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  1. #1
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    laid off after 7 years: scary, but exciting

    Well, my company has been downsizing for years now and i had made it to the last in-house illustrator. The laid me off about a month ago.

    Any advice for a guy new to freelancing. i've done the odd jobs here and there for friends, but mainly i've worked day in day out for the company.

    i'm trying to pick up children's illustration work, and commissioned oil paintings. so far i haven't picked up much work. tried craigslist and joining writers groups.

    My wife and i are launching a few of our own projects soon. one a nonfiction book we've been writing for a couple of years, and the other a children's book based on a local tourist attraction. i'd like to still do some work for pay on the side.

    I've been making a flash portfolio to mail out on CD to look for jobs, and plan on making some fliers and advertising to the show horse niche.

    anybody been through this and got some pointers?
    ,thanks : )

    Steven Crawley
    Tradigital Artist


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  3. #2
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    Oh dear, I've definitely been here... I'd worked at one company for many years when they rather suddenly went out of business, it was indeed scary. The first year or two of freelancing were especially bleak.

    Definitely try to stay in touch with anyone you knew or met through the company, and let them know you're looking for freelance work - I got a lot of my first post-layoff work from people I'd worked with at the company, or people they knew.

    Do you have a chapter of the Graphic Artists Guild anywhere near you? Joining the guild and attending their meetings and events is a great way to network.

    For children's books, the advice I've heard from publishers is usually to send them samples/promotional material/anything at least once a month, you want to stay on their radar and keep reminding them you exist. It seems like a lot of illustration jobs in children's books come about because someone happened to send the right material to the right person at the right time...

    Also, these days editors often hire illustrators, it might not hurt to send promo material to editors as well as art directors. And if I was you, I wouldn't just send stuff on CDs - send physical printed items, too, especially postcards and stuff that can get people's attention instantly. Or email them links where they can click and see something right away. The problem with CDs or the like is that someone has to do a little work in order to look at them (insert the CD, open a file, etc.) A lot of people won't bother to look at things like that right away, there's a chance they'll set it aside and forget about it completely.

    Also, have you tried hitting up textbook publishers, educational organizations, and kids websites? And non-profit organizations? Many non-profit orgs have an educational department with a need for kids material, you can get some decent work out of those...

    And as you probably know, having and promoting a regularly updated blog is a good idea...

  4. #3
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    Also, I don't know much about writing, but from what I hear, unless it's a picture-book you need an agent if you want to get published. Most publishers only accept writing submissions from agents (otherwise they'd be hopelessly inundated with submissions.)

    You probably know this already, though. (If I'm telling you obvious stuff you're already doing, just ignore... )

  5. #4
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    Publishers and art directors hate navigating flash sites. Just have a scrolling site with image after image and information on yourself. dont have any load bars or junk like that.

    good luck with it all, hope you find some work.

  6. #5
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    If you are a pleine air painter, find a rich area with nice houses and set up to paint there. You will get jobs.
    [url=http://galleryonefone.blogspot.com[/url] This would be my gallery in Sweden

    This would be my Pleine Air blog

  7. #6
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    Thanks for the input. Here's the Mailer i'm sending out. It is CD, but there are lots of teaser images. the flash interface is basically the same as the inside of the mailer. you click a catagory on the path and it expands a window with thumbnails on the left and a large image on the right.
    Attachment 1061783

  8. #7
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    I must say, Crawley, that is a lovely mailer! Nice and bright, and not too much info to overwhelm. I love that game board idea you have going! I hope you find something, I can't really give any advice that hasn't been given, but I'm rooting for you!

  9. #8
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    Thanks Jazz,

    I've tweaked this mailer thing long enough, i gotta start sending some out. Not sure who i want to send the first batches to. companies i'd like to work in-house for or children's illustration agents, or what. We've got stuff to do 100, plan on sending out 15 or so a week. then do another 100.

  10. #9
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    About a month ago I put out 70 Mailers comprised of a couple postcards with a CD. So far, out of the 70, there have been 2 e-mailed rejections and 1 studio saying they'd keep me on file. Edit: I was applying to staff jobs though. I hope you have better luck. I'm leaving the country to sidestep student loan deductions and going to bartending school in Toronto. How 'bout them Blue Jays.
    Last edited by Bill; September 15th, 2010 at 12:21 AM.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    About a month ago I put out 70 Mailers comprised of a couple postcards with a CD. So far, out of the 70, there have been 2 e-mailed rejections and 1 studio saying they'd keep me on file.
    If it's been a month, you should send out more. It doesn't do much good to send out mailers just once and then sit and hope, you have to keep sending stuff every month or so...

    It's the fine art of pestering people just enough so they don't forget you but not so much that you annoy them.

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  13. #11
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    That mailer looks professional and eye catching. I'm sure you will interest some companies if you send it out.

    I'm not a good freelancer but my two cents is that CDs may not be the best thing to send (like QueenG said). They take effort to pop in. I know that sounds silly but from talking to companies some just want e-mail submissions, some just want a postcard and 3-6 prints, and some just want a postcard. So I've gotten the impression that printed things get looked at more often if they are simple but professionally put together.

  14. #12
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    I like the board game thing very cute and more memorable than "here's mah disc"

    Maybe depending on cost, you can make those kind of toys you can fold (origami) like the guy did with the robots. That can be the board game pieces.

  15. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    It's the fine art of pestering people just enough so they don't forget you but not so much that you annoy them.
    No argument on this. Personally I'd just like to be a bartender in Toronto more than an aspiring Illustrator for a while. It's a good thought for the OP though. I'll probably start my own thread somewhere down the line.

  16. #14
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    I don't think i could send out post cards. I do send people to my website's art page online. i'm thinking about making a bookmark with tassel to send out for children's illustration jobs.

    There are things on the CD that i couldn't put on my website. plus i have some animations on there. no loading times since it reads of cd. if they don't look at it, that's ok i guess, but if they are interested to see more, that CD has alot on it. My wife made me build an interface, because i did just have folders with files in them. i'll still have the individual files on there too, but now you can access it all by launching the one swf file. i actually pushed flash pretty hard, it doesn't seem to like making swf files bigger than 55 meg. and that's where mine is at.

  17. #15
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    Well it depends what jobs you are going for. If you have animations of course it makes sense to send them a CD. It does help to contact companies and ask if they are even hiring artists and what type of submissions they like. I guess that is what I was trying to get at. I didn't mean to make your mailer sound like a bad idea because it's beautiful.

  18. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    About a month ago I put out 70 Mailers comprised of a couple postcards with a CD. So far, out of the 70, there have been 2 e-mailed rejections and 1 studio saying they'd keep me on file. I hope you have better luck. I'm leaving the country to sidestep student loan deductions and going to bartending school in Toronto. How 'bout them Blue Jays.
    I heard you have to get about 7 times in front of a potential client to get work from them.

    Don't give up, this is only the beginning.

  19. #17
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    Gotta get over to the U of A this moring to make a few changes in the UI. They have a great free computer lab there with Adobe CS 4. which is great since i only had a trial of flash 5.

  20. #18
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    I was laid off from a web design job I had for only 1 year (my first full time job). Was definitely surprising since I really expected to be there longer than a year, but it only took me a month to find another job, and I'm still gaining experience and exploring different fields of design.

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