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Artist Obscure
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So I've been forever getting my portfolio together and I'm happy to say that I'm almost ready to send out submissions! I'm wondering what I should include in an initial contact to publishers. I have post cards (4"x6"), business cards (standard size), and prints of my illustrations (8.5"x11").

Some of these questions may seem silly
or obvious, but I appreciate any answers given:

My post cards contain thumbnails of six of my illustrations and my contact info printed on the back.
Since the post cards are more promotional than functional (though they can be either) do I need to add anything (like stamps) to them?

How many of the 8.5 x 11 illustration prints should I include?

Should I include a SASE for return of my prints? I don't mind them being kept on file but it seems a waste to throw them away.

Other than a cover letter is there anything else I should include?

Thanks so much for your help!
#1 - May 05, 2013, 11:19 AM

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It great you are wanting to recheck everything before you make your first intro to an art director~!
First off- you say your portfolio is almost ready- I hope you mean a website based  online portfolio that is separate from your blog or tumblr feed.
You don't want an AD having to sort through personal post to see your portfolio- it is okay to provide a link on each for the other-but your online portfolio you want minimal and clean- with just your portfolio, an about page, contact page, and an link page is okay- as an tab.
Theses days a postcard several times a year is what most illustrators are sending- many AD just want an email with a link to your portfolio- hopefully you have checked their wants and desires in the Artist and Graphic Designers marker or the Children's Writer and Illustrators market- and also their websites that have guidelines to submissions.
As an initial intro- you can send a packet- which would have a personal cover letter, 3-4 8.5x11s or postcards. After that just a postcard of new work and directing them to your refreshed website is all that is needed.\
The only time I use my business cards is literally at conferences- AD are more interested in emails-
SASE_Asking them to return work is asking them to do more work- why postcards with one image sending them to your online portfolio-  is a better way to go.
Sending new work through email- to those who are going paperless and those you have a relationship with is happening more and more- work towards that system.
Like I said in the beginning- it all starts with a unbelievably polished online portfolio-
Hopes these tips and tricks help-
ADs are very busy - so the faster you can show them something the better- I would not recommend sending a post card with thumbnails- if they like a postcard illustration they will smack it up on a bulletin board- one image- really can inspire them to go find more of your work- thumbnails you are asking them to take more steps to look at your work without being excited about it first-
There is no rush- make sure you are ready before that first intro!

#2 - May 05, 2013, 03:27 PM

Penn Bender

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I've always sent out postcards. Do I need to include a cover letter with a tear sheet? Seems like it would just include the same info on the tear sheet (website, email, phone number).
#3 - May 10, 2013, 12:26 PM

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Tear sheets are traditionally literally the torn out magazine sample of your work- something that had to be returned- you still hear that term- but it really means example of your work-
An intro cover letter to a new AD- should be more personal then just your contact info- and is not totally needed. Really postcards are the best because they are a size the AD might stick up on a bulletin board or save in a file- like I said before many are going paperless- and just wanting a email link to updated websites or new work- but make sure they say they want that in their guidelines or only to the ones you have a relationship with.
#4 - May 11, 2013, 07:56 AM

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Some good advice above.

re: thumbnails on postcards - As Julia suggested above, I'd advise choosing one image rather than six thumbnails. Choose your strongest image and one that represents the style in which you want to illustrate. And do include a link to your online portfolio.

It depends on the AD, of course, but I've heard several (including my AD at Simon & Schuster, Laurent Linn) say that he prefers a postcard and a link to online work.

Good luck!

Debbie
#5 - May 11, 2013, 04:32 PM
DebbieOhi.com - Twitter: @inkyelbows - Instagram: @inkygirl

Penn Bender

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Thanks!
#6 - May 12, 2013, 02:04 PM

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