Self-Promotion for Illustrators: Making Contact the Dawn Schreiner Way

I’ll Show You Mine, And You Show Me Yours

What Do You Look for In an Illustrator - Dawn Schreiner. Click to visit Dawn's online portfolio!

What’s the best self-promotion for illustrators? How can you get through to busy creative directors and art directors? You can try to attract their attention by tweeting interesting stuff on Twitter. You can send promo postcards. Alternatively, you can try a more direct one-to-one approach as today’s interviewee does.

Dawn Schreiner is a freelance illustrator in Orlando, Florida. She has a unique way of grabbing attention from busy art directors and creative directors

Dawn has an ongoing “I’ll show you mine, if you show my yours” project. Dawn’s “Mine” is to draw the art directors portrait, and “Theirs” is to answer a question in the thought bubble.

Hi Dawn, why do you this?

As an illustrator, I found myself wondering “why do art directors choose certain illustrators?” I decided the only real way to find out, was to ask. The idea behind my project was to find out the answer to

“What do you look for in an illustrator?”

Self-promotion for Illustrators by Freelance Illustrator Dawn Schreiner. Left: Steve Carsella, Art Director, Yellow Shoes Creative Group, Walt Disney Corporation, Orlando, Florida. Right: Chris Robb, Creative Director & Partner, Push, Orlando, Florida. Click to visit Dawn Schreiner's online portfolio!

I hope that the answers can help young illustrators, as I was always wondering what on earth these people in key positions wanted.

More importantly, it gets my name, face and art in the face of art directors and creative directors everywhere.

How do you pick which creatives to approach?

I choose art directors and creative directors based on different reasons. Some, I have had the pleasure of working with in the past, or have been trying to work with them.

A few of them are friends, and I want to toot their horns.

I’ve contacted most of the participants via Facebook, a few on LinkedIn, Twitter, and then one or two through email.

When I do contact them I use a simple GIF as prompt:

GIF-Prompt used (in this case on Twitter). Self-Promotion for Illustrators by Freelance Illustrator Dawn Schreiner. Click to visit Dawn's online portfolio!

How many of the recipients do respond?

I have had about 70% answer the question.

The answers have been varied and creative, like the people themselves.

Many of the query’s are still out in the field. I don’t think the ADs/CDs don’t want to answer, rather I think they are busy and it is not an easy question for some to answer.

Where do you publish the answers?

Self-promotion for Illustrators by Freelance Illustrator Dawn Schreiner. Left: Martin Christopher Corbin, CNP•ClarkNikdelPowell, Winter Haven, Florida. Right: Jeff Matz, Creative Director and Owner, Lure Design, Inc., Orlando, Florida. Click to visit Dawn's online portfolio!

I publish the illustrated answers on social media including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, on Tumblr and on my blog.

I was also showing them on my art show in October 2014.

What do the ADs/CDs do with the illustrations?

I know that three of the AD/CDs mentioned getting their art framed.

Otherwise, I haven’t asked. Maybe refrigerator art?

How many of these have you done so far?

Self-promotion for Illustrators by Freelance Illustrator Dawn Schreiner. Juliette Lagniel, Art Director, Partners Card, France. Click to visit Dawn's online portfolio!

“When I order a new illustration, I always ask the artist not to do it for me but for someone he or she loves. That way the assignment becomes more fun and I love seeing the little details that make the difference!”

I haven’t kept count of how many illustrations I have done! Mostly because it is an ongoing project, but I can tell you it’s well over 20.

Has the project produced any sales?

I am happy with the results.

I have had some illustration jobs and some exposure I would not have had if it weren’t for this project.

Long term is yet to be determined. Some art and creative directors have yet to answer the question. It is an ongoing series, so may prove to be more successful in time.

 Connect with Shawn! Flickr Website Twitter LinkedIn Facebook Tumblr

Any tips to share on how to do effective self-promotion for illustrators? Please comment!

, , , ,

2 Responses to Self-Promotion for Illustrators: Making Contact the Dawn Schreiner Way

  1. Mark Armstrong October 24, 2014 at 6:59 am #

    Great post, and a truly unique and ambitious idea– I’ve extremely impressed! Wonderful portraits, too– lovely work! I can’t imagine an AD ignoring or forgetting such a submission any time soon. And so nice of Dawn to want to share the responses with fellow creatives. It’s a brilliant concept, and a very generous one, too.

    My own promotional efforts look pretty mundane next to Dawn’s. I’ve tried all the usual stuff: phone calls, postcards, emails, etc. I’ve had some success, but nothing spectacular. Because it’s “the usual stuff,” I suspect it doesn’t really stand out, no matter how good any particular sample might be.

    My only tip (and it’s unproven at this point) has something in common with what Dawn is doing: namely, the need to focus. I’ve accumulated an enormous name and address file over the years, and I’ve never whittled it down. It’s foolish to try to submit samples to so many AD’s, etc. I intend to discard most of them and focus on best prospects, and clients I’d truly like to work with. Fewer targets, more consistent contact with them– that’s my plan.

    Thanks for a great post, Tomas, and thank you, Dawn, for sharing your very unique approach. Love your work, and I wish you much success! : )

  2. Tomas Fransson October 24, 2014 at 7:14 am #

    Thanks for commenting, Mark! Yes, you’re right. Fewer targets, more consistent contact, and more targeted messages is the way to go.

    Here is another example of a well-targeted self-promotional campaign by a freelance travel & lifestyle photographer. Extremely ambitious, but impossible to ignore! One of my favorites! Check it out: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/449797081507832560/

Leave a Reply