Sub It Club welcomes Andrea Ipaktchi (all the way from Paris!) to The Postcard Post. Full disclosure: I’ve known Andi for a long time (can’t believe we’re just now getting around to this) and I adore her sense of humor and her illustrations. Enjoy!
Illustrator Andrea Ipaktchi lives in Paris, France. She also writes and performs improv. She uses the French word, “humour” (pronounced ‘Oo-mwoorgh), to describe her artistic practice. Andrea strives to conjure a sense of lightness while tackling heavy themes such as isolation, rejection and disorder. She draws digitally or with traditional techniques such as pastels, inks and annoying bits of cut paper. Her panel illustrations for a contemporary take on a middle school Cinderella, who wishes to go to the science fair, was chosen for the “2015 Undiscovered Voices” anthology. She holds a BFA degree from Parsons School of Design. She is Illustrator Coordinator for SCBWI France. (Shout out to her friend and cohort, Sub It Club’s own Dana Carey who is SCBWI’s International Illustrator Coordinator and Assiatant Regional Advisor for France.)
In the news! Andrea has been chosen to attend an artist’s residency in Ireland to complete her graphic novel about a family of hoarders.*
*Oh my! Can’t wait to read this!
How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
Ideally, for me, a postcard image should:
— be devoid of any croissant stains or coffee cup rings;
— have a graphic technique that I would be thrilled to do again and again;
— showcase my creative energy, technique and humor;
— read like a mini-poster: graphic, eye-catching and legible– even at a distance.*
*The image below does ALL of these things and more.
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?
It feels safer to put the text on the flip side rather than risk compromising my image with my average graphic design skills. I’d hate for an art director to get all caught up and bothered by a poor choice of fonts rather notice my illustration. (Plus flipping is fun, right?)*
Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
No. Reusing an image appeals to my frugal Yankee origins.*
*Waste not, want not!
Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
I fancy myself more as a “stand-alone” kind of gal. However, if I wanted to promote a great character from a book series, I would do a postcard series. (Note to self: Create a series with a blockbuster character that critics, peers parents and especially children adore.)
How often do you send out postcards?
Every year. Religiously. At Christmas, I send out a holiday card– except when I don’t. After conferences or meetings I typically send out small batches of handwritten postcards to thank people. I often write just to keep in touch and keep my professional relationships alive. All in all, I send out about a maximum of 3 mailings a year but not always to the same people. It all depends on the themes and age groups of my best current images.*
*This is an interesting and varied procedure.
Who do you target with your mailings?
Let me be upfront here, my system is probably the worst system because it has never worked. No one has ever gotten back to me after sending a postcard. The only reason anyone should read on is to feel superior to me. Part of me hopes that my next mailed batch will be “the one” that snags my dream commission. I am an optimist and will continue to send out because I can see the progress I have made after years of work. I think I need to really hone in on who I am as a brand and what I am offering. I can see myself buying stamps and repeating this failed exercise until I hit the grave. It seems bigger than me. My mailing list is so meager, it makes me blush. I only have collected about 50 names but they are not just random names. I know every single person on that list. I have met them, listened to them and truly admire their work and professionalism. I don’t save the cards of every editor I meet— I save only the ones whose work and spirit resonate with me. Why settle for anything less? I almost never send postcards to agents because they usually just want PDFs by email and they keep their addresses secret. Sometimes, I send postcards to other illustrators and writers because supportive networks keep me thriving. I try to remember it is a two way street and try to give back. I am very impressed by the other Sub It Club illustrators who have found methods that work for them. I am currently studying their techniques. There is so much valuable information to be learned. For example, I read about a mass mailing agency on the Sub It Club. Time will tell if casting a much bigger net is more effective for my kind of work. I will most likely do a mass campaign in the fall. (Stay tuned!)*
*Aw, I think we all feel this way— are efforts aren’t enough. But you’ve got it right when you say “I am an optimist and will continue to send out because I can see the progress I have made after years of work.” Just by going through the process we challenge ourselves to do better. I’m definitely staying tuned.
How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
I simply have a doc file with a running list and notes about what I already sent out and when. I figure everyone likes a handwritten note and even more when there is some kind of personal note. This takes time but I am convinced that it shows I care. Even though this is a business, it is important to me to try to stay real and create honest, human exchanges.*
*I love that you stay true to yourself!
Do you have any tips on the production process?
You bet I do. If you were my own daughter or son just starting out on your first print run, I’d have a little talk about the R’s, the G’s and the B’s. You’d probably roll your eyes and accuse me of being over-zealous about the horrors of distorted pixels. I’d persist to convince you of the importance of:
— bleeds and margins;
—the important risk factors linked to unsafe DPIs. Don’t settle for anything less than a 300 dpi proof!
Always take the time to do it yourself at home first. A hard copy proof from your own printer can display errors that are not obvious on your monitor. Save time and money to send your best version to a professional printer. Before it rolls it out on the printing bed, make sure to check how your printer feels about images saved with RGB profiles! Most printers I’ve encountered accept nothing less than a full CMYK!
Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
I use a French printer who is environmentally friendly. I regularly receive flash promotions that allow me to piggyback on the margins of a large print run. They sell the white space that would normally fall on the cutting floor. The idea is to avoid paper waste and it cuts costs for everyone involved. Also, I like that they use vegetable-inks instead of petroleum-based inks but believe me, those inks don’t taste as good as they might sound. https://www.sergentpapers.com/ *
I also use Moo.com or Vistaprint.com if I am in a rush.
*I clicked on the link to your French printer and I’m impressed. Must try them!
A big thank you to Andrea for sharing her delightful images, honesty, and tips. She’s given us all a lot to think about.
Check out more of Andrea’s work here:
Website (paintings): https://www.americanartistinparis.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.