This month The Postcard Post welcomes illustrator Marcela Staudenmaier with her wonderful cut paper collage images.
Marcela Staudenmaier is a graduate of the Children’s Book Illustration Certificate Program of the Rhode Island School of Design and an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She has been the recipient of the Tassy Walden Awards: New Voices in Children’s Literature (Shoreline Arts Alliance CT) and the Ann Barrow Illustrator’s Scholarship (New England SCBWI) for her children’s book illustration portfolio. Her work has received accolades from the Danforth Museum of Art, 3×3 Magazine of Contemporary Illustration, the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, the New Haven Paint and Clay Club and the New England SCBWI. Last April, she won the R. Michelson Galleries Emerging Artist Award at the New England SCBWI Conference. Marcela is also a practicing architect and lives and works in New Haven, Connecticut.
How do you choose the image for a postcard?
The selected image is one of my newest creations. It is a piece that I am happy with. It has to stand by itself (hopefully it has some type of narrative element)* and reflect the medium that I am working with at the moment. It has to represent who I am as an artist and the type of work that I want to be hired to do.**
*Yes, so important to draw in the viewer (sorry about the pun!).
**All excellent points.
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 place text on both sides. I always put my name on the front of the postcard, below the main image. On the back, I include my name as well, website address, contact email, title, size and medium of the featured illustration. It is important to keep in mind that if a publishing professional likes your postcard, she or he may display it somewhere, so it is a good idea to have your name on the same side as the main image.
Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
No, I do not. I use one of my newest illustrations, one that I feel represents me well at that moment. It is not an easy task to select that image.*
*Especially when they’re so beautiful!
Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
I have not produced a series of postcards. It does sound like an interesting idea though.
How often do you send out postcards?
Twice a year.
Who do you target with your mailings?
I mail my postcards to professionals in the field of children’s publishing: art directors, editors, publishers. My resource is THE BOOK: The essential Guide to Publishing for Children, updated and published every year by the SCBWI. I also send postcards to professionals that I have personally met at conferences.
How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
I keep my contacts organized in a Microsoft Excel spread sheet. I try to keep the list up to date. I also keep track of the mailing date, what I have written on the postcard and if I have received a response. I send out 6 x 4 size postcards designed with the USPS regulations in mind. But, most of the time, I mail the postcards inside envelopes, that way I can be sure they do not get damaged.*
Do you have any tips on the production process?
I work traditionally. So I bring my work into digital format through digital photography (in the case of three-dimensional collages) or by scanning the work that is completely flat. I have an 8.5 x 11.5 scanner from Canon. Scanning and/or taking photographs of artwork takes time. So, I always make sure that I am scanning at least at a resolution of 355 dpi or larger, or that my camera is set to take fine/large resolution images.
I use Adobe Photoshop to do slight adjustments to the image: brightness, contrast, size (Dots Per Inch) required by the postcard printing company, mode (RGB, CMYK, Gray Scale). Then, I bring my image into Adobe InDesign. This allows me to work with the exact printing size requirements. One great feature of Adobe In Design is it allows your text to be vector-based. This ensures that very small or large size fonts always print crisply. When choosing font type and font size I intend to maximize readability. I try to keep it simple, elegant and discrete. I definitely would not want the text to overpower the image.
Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
Since my very first postcard, I have been using Modern Postcard services online. They have always done a great job for me. They are very professional.
Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful work and clever tips, Marcela.
See more of Marcela’s illustration work here:
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.