The Postcard Post welcomes Rob Sayegh Jr. I love Rob’s posts on Instagram (including process explanations). Now it’s your turn to enjoy!
Rob Sayegh Jr is an author and illustrator who loves creating playful worlds with funny characters to make families giggle together. He is a professional snack taste-tester, falls in love with every dog he meets, and enjoys finding and creating new textures for his artwork. Rob has spent most of his life designing toys to encourage kids to continually play, learn, and imagine new possibilities. His clients include: Scholastic, Disney Consumer Products, Abrams, HMH, Fisher-Price, and more. Rob currently lives with his family in San Francisco, California. His author/illustrator debut picture book LOVE TAILS will be released in Spring 2021 with Cameron Kids. Rob is represented by Justin Rucker of Shannon Associates.
How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
I try not to use anything overly complicated but instead show off my art style of simple shapes and textures the best.* I choose to see my portfolio and postcards as not trying to show someone what I’ve done but what I could do for their project. It’s less about highlighting past work but more about showing the elements of my work that might resonate with an art director or editor for a project they might not even have yet. I also try to highlight my personality towards storytelling, which is more humorous and silly. My goal with any postcard isn’t necessarily to just sell myself but also allow someone to get to know who I am as a person. I think it sets you up to have a better long term relationship with an art director or editor thinking this way.
*I love your style.
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 back.
Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
Yes and no! I am an avid believer in creating personal work regularly. I usually take something from my personal work, and that will be the primary image. I will then extend that image’s story to the back of my postcard with a new image that works around the information. It allows me to have a little more fun with it and use the limitations of the size of the card to my advantage.*
*Interesting point. And another good reason to create images just for fun.
Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
I create stand-alone images; however, I am a believer in that the promo card is like the grocery store aisle. If someone sees something that they are interested in, they might pick it up and look at the back for more information, which is why I believe the story should always continue to the back of the card. It’s a great way to tell a joke or show someone you can tell a story from page to page and leave a more significant impression than just a simple image. My caveman and dinosaur postcard, as well as the sea monster postcard, both show different story elements within them that are about humor and adventure. Two key features that I love in stories as well as utilize a lot in my work.
How often do you send out postcards?
I try for 4-6 times a year. I mail one out each quarter, and I try to send an additional one to two cards for special projects or announcements.*
*Wow! That’s a great pace.
Who do you target with your mailings?
As author/illustrator, I mail my postcards mainly to art directors and editors within the children’s picture book publishing market.
How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
My list is a combination of names and people I have met, attended panels at conferences like the SCBWI, THE BOOK by the SCBWI, and finding people on social media like Twitter. Many art directors even help with this by putting their mailing addresses to their offices in their profile.
My advice is that your list should be genuine to you and your work, not a massive list that includes everyone and anyone.* What that means is if you are focusing on picture books, you should not be sending your cards to editors and art directors of middle-grade novels. It’s a loss of money for you, and it also allows for the potential of a missed opportunity to finding someone who can use your work for a project.
Your list should also always grow. I use labels for the addresses that I print and stick on. This allows me to grow my list easily while not spending a ton of time addressing postcards. It also makes it a lot easier to keep them consistent and neat. For an illustrator, I have TERRIBLE handwriting. I currently use the Avery 8160 labels.
Finally, be persistent.** Sometimes it’s the 5th or 6th card that will get someone’s attention.
**Yes! We all need to hear that.
Do you have any tips on the production process?
I always make one side able to be written on in case I want to write a note on the card to say thank you for a recent project or just hi. Depending on space, I also like to put a return address. If the person has moved or the address is wrong, the post office will send it back and it helps to keep your list current while not wasting money on cards going to no one. I also never go above 4×6 to keep my postage at the postcard rate in the US (about 20 cents per stamp.) Anything larger jumps to a regular stamp unless you get them individually weighed at the post office, which takes even more time.*
*These are important details, especially when mailing out postcards a few times a year. It adds up!
Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
I use moo.com. If you follow their emails, they have 30% off promos almost every quarter, which makes it much more affordable for the quality. They also have excellent customer service, and if something is off, they will replace it immediately.
Thanks for all the great info, Rob!
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.