Sunday, March 17, 2013

COSCBI March 2013 Illustrator Meeting: Creating Illustrator Postcards

This month marked COSCBWI's second Illustrator Meeting!  As an aspiring illustrator, I just love these meetings and find them so informative.  For March, COSCBWI's Illustrator Coordinator, Nikki Boetger, led a discussion on illustrator postcards.

Illustrator postcards are the way many artists get their work in front of agents and publishing houses.  They involve creating a postcard mailer that showcases at least one example of an artist's work, as well as their website, contact information, etc.  A second full illustration can fill up the back side, or artists can incorporate a small art piece instead to leave plenty of room for mailing labels.  Nikki showed us many postcard examples from her colleagues and shared a lot of great pointers for illustrators to consider including:

Size:  Do you want a big mailer that costs more money to make, or a little one that could get lost easily?

Material:  Do you want it to be glossy or matte?  Heavy card-stock or textured?   What will hold up best in the mail?

Season:  Do you want to tailor your piece to the corresponding season, or just send your favorite example of your work?  How frequently do you want to mail a new postcard to your list of contacts?

Post Office Handling:  Will your post office add stamps or tapes anywhere on your postcard that might cover up your illustration?

Bleed Room:  Does your picture go all the way to the edges of your postcard?  Will it run the risk of getting ruined if part of it is cut off during the printing process, or have you left a nice bit of wiggle-room for safety? 

By thinking about these questions, you can decide how much you to want spend to make a professional mailer AND avoid creating a postcard that might be demolished, dirty, or covered-up by the time it gets to its recipient.  She recommended checking out online printing companies like Vistaprint, as well as local businesses to see who has the type of product you are looking for.

After explaining the basics of making a mailer, Nikki announced a brand-new project for all the COSCBWI illustrators: creating postcards for ourselves!  This multi-month project will take COSCBWI illustrators through the entire postcard-making process--from sketching concept art to formatting and printing a final product.  All COSCBWI members are welcome to take part, and there's no requirement to send the postcard off at the end of the project if you don't feel you're ready.  (While that would be wonderful, it's perfectly fine to use this project for practice, too.)

If you think you'd like to take part, Nikki wants all participants to bring sketches of potential postcard illustrations to the next Illustrator Meeting.  To get our creative juices flowing, she suggested we choose our favorite nursery rhyme, fable, or fairy tale to illustrate.  Once everyone has a few sketches, she'll go over the next steps in making our ideas a professional postcard!

You can find more information about COSCBWI at  April's Illustrator Meeting will take place on April 10th at 7:00 PM at the Barnes and Noble in Upper Arlington.

I hope to see you at the next Illustrator Meeting with plenty of sketches in tow!  I'm already wracking my brain for a good idea...  :)

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