In 2020 I got published as an artist in traditional publishing, without an agent or hard-core promoting. And in this post I will share with you how I landed the contract, and tips on how to get published as an artist.
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How to Get Published as an Artist
Let me first share exactly how I landed the commission with Quarto Publishing. Now, my number one secret to getting any art commission is sharing your work with the world consistently. There are two ways to do this.
The first is to reach out to a publisher every six months or so and say, “Hey, have you started to look for artists for your next issue?” or the second way is to create excellent work, share it with the world and then possibly be contacted by a publisher.
My main business is teaching how to draw kawaii, so for the most part, I’m not actively reaching out for contracts. However, when deals come my way, and there’s a good fit, I don’t say no. 🙂
So, in this case, I had been putting out work consistently every week for about a year. Five weeks right before Quarto contacted me, I was doing weekly live streams on Facebook.
And then one morning, I had a message on Facebook that said, “Hey, we’re looking for an illustrator for a Kawaii calendar. Are you interested?” Of course, the answer was yes!!!!
But there was a caveat. I only had 2 weeks to create 13 pages of fully coloured illustrations. But you know what? I said, yes. And then I said to myself, “I’ll figure out the how later.” So I had two weeks to come up with 13 drawings.
How to Work with a Publisher Successfully
The secret to being creatively prolific and productive under such short-notice is to work in batches. Batching means doing similar types of activities all at once.
In this case, I sketched out all of the 13 illustrations first, and I then emailed them to the publisher to verify that it was exactly what they wanted.
Once I got the go-ahead, I took it into Illustrator and tracing all of the sketches as vectors. Once all of the outlines were done, I did the colour. I try to reuse similar colours in different illustrations so that the entire calendar had a consistent look to it.
As I was approaching the deadline, I wasn’t completely ready to submit my work. To keep the publisher fully aware of my progress, I communicated with the publisher throughout the entire process to make sure I was setting clear expectations.
I knew that if I could extend the deadline by one more week, I would finish at a standard I was happy with. So I explained to the publisher where I was and how long it was going to take. They proposed that I submit 4 illustrations to design the layouts and continue to work on the remaining illustrations. Done!
Communicate your progress clearly
When working with a publisher, the key is to communicate, set the right expectations.
And always read the contract thoroughly before signing. In this case, it was a non-exclusive agreement, which meant that I keep the copyright of these drawings, and Quarto is licensing a one-time print permission to use it in the calendar.
By keeping the copyright of your art, you can use the body of work in your portfolio and for print-on-demand. If I had signed an exclusive agreement, I wouldn’t be able to use it in my portfolio.
So always read the contract to make sure you understand what rights you keep or hand over.
In the end, the client was really happy with the finished work. Here is what Rage (publisher at Quarto) said,
“Tatyana is a fantastic illustrator and designer. Her illustrations are adorable; it’s exactly what I had imagined.”
… Exactly what I had imagined… – best comment EVER from a client!
When looking to be published as an artist, that kind of feedback is invaluable.
Overall, this was a fantastic experience. I’m so grateful for it.
Get Your Copy of the Kawaii Universe Calendar (2021)
If you would like to pick up your own copy of this cute Kawaii Calendar, you can get it on Amazon.
And if you currently looking to be published as an artist, I wish you the best of luck. Just keep going, and you will land a contract.
To learn more about how you can make money from your art, check out this post on how to sell art online.
Join the Kawaiian Universe!
Join our AMAZING kawaii community on Facebook. Share your drawings with other Kawaiians, be inspired by their work, and make new kawaii-loving friends. 🙂
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