Self Promotion


However, I just found out about a new company called United Color, out of MO. It looks exactly like Modern, $95 for 500 4 1/2 x 6 cards, free typesetting, but they don't charge for borders and titles like Modern. Says 10 business days for production. Has anyone used them yet? I think I'm gonna try em out soon, myself.

United Color
107 Washington Avenue
Aurora, MO 65605

The price, though, is considerably more than Modern Postcard. One good thing though: they do have a lot more styles available - different size postcards, folded greeting cards, bookmarks, business reply cards, catalogues and brochures, etc. Even large art prints. Just in case anyone is interested, that number again is 1.800.258.1193.

Date: Sat, 23 May 1998 11:33:25 -0600
From: Pam Peltier
Subject: Re: illustration: United Color

Kelly who mentioned about the United Color. I recently got this brochure about this and am curious if anyone on this list has tried this? If I recall it correctly, I think the prices use to be higher and had brought them down perhaps to compete with Modern Postcard which is the one I had used. Yet, United Color prints others than just postcards...look interesting.

I found it surprising about the toll free number Kelly gave out is different than my brochure shows which is 1-800-345-5217. So I'm curious to know if that United Color is from Aurora, MO, Kelly? I've this brochure for maybe 3 months.

Thanks, Pam

Got some further info on United Color postcards. Apparently, the $95 for 500 deal is a promotion which is why it's not included in their regular catalogue (though if they're promoting it, it doesn't explain why they didn't include the promotional brochure in the package they sent me). It's what the catalogue calls the Gallery Card, 4.25" x 6", 4 colour process on the front, black only on the back. While it is just a promotion, it's been going on for a while, and they said they don't foresee it ending any time soon.

Date: Fri, 4 Sep 98 14:34:25 +0000
From: Mark Betcher
Subject: Re: illustration: work work work/postcard co. article

Has anyone in this group suggested using copy craft to print postcards?

They use a waterless press (you can't see a dot pattern) and they aqueous coat their cards.

1,000 cards for $149 ($20 shipping) and optional back printing for $59.

They do a really excellent job. And they print biz cards, posters, etc. 800-794-5594 for their catalog.


I was interested in them too until I got my sample packet and catalogue today from Copy Craft (somebody recently posted about them). I'm amazed! The printing is unbelievable. They print at 300 lpi (even under a loup, you can barely see the dots). Most high quality printing like this is done at 150-175.

Business cards are $100 for 1000. And they also do letterheads, envelopes, postcards, brochures, etc. I've pretty much decided that I'm going to go with them.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 18:59:28 -0600
From: LEs Clark
Subject: illustration: invent it

Woooo weee. I just printed out a postcard on Hammermill's "Invent It" postcards. I must say. I am VERY impressed and excited. It looks like someone did it for me professionally. I may actually come across looking like I know what I'm doing!


Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 17:54:33 EDT
Subject: Re: illustration: Re: mailing question

On calling Art Directors for response:

I don't think I'd try to catch AD's and ask them. One, you can't get past voice mail.

I did send a postcard with questions a couple of times and got some response.

I have called clients I've worked with a lot, but people seem uncomfortable with it. Usually get the platitudes. Other illustrator friends have always been the most help. Even agents aren't always that helpful.

Consistency in mailing is probably the key and I'm not so consistent. Have been told 3-6 mailings a year.....forever.

Like the idea of postcards that is being discussed with listmates. I've always used color copies.

good luck,

I got rather a nice rejection letter today..

"The samples are nice, they are on file. I am very slow at new project development so I may not be looking for any new work for over a year. Thank you and by the way I like your response format"

I send these folded letter self sealers with a" please fill out any comments regarding the samples of my work you received. Your comments/and suggest are important to me."

Avery makes them..self sealing mailer #8325. Its actually and 8 1/2 x 11 and they give you the disk to format or you can just figure it out and make it up..

I made a mess of them and then just assigned numbers to each submission like you guys were suggesting so I knew who was sending them back.


I have experimented with paper and afew I found that give great color is Great White Coated paper for ink jet, Avery's self folding mailers and some of the bright whites cardstock for ink jets are a hit and miss. Don't use the general card stock for runs and looks faded. For mailing out I use the highest DPI on my Epson.


A design firm I work with did a metal box... inside put note pads that had their name/address/phone # with a really cool pen. Was a great present plus great promo. (Inside of box could have any type of self promo - cards, note pad, bookmark, etc.) My opinion: better to have a well done one color job than a color job that looks cheap. You can do the padding of pads yourself or just leave them loose.

