The Postcard Post welcomes Taia Morley. I first saw Taia’s work on Instagram and I’m happy to share it here.
Taia Morley is an illustrator/author of several children’s books. Her most recent book is WAKE UP, COLOR PUP (Random House, March 2019). For many years Taia worked in the toy industry as a toy designer, illustrator and packaging designer before shifting into the children’s book world. Taia’s next book, HO, HO, HOMEWORK, (authored by Mylisa Larsen and published by Harper Collins), will be out Fall 2019.
How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
Choosing images for postcards can be challenging. I tend to overthink it!* The best advice I received is to go with something you like— you want to be hired to illustrate subjects you are comfortable with. I try to coordinate with a holiday or time the postcard with an image from a recently published work.
*HA! You are not alone.
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 put my name, website, and Instagram/twitter info on the front of the card, and I keep it simple. If I’m lucky enough that someone pins the postcard up, then my contact info should be easily accessed.
Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
Starting from zero can be intimidating so I’ll adapt art from a recent-ish project for my postcards. If I have an image I like or would like to revisit, I’ll rework it to a postcard format.* When I make the adaptation from existing art, it evolves to a very different piece from the original because I’ll fool around with lighting or backgrounds. It’s a nice surprise and gives me a starting point.
*This is a great idea. Relieve stress and recycle!
Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
I tend to create stand-alone images. I’m not disciplined enough to create a series!
How often do you send out postcards?
I send out postcards at least once a year. Some years I’ll get two out. It may seem like sending postcards is not effective, but then I’ll get a call from someone who has held onto a postcard for a couple of years!*
*I love it when patience pays off!
Who do you target with your mailings?
I target the Children’s Book market and art directors and editors I’ve worked with in the past.
How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
I compile my list using SCBWI resources* as well as professional relationships I’ve developed. I keep my list digitally although I do like to address the postcards by hand.
*THE BOOK (for SCBWI members) is a great resource.
Do you have any tips on the production process?
I let the illustration be the focus of the postcard. I’m not a graphic designer so I keep font choices and layout simple, otherwise I’ll make a mess! I use Illustrator, Photoshop and Corel Painter. My technique is a hodgepodge* of traditional media and digital work. The final results are multi-layered Photoshop files that are a complete mess until the file is flattened. I work at 300 dpi so the images will be crisp. My Epson scanner is a workhorse, but not super fancy. I always send a copy of the postcard to myself. I can see how the image looks after its postal journey and that is helpful in determining what makes a good postcard image. I try not to get too fussy with the images I send. A lot of detail gets lost at a postcard size and getting the attention of busy art directors requires a striking image so I focus more on contrast and color.**
*I just want to say that I love the word “hodgepodge” and we don’t say it enough!
Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
I’ve had good luck using online printing services. I’ve often used Overnight Prints— you can’t beat their prices. Since it’s a postcard and getting battered on its way through the postal system it doesn’t need to be archival printing! I keep my postcards sized no larger than 4”x6” so I can take advantage of US postcard mailing rate.*
*All that makes so much sense!
Big thanks to Taia for her tips and for sharing her beautiful illustrations.
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.