The Postcard Post: Deb Johnson

Sub It Club welcomes Deb Johnson to The Postcard Post.

Deb Johnson is a self-taught illustrator, writer and graphic designer. Illustrating and designing for the children’s market has been her passion for almost 30 years. Deb’s favorite part of the creative process is creating characters that give you, the reader, a reason to smile. Her current projects include two books she has written and illustrated, a new coloring book, and she is stepping in to something new… fabric design! She is an active and involved member of the SCBWI Carolinas region. Deb resides in the lovely area of Southside, Virginia with her husband, and two furbabies. She enjoys her frequent trips to Northern Virginia to visit her family.


Deb Johnson Monster IC Front
Postcard front.


How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
I want an image that tells a story with relatable characters and emotions; is an image that stands out on a bulletin board or wall; and is an image that creates a “page turn” for the viewer.*
* A tall order but I think you’ve done it.

Deb Johnson - Monster IC Back
Postcard 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 prefer to have my website on the front of the card so that it can be seen on a wall or board, and the rest of the information on the back.

Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
Yes! Sometimes they are characters from stories I am working on, or a stand alone image that (hopefully) tells a story.

Deb Johnson Baconator Front
Postcard front. (Oh boy! What happens next?!)
Deb Johnson-Baconator Back
Postcard back. (Aha!)

Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
In the past I’ve done stand alone images, but 2018 postcards will focus on a series.*
*Can’t wait to see it!

How often do you send out postcards?
Roughly 3 times a year, give or take a few months.

Deb Johnson Aquarium Front
Postcard front.

Who do you target with your mailings?
I target the publishers of every single thing I love to do! This includes picture books, board books, novelties, early readers, magazines, educational, activity books, and design projects, too.

How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
My list is in an Excel spread sheet and a bit outdated. I’m always on the look out for a new place to contact though. I like to go through the book sections of department stores, Sam’s Club, etc. and when I find a product that fits my style – or really interests me – I take a picture of the publisher information. Later I visit the website and decide if I should send a postcard.*
* Great idea!

Deb Johnson Storytime Front
Postcard front.

Do you have any tips on the production process?
I start with sketches that are the size of my postcard. The sketch gets refined on my iPad Pro and finished in Photoshop. The final art gets dropped into InDesign using a template I created for a 5”x7” postcard. I also like to add images to the back of my postcard.

Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
I have had great luck with Vista Print and would like to try Moo in the future.

Thanks so much, Deb!
Check out more of Deb’s work here:

Twitter: @debjohnsonart
Instagram: @debjohnsonart 

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.

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