Free friday - questions


As promised, a free friday with some free advise. A few of you have responded to my call for questions about being an illustrator or webshop owner, thanks! I'll try to answer them all (some are simular) over the next few weeks. In the meantime you can still email me with new questions!

Todays question is from Rebechan.

Back at university, teachers used to tell us to "just write emails to editors, magazines and send your work". Does this really work? I can't bring myself to 'just write', I tend to think they will just discard my emails since they probably get a ton of those every day.  

Yes and no... First of all, to make this approach succesful, you have to understand how these editors work. You are right to think that they are people with loads and loads of incoming mails from shops, product designers, illustrators, graphic designers and other creative people who all want there work to be featured or commissioned, and no time on their hands. But there are a few tricks.

To make it easier for them to pick you, make sure you never send an overload of work in your email. Stick to one or two signature illustrations (or whatever work you make) and include them directly in the mail in a low resolution (72-100 dpi) so it's easily uploaded.

Make sure you have a short but clear story on what you want (nothing more annoying than someone saying: 'I hope we can mean something for each other' when what they really want is a commission or feature). A little note here though: we dutch are quite direct and prefer this in our communication, this may be different in other cultures!
I do believe it never to be wrong to say something like: 'I think your magazine is amazing (because...) and would love to illustrate for you!'. As long as you're polite and sincerly enthousiastic, you can't go wrong.
Also mention in your mail that you'll contact (email) them again, within two weeks or so, about how they liked your work and by that time do so.

This however doesn't mean that they'll give you a commission... right away. You need to wait and in the meantime send an occasional (once every 4-6 months or so) new work to keep them posted on your progress. I've had clients who finaly contacted me after 3 years! Sometimes they already have enough illustrators or they are looking for a different style at that moment or they just need to hear from you more often (this can also mean they notice your work somewhere else like in a blogpost or exhibition).

A final tip: it helps to investigate you future client a bit. What does the magazine stand for, what is their target market, what do they like, is their anything missing? A friend of mine wrote to a magazine once that she noticed they didn't have any illustrations in their magazine and she thought it would be a great addition to the magazine if she could make them some. They agreed!

I hope this was helpful, good luck!


  1. Really useful! Thank you for sharing...

  2. Awesome! Thank you so much for answering my question, and for all the useful infos. I'll make sure not to forget them :)


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