The Postcard Post: Yusuke Watanabe

The Postcard Post is back at the Sub It Club! Things have changed a bit over the past few years because of COVID lockdowns and more publishing professionals working from home. Happily, I was able to get my hands on a real, printed-on-paper self-promo piece and I’m sharing the beauty. Welcome Yusuke Watanabe!

Image on a business card I picked up at the SCBWI Winter Conference Portfolio Showcase.

Yusuke Watanabe is a children’s book and comic illustrator with a background in law and politics. He left a sales career to pursue his passion for storytelling and art, relocating from Japan to the United States to study at CalArts. Alongside his love for art, Yusuke enjoys chai tea and is a plant lover. His debut picture book as an illustrator A FISH CALLED ANDROMEDA is published by Idle Time Press. Yusuke is represented by Lori Steel at Red Fox Literary.

How do you choose the image(s) for a postcard?
I pick a stand alone piece or simply choose my favorite! Some people may have a hard time deciding which images to use as a postcard, but I think you should simply go with your favorite picture!

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 personally prefer text on the front. It’s easier and fast for everyone to get information. I especially like postcards with the picture and text interacting naturally.

Do you create illustrations specifically for your self-promotion pieces?
I’m always creating new illustrations regardless of whether I post them or not. And if I post it, it should be Instagram and Linkedin for me. I’m not sure Linkedin is the best SNS* for illustrators but I’ve been using it so far.
*SNS = Social Networking Service (maybe I’m the only one who needed to look that up!)

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 before but that sounds really fun! I’ll do that for sure.

How often do you send out postcards?
Actually I have never sent out physical postcards before. But I always have some copies with me to be ready to hand out just in case I happen to meet someone.* Sometimes I even have a copy of my picture book with me.
*Postcards are great to give away or leave behind.

Who do you target with your mailings?  
It would be children’s publishing of course!

Do you have any tips on the production process?
I use traditional media first for rough sketches then move to Photoshop for finishing. Using traditional media for some portion of your work is really great I think because you can expect happy accidents that might not be able to happen with digital. 

Do you use any online printing services? What are your favorite places to get postcards printed?
I have used MOO Print before and their quality was quite good.

Let’s talk about digital postcards. Since the COVID lockdowns in 2020, illustrators haven’t been mailing printed postcards as much. Do you use digital postcards now? How do you get them to art directors and editors?
Yes, my agent compiles the arts from the artists that she is representing and we make a digital lookbook regularly, and send it to the publishers. This is a really good opportunity for us to let people know about our work.

Any tips for producing digital postcards?
Using a hashtag is quite helpful! Every first Thursday of the month is #KidLitArtPostcard day!* It’s a great opportunity to interact with those in the community/industry. I highly recommend it.
*Yes, this is a fun day on social media– a real feast for the eyes.

Check out more of Yusuke’s work by clicking on these links:


Instagram: art_yusuke

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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