The Postcard Post: Lynnor Bontigao

Sub It Club welcomes illustrator Lynnor Bontigao to The Postcard Post.

Lynnor Bontigao always doodled as a child in the Philippines. She kept doodling all the way to college and finished with a fine arts degree majoring in visual communication. She joined a group of children’s book writers and illustrators (Ang InK) where she fell in love with children’s books. She worked as a graphic designer briefly before deciding to migrate to the United States. Moving to a new country wasn’t easy and finding an art-related field in New York was even harder. So she learned programming and worked at a major financial firm for 15 years as a programmer analyst. When she could, she attended New Jersey SCBWI conferences to keep the art embers burning. She is currently working as a freelance artist and focusing on her artistic roots. Lynnor is a member of the Puddlejump Collective, an international group of authors/illustrators devoted to children’s literature. Lynnor is currently looking for representation.

How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard? 

I usually plan what time of year I’d like to send them out and then illustrate a scene that evokes the season. I know I should send out more frequently (I’m still working on that). I tried to be playful with my last mailer where the front and the back images are in an endless loop.*

This postcard wraps around…
…front to back.

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 like to have my name on the front so if the postcard is up on a board (where I hope some of them end up),* they won’t have to turn it over to figure out whose it is. On the back I have my website, email address, and my contact number.
*Ah! Don’t we all!

Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?

Previously I used existing work but lately I have been creating specific illustrations for self-promotion. Doing so also challenges me to create fresh work.

float_parade 4x6
Postcard front

Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
For now I’ve only sent stand-alone images but a series sounds like a wonderful idea! I would like to do that eventually for a well-developed picture book character.

float_parade 4x6back2
Postcard back

How often do you send out postcards?

I’ve sent one time last year and so far once this year but I may do another batch later in the year. In both those times, I’ve seen them arrive at Giuseppe Castellano’s desk where he uses his weekly #mailersandcoffee hashtag. I know it means nothing except that those are all the postcards he receives in a week but it’s really quite satisfying to see that they didn’t just go out into the ether.*
*It is nice to see they are at the destination safe and sound!

Who do you target with your mailings?

So far I’ve only targeted art directors and editors in publishing houses. I would like to target magazines as well in my next batch.

Postcard front

How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
Our Puddlejump Collective share a main list which I believe has its roots from SCBWI’s THE BOOK. Before I print out the labels I check LinkedIn and update my Excel spreadsheet for changes. This takes quite a while because people (and even publishing houses) may have moved within the year. After the update, I usually still have trouble exporting the data because of how I’ve structured each address (I really ought to fix that one day) then I print on Avery labels. It’s a lot of work but in the end it’s still easier than handwriting addresses one by one. I do, however, write a short hand-written greeting on the back of each one like, “I hope your summer is going swimmingly” or “Spring is in the air”.* I hope they don’t mind some cheesiness. Hhhmm, how about an illustration with cheese?**
*Nice touch! I never know what to write for those kinds of greetings so I’ll take inspiration from yours.
**Ha! There ARE cheese lovers out there! 😉

Postcard back

Do you have any tips on the production process?

I like to work traditionally using watercolor and colored pencils on the main elements and then bring them all together and adjust levels, contrast, and add backgrounds in Photoshop. I recently bought a drawing tablet and while I have so much to learn, I am so thrilled with this purchase! The final image is 300 dpi in .jpg format. I like using a simple font like Courier.

Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?

My favorite is for the quality and the versatility of being able to have multiple designs on the front. It’s a bit pricier so I usually wait for a promo when possible. I used Vistaprint in my last mailer and they do a decent job. I order more than what I plan to send and use the rest as business cards to conferences. I’m willing to try GotPrint next. I hear good things about them.

Postcard front
Postcard back

Thank you so much for the interview, Dana! I just wanted to let you know that I learn a lot from the Sub It Club posts.* Specifically, I want to give a shout out to Gina Perry’s post and her postcard critique giveaway (which I won) last year. It got me motivated to put more thought into what goes into a postcard since space is so limited. She is so nice and helpful!** This was that archived post:
*That’s so great to know! Thanks!!
**Yay! I’m glad it helped. Gina’s been a good friend to The Postcard Post.

Thanks so much for your tips and fun postcards, Lynnor.
Check out more of Lynnor’s work here:

Twitter: @lynnorbontigao

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). And you can see recent posts by clicking on The Postcard Post under LOOKING FOR MORE? on the right sidebar of this blog.
See you next month.

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