Pratt Campus, Autumn 2010

Art School Graduates: A Checklist for Aspiring Illustrators

So you just graduated from Art School with a Visual Arts degree? Here is what to do next:

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A checklist on what to do for new art school illustration degree graduates

1. Your portfolio should only consist of your best pieces, remember one weak piece will weaken the whole portfolio. Don’t put too many images in either. 10-12 images are usually optimal. The content of the portfolio depends on what kind of illustration you want to do, make sure to do your research on the field you’re interested in first.

2. A good, strong bio will come in handy for your website, promotion mailers, emails as well as social media promotions so get to it! It shouldn’t be more than a few sentences but it should sum up your skills and attitude well. You can do a longer, more in-depth bio for your ‘About’ section on your website.

3. Using your own name as your domain name is just a nice, easy and professional way to go about it and as a bonus it makes it easier for people to look you up after you’ve networked in person.

I use One.com for my domain hosting, they offer the first year for free and then it’s about $35 a year afterwards, that’s less than $3 a month: Very inexpensive and my website has never been down in the 5 years I’ve been with them.

4. Now that you have your domain from #3 it’s time to get a website and out your portfolio online so you can start showing your work!

5. Now that your website is set up you need to start finding clients to show it to. Look up artists whose work is similar to your own and see who they work for, also just search on Google for magazines, publishers, galleries and what not in the genre you want to work in.

You can also go to book stores and see who publishes books you think you could be a match for. Make sure to update your client list regularly and make sure the companies already on it are still in business.

6. Now that you have a client list you need to design some promotion mailers/postcards and emails to send out. Research the best ways to go about this online!

7. Send out your mailers to your client list.

8. Personal projects are the best way to practice your art while gaining experience and building a body of work you can use to show to potential employees. For instance illustrate a well known story you really like!

9. Google Alerts are great for getting an email with call to artists directly to your inbox daily. Then you can browse through and see if any are a match for you.

Good luck!


Thank you for reading, I hope you found this helpful. Don’t forget to share with your fellow Art School graduates! If you have any questions feel free to drop them in the comments.

Links:
How to Write a Short Bio
One.com – Reliable and inexpensive web hosting
Google Alerts
Disney Artist Cory Godbey on Personal Work

Kiri Østergaard Leonard
kiri@kirileonard.com

Award winning Illustrator, Artist and Creator Kiri Østergaard Leonard happily shares her experiences making a living as an artist and pursuing a creative life. She grew up in a tiny village in Denmark, left her country behind to pursue art in the bustle of New York City and now resides in the delightful weirdness of Austin, Texas surrounded by sunshine and felines.

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