Want me to come give a talk at your school?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like me to be a guest speaker for your illustration department. I give talks to soon to be graduating illustration students. Presentations run from 1-6 hours depending on what package you want. Topics include how to build a client list, how to improve your online portfolio and online presence, social media, invoicing, contracts, cold emails to art directors, etc. Information applies to students who want to freelance or want an in-house job. On site or online web cam sessions optional. I know how difficult it is to enter this particular field and my mission is to help young artist navigate this exciting, but challenging career path. Past clients include College For Creative Studies in Detroit and The Visual Art Passage Way. Student and/or teacher referrals available on request.
Last updated 4-11-18. Most recent additions list at the bottom of this page.
Self-Promotion, Contracts, Building a Client List, etc.
Drawn + Drafted - Everything you need to know about building a client list, contracts, etc. Created by Art Director of Orbit Books Lauren Panepinto and artist and Art Director Marc Scheff. I highly suggest there free PDFs. They have a great Youtube channel too.
Art PACT - Offers sample contracts, articles, and company reviews. Free service.
Illustration Age - articles, podcasts, online classes, etc.
How to Invoice - Muddycolors.com
Getting Started and Online Portfolios
The Secret to Success in Art - Muddycolors.com
I just graduated art school. What do I do?! - by illustrator, Serena Malyon
Critcast with Lauren Panepinto creative director of Oribit Books- by 1FantasticWeek.com
Great webcast to learn the best way to present your online portfolio. How to keep it clean and navigate well for art directors. Crits start at 26:00. My website was critiqued at 36:00 :)
Address for Success - Muddycolors.com. How to design the best business card.
Time to Send Out Promo Stuff by me. I share how I send postcards to ADs.
Simplest Way To Calculate Your Prices (Euros) - Kristina Gehrmann
5 Tips for Freelance Artists - video by illustrator Bobby Chiu
Portfolio Book Makeover -by illustrator, Kelley McMorris. How to create an impressionable portfolio for an in-person interview or critique.
Preparing for Convention - One Fantastic Week
Understanding Art Directors' Roles
Dear AD - Tumblr where ADs answer every possible question. Priceless info. Great for self development.
Book Covers: Illustration vs. Photo vs. Design - Muddycolors.com
Day in the Life of an Art Director - ArtPact.com
Day in the Life of an AD - Muddycolors.com
Building Your Client List
Illustration Age DataBase- They just recently created art director contact list
How to Contact an Art Director - Part 1 of 4KiriLeonard.com
Approaching Art Directors - Muddycolors.com
Building a Client List - Drawn and Drafted Youtube
How to Cold Call (Email) Art Directors - Muddycolors.com
World Without End - List of all fantasy, scifi, and horror publishers
Diagram of Top 5 Publishers - Caution: Created Jun 2016. Publication imprints change often.
The Book. The Essential Guide to Publishing For Children. Everything you need to know about the Children's Book Industry. Also lists ALL children's book publishers and their contact information. New updated book is released every year in Jan. Must be a SCBWI member.
The Drawing Board for Illustration - List of currently useful books for all creative fields.
Portfolio Website Builders
Best Website Builders - An excellent resource that lists and compares website providers.
Personal Online Stores
eCommerce options through your website provider
Gumroad (digital products)
Print on Demand
FanSocial Media Advice
It can be a slow process when trying to grow your social media presence. A growing following is useful for freelance illustrators who are trying to get their work in front of the right clients and connect with people who will share, buy prints, originals, merchandise, etc.
The 4 Essentials
Instragram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Usually I'll post on my Instagram, which will then post on all my other sites. I also use IFTTT, which will assists me in posting across even more social media platforms like Pinterest, Linkedin, etc. And if I'm posting from Instagram to Twitter, it allows a photos instead of a URL link.
Some Things to Remember
Know your Audience. Post consistent work. If you consistently post concept art, then that is what your audience was drawn to in the first place and that's what made them click the Follow button.
Connect Everything. Use IFTTT to post across all your social media. Always have links to your website and other social media platforms, so people can choose how to receive your information. Some people prefer Twitter over Facebook or Instagram over Tumblr.
Post Regularly. Post at least once a week. Every 3-4 days is best.
Engage. People want to get to know you, your artwork, and your process. Always try to respond to comments and engage in other people's accounts. Tell people thank you if they share your work or sales. Don't be shy to share other artist's work that you admire too and tag them.
Process Work. People love process shots and videos. I get the most likes/views with those.
Share. Share your work with other accounts that post the same genre. Do your research.
Tags and Hashtags. Use tags to help people find your work. If you've created pop culture work, be sure to tag the creator, fan groups,actor, etc. See examples in the gallery (bottom left). Look at other artist's with large following and see what #hashtags and accounts they are using.
Online Challenges. I've seen accounts grow so fast by participating in challenges. InkOctober is a big one. Here is a PDF of all the challenges I know about: Monthly Challenges #hashtag List. A big thank you to Amanda Makepeace for collecting this information.
Leave a Trail. Add your website to EVERY jpeg you put out on the internet. Typically a low opacity website link that doesn't distract from the image (see examples here). Another extra measure is to have your name in the file title. For example, AshlyLovett_Title.jpeg
Create a Brand (hardcore marketing when you're ready) - Using your story to create a personality/brand. This webisode is helpful. Creating a Brand Story - 1FantasticWeek.
