The Postcard Post: MaryJo Scott


The Postcard Post welcomes MaryJo Scott. I spied MaryJo’s postcard at the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles this past August at the Portfolio Showcase. Enjoy the illustrations and interview.

MaryJo Scott is both an illustrator and poet. She has illustrated SLEEPYHEADS SNOOZE by Carolyn Malkin (Scholastic) and has written a collection of board books for Viking Penguin. The recipient of a SCBWI Portfolio Honor in 2012, MaryJo presently lives in Connecticut with her family and an ever-growing array of pets. If she isn’t in the garden with her chickens, you will find her in another favorite spot, her town library, where she teaches art to the very young and helps all ages find the perfect book. MaryJo is represented by Alexandra Penfold from Upstart Crow Literary Agency.

How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
My process on choosing a particular image for my postcards is pretty simple… it’s what I love at the moment! For example, with my moose postcard, I just came back from a very rainy and beautiful camping trip in Canada with my family, and we saw a mama moose and her calf and I just can’t get enough of drawing moose. I always loved them before going, but I think the trip sealed the deal for me!*
*Aw! I love the moose!

moose pcard
The wonderful moose postcard seen at the SCBWI Summer Conference!

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 text on the front of the postcard. This way when that editor hangs your card on his or her wall, you’ll be so easy to reach! So name, contact info, all on the front for me…but it can be done however you like. 🙂

Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
Yes. So much of my art is a larger size and to reduce it to fit a 5″x7″ sometimes doesn’t work…although I have had pieces in the past that did work…so now I guess my answer is in the grey area of “sometimes”… because ultimately you have to send a piece that you absolutely love because your joy will shine off the card.


Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
Stand alone images. 🙂 But, I have done a set of three from some book ideas I have loved, so those postcards actually involved the same “character” in different scenes and activities.

How often do you send out postcards?
Not often enough…* I try for three times a year. And I always make a new postcard for my portfolio in the SCBWI showcase. 🙂
*I think that in the history of The Postcard Post, not one illustrator thought they sent out often enough! 🙂

Love the long horizontal postcard! The form is integral to the story being told.

Who do you target with your mailings?
I send to editors and art directors in children’s book publishing and magazines. I make sure I do my research and do small mailings. I always look in the bookstores for books that I absolutely love, and check who has published it…and I also keep lists from SCBWI events. 🙂 I did not send my moose card out because I gave them out at the SCBWI Summer Conference Portfolio Showcase in Los Angeles* this past summer. But I have a new card to send this February. 🙂
*And I found it there!

How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
I compile my list by hand; I have one notebook with notes on who, what, where and when.: ) I also hang a paper wall calendar, so I have a visual spread of my monthly mailings and deadlines. It helps to see 6 months at a glance.*
*Great idea! It’s encouraging to have a visual reminder of what we have done.

IMG_1486 copy

Do you have any tips on the production process?
Hmmm. This is where I am very, very old school…I went to school for graphic design and that was in the day of wax machines and rubber cement and Quark!* I am very particular about type…I LOVE type and its design element and I LOVE paper. I feel that the font and the paper are emotional elements, and I want them to add to the illustration but not overpower in any way. So when my art is scanned for a card, I like to pick a font that is reflective and not overpowering.
I used to get my postcards done at Moo, a great company… but, I can’t control the paper that they print on, or, the font selections they have on hand, so, I run my art down to a local small printer in my town, and I am able to print on different paper stock, with a specified font, which I prefer.
I don’t have any scanning tips because presently I am researching to buy my own scanner and a new printer. For now, I bring my art to my local printer who does the scans for me. I always scan in TIFF format, 300 dpi. Then later I can save them as jpegs, etc.
*Ha! I remember those things too!

bed dala horse

Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
Oops…I kind of combined this with my answer above… * my favorite place is my local printer. : ) But I have used Moo, and what they do is offer more than one design when printing up your promo pieces, which is nice. Also, they have many sizes to choose from.
*No problem! 🙂

Thank you, Dana! It’s so wonderful to share and read other’s “how-to’s” in The Postcard Post. Sometimes our jobs are so solitary in nature that it’s nice to be reminded that we are all in the same warm circle of children’s book publishing!*
*Thank YOU, MaryJo! I completely agree! Thanks for sharing your work and tips!

Get to know more about MaryJo and her work at the links below:

Instagram: @mjscott16

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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