As a Senior Illustration Consultant with Directory of Illustration I was just asked by the Association of Illustrators and the World Illustration Awards to offer helpful hints on creating engaging ways to talk about illustration and promotion. They asked for tips on ‘how to tell the story of your work or ‘ways to reach new commissioners and clients'. My experience has proven that when an illustrator incorporates my time tested advice into their presentation they’ll have a renewed sense of confidence and gain a significant competitive advantage.
“PASSION with a purpose, CAMPAIGN & APPLICATION” Aspects of Your Creative Voice
‘Telling a story about your work’ and ‘Creating a successful marketing plan’ begin by developing, presenting and showcasing “Passion with a purpose, Campaign & Application” aspects of YOUR CREATIVE VOICE.
It’s really pretty simple…let’s break it down:
PASSION – What are you best at? If you had to pick a ‘dream project’ what would that be? If you know what your passion is in your work you can build your portfolio around that. Ask yourself: what is the style and medium I love to work in? What are my favorite subject matters to illustrate? What images have I received positive feedback on?
PURPOSE - What are the values that provide meaning in your life? What things inspire, motivate or intrigue you? What can you contribute to the illustration world? When you know what you can do with your illustration career that is important in the industry, you’ve found your purpose.
CAMPAIGN - Portfolios with the most consistency usually stand out the most. Consistency in your portfolio shows that you are competent, efficient and can create more than just one of something. You need to demonstrate that you can deliver exactly what you advertise in your portfolio. Developing a recognizable style will give your illustrations a voice. It’s okay to have 2 or 3 styles as long as you can build on them. A campaign of consistent images will amplify your voice. Consistency also builds trust with editors, art directors and publishers who are hiring.
APPLICATION/USAGE – This is all about getting hired! When a client is interested in hiring an illustrator, they value being able to point to an illustrator’s existing work for reference. How will your illustration be used to solve a client’s visual problem? What is the illustration’s purpose? Is it conveying a concept or message? or selling a book, magazine or product?
More and more the field of illustration is shaping the world we live in. There is always a need for illustration to solve a problem, tell a story or sell a product. Illustrators are getting work from many different places, but in order to get the work, VISIBILITY EVERYWHERE is key! You will never realize the infinite possibility of opportunities that exist unless you market yourself extensively. By doing so you will have a better chance of being seen and getting hired. Promoting and marketing your work to target all the major players and niche markets is necessary.
Be sure to ask the right questions to know exactly how to win the job. And don't give up if the bidding process doesn't go your way. Be positive about the connection you have established with this new potential client and work to build on it for the future.
Always remember the value YOU bring to the project and what your ‘creative voice’ offers to the world.