The Postcard Post welcomes illustrator Gina Perry. I’ve seen Gina’s work online over the years and love its originality. When I saw a short video of her process, I knew I’d have to get her over here to share a postcard one of these days. And today’s the day! (Stay tuned for the link to the video.)
Gina Perry lives under the tall pines in New Hampshire with her family. She enjoys picking up beach rocks, blueberries, books, and balls of yarn. She has been illustrating for children’s books, magazines, and products since 2006. Gina starts her illustrations with gouache and finishes them with top-secret digital magic. She is currently working on illustrations for a songbook coming out in 2016 as well as her own picture book dummies. You can find her art in this month’s Spider Magazine.
How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
Oh, you put the hardest question first!* I have such a hard time choosing a direction for my postcards. After thinking about it (for too long), I will sketch several ideas. I usually discard all of these. Then I flip through my sketchbooks – all my best, strangest ideas end up here anyway. When I find an image that tells a story, feels uniquely me, and is a new subject or theme for me – bingo! My latest postcard is a mashup of an ink drawing from the Inktober challenge and sketchbook drawings of a little girl as a naughty, nose-picking, teeth thief. Did I mention that my mantra is “go weird or go home”?**
*Ha! You’re right but hang in there. You’re doing fine!
**Love it! Don’t go home!
Do you prefer text on the front of the postcard with the image or do you prefer all text on the back of the postcard?
I used to include my full name and website, but switched to using my brand mark* last year. I think it reads well and doesn’t distract from the art. I was such a great investment of my time to make a mark that carries across all my work.
* Good idea. Definitely something for illustrators to consider creating.
Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
I do. I think it’s a great way to audition for future jobs and to keep a portfolio fresh.
Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
I have sent work in a series but mailed them in one envelope to ensure they are seen together. I have used packs of business cards – one that told a story over four cards, another that showcased several fun characters. 4by6.com and Moo.com both offer sets for multiple designs.*
*I love these ideas for mailings– we don’t have to send just one card. Art directors will open an envelope!
How often do you send out postcards?
I strive to get three mailings out a year. I also create at least one piece a year that is sent as part of an agency mailing with other illustrators. Also, I am just starting to send digital samples a few times a year as well.
Who do you target with your mailings?
I’ve narrowed my list down through the years to focus more on trade children’s publishers. I mail to editors and art directors in children’s publishing but also great children’s product manufacturers. Illustrating a puzzle or board game is on my wishlist!*
How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
I use Google docs spreadsheets to maintain my mailing list. Because my list is currently under 200 people, I enjoy hand addressing the cards. I rebuilt my spreadsheet from scratch a few years back and try to do a thorough update once a year. If you belong to a group or have close illustrator friends, consider pooling your resources and sharing lists. It’s a great way to double check your own information and pick up new contacts. Before any mailing, I always check Harold Underdown’s “Who’s Moving Where” page.*
*So much helpful advice in one answer. I wanted to use tons of asterisks but I’m just using this one to say– TAKE NOTES ILLUSTRATORS!
Do you have any tips on the production process?
Always print out at 100% to see if it really reads well – starting with the sketches. It is easy to put too much detail into a small card only to have it get lost in the printing. Certainly use your printer’s template and double check everything twice before sending your files.*
*Sage advice. Caution before you send out can prevent lots of headaches later.
Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
I have tried lots of printers through the years and currently love everything about gotprint.com – easy, fast, inexpensive, and excellent quality.
Thanks so much for all the sharing so generously, Gina. This has been fun — and a little weird! 😉
To see more of Gina’s work, click on these links. You won’t regret it!
And as promised, here’s the link to Gina’s process time-lapse video. Enjoy!
If you’re joining us for the first time at The Postcard Post, you can catch up with a general article on postcard mailings for illustrators and previous featured illustrators in the archive (there’s a tab above too).
See you next month.