This post is one of a four part series:
How to contact Art Directors: Part I – Marc Scheff
How to contact Art Directors: Part II – Jon Schindehette
How to contact Art Directors: Part III – Lauren Panepinto
How to contact Art Directors: Part IV – Mike Linnemann
To summarize from last post, this is a blog series to help art students as well as new artists familiarize themselves with the best ways to go about contacting art directors, when starting out as an illustrator. The goal is not to be a nuisance and make a good impression.
In order to give you a well rounded perspective I asked a handful of art directors to answer 10 questions on the topic. First was Marc Scheff from Tree House Brand Stores and next up we have highly regarded Wizards of the Coast Art Director Jon Schindehette. Enjoy!
[Edit] 01/20/14 – I should note Jon Schindehette does no longer work for Wizards of the Coast, he has switched companies and now works for Tree House Brand Stores.
1. What is your preferred method of communication if a new artist is looking to make contact and why? (ie. Postcards/email/phone/facebook/meeting in person)
ArtDrop(at)Wizards.com – send 3-4 jogs, and a link to online portfolio (message cannot exceed 6mb)
Also like postcards with contact info and url to portfolio.
2. Social media is becoming increasingly popular amongst artists as a tool for networking, how do you feel about artists befriending you on Facebook? Is there a right and a wrong way to go about it?
I don’t have an issue if their friend, prefer just subscribing though. And never, ever, contact me with a request for a portfolio or sample review.
Also, never tag me in any image that I didn’t directly take part in the development of.
3. Conventions are a great opportunity for networking, both for artists and Art Directors alike. However some new artists are nervous about approaching Art Directors in person just because they would like a job. What is your advice to this and how do you prefer that artists introduce themselves to you during conventions?
My advice – Get over it.
How to introduce yourself? Walk up, say “Hi” give a 10 second talk about who you are, and what you do. Hand them a card, and then step out. If they want to continue the conversation, they will.
4. If you ask a new artist to email you after meeting in person. How soon after the meeting should they do so? (ie. The next day, next week, next month)
5. When emailing an Art Director for the first time – what should the ideal email contain?
6. It is no secret that many Art Directors are busy people and get a lot of emails. If your email goes unresponded, should you send a reminder email and if so how long should you wait before doing so?
If you are cold calling, then no reminder email. If you were directed to email, or have a project with them, follow-up after 24 hours have elapsed.
7. On that note Art Directors may ask for artists to send them periodical updates. What is the ideal time frame for you to receive such updates without feeling like you are being spammed?
When you have something new and BETTER to show. Time is less important that showing something that shows that you are getting better.
8. How do you personally seek out new artists and how do you keep tabs on the artists you have met?
Conventions, referrals, and ArtDrop.
I keep tabs in those same venues.
9. What is the most positive encounter you have had with a new artist and what is the worst?
Most positive – Met a young artist, the had a portfolio that showed me they understood what I did and what I needed. I offered them work, they took it and exceeded my expectations…I work with them still.
Worse – Had an artist yell and scream at me, flip over the review table, and storm out of the area cursing and screaming the whole time. I’ll never work with them…no matter how good they get.
10. Do you ever get tired of having to explain the same things over and over to new artists?
– Jon Schindehette
Jon Schindehette is the Senior Creative Director at Wizards of the Coast. He is one of the more prominent and well known Art Directors in the Fantasy Illustration community. He runs the ArtOrder blog where he has taken an active role to challenge and educate and mentor Art Students as well as new and more seasoned Illustrators. Jon is a leader in his field with a huge passion for creative development.
He lives in Covington, Washington with his beautiful wife Lisa.