The Postcard Post welcomes author/illustrator Kaz Windness. Hold on tight if you spook easily and get ready to adore these imaginative images!
Kaz Windness is an author and illustrator specializing in creepy-cute characters and spooky humor for kids of all ages. She studied children’s book illustration at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) where she was a valedictorian graduate in 2002. Kaz has been the RMC-SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator since 2009 and has been teaching illustration at RMCAD for six years. Kaz has five published books. Her most recent, MOTHER GOTH RHYMES, made its debut in July of this year.
How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
I like to choose big splashy illustrations featuring my best current work. An engaging aspect such as a recognizable book character is a plus.
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?
Usually, I let the illustration speak for itself. I’ll use a spot illustration on the back and that’s where I’ll include text such as contact information. My other trick is to use a clear sleeve as an envelope. That way I can put the mailing label on the cellophane and not worry about leaving room for it on the postcard design.*
Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
Yes. It’s helpful to have the postcard sizing in mind as I begin the design. And having a postcard marketing schedule is good motivation to create new work.
Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
I wish I was that organized! And I rarely love my older art—even the stuff I created a month or two ago, so creating new pieces is a must for me.
How often do you send out postcards?
My goal is to send a postcard quarterly. Sometimes I send more often, but lately I’ve been on deadline, so it’s been less frequent for sure. Right now, I’m promoting MOTHER GOTH RHYMES, so I’m using postcards to advertise the book. I’ve also printed stickers to coordinate with the postcard. I’m using these as handouts at events, such as San Diego Comic Con and book signings.
Who do you target with your mailings?
I keep a growing list of publishing contacts—folks I’ve met through SCBWI or worked with in the past, both editors and art directors. I want them to remember me and also see how I’m growing as an illustrator.*
*What an important point— showing growth! Changing!
How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
I have a Word doc label file that I edit and expand. Before I was agented, I’d watch for book announcements, and if the title was similar to the kind of work I create, I’d do a little digging and find the name of the illustrator’s agent and add them to my mailing list. Agent information is usually posted on the artist’s website or included with the book announcement. Note: Not all agents accept mailings, but most are open to a digital postcard.* Just ask for permission or check their submission guidelines.
*Yes, digital postcards!
Do you have any tips on the production process?
Printers have template files available on their website. Once you download your preferred size and file type, you really only need to edit the last postcard you created. I like the 5”x7” option. It’s big enough to enjoy the work and it’s also the biggest accepted size for the SCBWI conference portfolio showcase. I work in Photoshop. I also work in CMYK because my favorite colors don’t translate well from RGB and I hate being disappointed in the color reproduction. Most my work starts as a sketchbook doodle. I take a photo with my phone and resize in Photoshop. My scanner has been broken for at least three years and I don’t miss it. Using natural brushes in Photoshop makes digital work look like live media.
Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
I used to swear by MooCards.com. The paper and print quality is hands down the best. But even with a coupon, it’s expensive. My new favorite is GotPrint.com. The color is great, the paper quality is just fine, and the cost? CHEAP! You can get up to three times as many cards for the same price as Moo.
Big thanks to Kaz for sharing her new book, tips, and cute and spooky illustrations.
For more information about Kaz and her latest book, MOTHER GOTH RHYMES, head over to her website. And don’t forget to check in on social media:
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.