Product Review – GotPrint Postcards

postcard1

Hello fellow illustrators!

I recently ordered a pack of 1000 postcards from GotPrint to send out and give away as part of a summer promotion for my illustration business, and I wanted to share a product review with you.

It has been a couple of years since I sent any promo cards, and I thought it was about time to do so in order to supplement all my online and email promotions while giving Art Directors something nice to hold in their hands and (hopefully) hang on their walls.

First, here are the technical details of what I ordered:

Size: 4×6
Paper: 16pt Dull Cover with Matte Finish
Color: Full Color on Both Sides
Coating: Gloss UV Coating on Front Side Only

postcard2

The process of uploading your design for the front and back of the card was super easy using their online system and the customer service all around is great and attentive in my experience. I received the box of cards in less than a week and was really excited to greet the delivery guy at the door like a kid on Christmas morning.

postcard3

What I was most impressed by was the quality of the image and how well it matched up to the digital illustration I uploaded. I wasn’t surprised since I’ve used GotPrint a few times in the past, but you never know how it’s going to look until you see it in person.

postcard

For this order I did something I haven’t done in the past by choosing to include full color on both the front and back of the card. Although I wasn’t featuring an additional illustration on the back I thought it would be a nice touch to carry over the background design element from the illustration.

You may also notice that although the front of the card had the glossy UV coating for a little shine, I chose to go without the coating on the back because it makes it a lot easier to write on and keeps the ink of your pen from rubbing off. This is perfect for the more “utilitarian” side of the postcard.

So to sum up, I was please all around by the product quality, ease of use, and customer service offered by GotPrint and would highly recommend them to anyone interested in sending out promotional postcards in the future. And of course you can also use their service to create business cards, brochures, calendars, catalogs, and a whole host of other promotional products.

Go check them out at GotPrint.net!

Posted by Thomas James on 05/21/14 under product review
4 Comments

Editorial Submission :: Federica Ubaldo

Post by James

Editorial Submission :: Federica Ubaldo

Editorial Submission :: Federica Ubaldo

Editorial Submission :: Federica Ubaldo

Federica Ubaldo is an italian illustrator based in Milan whose work mixes traditional media with digital techniques.

Inspired by surrealist painters like Frida Kahlo and Reneè Magritte, Federica is also influenced by old- school tattoo iconography and japanese art.

You can see more of Federica Ubaldo’s work here.

Posted by James on 05/20/14 under editorial submissions
5 Comments

Editorial Submission :: Igor Gnedo

Post by Natalie

The_Sunset_web

Justin_C_web

Julia-Lipnitskaya_Sochi2014_web

Igor Gnedo is an illustrator based in New York. Since graduating from Fashion Institute of Technology in 2013, he has been working as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. His work varies in theme, media, and style and includes editorial illustration, book covers, and posters. The greatest influences on his work include German Expressionism woodcuts, graphic design, and typography.

See more of Igor’s work on his website.

Posted by Natalie on 05/13/14 under artists,editorial submissions
3 Comments

Pick of the Week for REVENGE and This Week’s Topic

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Happy Friday!

We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Jennifer Smith, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of ‘REVENGE’. You can also see a gallery of all the other inspiring entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:

VOYAGE

Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

HAPPY ILLUSTRATING!

Posted by Thomas James on 05/09/14 under weekly topics
5 Comments

Editorial Submission :: Elis Wilk

Post by James

Editorial Submission :: Wilk Elis

Editorial Submission :: Wilk Elis

Editorial Submission :: Wilk Elis

Editorial Submission :: Wilk Elis

Elis Wilk studied political science, photography and theatre in Montpellier and Lyon, France, but a move to Poland sparked her interest in visual art. She completed a Master’s Degree in illustration in Naples and Macerata in Italy and later joined the illustration workshop at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels.

She is currently working for French and international press publications and has published several children books.

You can see more of her work on her website.

Posted by James on 05/06/14 under editorial submissions
1 Comment

ThemeFuse giveaway winners!

Happy Friday everyone!

Another fantastic set of illos to choose from. Lots of tough choices. Thanks for making my Friday difficult!

