All posts in Self Promotion

Which Free Online Portfolio Websites is right for you?

Having an online portfolio is a necessity these days to be an artist. An online presence is as important as the artwork you display on it. Artists must promote their work in as many places as possible to gain exposure and attract as many clients as possible. If you don’t have a portfolio up on the internet yet here are several free options to choose from so you can get your artwork up and getting viewers.


Launched in 2006, the Behance network is not only a portfolio site but also a social network where you can follow and connect with other creatives. It’s like LinkedIn with a portfolio element and strictly for creatives. The site is now owned by Adobe, so if you use any of their tools they are integrated into the Behance site. To me it seems like Adobe has put in a lot of work into the site because it is beautifully designed and easy to use. They have made It easy to keep up with other artists and the projects they’re working on. It’s as simple as finding an artist you like, clicking the follow button, and now you’re seeing other artists work. Likewise they can follow you. Continue reading

As You Wish…

Happy 2014, everyone!  It’s that time of year again.  That time when we all resolve with great intention to organize the house/lose the weight/run that marathon/kick that bad habit/save up for that thing we’ve been wanting……and a few months later lose motivation because we just don’t seem to be getting anywhere.  The same can be said for the business of children’s illustration. An artist can jump into the industry with the best of hopes, but become discouraged when those hopes don’t become reality.

So, how can we illustrators push our art and our careers to the next level in ways that yield results?  It comes down to setting the right goals.  Goals such as “I will get published this year” or “I will get that trade book” or “I will win that award” aren’t goals that we can actually do anything about.  We can’t make our favorite publishers hire us, and we can’t make that committee give us that award.  However, we can set realistic goals for ourselves that can make our art more competitive in the marketplace.  I recommend identifying 2-3 goals for your ARTWORK, and 2-3 goals for your BUSINESS.


Your Artwork
We’ve all done it.  We’ve gone into libraries and book stores, browsed the shelves of new children’s books, and sighed, “I wish my art was as good as insert-name-of-fabulous-artist-here.”  In fact, most of us have several illustrators that we admire, usually for different reasons.  This is informative! We can look at the artists that inspire us, evaluate our own portfolios, and make a wish list. Continue reading

Breaking into the Biz

For my first post for Once Upon a Sketch a couple months ago, I wrote about tips on how to build a solid portfolio (Here’s the link). With the relaunch of the site, I figured now would be a good time to continue that theme and so today’s topic will be “Breaking into the Biz”; what to do once you have that portfolio. Although, I think having a strong portfolio is still the most vital part in landing work, having the best portfolio won’t help you one bit, if your work never gets in the hands of the people who need to see it! So here is a list of ways to get your work out there and get your foot in the door:

Digitally – Your portfolio in digital format:

  • Website – In today’s world, it’s practically a requirement to have a website of some kind where you can showcase your work. Not only does a website serve as a digital representation of your physical portfolio, it’s also the most efficient way to reach the masses. Here are a few general ideas to keep in mind when designing your website:
  1. Remember your website is merely a means of highlighting your art, so like your physical portfolio, the art is what’s important! So your site must be clean and simple to navigate. It’s okay to have a few bells and whistles to spruce it up, but keep in mind that people generally have very short attention spans (for instance, mine is about 3 seconds), so if your site takes forever to load because of a fancy animation, it’s not doing you any favors. Also, a good rule of thumb is to make sure your artwork is accessible by no more than two clicks of a mouse.
  2. One of the benefits of having your own website is that you are not limited to 12-16 images. So you can be more liberal about what you want to include in your site. But keep in mind that you’ll want to make sure your best work gets seen, so make sure they are placed where people will see it first.
  3. The style of the site matters too. Meaning the overall look of your site should share a similar style to your art. Not only does it make for a more single, cohesive and harmonious package, you won’t confuse your viewers.
  4. Your work should be categorized appropriately. It seems pretty obvious, but you should definitely arrange your work in a logical and orderly fashion…I can definitely spend all day talking in detail with suggestions about grouping and organizing your artwork, but that could be a whole post in and of itself. Continue reading

Sony Pictures Animation Talks Visual Development Portfolio Tips

So you want to develop for children’s movies, but what are companies looking for when reviewing portfolios? Sony Pictures Animation put up a great video of what production designers Michael Kurinsky and Marcelo Vignali are looking for when reviewing portfolios and making hiring decisions. It’s a nice glimpse into what this studio is looking for and they include some good suggestions for your portfolio.

Guest Post-Will Terry-Do you need an Agent or Rep?


So many people think that getting an agent/rep is the end all be all.  “If I get a rep then I know I will have made it and so much work will be thrown my way that I’ll have to turn stuff away!!”  Yeah I used to think that too.  So let’s get rid of that myth from the jump.

1. Getting a rep DOES NOT guarantee that you will get work!  It is not the promised land!

Norm and I both have reps and we still have to bust a lot of pavement to get work. We have to constantly promote and market ourselves. Having a rep is a great tool and asset. But it’s just one tool in your toolbox and should never be the ONLY tool in your toolbox.

There are multiple ways to get work within our market. So look into all your options. Get info from multiple sources before you make your decision. Use every possible resource  you can to your benefit. Maximize your opportunities.

