check out stills of the Sword and the Stone for some background item ideas.

  • Nice! cant wait to see the colored version!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    Very nice work Sharon! I think your drawing ability really shines and your linework is exceptional!

    Of course, I do have some notes for ya (that's my job after all!). : )

    The first thing I wanted to mention is the actual process of sending out a postcard. Postcards are great advertising and should definitely be used. I'm not sure of your plans, but I thought I should mention this next bit to everyone who is considering postcards. You should never plan on sending just one postcard as a mailer. Postcards should be thought of in terms of doing like 6 a year if you are just starting, or 4 per year (quarterly) if you are already established.

    The response rate of a GOOD postcard is around 2%, so if you send out 1000, you can expect maybe 20 people to actually visit your website. Once clients get used to seeing your name on the postcards, the rate goes up and is much more effective. Typically people see results after sending 5-6 postcards, so it really is a long slow burn. I can talk more about this if people are interested...

    On to your image, Love the character! Her pose is cool, but try to vary the hands and leg positions, even if it's just slightly. When they match as yours do here it can really make the pose look a bit stiff.

    There are a few tangents where objects sit right on the frame of the compostion (which I've noted here). You should include a border so we can see how objects sit in relation to the outside edge.

    Now on to the biggie, in terms of shape design, it's always going to be advantageous to use big shapes (which ground the composition), medium shapes, and small shapes. I made a green line in photoshop and just copied and dragged it around your image to show how many shapes take up the same amount of size and weight (strangely, this tendency will match the head size of a character which this one does). So, I would try to vary those shapes up a bit to get a better sense of big, medium, and small shapes.

    Doing a quick value study will also show how lighting might affect the perceived sizes of things, so I always recommend doing that before moving to final linework so you don't waste time.

    Again, lovely drawing style. I can't wait to see this as a finished piece! : )


  • @Lee-White Very interesting how you've noticed the things that are the same size!

  • SVS OG

    I, for one, would love to hear more thoughts and advice about sending postcards.

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Leontine Anytime there is a complicated scene with a lot of objects, size relationships and tangents are the first thing I notice. Being a teacher for so long, I now know that it's one area that trips a lot of people up. It's very hard to avoid it actually if you aren't thinking about it. It's a natural tendency to create order. If you ever try to paint stars in the sky you will notice that they are all the same distance apart until you really try to create a random pattern. : )

    @Sarah LuAnn Postcard campaigns are awesome, especially in the digital age. People like receiving something in the mail. It also shows you are a professional because it aint cheap! It shows you are serious.

    I recommend using a mailing list company like Adbase (unless you have an agent that may have a better list). Adbase is expensive, but there really isn't any better way to get a huge list of client addresses that are current. Trying to do it on your own is overwhelming. Also, the people in the industry move around so much you would never be able to keep track of them.

    Like I mentioned before, plan a whole campaign. A single mailing is useless and many people give up after one or two mailings. Think about it this way, how many times do big companies hit you with their ads? Over and over right! They know it takes a certain amount of exposure to have something sink in. Unfortunately illustrators think that when they send a postcard it's going to stop the presses and you will be "the next BIG thing"! I wish it worked that way, but it takes time just like advertising does for any business.

    On top of postcards, I suggest a small (20 clients or less) targeted mailing that is custom and a bit fancier than a postcard. I sent a handmade book to 21 potential clients and actually got 13 face to face meetings with them. A few I ended up working with right away. One of them took 10 years to call me, but eventually the call came! Like I said, it's a marathon and not a sprint so plan accordingly.

  • Hey @Lee-White

    Very insightful stuff here. I'd be interested (as I'm sure would others) for you to put together a SVS course about marketing and actually getting work and keeping it coming in.

    Take care,

  • Thanks @Lee-White you're responses to and critiques of peoples posts on here are always super helpful.

  • I second a marketing class @Lee-White

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    Funny you guys should mention that. I have a storytelling video coming out in two weeks, then after that I'm beginning a business video! : )

  • SVS OG

    @Lee-White awesome! I'm curious about how you chose which clients to send your targeted handmade books to. Were they each to a specific publisher, or to an art director, or what? Were they people you had met or just people whose work you liked?

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