Sub It Club welcomes author/illustrator Alicia Schwab to The Postcard Post.
Alicia Schwab is a professional author/illustrator of children’s books and the Illustrator Coordinator for SCBWI Minnesota. She is the illustrator of GREAT GROUP SKITS, a young adult book by Lynn Grasberg and Gina Oldenburg and her picture book debut THE MUKLUK BALL, by Katherine Johnson is scheduled for fall 2019 with the Minnesota Historical Society Press. Alicia grew up in the lush wooded hills of southern Wisconsin where she spent many happy hours with her siblings wandering the woods, building forts and drawing with her older brother. After Alicia obtained a BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, she co-founded a graphic design firm in Hannover, Germany where she illustrated adult non-fiction books. Now she embarks on new adventures in Minnesota with her husband, daughter, and inquisitive springer spaniel.
How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
I look through my recent work or sketches and choose an image that reads well in the smaller postcard format. It is an image with a strong character, narrative, and a rich setting that asks, “what happens next?”*
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?
Yes, I always include my website or name on the front. I think it is important to make it as easy as possible for the recipient to remember my name and to find my website. This was extra helpful when I was featured by Giuseppe Castellano, Executive Art Director at Penguin Random House on his weekly postcard tweet #mailersandcoffee!*
*Oh! How fun!
Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
For this recent image, I thought about what design principals work similarly well on a book cover and created an image specifically for the postcard. But more often, I pull an image from some recent work. Regardless the motivation, the image should draw the viewer into the story by showing my voice through a variety of expressions, heart (emotional connection) and story.*
Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
The sketch I created for the back of this postcard was based on the same three mice characters. I liked the sketch so much, I couldn’t help myself—I had to paint it! These mice could easily become a postcard series.
How often do you send out postcards?
I send out my postcards 2-3 times a year. This year, as the Illustrator Coordinator for SCBWI Minnesota I created a postcard blog for our SCBWI Minnesota (members only) to submit postcards (up to) 4 times a year. By guest blogging together, we increase our SEO (search engine optimization) for each of our multi-media sites. It is also a forum for members to connect across our Minnesota chapter and an extra tool to market ourselves to potential art directors and editors.
Who do you target with your mailings?
I distribute my postcards across the children’s publishing industry, editorial/magazines, art directors, designers, editors.
How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
I compile my list from THE BOOK (for SCBWI members) and THE CHILDREN’S WRITER AND ILLUSTRATOR MARKET into the CRM (customer relations manager) software, Daylite. I tried the spreadsheet method and found it didn’t fit my needs and my business networking group recommended trying a CRM to organize contact lists. For example, Daylite links multiple contacts to one organization’s address. Even better, it is easy to reassign a contact to a new organization if that contact switches jobs. And yes, it has a feature to print labels.*
*Wow! I did not know about this. Sounds very interesting.
Do you have any tips on the production process?
Having a design degree has helped me immensely in understanding how to set up a file, choose fonts, and use Photoshop and InDesign. Research the USPS standard size postcard sizes that only require regular postage before designing/printing the postcard. If you use an online postcard printing service, read the how-to specs (on the website) to best set up your digital file. Each company has their own method for ensuring the file has the correct bleed and/or slug, file size, and enough dpi.
Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
I use GotPrint and Vistaprint. GotPrint has better color matching.
Thanks so much for your tips and fun postcard, Alicia.
Check out more of Alicia’s work here:
Facebook: Alicia Schwab Illustration
SCBWI Minnesota postcard blog: https://scbwimnpostcardgallery.wordpress.com
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 searching for The Postcard Post on this blog.
See you next month.
Thank you, Alicia, for the postcard tips 🙂 Congrats on your forthcoming picture book. It looks like a fun read.
I was able to check out Alicia Schwab’s portfolio at this weekend’s MN SCBWI conference. Such talent bursting from the pages! I can’t wait to see where her artwork takes her.