Security and Your Copyrights
Don't be a victim of hacking. Here is a good article to keep your accounts and personal information safe: Getting Hacked as an Internet Creator -Internet Creator's Guild
What to do when someone steals your artwork for financial gain:
Stealing Art by Greg Ruth. -Muddycolors.com
Understanding copyrights and the selling of fan art prints:
Intellectual Property II: The Wrath of Cons by Seth Polandsky - SethPolanskyLaw.com
Understanding what your rights are. Article includes suggested lawyers and other tools:
RESOURCES! Contracts, Copyrights, and Legal by Lauren Panepinto - Muddycolors.com
Fan Art. Should you sell it? Answers and other resources provided - Dear AD Tumblr
Convention & Seminar List
NY & LA Comicon
Emerald City Comic Con
Useful or Just Fun Websites, Blogs, ect.
Muddy Colors - a must have daily dose of advice and art sharing blog
One Fantastic Week - weekly webshow interviewing artists, art directors, and more.
The Art Order - excellent articles and career development services
Creative Bloq - inspiration, articles, news, etc.
Anyone Can Improve at Art - Tumblr of artist's past vs present drawings.
Gurney Journey - hundreds of posts on art techniques, theory and history. AMAZING resource.
Tor/Forge Blog - keep up-to-date on today's top scifi &fantasy publisher.
Character Design Blog - collection of character designer interviews and their art.
Annyas.com - collection of movie stills from 1900-present. Great for composition studies.
Figure and Gesture Drawing - free website for timed figure and animal drawings sessions.
Faceout Book- created to appreciate the practice of book cover design.
Casual Optimist - Book covers, design inspiration, comics, publishing, and pop culture
The Book Archive - exactly as the title says.
Personal Favorite Articles
Reference Riddles and "Google-Fu" - Muddycolors.com
Type 101 for Illustrators - Muddycolors.com
36 Assignments by David Palumbo - Muddycolors.com
A Methodology for Creating New Ideas - Nate Williams
7 Deadly (Art) Sins article series - Muddycolors.com
ART ESSENTIALS: Arrogance! (and Doubt) - Muddycolors.com
My Favorite Artist Interviews
Interview REBECCA GUAY - PPPBlog
1 Fantastic Week Interview - Youtube channel of 140+ artist interviews. Gold mine :)
more coming soon
Online Illustration Educational Programs
(Unless otherwise noted, these are programs I recommend because I or an associate of mine have vouched for the quality of learning.)
John English's Visual Arts Passage- Online Bachelor of Arts program where classes are taught by artists who are redefining the visual arts industry. The classes are delivered live and online. This is a 2 year program that I completed myself. I highly suggest it.
Skill Share. - $10 a month individual classes for design. I highly suggest Anita Kuntz's lessons.
Smart School - Mentorship program
Schoolism - Individual Classes based on a subscription.
Rev Art Academy - founded by my previous teachers, the Lemens. Excellent teachers.
Society of Visual Storytelling. - Note: I have no inside review of this program.
The Oatley Academy - Note: I have no inside review of this program.
Marshal Vandruff Perspective Drawing Lectures - I'm a first hand student. Highly recommend.
On-Site Illustration Workshops
For an additional Listings and Information
• Illustrator Kelly McMorris put together some great resources here.
• Illustrator Kiri Ostergaard Leonard wrote a great post about online courses and mentorships here
On-Site BA Illustration Colleges
Things I'd like to Add When I Have Tim
Convention advice, online merchandise websites sources, newsletters, etc. coming soon.
Kickstarter and crowdfunded campaign advice coming soon.
Artist Representative advice and list coming soon.
Advice on Limited Edition print sales, giclee prints, archival inks, etc. coming soon.
Printing and shipping advice coming soon.
How to do your taxes as a freelancer, retirement fund, keeping the books, etc. coming soon.
Follow my social media for updates or sign-up for my Monthly Newsletter.
Children's Books Industry
• SCBWI Membership
I highly suggest joining the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) guild. It is a national organization with many very useful resources, which include grant and scholarships, local and national conferences, online forums, monthly bulletins, a membership profile page, etc. The biggest perk that is worth the yearly membership is their annual PDF handbook, which is updated regularly and lists all the big and small publishers within the US. It includes the publishers' contact information, publication type, what they are looking for, art director and editor information, etc. It also includes a lot of other useful information on how to submit to publishers, pricing, copyright information, etc. etc.
That book is gold.
• It is also smart to join local guilds, art communities, groups, etc. This way you can talk directly with people who have the same interests and goals. It is always about networking and getting your work out there and seen. Networking, networking!
There are many great resource books out there. These happen to be the ones I have purchased and have used personally or have been taught from.
Picture This by Molly Bang
Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Rico
For Visual Storytelling
Story by Robert McKee
For Human Anatomy and Draftsmanship
The Human Figure by David K. Rubins
Atlas of Human Anatomy for Artists by Stephen Peck
Dynamic Figure Drawing by Burne Hogarth
Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery: Solutions for Drawing the Clothed Figure by Burne Hogarth
Perspective Drawing Handbook by Joseph D'Amelio
Creative Perspective for Artists and Illustrators by Ernest Watson
Drawing DVD with Ron Lemen by Ron Lemen
(more coming soon)
I read through everything and only add links that I feel are a good addition and not just repeats of the same info. Cheers!
Most Recent Additions
10 Must-Follow Blogs - KiriLeonard.com
Character and Creature Design Notes (Hasn't been updated since 2012, but still cool content)
5 Useful Tools for Your Online Art Promotion - KiriLeonard.com
Best Website Builders: 8 Sites... - Cloudwards.net