Resource Review: How to be an illustrator


  • [03] “Before you decide how to promote, you need to look at exactly who you promote to.”
  • “The stages and requirements of self-promotion probably divide into three categories. The first brings you initial contact with, and work from, a client. This includes getting into a face-to-face meeting to show them your portfolio and subsequently being commissioned by them. The second is concerned with how you keep up contact with the people you’ve seen or worked with, or who have expressed interest in working with you. You need to think about how to stay close to the forefront of their minds, without making a nuisance of yourself. The third category of self-promotion is general profile-raising. This is not immediately quantifiable in terms of success rate versus time, energy, and money spent. You are not looking to this kind of promotion to bring you calls from clients or work directly. It’s the more oblique approach, which can enhance your reputation and also raise your stock.”
  • “Most illustrators seem to have a website by the time they leave college….you should look upon your site as the basic foundation of your self-promotion.”
  • (How were your early experiences as an illustrator) “I began sending out promotional cards when still in school… I wrote down names of people in the art departments of 30 magazines I was interested in, targeting them almost every month. I spent my free time making new images and updating my website.” – Yuko Shimizu
  • (What kind of promotional activity do you do) “Once your work is published, it acts as self-promotion and gets you more work. I think the main part of my promotion now is published work and my website. Artists should build their own websites and know how to maintain them. Don’t rely on a professional service unless you have a budget to get it updated frequently.” – Yuko Shimizu
  • “I have postcards printed and contribute regularly to magazines and publications. I think that my comics and illustrated books have worked well as self-promotion, despite being personal work.” – Rui Tenreiro
  • (Do you have an agent) “No. I like making my own decisions, being in control of my trajectory and negotiations. When I had a rep I found it didn’t save much on paperwork and I wasn’t getting higher fees. Reps can, however, bring in surprising work, from places you don’t have access to, so that is their main benefit.” – Jeffrey Decoster
  • (What kind of promotional activity do you do?) “I have a website and enter competitions. I’ve sent postcards, but rarely and without much effect.” – Jeffrey Decoster

Date you Found the Resource: 2/28/13

Type (Category) of Resource: Book

Title of Resource: How to be an illustrator

Author: Darrel Rees

Editor: Unknown

Publisher and Place of Publication: Laurence King Publishing Ltd, London, UK

Owner or Webmaster: N/A

Date of Publication, Copyright, or Web Post: 2008

Medium of Publication: Book

Name of Library: N/A (Personal Library of Prof. Mansfield)

Name of Database or Search Engine Used: N/A

Summary: “How to be an illustrator” is about just that, beginning and maintaining a career in illustration. It contains interviews with illustrators about how they got into the industry, how they contact clients, etc. It also includes interviews with art directors about their thoughts on promotional material, finding illustrators, how they hire, and advice for new illustrators.

Usefulness: This resource sounds like it will be perfect for my project!

Source Location: Physical book (pages used will have to be scanned)

Credibility: The author is very knowledgable and credible. Darrel Rees has been a professional illustrator since 1986.

Response: I think this resource will answer many of my questions specifically.

Response: I think that this resource will be one of my most useful.

Validity: This resource is consistent, logical, and relevant.


About Phoebs

Phoebs is a Fine Arts student pursuing an Honors degree in Illustration.
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