Postcards! Calling all members!

Calling all members! We’re doing a big postcard order this weekend. So if you’d like to be included in our current batch of mail packs, send Darren an email for printing information.

We send out our mail packs to clients across the globe and each pack is catered to the recipient. We’ve found over the years that physical mailers are still appreciated by the clients on our mailing lists. We think it’s also the personal touches we include and actually being able to hold something physical that makes this type of promotion we do so special. We’re not hipsters*, but we do feel old is the new new.

* Slightly guilty of having a beard**, owning a record player and wearing t-shirts with pugs on.

** Darren only, Jane does not have a beard. I repeat Jane does not have a beard. 🙂

Have you found what you’re looking for?

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Following on from the recent redesign and rejuvenation of our website, we’ve continued to make modifications as the dust has settled and we’ve seen what worked and what needed to be changed. Our first stop was a small modification to our search criteria that should have a big impact on usability. When the redesign was launched we suddenly allowed all of our members to select a job title from a predetermined list and this was then searchable on our search pages. This didn’t work as the majority decided they want to just be called an illustrator, so now the job title is no longer searchable, but is displayed in their portfolios next to their name. What has been added to replace the search aspect are two searchable job descriptions. This should allow members to add the terms that help people find them without feeling they need to keep their options open by not committing to a specific title. This change in the options available to our members and within search system inspired a blog post I wrote about job titles for the LCS a few days ago. Read: Finding your niche as an illustrator!

Self-Portrait

As a side note: Since the redesign had been a longtime coming, I decided early on I would try to remove as much of the 9 years worth of bloat as possible. I may have gone a bit too far. Information about our postcard printing and mailers has now been re-added to the members’ administration along with a viewable archive of all the previous member-only updates. A new addition though is a series of downloadable and useful content that should be in every freelance illustrators’ digital toolbox. If you’re a member, login and have a look. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Image Credits…
1. ISO&AGENT Magazine cover (cropped) by Mario Wagner.
2. 2010 Self Portrait by Marcus Cutler.

Exclusive Member-Only Discounts

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We all love a good deal or bargain, and this is why HAI has teamed up with a number of reputable companies and organisations to bring our members some very nice discounts. On your behalf we’ve negotiated deals on screen printing, on and offline art-related educational courses, merchandise and hosting. All our members need to do is visit our discount page while logged into their account to reveal the discount codes.

http://www.hireanillustrator.com/i/discounts/

We’re always on the look out for new discounts and offers that we can arrange for our members, which means we’re going to be constantly updating the discount page as new partnerships are formed. So keep an eye on it and check back from time to time.

If you’re one of the companies or organisations offering us a discount on one of your products, thank you kindly.

Clients and job requests at HAI

At Hire an Illustrator we have numerous clients of every description sending us their job briefs on a daily basis so we can help them find the right illustrator or artist for their projects. It’s a fun process and we love doing it, plus it’s nice to know that what we’re doing really works. Some days we may have as few as five requests, but most days it’s more like 20-30. It’s a time consuming job, but it’s one of the many things we do that make HAI special and membership worth while.

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Mad Men’s Don Draper by the amazing Michael Gambriel

What we do when a job request comes in is to analyse it and try to get an understanding of what the client is actually looking for. Sometimes we have to go back and forth with the client a few times with additional questions about style or budget, but normally the client knows what they want and we just need to point them in the right direction. It’s not an exact science and we sometimes throw in a wildcard with our recommendations to cover our bases. Other times, a job request may not have an obvious recommendation, so an executive decision is taken on who we put forward for the job. 99% of the time it works out nicely and one of our illustrators gets a new commission.

Working with our members day in, day out gives us an advantage over a casual viewer since we know which of our illustrators are good at which jobs. Plus, we have many years’ experience dealing with a variety of art projects and illustration briefs. In addition to that, we always try to make sure any potential clients who ask for our help know what to expect when it comes to working with an illustrator and commissioning a custom illustration, as well as what they might expect to pay.

Got a job for us? Submit one via our jobs submission form or if you’d like become a member of HAI check out our join us page.

Santa, Snowmen & Reindeer, it must be the Christmas Mail Packs!

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The order of members’ (mostly) seasonal postcards for the final mail packs of this year have just arrived from the printer! We’ve also had some nice Christmassy ones sent to us directly from members, so the mail packs will be full of festive cheer.

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We’ll be busy getting everything organised and posting out the sample cards to the illustrators today, then we’re ready to start putting the mail packs together next week. Once these have been sent out to clients, we’ll be holding back on sending any more mail packs until around mid-January to give everyone time to get back into the swing of work again.

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It’s twenty days until Christmas and we hope everyone’s looking forward to it. We know we are!

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Free hosting with hai!

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All members of hire an illustrator are now entitled to free website hosting. I’ve debated for a long time whether to offer our illustrators hosting space on our server and have made the decision that it’s a good idea. One reason that we held back for so long was that we weren’t quite sure how much to charge them. Hosting is such a competitive market that if we were to charge too much it would be pointless… So I’ve come to the conclusion that “free” is a fair rate.