The winners of the WordPress theme licenses are:

Sara Palacios

if_sarapalacios

Ruth Meharg

if_ruthmehard

Kathleen

if_kathleen

Thanks again everyone, and happy illustrating!

Posted by Thomas James on 05/02/14 under giveaway
5 Comments

Master Spotlight :: Ezra Jack Keats

Ezra Jack Keats drawn by Rama Hughes

Ezra Jack Keats was a collage artist and a writer and illustrator of children’s books. His most famous book, The Snowy Day, is considered one of the most important books of the 20th century. It introduced multiculturalism into mainstream American children’s books.

Jacob Ezra Keats grew up in New York City. His family was very poor, but “Jack” loved city life. And he loved making art. He made pictures on any scraps of wood, cloth, and paper he could collect. Once, he even made a drawing right on his mom’s kitchen tabletop. She was so proud of her son that she would life up the tablecloth to show it off when friends came over. Jack’s father was discouraging though. He said that artists lived difficult lives. Nevertheless, Benjamin Katz was secretly proud of his son. He sometimes brought home tubes of paint for Jack claiming, “A starving artist swapped this for a bowl of soup.”

Jack couldn’t afford to go to art school. He studied art though by visiting the public library, reading books, going to museums, and collecting interesting things that he could use to make art. He found jobs making comic books, signs, and murals. During World War II, he served the country by designing camouflage patterns for the Army. After the war, he studied art in Paris and Japan. In reaction to anti-semitism after the war, he changed his name to Ezra Jack Keats.

When Ezra returned to New York, he pursued a career as a commercial artist. His illustrations appeared in Reader’s Digest, The New York Times, and on the jackets of popular books. His work was displayed in store windows and he received to gallery shows in 1950 and 1954.

In his unpublished autobiography, Keats wrote “I didn’t even ask to get into children’s books.” A publisher invited him to draw the first one, Jubilant for Sure, written by Elisabeth Hubbard Lansing. He traveled to rural Kentucky to sketch the locations of the story. Keats illustrated nearly 70 books by other authors. But talking with friends inspired Ezra to write his own book. He looked around for ideas and found a picture he had saved of a little African American boy. The picture inspired him to make the star of his book a black boy also. The Snowy Day became a very famous book, loved by kids and grown-ups all over the world. He went on to write more than twenty of his own books, filled with all kinds of amazing stories, interesting people, and beautiful art.

To make artwork for his books, Ezra put together bits and pieces of all the different materials he collected, like paper fans, leaves, doilies, and painted paper. He used marbled paper to make sky. He used a toothbrush to platter paint in tiny dots.

Ezra Jack Keats won many awards, including the Caldecott Medal for the Snowy Day, and was once even given a parade by some of his fans. Today, his books are still loved by both kids and adults worldwide. From now until September 7th, you can see an exhibition of his work at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

The-Snowy-Day

Portrait of Ezra Jack Keats drawn by yours truly, Rama Hughes.

Posted by rama on 05/02/14 under artists,master of the month,Rama
3 Comments

Pick of the Week for VANITY and This Week’s Topic

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Happy Friday!

We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Lee Tisdall, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of ‘VANITY’. You can also see a gallery of all the other inspiring entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:

REVENGE

Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

HAPPY ILLUSTRATING!

Posted by Thomas James on 05/02/14 under weekly topics
6 Comments

Editorial Submission :: Mia Valgren

Post by NatalieTwiggy_650

hund_barn_650

Liebeist_650

Mia Valgren is an illustrator and artist based in southern Sweden. She divides her time between illustration commissions and self-initiated work, and her images  have been featured in international publications and media. She narrates a surreal world using thin pencil lines and colored details, incorporating everyday objects, animals and nature.

See more of Mia’s work on her website.

Posted by Natalie on 04/29/14 under artists,editorial submissions
11 Comments

Interview: SCOTT BRUNDAGE

This week we had the pleasure of catching up with Scott Brundage. Scott is an editorial illustrator best known for his humorous paintings, often involving a monkey. He also does book covers, bar mitzvahs, and birthdays.