I did a Christmas present-Print (11x17)-Christmas card (6x8)-Mailer this year. I do so much detail figured to do a multi-use piece. It worked. Sending off the transparency to Modernpostcards (500 for $200 or so) That gives me enough for cards and mailers. The big prints I'm selling in town limited edition and using as gifts. Fun. Though, after reading Claudia's email about how much effort she puts into personalizing them, I'm going to work on that part too.


Date: Wed, 25 Feb 98 15:57:31 -0500
From: Mark Cable
Subject: Re: illustration: Business Cards

"Does this set-up eliminate the need for the quick print services for business cards ?"

I think so! I have a template file on my hard drive for a business card, and whenever I'm talking to a new client, I run out a sheet of cards with an image that's tailored to the client. Example: Just got a call from an agency in Seattle for some bug art, (It's all over my showcase page) so the AD got a package full of bug stuff, with a card featuring a big bug. I've got lots of different images in files that I use depending on what the client is asking for.

Taking it one step further, I also have several promo sheet templates on disk that I put customized images in and send to clients that ask for something.


© Claudia Karabaic Sargent 1996

What is self-promotion?

Self-promotion is actually a misnomer--what you are really doing by self-promotion is making the world-at-large aware of your unique artistic and creative talents.

Why is self-promotion important?

It is essential for any artist who wishes to expand the exposure of their work beyond their friends, family, or studio class.

For students, it is what will expose the work to other students and teachers. This way, the student can exhibit his/her work to a more varied audience, and thus have more people from whom s/he can learn, via critiques of the exhibited work.

For gallery artists, it is a way of publicizing specific works (or just getting the word out about the artist's work), in order to increase the traffic to the artist's gallery shows, and thus increase sales.

For commercial artists, it is what keeps the artist's work front & center for new and current clients (also increasing sales, and establishing or maintaining a presence in a very crowded market).

How do artists go about deciding how to promote their work?

Depending on many factors, there are lots of different routes to take. As with compiling a portfolio, the first thing the artist should do is determine what the specific objective is.

Are you a student who wants to establish more of an artistic presence among your peers?

Are you a "Sunday painter" just beginning on the local exhibition circuit?

Are you an established gallery artist, looking to increase traffic and sales at your next show?

Are you a beginning commercial artist, trying to establish a foothold in a crowded marketplace?

Are you an established professional commercial artist who wants to enter new markets, or increase your presence in markets in which you currently work?

Once you determine what your primary motivation is, you need to figure out your budget. There are some things that you can do for free (like self-generated press releases); there are other things that will cost you lots of money (full-color printed mass mailings, or advertisements in artists' directories). Ideally, you should match your objective to your budget, realizing that there is a limit to what you can show people about your work when you don't have a lot to spend (amount of exposure usually equals amount of expense in direct proportion); but THIS is one of those areas where being a superbly creative artist is immeasurably helpful.

What are the various methods an artist can use to promote his/her work?

There are many ways to get your work the recognition it deserves--use the same creativity and energy in promoting your work that you do in creating it! Some of the approaches to consider are as follows:

* Write a press release for whatever particular thing you wish to publicize. Use the formula you learned in freshman English:

WHO (you! and don't forget your contact info!!)

WHAT (whatever you want to make people aware of--your upcoming show, a cool assignment you just delivered, your new book, an award you just won)

WHEN (time/date of your upcoming show, when your cool assignment is due to be published, the pub date of your book, when the award ceremony is or was)

WHERE (location of your gallery, where the cool assignment can be seen by everyone [i.e., magazine, museum giftshop, billboards in the local metro area], what stores your book will be in [or the location of your book signing, if you're lucky], where your award ceremony will be held)

WHY (why should they care? Because -- your work is wonderful, new, different, socially beneficial, it really SELLS, etc.).

Once you have your press release drafted, print it out on your letterhead and send or fax it to whichever members of the press you think will be interested. That would include local newspapers, city newspapers & magazines, church & PTA bulletins, trade newspapers & magazines. THINK BIG! One well-placed notice in the press can open you up to a whole other level of attention from the public and your peers.

* Mailings, either en masse (hundreds, even thousands, of pieces), or highly targeted limited mailings (10 - 50 or so pieces, to a carefully selected audience).

