Friday, April 20, 2012

How to promote your illustration business?

I have been pondering how to promote my business quite a lot recently, because let's be honest without promotion there will be no jobs. I think a lot of us young, up and coming artists struggle with this. We are not business graduates, most of us have never studied economics or business management or anything remotely similar to it before we jump into the shark infested waters of the illustration business. So what the hell are we supposed to do once we have gotten ourselves into this position?

Message in a bottle. A fun and eye-catching way of promoting your business!(image found on google)

On paper the answer is easy and straightforward in some ways, but in reality it really isn't. There are countless ways of promoting your business both traditionally and in unconventional ways. Traditionally business cards and postcards seem to be the people's choice because it's usually cheap and they are easy to bring along with you or pop into a mailbox. More modern ways of promoting yourself is purchasing ads on-line or sending out e-mails to editors. A couple of years ago stickers seemed to be popping up everywhere promoting bands, artists or events, and I think that it may actually be a good way of promoting your stuff. Some people handcraft amazing give- aways like origami business cards, bookmarks, little booklets, flower seed packets and so on and so forth. Sometimes it may feel like you have to try to outdo all the artists around you just to get a clients attention. At least I often feel the pressure to do so. That doesn't work however. If you just set out to outdo others you'll usually end up with something that isn't quite you, something that doesn't really describe what you do. That's a horrible trap to fall into.

Origami ninja star business cards? Sure to be a killer at the office. (Image found at

I usually send out e-mails, it's my chosen weapon. I struggle with a bit of social awkwardness and anxiety at times and an e-mail is just so much easier on my nerves than a phone call or a personal meeting. Life isn't supposed to be easy though. Sending out e-mails doesn't always give results or answers at all and it's just plain stupid to rely on them as the only promotional item in your arsenal.
E-mails can often seem impersonal and effortless, and let's face it, most art directors must receive half a dozen e-mails every day from young hopefuls. So unless your art is super fantastically awesome you have to find some way to stand out in the crowd. That's the tricky part. I haven't tried ads yet or sending out postcards, or calling art directors to set up portfolio viewings because it has just been too damn scary, but that is about to change.
Over the next few months I will be sending out promotional material and buying on-line ads. I am going to see if it has any effect on my current work flow and I will be writing about my experiences on this blog. So stay tuned as I attempt to delve into the deep dark currents that is self - promotion.

A new and interesting design can really bring a brochure to life. (found at

If there is anything in particular you would like me to write about then please do leave a little comment or question, and I'll see what I can do about it.

Until next time
Anita K. Olsen

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