PROMO: Art directors redux

January 16, 2007

First off, I must thank EVERYONE for the super enthusiastic response I’ve gotten. With just one day’s blogging, I’ve gotten great support; I’ve been on WordPress’ list of 100 most popular blogs, been linked up to the other great illustration resource sites, and gotten a slew of really positive and helpful comments. So thanks must go out to the fine people at Drawn!, Illustration Mundo, and The Little Chimp Society for linking me up and giving me some support in this early stage of the game, but I’m really grateful to everyone who’s reading! It makes me feel good to know that this is actually an idea that might help people out and help me learn about some things in the process.

Not to belabor the point though. I planned to start a new topic today, but after the last post I got some really insightful ideas and remembered a few other things I can mention that might also help your search for clients. So, without further ado, a sequel!

1. Check your peers. Hopefully this will not be unkosher to mention, but illustrators can greatly benefit from illustrators, just with common knowledge. If you’re like me you know a slew of hypertalented and successful artists, or at least know of them. Most illustrators make mention of their client list for art directors, either in their bio or a resume. But that list can be used for illustrators as well! If I feel like I could see my work being fit into a somewhat similar category as theirs, I’ll seek out their client list if they’ve got one posted. While sometimes it takes a bit of searching, I utilize in this way, because I notice a lot of illustrators post their client list in their profile. After I seek out the clients, I start googling and find the websites and art directors as before. I’ve found a lot of potential clients I never heard of this way; especially some of the smaller industry magazines. If you have friends who are illustrators, they might like to share sources as well; if I work with an AD I think could really like a friend’s style, I’ll mention to the illustrator that source, and vice versa. I suppose in some way that’s giving other people an edge, but despite this being a business I know it can have payoffs in the long run.

2. Don’t underestimate Adbase. In my last post, I mentioned I don’t use it because I don’t have the money to lay that down right now. But as people commented, they’re actually useful and great if you want to save time and get clients all in one swoop. If you don’t have the time to deal with managing your mailing list, it’s a good service. At this stage in the game though, I actually enjoy seeking out new clients and it helps me let my brain take a break from drawing, so I am fine with the more DIY methods!

3. From Stan Shaw: “Ask for referrals from Art Directors. If you contact one, you can ask for the name of a few others. This has a few hidden benefits as it starts a network of who you know and who you know that you know that knows you. Plus, you may find that certain AD’s are sort of illustrator hubs and turn out to be great resources.” This is really key and something I definitely never considered, but art directors don’t hide in the dark; they have professional clubs just like illustrators do, and so there’s a good chance your art director can help suggest someone else who might like your work. I’d bet this would work better on an AD you start cultivating a good working relationship with; and this is also why it’s important to do your best work and stay on top of the game– besides giving you names, that AD might recommend you to others. Stan also has a great post on his blog entitled The Rules of Art Direction; I highly advise you to read it and get some perspective on how your art director works.

4. Sugar of the Lint Museum suggested a really cool resource I hadn’t heard of til now: They collect mastheads from all sorts of magazines (the count is 325+, which is more than my mailing list entirely right now) and for a small fee you can access them. But the part I like best? If you submit a masthead they don’t have, they give you a month’s free access! Since I typically update my mailing list every few months, this works perfect for me. From what I can see of the couple of sample mastheads, this is really useful for all people seeking to get work with a magazine- illustrators, writers, editors, photographers, etc. They also have a nice set of tips for submitting to magazines; although it’s written for writers the lessons are still pretty key. And if you feel like being a little more luddite, they have a book with all the listings in there (but given how art directors seem to change often enough, I think I’ll stick to the screen version).

5. Ask your friends with degrees. My first big paying job was from Brown University; but I didn’t go to Brown. Their alumni magazine hired me for a quite fun assignment, which leads me to this point: college alumni magazines can be well paying and have some really fun art direction. I have more trouble seeking out art directors online for these magazines, but you probably know quite a few people who went to college. If they did, chances are they get a magazine (I know my alma mater sends me a slew of ’em) to tell them what’s going on and all. Not all use illustration, but quite a few do at least for one feature) and if your pals are willing to hand over an issue or two instead of tossing them in the trash you’ll be much better off.

That’s about all for now, but check in on Thursday; the topic will be about putting together portfolios (if you have any tips you’d like to share, as always please drop me a line!). Stay awesome.


3 Responses to “PROMO: Art directors redux”

  1. This is great. Ultra-stylish and very resourceful. Besides, I really admire your work. You and Gordon Wiebe are my daily fix to keep me going.


  2. Holly said

    Thanks you so much for this. I must bookmark this for your very helpful tidbits. This has helped me greatly. Cheers!

  3. Jeff said

    Great site Megan! I’m really enjoying it and getting alot from it. Though I will say that there is “another” great website which is a big fan and has been eager from the start to help promote and support this one. No names now….wink, wink!

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