(note: The original version of this campaign was cancelled because it contained an error, on my part, regarding the fundraiser deadline. - Dave)
Time to freshen up the ol' portfolio, huh?
And how! In the past, whenever I wanted to create new promotional artwork, I'd just sit down and make it without too much of a plan. But this time, I'm taking things to the next level. With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, I will take part in a writers and illustrators conference that provides crucial support to honing my illustration portfolio. Specifically, my goal is to craft at least one new illustration that expertly showcases my potential for the Children's Book market.
What's stopping you from illustrating a children's book?
Well, the answer depends entirely on what sort of audience and context the book aims for. There's nothing stopping me from illustrating an independent children's' book. In fact, I've recently started talks with an author who'd like to collaborate on just that. I've even won some awards in the indie book scene. But illustrating books for an established publisher (i.e., Random House, Harper Collins, etc.) is whole different ballgame. You need to promote. Excellently.
How exactly does one promote their illustrations to established publishers?
After asking a fellow illustrator colleague that same question, I found out that the best route is twofold: 1) work with an agent and 2) keep your portfolio fresh. My colleague then suggested that I could perhaps meet potential agents and get some crucial portfolio feedback by attending a conference with the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She also suggested that I become a member with this society, as they provide excellent resources and feedback for illustrators looking to keep their portfolios fresh and connect with potential clients.
Sweet! Have fun at the conference and let me know how it goes!
You know, I'd love to, but there's a couple drawbacks. Firstly, I'm facing a number of other expenses in life such that I can't afford the conference on my own. The costs for SCBWI membership, conference attendance, illustrator-focused feedback sessions, and the necessary promotional materials and networking lunches total over $450. Secondly, as a full-time art teacher starting my third year, it has not been feasible to keep my portfolio fresh.
That is, until now! Now that I'm finally settling into a positive groove with my teaching career, I've got more time for market research and freelancing. And it couldn't be at a better time: SCBWI's next Denver conference is just two months away, giving me just enough time to raise funds and get some materials ready so I can participate in the event.
By the way, here's a detailed breakdown of the costs, if you're curious:
- SCBWI Membership - $95
- Event Registration - $135
- Portfolio Consultation - $45
- Business Cards - $41.99
- Promotional Postcards - $47.49
- Color Portfolio Prints - $40.17
- Follow-up Networking Lunches - $60
- Odds 'n' Ends (gas, shipping, etc) - $35.35
- Total - $500
So what should I do? (And what will I get?)
Kindly donate any amount, no matter how small, to this humble cause of $500. Each backer will receive access to a decently large resolution digital image of the resulting artwork. Plus, you'll be privy to further updates. For example, if this conference indirectly leads to my landing a book deal down the road, you'll be among the first to know about it!
Oh, and let's not forget the amazing rewards. Some have to do with my most recent illustration project: Mary Mary Quite: On Raising Children (And Other Mind-Altering Substances) by the brilliant Mary Huckstep. Heavy-hitting rewards involve me turning you into one of my illustrations or characters (for which, I'd simply need to get a picture of you and some simple collaboration via email)!
But most importantly, you'll get the satisfaction of supporting the arts had having a hand in the next generation of my illustrations! Thanks so much for visiting, reading, and being awesome!
Risks and challenges
When I first posted this project, I accidentally set the deadline way too late! So nailing down logistic details tends to be a challenge for me. But we've fixed that problem and now the deadline happens at a time that's more realistic for the completion of this project. I had to delete the original campaign and post an identical one but with a corrected deadline. But I think it's going to work. So we've got one hurdle cleared!
Also, this will be my first professional conference and I don't quite know what to expect. Maybe I'll discover some missing key or get some amazing feedback at the conference. If so, I'll pour all of that into the creation of some fresh artwork. But suppose the opposite happens. What if I receive insight or feedback that simply doesn't resonate? Even so, I'll create a new round of illustration that responds or even reacts to my experience. At any rate, I'm gonna make some fresh new artwork and you're gonna see it!
Another hurdle is work-life balance, especially after the school year starts up in mid-August. I teach art full-time. I love it. However, it really demands tons of energy. I'm somehow attempting to balance that career with my home-life AND time to create this fresh portfolio piece. This could become rather time-consuming. If I work on the illustration little-by-little, for example, it may not be complete until the end of October.
I'm also over-reliant on hyphen-usage :-)
And I can't stop trying to make you laugh! That's the toughest one right there.
In all seriousness, thanks so much for helping out this artist's cause, or for even just your positive thoughts and well-wishes. It's all good! Take care, thanks again for reading, and stay creative.
Special thanks to Dan Cross, Mary Huckstep, and Tracy!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (8 days)