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Heading to graduation...advice

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OddBerryCreations

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I've been talking things over with my husband and I am starting to think that children's book illustration is where I might end up. I enjoy creating characters and their stories all while giving them both my own unique twist. Now, here's my dilemma. Graduation is in June and I'd like to at the very least be able to send out postcards to gain attention. I have my website, my (almost) education, and I'm constantly drawing, sketching, reading, thinking, brainstorming, etc. What next? I don't want to be one of those people that get an education and don't do anything with it but where to start is the tough part.

Suggestions??  :flowers2
#1 - January 02, 2013, 06:17 AM

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Have you put together a portfolio already? Of children's-illustration friendly pieces? That's what you'd need if you were to start sending out postcards to gain attention. Without a portfolio of illustrations that will help agents/editors see the kind of children's illustration you do, sending out postcards is pointless.

I wouldn't worry too much about the next stage until you feel you've done everything you can to create a gobsmackingly brilliant portfolio.

Hope that helps!
#2 - January 02, 2013, 11:10 AM

OddBerryCreations

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Sure does! I have a website but per your advice it needs some SERIOUS changes. I don't have any children's illustrations on there so you're right, it would be pointless to invest in the next step when I'm not ready for it. Can you tell me what the difference in editorial and childrens illustrations are? I've went looking for examples and I see a lot of illustrators do editorial as well as kid friendly. Is this a good avenue to go down or is there a huge difference?

Thanks for all the help!  :thankyou
#3 - January 02, 2013, 11:22 AM

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Like writers, illustrators want to illustrate more than anything else so if they want to make a decent living they often have to (or may want to) combine two sources of revenue, ie editorial illustration and children's illustration.

Editorial illustration can vary widely - it simply means illustration to go with text, so it could be for a magazine, a newspaper, a pamphlet etc. But while a children's illustrator will 'tell' a story with several linked images, an editorial illustrator also needs to tell a 'story' although that 'story' might be a fact-based article about the dangers of cholesterol medication, for example. So in that sense the two types of illustration are linked but if you wanted to do communication design, for eg, or graphic design, or even medical illustration and children's illustration, that would work too. I don't think it matters. You just need to find out what you enjoy doing most, where your strengths lie (for eg, for children's illustration you need to be able to draw the same character in lots of different positions/expressions making them identifiable as the same character in each state – something I find nearly impossible!) and then you can work towards actually getting employed in that area.
#4 - January 02, 2013, 12:38 PM

OddBerryCreations

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gotcha! Thanks for the insight. It helps to have an idea as to what to do and I have come up with a couple of characters and I'm going to see if I can make them into different stories. I have a ton of ideas...now if only I can recreate my characters. I wonder how long it would take to make the same character over and over and start to see likeness. I'm stoked!  :haha
#5 - January 02, 2013, 12:59 PM

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One thing I would add is to take your time and make sure everything (website, illustrations, etc.) is of a professional level. We all have the itch to get our work out there as quickly as possible but keep in mind we also want to be hired. To ensure the latter is attainable make sure you are putting your best foot forward and just know to do that takes time. An editor, art director, etc. doesn't want to look at your work and guess what it could be. It needs to be there by the time you are submitting.

Good luck!
#6 - January 05, 2013, 10:55 AM
http://alexschumacherart.com/
World's Crummiest Umbrella (2014, Wandering in the Words Press)

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Odd, I dunno if you've considered SCBWI membership or not, but one of the things available among their publications is some advice for what should be in a portfolio. (e.g., the range of kinds of illustrations, target number, etc.) I imagine you might be able to find something similar via Google; just be sure the advice is specifically for a kidlit portfolio.
#7 - January 05, 2013, 06:16 PM
The Farwalker Trilogy
The Humming of Numbers
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I was once the boy who wouldn't sit still!
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When I got out of school I had to be a bit patient. I constantly fine tuned my portfolio and worked at Albertson's. I got a big break when I met a customer who needed a Graphic Designer. This is how I got a 5 year graphic design client and who is the author of my Children's book titled THE BOY WHO WOULDN'T SIT STILL!

MY POINT IS
I got a job from networking while I was working. Always have business cards and always keep your website/portfolio up to date. You never know who is standing next to you and needs your help with a logo or illustration.
#8 - January 22, 2013, 04:21 PM

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