Marketing for artists



  • I'm currently listening to "How Women Rise" by Helgessen & Goldsmith and it talks about how a stumbling block to success for women in their careers is tending to avoid leveraging relationships. So, I'm attempting to navigate LinkedIn to do some practice with this and it is DEEPLY uncomfortable to say the least, to reach out to people I barely know (or not at all) to ask for something. I'd like to be more proactive in marketing myself (other than sending out postcards to art directors and hope for the best, or hope they see something they like on my Instagram page). Does anyone use LinkedIn for marketing their career? What other direct marketing tools do you find successful for you? I also have an acquaintance who is a veteran children's book illustrator, but I don't want to be seen as a mooch. How have you approached other potential mentors without overstepping bounds? What do you offer in return when the power balance seems so lopsided?

    Another stumbling block for women is they tend to want to feel like an expert in something before they jump into something new. Jake's "finished but not perfect" is a great way to counteract that idea. Another thing I'm working on...


  • Pro

    @Laurel-Aylesworth I use LinkedIn sometimes but mostly to apply for jobs and don't use the networking features as much. Still, applying for jobs is a proactive thing to do! I also send a lot of emails, which I like better than postcards personally.

    I have heard before that women tend not to apply or reach out for jobs when they don't have all the qualifiers required. That's a shame because the job description outlines the "perfect candidate", not necessarily who they'll end up with. If they fall in love with your portfolio or think you look like a great team player, there's a good chance you get the job even if you don't have 6 years of previous experience or knowledge of InDesign, or whatever was on their very long list.

    Men tend to apply to jobs even when they only have half the qualifications required, and it pays off for them... Of course these are generalizations. My boyfriend doesn't like to apply for opportunities unless he fits every single criteria, whereas I am a go-getter even if I happen to be a proud vagina owner hahaha... My experience tends to agree with the studies. I've found that sometimes i apply to jobs where I meet every single criteria and would be the IDEAL candidate, yet I don't get the job. And sometimes I apply for jobs where it's really a stretch that I could do it, and they take me. Go figure! One of my main gigs is recurring work for a scrapbooking shop, and initially they advertised looking for a graphic designer which I am NOT. I thought "what the hell" and applied anyway. Turns out, they already had a great graphic designer who needed help because it was getting to be too much work for her. Now I do the illustrations for her so she can focus on designing the kits, it's a perfect match...

    And for reaching out to acquaintances, possible mentors, etc. I say just be polite and go for it! You are afraid of coming across as a mooch but the overwhelming majority of the time no one would ever think of you like that (no one is as harsh as we are to ourselves). And you're just asking, nothing forcing them to agree. Worst case scenario they say no and you end up no worse than you are right now (better even since now you can cross that off your list and try something else). It wouldn't even be awkward if they refuse since by your own admission you barely know them, right? 🙂



  • @NessIllustration Thanks for your thoughts on this. That's it, I'm emailing the dude to chat over coffee, dammit. 😬


  • Pro

    @Laurel-Aylesworth You go, girl!



  • Ooo! Also, what's a good source for getting up-to-date contact information on Art Directors so I can send them a postcard promo?


  • Pro

    @Laurel-Aylesworth I'd say the Book from SCBWI



  • @Laurel-Aylesworth Good on ya for coffee. I got the most important jobs for my career by cold calling or coffee chats. I hate asking for stuff. But the informational interview approach has helped me so much in work and life. If you are friendly and polite many people are happy to hear "I respect you for your experience and knowledge" and will make time for a chat.
    Also women get told act like men a lot but people respond different to women so we learn behavior to adapt. I work tech and a lot of what I do slightly differently (like phrasing things more "nicely" or emphasizing social benefit of my actions) I realized are adaptive in our society. Also different personalities need to adjust how they approach people.
    My Ex used this high sales cold call approach to get jobs and it did work and I tried it, but it felt fake to me. I wound up adapting it to be gentler and more relationship focused and it felt more authentic. I can link the books that really helped me but they are job search focused.
    @NessIllustration Good advice as always! LOL at "Proud vagina owner"



  • @NessIllustration said in Marketing for artists:

    That's a shame because the job description outlines the "perfect candidate", not necessarily who they'll end up with.

    I never knew that! I thought you had to hit everything in the list. Sometimes I read job descriptions and wonder if people like that exist. It's good to know that. I'll probably consider applying for more jobs.


  • Pro

    @sigross It's just like house hunting, you have your "dream house" in mind but it's almost impossible to find a property that hits every single thing. You may fall in love with a house that has the most gorgeous closed off porch and you decide "You know what, maybe it's not that big of a deal that the bathroom is a bit small." Some thing employers will be willing to compromise on, and some things they will not. At any rate, you lose nothing by trying, but you have everything to gain 🙂



  • @NessIllustration your comment hits it exactly on the head.

    Until recently I hired quite a few individuals. The requirements were almost never met 100%. If the person had skills we could use and talent to learn anything they didn't, we would hire them and put them to work.

    We did do screening for specific skills but young people with the ability to learn may or may not have all of those. A seasoned individual we would require more of. But if we found someone that fit a niche they may not fit other things... and we would find a place for them.

    One thing we looked for was how does this person bring the level of the team up. It could be specific talents or specific traits like very high energy or willing to put in the extra time to get stuff done.

    But you should think about what unique thing you are bringing to the team and what is the team bringing to you. If it is a two-way street you get synergy which is a win for all!


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