You can have these professionally stuffed and labelled, or do it yourself. I would advise against using bulk mail postage with mailings of over 200 pieces, because that just SCREAMS "junk mail" to the recipients. Whatever money you saved on the postage won't matter, because almost every piece will end up in the trash. I don't even use computer labels for the same reason (I once hand-addressed each piece in a 900-piece mailing), but few of my peers are that aggressively anti-tech in these matters. In a mailing, you want your piece to stand out from the recipient's other mail, so use a cool color/texture/size envelope, perhaps match the theme of your postage stamp to the theme of your mailing, hand-address using a metallic paint pen--whatever makes you stand out. PLEASE BE SURE TO USE ADEQUATE POSTAGE for the size/weight of your mailing pieces -- I once had my mailman re-deliver 200 pieces back to my door because they had inadequate postage!

* Consider advertising in a trade paper or magazine.

You'll be "preaching to the choir"--people who are already in your business, and looking for new talent to assign work to. Very often, these papers & magazines have special annual issues that are devoted to a single topic (illustration, photography, digital design, animation, multimedia)--these issues are usually "keepers" that find their way onto recipients' bookshelves, and can be a source of new business for you way beyond the issue date.

* Artists' directories can be a very effective way to promote your work.

They have a very long shelf life--I still get an occasional call from a directory ad I did in 1984! The downside is that they are expensive, and you shouldn't consider doing it unless you want to commit to the same directory for at least 2 or 3 years. The piece you put in will represent your work to potential clients for a LOOOONG time, so you really need to think long and hard about your page's images. Some directories will give you credit toward a mailing list, and almost all of them will welcome any suggestions you may make as to future recipients of their books.

* Volunteer to teach a class in your specialty, and do a press release about your class.

* Enter your work in shows and competitions. If your work is accepted, or you win an award, publicize it!

* Join your local community's Artists Alliance, and whatever other artists' organizations that are available to you.

This has a dual purpose--not only are there likely to be exhibits and activities sponsored by the group (thus gaining you publicity for your artistic endeavors), but the fellowship and camaraderie with other artists is INVALUABLE. This sets up a friendly environment for the creation of co-operative galleries, shared mailing lists, and joint mailings (thus reducing the cost of the more ambitious methods of self-promotion, and potentially increasing your audience).

* Create a website for your work.

Be sure to include your URL on any printed promotional materials you distribute. If you are a member of an on-line service (AOL, Prodigy, Compuserve) or an ISP (Internet Service Provider) you very likely have available to you a certain amount of web space as part of your monthly membership. The Web is still in its infancy as far as being an advertising medium for freelance graphics professionals; that said, more and more artists, both gallery and commercial, are finding their way on to the Web every day. Artists' organizations, members of the arts press, stock illustration & photography houses, artists' directories, purchasers of graphic arts services---every day, more websites and links are being established. So, take advantage, and don't forget to register your page with the various search engines once it's up & running.

* Don't forget the Usenet newsgroups and listservs!

You can announce your show, ask a question, or just post about something that interests you. The audience is international, and Usenet posts are archived forever on services like DejaNews.

* Above all, be creative!!

Do what you can to make your work stand out. All too often, we artists tend to regard the business side of what we do as -- at best -- boring, or -- at worst -- evil, materialistic, or non-artistic. If we bring the same level of excitement and creative intelligence to promoting our work as we do to making art, we benefit enormously as the superbly inventive beings we all are.

Andy Warhol said it best. The following is a quote from "The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again":

"Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. During the hippie era people put down the idea of business -- they'd say, 'Money is bad' and 'Working is bad', but making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art."

This, from a man who REALLY knew how to promote himSELF and his work!


From: Kelly Cheek

"I was about to send out postcards and then I see this idea of response cards. Interesting but now I am confused. Am I to address the postcard at all or should I put both cards in an envelope?"

I've created a tri-fold self-mailer for my own self-promotion. The main 2 panels consists of an example of my work and the postage panel. Inside these two panels are a couple more examples of my work and some sparse text. Attached to this is the third panel which is the reply card with check boxes for items like "I have just the job for you! Give me a call at _______", "Okay, I'm interested. Can I see more?", "Looks good, but not the kind of work I need. Thanks anyway." etc. The back of this card is printed with my address. When I get them ready to send, I print out 2 sets of address labels. One goes on the outside, one goes on the reply card (along with a 20 cent stamp) so I know who it came from.

I perforate the card with a little serrated wheel on a handle that I got at Hobby Lobby in the fabric department. That set me back about 99 cents. I just lay a ruler across where I want it to fold/tear and run that across it. The card folds inside the other 2 panels and I seal it with a little label.

"If the publisher likes your work, will it matter if you have a reply card? Won't they go out of their way to contact you to do work for them?"

That could be but what if they don't have anything for you right away? With the reply card, you know whether they're interested or not, whether to keep sending them samples or to take them off your list and save the postage.

A copy of my self-mailer can be seen here.

-- Back to the Library directory.