katiejart said: I've been a fan of your work for years. I just graduated with my Illustration degree, and I've been applying mainly for graphic design jobs, but so far the search has been pretty bleak. Any tips on breaking into the market? I'm also in a new city so I've been doing my best to network as possible. Thanks!
There are plenty of ways to get out there, not all of them will be successful but try different approaches and you will find one that works best for you. Being new in a city can be a great opportunity for jobs, you basically have to get out there and meet people. Go to design events and befriend other designers. There isn’t an exact science for getting jobs but I feel the process I went through is pretty typical, so here are my tips.
For illustration jobs, get some good postcards printed up and gather a list of art directors you would like to work with and mailing addresses and send them out. You can invest in adbase to get a good list, it is a bit pricey so you may want to split it with some friends. You can even email art directors, keep it short and introduce yourself in a friendly way. Don’t take it personal if they don’t email you back either. Magazines are a great way to start. Even better, local newspapers. They typically like working with local artists and they are always looking for new talent. They don’t pay well but you never know who will be reading the paper and see your work.
I’m not as familiar with getting freelance design work. When I graduated I worked at a small design studio. I was asked to come in for an interview when they saw my profile on the AIGA website. I’m not sure how active your city is in AIGIA but it was super helpful for me as a fresh graduate. I would say find your favorite design studios in your area and ask them to have a look at your portfolio and casual interview. Even if they aren’t hiring, some studios are happy to look at your work and keep you in mind for future work. If you do get interviews, always send a thank you card. A beautifully hand made thank you card.
Another way to get your name out there is to have a good online presence. I started an etsy shop when I graduated to sell my art but it was also working as an excuse to make new work and make a few extra bucks. When I felt like my shop was ready for more customers I started emailing some of my favorite design blogs and wrote personal (but short) emails to each of them why I think their readers would enjoy my work. I was making Mini Goals Chalkboards at the time so there was a designy, arty, product that bloggers could write about rather than just a print. My chalkboards ended up being featured on a bunch of blogs and from there I was getting asked to start creating illustration work.
It certainly is not easy getting your work out there but you just have to keep at it!