My best bit of advice to new illustrators is, don’t rely on emails for your self promotion. Instead, send out postcards or packs of prints. And here’s the important bit – follow these physical prints up with phone calls to art directors.
I have this theory that half of the illustrators who give up early on do so cos they’re just too shy to pick up the phone and actually talk to an art director. There’s no shame in being shy – it’s quite likely part of the reason you are good at drawing in the first place, cos you stayed in and drew during your teens while everyone else was out having sex. But you need to remember that if you can just get over your initial fears of selling yourself, then in 3 years time you probably won’t have to be a self-salesperson anymore. And anyway, there’s no reason to be bashful about calling art directors – if you’ve posted them stuff already, you’re not cold calling them. You’ve physically sent them a present – they *owe* you a quick chat. In reality, they’ll nearly always be polite and impressed that you’ve phoned, and are usually quite flattered that you’ve done something so old-fashioned and gallant as posting samples through. If you send an email, it will probably go to junk and they won’t even see it.
Stephen Collins is a UK illustrator and cartoonist who has been working professionally since 2003. His work has appeared in many publications, and he has a weekly comic in The Guardian Weekend magazine. In 2013 Jonathan Cape published his debut graphic novel The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, which won the 9th Art Award 2013 and was shortlisted for the Waterstones Book Of The Year award. A collection of his shorter comics will be published by Jonathan Cape in autumn 2014.
See Stephen’s amazing work here: www.colillo.com
on Tumblr here: stephen-collins.tumblr.com
His inspiration blog: neenawneenaw.tumblr.com
Hear more from Stephen on Twitter: twitter.com/stephen_collins
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