It’s very important to have a good website. This is your 24/7 portfolio – traditionally your printed folio would need to be requested and couriered to gain potential work, which is costly, time-consuming and not so accessible for potential clients. A well-built website will also be indexed well on search engines, and possibly linked to by other sources, which is a strong position to be in to encourage web-based enquiries.
Let art editors know you are there. Don’t be afraid to contact them with a link to your portfolio. Of course, you need to make sure that you aren’t contacting the same source too often, so keep a list of companies you’ve contacted and when: this is an effective way to ensure that you’re keeping people aware without harassing them.
Starting a blog shows an active interest and passion for what you do – people like to see that. It also ensures your website has fresh content, although it’s a good idea to organise it into an area on the site that won’t disturb, overbear or saturate your main content: your portfolio. However, you need to want to write about what you do: don’t create a blog and fill it with half-hearted generic content. It’ll look staged and no-one will read it.
I started out being part of an agency. The beauty of an agency is that they have contacts and companies coming to them, shopping for an illustrator. It’s not right for everyone, as commission is taken on each job, and your style will need to stand out from the crowd of other illustrators on display during a pitch.
My Twitter account is wonderful for finding new inspiration and getting an insight into the methods and practice of other professionals. It’s also another avenue for me to share my work, and work-related content. Be active: engage in conversations, share useful content and follow people because you genuinely want to read what they have to say.