The Postcard Post features illustrator J Yang. I picked up J’s postcard at a SCBWI Conference. I love the winter theme and all the adorable interactions. Before you read on, I’d like to wish all you Postcard Post readers a wonderful new year! Thanks for popping by! Now, go on and enjoy J’s images and interview.
J Yang is a NY-based illustrator who happens to be a Chinese-American trans man. During quarantine, he has acquired a cherry shrimp hobby, learned a couple of new recipes, and has become a square-shaped grandma in a dnd campaign. You can find his work in PORTRAIT OF A TYRANT, OUR RAINBOW, SPIRIT DAY, and upcoming THE GOOD HAIR DAY and IF YOU’RE A KID LIKE GAVIN. J is currently at large.
How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
I tend to think about artwork ratio and subject matter when choosing art for postcards. Artwork ratio occasionally stops me from using favorite pieces because square art doesn’t often crop well to the 4×6″ postcard. The subject matter depends on what I’m using it for:
- is it the mass-produced promotional one I fling at everyone, for free. Postcards printed with a company tend to have the quantity start around 125 with not much price difference between 250 and 500 cards. For my mass produced one, my subject tends to be broad enough that most folks can connect to it in some way (like animals, or people whose faces are not focal points). These are handed out like business cards, and added to online shop orders.
- is it a niche interest but with a big enough audience I can justify getting 125 cards printed, saving myself the work of cutting.
- is it an even niche-er interest that I cannot justify getting 125 cards made, and am interested in the subject enough to cut papers myself (cheaper, and can have smaller amounts).
2 & 3 occasionally show up on my online shop to sell; and depending on the industry event or reason for mailing, folks will get any combination of this.*
*Great criteria for making a decision.
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 like an indication of my name in the front so that folks looking at it on a wall wouldn’t have to flip it over to check, with more info on the back.
Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
I do not. I find it helpful to go through work I’ve done recently to pick what speaks to me.
Some illustrators create a series of postcards and send them out over time. Do you create a series or stand-alone images?
At the moment, stand-alone images. It’s definitely a good idea though, making themed sets of things. Something for the future.*
*We’ll want to see that then!
How often do you send out postcards?
Yearly—very recently for my holiday mailing. Actually, most of my promotional postcards these days get sent out as part of orders from my online shop! They’re a pleasant “extra thing” for customers to get in their packages.*
*Postcards are so versatile. And it’s good to have multiple uses, especially during this COVID period.
Who do you target with your mailings?
Lately, just my friends, coworkers, and other industry folks I already know. Due to the current pandemic, I have reservations that mail I send to company offices will actually get to the art directors/editors I may want to work with.*
*I’ve wondered about this too. It would be great to know how publishing professionals are handling mail at this time. Please feel free to comment below if anyone happens to know!
How do you compile your mailing list? Any tips on keeping a list and sending out?
I haven’t kept a mailing list in quite some while! What works for me is my social media presence, and a yearly email to folks I care about letting them know what happened to me in the past year.
Do you have any tips on the production process?
If designing the back, check to see what the requirements of a mail-able postcard are, if you plan to be able to mail them.
Do you use any online services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
Printing companies—Printshaq for bulk printing; their gloss paper finish is really nice. Fireball for individual prints.*
*These are new to me! I’m going to check them out.
Big thanks to J for the tips and beautiful illustrations and more!
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.