If you’re a member and you want to take advantage of the free hosting, log in to your profile and search for the Free Hosting link in the admin. If you’re not a member of hai, hard luck. Our free hosting is only available to our lovely illustrators and artists. If you would like to become one of our members… Submit your portfolio for consideration.

The above artwork was created for Research World by the talented Scott Balmer. Please check out his portfolio to view more of his work.

How our Art Buyer enquiry process works

Part of our job here at hai is to recommend members to clients who contact us directly looking for an illustrator. We get lots of enquiries each week from clients via our Art Buyer form on the site, by email and through social networks. Usually (if they haven’t already) we’ll ask the client to complete the Art Buyer form to give us the information we need to help them find the most suitable artist(s) for the job.

Enquiries come from a wide variety of individuals and businesses, including publishing houses, magazine art buyers, advertising agencies, self-publishing authors and corporate clients. The jobs can range from a private commission for a portrait to a global advertising campaign, but we’re always pleased to help out whatever the size of job.

We ask for as much information as possible about the commission and style of work the client wants, then once we have those details we go about recommending hai members who fit the bill. Most of the time the client will decide to directly contact the artist(s) they are interested in to discuss the job. Sometimes clients will ask us to get in touch with the illustrators they like first, to see if they would be available and interested in working with them. Either way, hopefully the end result is that one of our members gets the job!

It sounds pretty straightforward and it usually is! Sometimes there can be a lot of going back and forth with the client to work out the details, or when offering advice around the issue of cost. Likewise, if someone is new to working with illustrators they can have a lot of questions, and we’re always happy to help people understand how the wonderful world of illustration works.

And on that note, if you are a someone who is thinking of working with an illustrator and aren’t sure what is involved, there is the fantastic resource Learning How to Commission Illustration by Randy Gallegos, available to download free at http://www.hireanillustrator.com/how-to-commission-an-illustrator.pdf It’s a great place to start!

If you would like us to help you find an illustrator, don’t forget about our Art Buyer form!

Your site and portfolio reviewed in 140 characters! :)

#illo140 portfolio reviews via Twitter… Twitter account required!

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Is it possible to review a persons work and/or site in a hundred and forty characters or less? We’re not sure, but we’re going to have fun finding out! This Thursday (12th July) at 15:00-17:00 BST we’re going to be reviewing illustrators work and sites on Twitter. How it works is simple… As soon as the clock hits 15:00 (10:00am EDT) we want you to tweet your website URL @hireanillo with the hashtag #illo140

Which means your tweet will look like this (but with your website address!)…

@hireanillo http://www.illustration-site.com #illo140

As soon as you do that we’ll be on the ball checking out your site and sending you a reply. The reply might be a short comment, advice, praise or a confused look if you’re not an illustrator or artist. Please note all replies will be public, so if you don’t want the world to know what we think of your work don’t ask. We’re not planning on taking any prisoners! 🙂

Please make sure you’re following @hireanillo on Twitter before taking part. If you’re not we can’t DM you if needed. Also we’ll post up a list of out favorite sites when all is said and done and if you’re not following us you won’t hear about it.

The first tweet illustration is by the wonderful Otto Von Beach!

Making the most of your hai membership – posting news

So, you’ve joined hire an illustrator and now you want to know how to make it work for you…

Whether you’ve been a member of hai for a number of years or you only joined us yesterday, there are lots of ways to help get our service working even harder for you. To help you do this, we’re starting a series of short articles here on the blog to provide some practical tips for getting the most from our website and services!

Let’s start with the news.

All members can submit news posts to the site through the post submission form in the website admin area (you need to log in for this). You can tell us about your latest commissioned work or personal projects, an event or exhibition you’re taking part in, cool new stuff on your website – anything that relates to your work as an artist, illustrator, animator or designer.

Members’ news is displayed on the illustration news page and in the most recent news section on the home page, as well as the news archives which can be searched by keyword or date. Each day we choose a couple of items to feature as headlines on the home page and every week we choose pieces for the newsletter. Additionally, we repost hai news onto the Little Chimp Society and post about some of it on Facebook and Twitter.

Obviously, all of this means that you can benefit from quite a bit of additional exposure by posting about your news on hire an illustrator. Most importantly, if you add news regularly you will keep your work and name prominent on the website and in plain view of potential clients. It’s also good for clients to see that you are always producing new work and keeping active with what you do best!

Don’t forget, as well, that the news keyword search provides another way for clients to find you when they are after a more specific type of work or subject matter (e.g. ‘poster‘ or ‘music‘). Please also bare in mind that to get into the weekly newsletter, you need to submit news to the site!

We would encourage all members to submit news, even just occasionally, as it really does help you to maintain a strong, active presence on the website. And anyway, it’s always so amazing for us (and everyone else!) to see all that seriously cool new work!