The Postcard Post welcomes Jacob Souva. Sit back and enjoy Jacob’s tips, illustrations, and beautifully designed postcards.
Jacob Souva is an illustrator of picture books. He used to think he was cursed with a runaway imagination and silly daydreams, but now sees them as the bits that make up great stories. (He’s happy to not be cursed). Jacob is a proud graduate of Syracuse University where he studied illustration. In 2019, he had the honor of illustrating four books for publication: PEDRO’S PAN; THE BOY WITH THE BIG BIG FEELINGS; WHERE DOES A COWGIRL GO POTTY? and WHERE DOES A PIRATE GO POTTY?. There are a bunch more in the works, one of which is his debut as author/illustrator. He recently won a portfolio honor at the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City. Jacob has a lovely wife, two sons, two cats, and a turtle named Michelangelo. He lives in a small community in Upstate New York.
How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
I think the image needs to accomplish a few things. It needs to tell a story because that’s the job I’m auditioning for. It needs to be stylistically “me” so that a visit to my portfolio finds similar art and demonstrates command. Lastly, it needs to be something I’m really proud of.*
I’m ashamed to say I had a postcard printed that stayed in the box as I was too sheepish to actually mail them out. Be sure that you’re proud of the image before you order them. If you do send out a postcard that you regret, remember that it’s unlikely that a bad postcard will hurt your career. The worst thing that can happen is that it gets thrown away and forgotten. Postcards are low risk, high reward!**
*This is a great checklist.
**Aww! We learn as we go… and so true.
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 think it works best to have my name and website on the front so it’s easy to reference. Additional text can go on the back. The front is the “Hey! This is what I do and who I am” and the back is “so, you want to know more?”*
*Ha! That’s a great way to look at it.
Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
I’ve done it both ways. I’ve challenged myself with a new “assignment” and created fresh work just for the postcard. This is my preferred method, but it is more time consuming. My last postcard was from a book I illustrated. It was my favorite spread from THE BOY WITH THE BIG BIG FEELINGS.
Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
I haven’t done that! It’s a fantastic idea. I typically use a standalone image on the front with a related “spot” illustration on the back.
How often do you send out postcards?
Not often enough! I’d love a more consistent schedule.
I’m represented by Astound as an illustrator and they do some marketing on my behalf. I’ve also gotten work from posting on Instagram. I am eyeing another round of postcards this fall.*
My latest postcard was to handout at the SCBWI Conference in NYC. It was a hit!*
*Can’t wait to see them.
**That’s where I picked it up! I love it.
Who do you target with your mailings?
I’ve targeted a large group of folks in children’s publishing and select children’s magazines. At first I tried to tailor my list to people who publish books that look like they fit stylistically, but I’ve expanded my list recently because I’ve ordered so many cards that it makes sense to use them!
How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
I’ve used SCBWI’s THE BOOK to keep my list current. I try to keep up with industry people moving around as best I can. As an artist, I feel like I’m at a natural disadvantage using any kind of database program! I’ve hand written the address to provide a personal touch in the past.*
*Ha! Yes, it’s a lot to keep track of.
Do you have any tips on the production process?
I spent time as a graphic designer before pushing into illustration, so I have some familiarity with InDesign and typefaces. I would make sure the text matches the image style and is readable. While illustrators typically don’t do much designing of books, you are showing that you understand design by how well you leave room for important info.
Whatever vendor you use for printing, they typically have templates and guidelines for getting great results.
Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
I use GotPrint.com. I’ve not been disappointed yet. I’ve also used them to make bookmarks for school visits at a cost that is reasonable.
Thanks for all the tips and beautiful postcards, Jacob!
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.