How to promote your illustration business

John Bond's dog illustration in a tea cup

When you start a career in illustration, it's important to develop a strong style and hone your drawing skills, but it's equally important to shout about your work. It's easier than ever to share your work on a global scale, but sadly that also means you face much greater competition. In this post, we share some advice on promoting your illustration work and winning new clients. 

Today, social media is a vital way to grow your audience. Every art director is surfing the web and social media channels in the search for talent, and it's crucial for illustrators to be online to get on their radar. 

In a way, social media platforms can act as a key part of your design portfolio. The potential client will have questions such as: Where do you work? What's your process? What are you interested in? You can tailor your content to answer those questions in a strategic way that's thoughtful, engaging, and very 'you'.

Illustrator John Bond

John Bond is an illustrator, designer and (sometimes) animator living and working on the south coast of the UK

Having an online presence is really important in this day and age. For starters, it helps you to become more discoverable. It also allows you to link up, and communicate freely, with other people in your industry – and potential clients too. As much as I'd love to live a more 'offline' life, social media is a necessity for spreading your art, keeping in touch and discovering new opportunities.

Instagram has proven to be the best platform to post my illustrations. The speed and simplicity of putting something into the public domain doesn't come much easier. It still feels like the most convenient way of viewing work and finding new artists to me.

If I continue to draw the things I like and share them, it will, in turn, hopefully attract some projects and commissions that I'd really like to work on. I'm not sure I have a real strategy in place in terms of sharing my work online, but I try to post content (fairly) regularly, link images in with topical events, and make sure that I use some relevant hashtags or handles to attract attention.

John Bond's Trumped illustration

John's work mixes hand-drawn illustration with bold graphic design

Although being online is important, it's equally important to send printed samples to potential clients every now and then. To be fair, I haven't done this in a while, but people will always enjoy receiving actual post. 

There's a real personal quality to it, plus clients can appreciate that the time and effort involved is greater than just pinging over an email with a link to a website. It's something tactile, something 'in your face' and something that can't just be swiped or scrolled past. 

Need some inspiration on how to use social media to get yourself noticed? The AOI can help; join today!

This article was originally published in issue 273 of Computer Arts, the global design magazine – helping you solve daily design challenges with insights, advice and inspiration. Subscribe to Computer Arts here.

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John Bond
John Bond is an illustrator, designer and (sometimes) animator living and working on the south coast of the UK