For today’s class we were asked to listen to episode 8 of Big Illustration Party, hosted by Kevin Cross and Joshua Kemble, both specialize in comic book and cartoon illustrations. In all episodes they post onto their blog http://www.illustrationparty.com/ they talk about their experience, share advice and related stories about how to be a freelance illustrator.
In Episode 8 they discuss promotion and networking, they raise and interesting points about how to contact clients. The discuss the benefits of cold calls, something I would never do myself as I prefer to email and find cold calling to be pushy and give of an instant dislike impression. The mention that in some cases it is worth doing, mostly when illustration an event or gig. Where as emails are less pressure, can be worded correctly and less intrusive.
They go on to detail how they would create the right emails for the right people by splitting them into two groups, first emails ‘blast’ to clients you would like to work for and who you think your style would benefit, in this email you should briefly and friendly state who you are and that you would like them to keep you in mind for future work if they like what they see. Kevin and Joshua both advise against image attachments, seeing it as another step/link the viewer has to do, which I don’t know what they mean by this, maybe its as simple as adding a link to you website or they think its better to design an email with embedded images?
After this first email if you receive a positive response from someone that would be interested in you work then should add them to a mailing/favorites/subscribe list where you send them emails as newsletter with updates, usually every 3 months but nothing less. You should also include an option at the bottom stating that if the reader would like to be removed from the mailing list they could just email you the word ‘stop’ etc. Also, not to keeping email a contact after no response.
They also spoke about sending clients greetings or as they call them ‘holiday’ cards, which I think is a great and fun idea, I was advised against them by Rose Lloyd when I met her in the start of my second year, she had an experience where she spent a lot of time and money in producing Christmas cards one year then when contacting after she was told that they receive so many that its not a very original idea and they don’t have time to respond to many of them, although that is just somebody’s experience I would still try this. In the broadcast they give ideas to not being so obvious with card designs- avoid the obvious colours (red and green for Christmas) and imagery (Santa) as clients will find it refreshing and witty to bring festive cheer with more thoughtful ideas.
Also, after working with a client you should always send a thank you email after, just reminding them that you enjoyed the experience, was fun and good working with you. I think this works for any contact with others from the industry, after by meetings in London I regret not sending a thank you email just for the time they had taken to see me or consider my work.
Kevin and Joshua go on to discuss web and networking, how valuable are illustration housing websites/industries. I don’t think they suit everyone so its hard to say whether they will benefit some people. I do see how if an illustrators website is hard to come across if you have never heard of their name, but maybe if you haven’t heard of them then they haven’t put enough effort into self promotional work, but with these websites there is a charge and finding the right website to house your work may be hard. Personally I think as a freelance illustrator I will try to stick to doing everything my way and by myself. With networking becoming so popular and easy way of meeting new people I think it can only be positive for artists and designers, in the broadcast they mention how you could meet someone through odd circumstances through Flickr, Twitter, Instagram and they like to find vintage ads that they use to inspire their work.
So, during class we discussed some interesting points from the broadcast, I was mostly interested in setting up mailing lists and designing emails for people who want to be updated with my new work, Ian suggested Mail Chimp which I am now signed up to and trying to work out, all I need know is a mailing list who want to hear my news :)
We also talked about the contradiction between some stuff that was said in the broadcast and things we have been told to do my Ian and the rest of the tutors. I think everyone prefers different things as I have hear different advice from all contacts I have had this the industry this year about mail and portfolio's, different things appeal to different people, the same with illustration style. Maybe research somewhere you are really interested in there response first and get a feel for how they like things structured of their website might help into how and email might stand out to them.