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Today’s topic is about promoting yourself as an illustrator. To do so you need to get your work into the right people’s hands; this is not rocket science, but it requires its fair share of planning. The beautiful part is that there are no fixed rules, so you can do it in whichever way you prefer.

Before stating, like in anything, you need a bit of preparation to make it easier for the future. My suggestion is quite demanding at the beginning, but it pays out big time after the first round. I found it vital to build a solid contact list of art directors.

There are three vital pieces of information necessary for a complete contact list:


  1. The name of a company that commissions illustration
  2. The art director’s name at that company
  3. The address of the company


The first one is straightforward: look for other illustrators and where they publish their work. Take a note and be sincere with yourself: is my style in sync with the magazine/newspaper? Quality over quantity is paramount in our business. It’s pointless to have 100+ contacts when at least 80% will turn you down automatically.

The second and the third one can be a lot more difficult, since finding the art director’s name may take a bit of work. But I’ve already shared with you some useful website here.


I store everything on an Excel file which I keep organise and updated in case the art director changes or if I have another new magazine to add. I remember to annotate the main topic (or topics) that the magazine covers, date of my last contact (you don’t want to flood them with emails!!), their answer and if I worked with them (if they were good clients or not).


Here you can see an example:



When you have your contact list you need to send them new illustrations. I wouldn’t send updates every month though, I think a good range of time is between three and four months.



So let’s write our email…



Introducing yourself to client can be awkward, but for most designers it’s a necessary step in finding new work.


Keep it short and clear: say who you are, what you do and why you are writing.


Ah! And don’t forget to attach your website link and images. I don’t remember how many times I forgot to attach the images to my email!!


Remember: emailing does not guarantee an assignment. Trying out a new illustrator is a liberty that isn’t always affordable; factors like timing, demand and familiarity play a big part in assigning a project. Introducing yourself (and your work) should be your priority. Be patient and trust the process.



Do you have any tips to how to contact Art directors? How often do you send your updates?  Let me know in the comments box below!

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