The Postcard Post features artist Mariko Kuzumi. I picked up Mariko’s postcard at the SCBWI Winter Conference because I loved the textures, colors, and whimsy.
Mariko Kuzumi is an artist based in New York City. She was born in Japan, and moved to the United States with her family when she was a teenager. She graduated from Rhode Island School of Design majoring in architecture. Mariko’s passion for creating picture books grew gradually and persistently after college. She also has a passion for printmaking. She is planning to have her first solo show in Tokyo after the world gets back on its feet from the pandemic. Mariko’s inspiration comes from every corner of her daily life, moments which captivate her curiosity or touch her soul. She likes to incorporate materials, mediums, craft fun and games which she enjoyed during her childhood. Through such a process, she picks up mediums such as printmaking, collage and clay crafting.
How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
I selected two images from one of the most recent illustrations I’ve created for Bologna Book Fair’s Illustrators Jury Exhibition. Unfortunately I didn’t get selected, but I still felt they are unique and present my current style well.*
*Participating in competitions etc. is a great way to generate new work.
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?
For mailing purpose I prefer to keep all text on the back. For postcards to hand out like the one for SCBWI portfolio showcase, I’d like to keep text with the image, but try to keep it simple so as not to distract from the image as much as possible.*
*Good point– treating the postcard differently for its different purposes.
Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
No, I usually select from the recent works from picture book dummy or illustration series.
Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
I’ve done the postcard series once, but I didn’t feel it worked well for me. So I just do stand-alone images. I select pieces that I feel are the most confident at each time.
How often do you send out postcards?
I try to send out at least twice a year. If I could do 3 or 4 times, that would be better.*
*Everyone who does this post thinks they should do more!
Who do you target with your mailings?
Up to this point, I have sent out my postcards to art directors, designers and editors of children’s publishing houses, specifically to publishers for picture books. The most recent postcard I sent showed a color sample illustration from my latest dummy book. I made sure to indicate the dummy book is available for consideration.* I am planning to add agents to my list for this year.
How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
I use an Excel spreadsheet. Simply because I know how to use it, and just find it easy to keep track and to create and print labels. I always go over the list before sending out the postcards, and try to keep the list updated as much as possible. I visit websites such as Publisher’s Weekly and LinkedIn for that purpose.
Do you have any tips on the production process?
I’m only familiar with basic Photoshop. I use printers’ templates that I download from their website, in order to avoid any silly mistakes. I try to keep every postcard consistent in terms of typeface, font size and color. Also, I scan the image in 400 dpi and save it as a tiff. As many of my fellow illustrators do, I collect other illustrators’ postcards and try to learn from them.*
*Me too! The Postcard Post has lots of postcards to learn from.
Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
I always use online services. I order a lot from Moo.com. I like it because I can make multiple designs in one order, th print quality is good, and they have reliable customer service. When I am working within a budget, I like to use overnightprints.com.
Thank you for inviting me to participate for this interview!
Thank YOU, Mariko! And thanks for all the tips and beautiful postcards!
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.