Hi! Thanks for joining us on Illustration Friday, where we sketch to new words/topics every week. We like to draw on Fridays. What do you do to keep up your chops when not working on client work?

At any given time, I have 2-5 sketchbooks in various states of completion. I tend to collect them habitually and if a certain book has a cool texture/paper type/tone I’ll probably buy it. I try to keep 2 or 3 with me in a bag so I can sketch in transit or whenever I have downtime. Mainly brainless observational or stream of consciousness drawings or a blend of both. Plenty of pages begin with the old lady sitting across from me, then end with that old lady being courted by a minotaur.   Similarly, I try to pick up new media when I have open time in my schedule. I picked up a bunch of inks and dyes then made a series of small paintings of scraps of whatever paper I had in my studio. Basically trying anything but my usual paint and usual brand of watercolor paper. Made a nice bunch of glorious failures (mostly monkey pictures), but NOW I can incorporate a lot of it into my work

 

More practically, I have, on more than one occasion, gotten so wrapped up in one particular project that I end up finishing and realize no one has heard from me in months. To counteract that, I keep a steady stream of back burner projects. A stack of possible paintings that I really want to do but probably won’t be hired for until I have a similar sample. This has served me well in the past. Most of my current work is from personal projects that fit a market I’ve been aiming for for years, but only just now had a chance to create real samples for.

Why did you become an illustrator? Why art, why not fine art, why not a designer?

 

All I knew before art school was that I really wanted to draw for a living. The how-to-get-paid aspect a mystery. I had a lot of interest in comics and animation and figured I’d find my direction at a school that had a major for illustration and animation. I found I really liked the storytelling and problem solving aspect of illustration a lot more than the grind of animation. I also really liked having a finished product to look at and move on from. Animation’s process seemed too long term for me personally. But I did supplement a lot of my illustration classes with drawing studios meant for animators.   I think, if left to my own devices, I’d still end up painting illustrations. Even if I wanted to make fine art, I imagine I’d keep injecting a narrative or a joke.   And regarding graphic design, I admire people who find a real love for it. I could never really scratch my own creative itch by moving type around. I’d never disparage it because when it’s done well, it’s so freaking beautiful. I just know I’d crash and burn if I ever attempted to make money with it.

 

How did you find your first client, or how did they find you?

 

On the advice of several mentors, I started sending out postcards well before I thought my work was professional level. I had a functioning, if simple, website portfolio, and I would send out cards every other month. The third or fourth of these mailers got me a call from Eric Seidman at The AARP Bulletin. When he called, I initially thought it was a prank from a friend trying to mess with me. Turns out it was legit and he really liked the small drawing I had printed on the back of the mailer (me slouched on my desk chair looking longingly at my phone, which is on a very fancy pillow).

 

 

What were the biggest mistakes you made early in your career? What did you learn?

 

I think John Hendrix said something along the lines of “getting work in illustration is like staying on a floating log. It’s really difficult to start, but once you start, you just need to keep moving” (definitely butchered the actually quote, my apologies).   When I started getting a handful of clients, I was too ignorant to realize how good the handful I had were. And then I started taking them for granted, and the work slowly deteriorated. With a new client, I’d want to blow them out of the water with an epic painting. Then after a couple jobs, I’d just get it done.  Well, I learned that the AD’s may stop calling, and even if one AD is still happy with my work, he or she may leave the next week. If the replacement doesn’t dig what I’ve been creating for their publication, I’m donezo. Now I treat each job like it may well be my last one.

 

What advice would you give to up-and-coming illustrators who want to break in?

My favorite quote about the lifestyle of an artist is from Steve Brodner, “The most important drawing is the next one.”  Getting into a mindset where you are always creating is the best thing you can do for yourself. The earlier you adopt it, the better. Look at any of your heroes and you’ll see they spent xxx amount of time simply toiling and struggling to figure out what their work is. Instead of fearing that or hiding from it, produce as much work as possible, then when you finally make a piece you like, start another one.The easiest and hardest thing in the world.

Posted by Thomas James on 04/28/14 under artists,Interviews
5 Comments

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