The Postcard Post: Heather Brockman Lee

The Postcard Post welcomes illustrator Heather Brockman Lee. Enjoy the postcards and tips!

Heather Brockman Lee has been an artist since she was old enough to hold a crayon, and never wanted to do anything else. After earning a BA in Fine Art, she worked in various design roles such as custom stained and hot glass, textiles, and fine art for gallery shows and art fairs. After falling in love with children’s illustration she began focusing exclusively on increasing her skills and finding a style that would fit the industry. She is represented by Deborah Warren at East West Literary Agency for publishing, has work in the recent July/August 2020 Babybug magazine, the September 2020 Ladybug magazine, and recently won the SCBWI Portfolio Showcase for her Rocky Mountain Region. Her debut picture book A POEM GROWS INSIDE YOU will release in 2022 with The Innovation Press, authored by Katey Howes.

How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
I try and pick images that tell a story. Agents and art directors want something more than just a cute or well-drawn piece, and it’s really great if you can leave them wondering what else happens in the narrative. Even if you are not a writer, it helps to have a storyline or mood in mind.

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?
It depends on the piece but I generally save all the text for the back.
Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
Usually yes! But there have been times that I took the pieces from a story I’m working on (nothing under contract of course).

Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
I have never done a series although that sounds fun. I generally think if I didn’t get a response from a subject, it’s better to show them something different the next time.

How often do you send out postcards?
In the Before Times, I sent them quarterly. Obviously I have not sent anything in the last 6 months since the publishing world is all working from home as far as I know. I do have a postcard club on Patreon though, where I send out bi-monthly postcards to patrons that like to collect them or send to friends.* I started that when we were all quarantining and I was looking for different ways to promote connection. One upside is that I still get to order and mail lots of shiny little postcards.
Great idea! It isn’t clear what to do during this COVID period.

Who do you target with your mailings?
I used to send them to agents until I signed with an agent. Now I send them to art directors and editors.

How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
My list is compiled from the SCBWI’s THE BOOK, THR CHILDREN’S WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATORS MARKET (also a book) and from other sources where I might read about a professional, like an industry blog or the website*
I am the wrong person to ask for tips on organizing! My list is an Adobe Illustrator file, and all I really do to organize is drag an address off the page even I get a returned postcard.
*Yes, excellent place to research.

Do you have any tips on the production process?
Yes! I always use a CMYK file, and export it as a high quality PDF. I don’t know why, but in my experience ordering from a PDF gives me near perfect color matching. It’s a good idea to print out your design at home at actual size to make sure all the text is legible and not too small. I learned this the hard way by ordering business cards that most people would need a magnifying glass to read!* Finally, show your critique group. I show my critique group everything before I make any decisions like ordering something or publishing it to my portfolio.
*Haha! We’ve all been there!

Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
I use and love Really high quality and great customer service.

Thank you, Heather for sharing your tips and postcards!

Get to know more about Heather’s work here and check out that postcard club on Patreon:
Instagram: @heatherbrockmanlee
Twitter: @heathertbl

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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