In the following video Will Terry gives his opinions on whether an agent/rep is necessary. The answer to the question is, “No.” And truthfully they never have been. But Will goes into more detail about the current market and what it takes to be successful whether you have an agent or not. Enjoy, learn and as always, take notes!

Finding Artists Groups on Facebook

A great way to spread your work around Facebook is by joining like-minded groups. Groups let you share things with the people who will care about them most. For artists it’s usually their artwork and news about the industry. Let’s look into how to join groups and then how to share with them.


First Sign into Facebook. Go to Facebook and sign in. Once you’re signed in at the very top of the page is a blue bar that says “Search for people, places and things” begin typing and a list of groups/pages will begin to pop up. For this example I typed in “illustration”.


If a group pops up that you like click on it or at the bottom of the results you will see an area that says “see more results for (keyword)”. Once you’ve found a group you like the look of navigate to their page. On their page click the “Join Group” button at the top of the page by their group’s name. If successful the text in the button you clicked should have changed to “joined” or “Cancel Request”. If it comes back with “Cancel Request” this just means the administrator needs to approve you before you can join the group. Once you’re a part of the group you can now post things to the group’s wall. To do this, go to their wall then at the top of the page you will see the group’s cover image and just under that is the name of the group followed by About and Photos.


Now if you’ve got something to share with the group just below that you should be able to enter what you’re excited about. Then you can type in your news and press the Share button. Everyone in the group that has liked that page and everyone that views that group will be able to see it. You can also add Pictures, Videos and Web Links onto group’s walls. It’s a great way to spread the word about your latest project, a new blog post, or just what you’ve been up to. Remember to keep it related to what the group is about.

If you’ve got any suggestions for Facebook groups people should join please leave them in the comments below and let us know what you thought of this post.

Author / Illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka Visits School

Here’s an inspiring video by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. In this video he visits a school and shares his process of becoming a illustrator/writer with the kids.  His story sounds like a lot of other artists out there. Going to school, sending out postcards and never hearing anything back. But the thing that sets him apart from others is that he continues to work at his goal never stopping until he reaches it. This video is not the most in-depth but I still found it inspiring. Watching the kids interact with him as he tells his story really reminded me of why I do what I do. For a more in depth look at Jarrett’s journey visit his TED Talks on How a boy became an artist!. But in the meantime, give it a watch and let us know what you think about it in the comments.

Source –!

Infographic on Why to Showcase Your Work On Online


By now we should all know that to be successful in our industry you need to have an online presence. Freelance artists must promote their work in as many places as possible to gain exposure and attract as many clients as we can. This infographic made by the PrintRunner Blog shows statistics and sites that designers and illustrators can use to promote their portfolios.


It was originally intended for designers but it is definitely applicable to illustrators’ work. They discuss using seven different sites to promote your work as well as statistics for each site. I have used most of these but a few I haven’t tried yet. The sites are,,,,,, and


The infographic discusses statistics for each site and the advantages of paying for each service. Most offer a free version but a few do not. It also talks about the pros and cons of each site, whether it offers mobile support and the site’s community size. It also has a few best practices when showing your portfolio online. Here is the full infographic. Take a look at the graphic and decide which service you would like to use to promote your work.


Researching the competition finding free tools online to help

I have found that it’s always a great idea to get a handle on what other artwork is being represented in the children’s market field.

  • Who is your competition?
  • What kind of artists are agents representing.
  • What type of images and subject matter are these agents asking their illustrators to create to try and get work?

I want to focus today on an easy place that you can peruse to begin to accomplish this goal.

Picturebook is an advertising opportunity for illustrators specifically gauged towards the Children’s Market. I myself have never advertised in it. But you will note after looking through it that a number of Reps and Agents do use it to advertise the artists they represent. Picturebook functions as follows; Artists, agents and reps pay to advertise in their book and on their website. The physical book is then mailed to art directors and editors at many if not all major publishers for their professional use and reference. The objective being that when a job arises and they need an artist, they can simply thumb through the book and find an appropriate candidate within it’s pages or on their website. Picturebook publishes this book yearly and also makes a free version available online for download.

You can use this free version to research on the market as I noted above and to also research agents.  The books will  give you an idea of the type of artwork an agent feels is worthy of being represented and to also get an idea of the style of artwork the agent is already representing. Why does that matter? Agents usually don’t like to represent more than one artist whose style is too similar to someone they already represent. Reason being that they don’t want two of their artists competing with each other for work, it would create a conflict of interest.


So please take a look through Picturebook’s online catelogue to give yourself a better idea of what you’re up against. You can also take a look at past issues of their book. They have issues archived back as far as 2009.  This is a great creative and informative resource for those who know what to look for.

On another note, in regards to agents, you can go to any agents website and look at the artists they represent. Their website does not always reflect the artwork they are currently using to promote their individual artists. So look at where the agent says the advertise then go to that place and see what type of artwork they are using to advertise their illustrators.

The market is getting slimmer and slimmer and you need to be honest with yourself and the caliber of your work and it’s content to make sure you remain on top and remain competitive. Best of luck!

previous page | next page