Spring cleaning your HAI portfolio!

Spring is here (yay!), so what better time to log-in to your HAI profile and make sure everything is up-to-date? Here are a few suggestions to help you freshen-up your portfolio and get the most out of it…

Highlight image

As the first thing that potential clients will probably see, your Highlight image is really important. Check that the image you have uploaded to the ‘Images’ section in your profile represents the work that’s in your portfolio and really stands out. The image you upload should be 160 x 160 pixels square, jpg.

Gallery images

When did you last add new work to your portfolio gallery, and maybe get rid of some older pieces that aren’t the kind of thing you do any more? This is where you can have a really good Spring clean, dust out the cobwebs, and make sure you have your current – and best – work on show!

Portfolio categories

Occasionally, members don’t choose the best categories for the work that’s in their portfolios – for example, artists who do beautiful figurative work who don’t select ‘Fashion & Beauty’. This means that when clients search these categories, they don’t see everyone who might be suitable for their job. Why not grab a cuppa and have a browse through your portfolio to see if there are any categories you could be missing out on using?

Social links

If you change your Facebook page or set up a new Instagram account, it’s very easy to miss some of the places where the links to them need updating. Have a quick check to see if the links from your portfolio are still working and correct them if not.

Image Credit: Livia Coloji

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.

Server Maintenance

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We’re planning on moving to a bigger and better server, so if you’ve tried to log into your profile and have been redirected to this blog post we’re in the process of migrating at the moment. It should only take an hour or two to make the move and once complete you’ll have full access to your profile again to make changes and submit news.

It’s always a worry moving from one system to another, as you know if you’ve ever done it yourself. We’ve moved servers several times over the last few years as we’ve out grown old machines, or new technologies have become available. Moving a small site is easy-peasy, but when you’re looking at moving the equivalent of 300-400 small sites in one go with hundreds of clients relying on you as part of their business, there’s no shortage of pressure to make sure everything runs smoothy with minimal downtime. Although the tech industry would like you to believe everything is just point and click these days, doing a server migration just isn’t that simple and requires a lot of prep work.

We’re really excited about the new system, we’re going to get a bump in RAM to make everything more spritely. Plus we’re getting super-fancy Solid State Drives to replace our old fashion HDs, again this should give us another bump in speed.

Image by Emory Allen for the Pacific Standard (September 2014).

Post-Showcase 100 normality

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So, it’s been a couple of weeks now since we were in London with the Little Chimp Society for the Showcase 100 exhibition. The dust has finally settled and we’re pretty much back to normal here now (or as normal as things ever get!) πŸ™‚ We had a fab week and a really good night on the Thursday for the private view – it was wonderful to meet everyone and we’d like to thank you all again for coming. It was very busy and we certainly had a great time – we hope you did too!

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The Framer’s Gallery were wonderful yet again (the LCS held the last Mail Me Art show there) and it’s definitely our favourite venue in town for this kind of thing. It’s easy to get to, everyone there is so helpful and the space itself is perfect for arty events of all sizes.

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A number of the 100 prints were sold on the night, but the rest are now for sale in the LCS shop at Β£40, unframed. They are very high quality archival prints and there’s a wide range of subjects and styles, so there’s sure to be something to tickle your fancy. Can’t decide which one you want? Then why not buy the SC100 book and be able to peruse them all at your leisure? There are still some books available to buy here.

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We hope to make Showcase a two-yearly event, with the LCS continuing to run the project for HAI members. Being able to offer opportunities like this to our members is really important to us. It adds an extra dimension to our community and provides the chance to meet-up with people and celebrate the wonderful illustrations that they create.

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Finally, a special thank you is in order to the lovely Eleanor, who travelled down from the Midlands for some gallery experience and did a sterling job taking photos on the Thursday night!

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Agent search, submit your news and SC100 update

looking-agentWe’ve made a few recent changes and added a couple of things to hai in the last few weeks. The first one is that members can now tell us if they’re looking for an agent to represent them or not. We have always helped illustrators out if they’re looking for an agent, but we’ve now made the process simpler. There’s even a secret page for selected agents to browse for new talent.

gallery-sort-megOther changes are that there is now a reminder on the member’s news submission page to upload their new work to their gallery. And on the gallery ‘add image’ page there’s a reminder to submit new work as news. We have considered combining the gallery and news archives in the past, but we find it works best to still have the two as separate things. The galleries give the illustrators more control over what they’re showing potentials clients and the order they see the work in. Plus if they find their style of work changes over time they can adjust their gallery to reflect this.

Four boxes containing just over 100 black edged frames for the Showcase 100 artwork.

Four boxes containing just over 100 black edged frames for the Showcase 100 artwork.

With regards to the Showcase 100 project we’re running in conjunction with the LCS, all of the work from the final 100 artists is now in and the frames for artwork have arrived. Next on the LCS’s list is to get all the artwork printed up and the accompanying publication designed. You can find out more about the project at http://sc100.co.uk

Illustrators’ skills and such…

hire an illustrator – Search

Due to a simple change on the site (we changed the “Art Buyer” link to “Submit a Job”), we now have even more clients asking us to help them find an illustrator for their projects. To help us find the right people for each job even more efficiently, we’ve introduced a new section for our members to let us know about some of the many illustration-related skills they have. So for example, if a client needs someone who can do live drawing for a conference, convert an image into vectors, or use specific software, we’ll now be able to recommend members faster. This new information will be a big help to us in connecting the right illustrators with clients and overall improving the quality of our recommendations. Please note that the skills section is not currently viewable on our members’ portfolio pages. You can get in touch with us using the Submit a Job page.

We also thought it was time to introduce a few new portfolio categories and separate out a couple of the areas that were getting a bit big for their boots. For example, the children’s and young adult category has now been divided into two sections. You can see our updated categories on our advanced search.

Hopefully these changes will make it even easier for clients to use hire an illustrator to find the right illustrator for the job!

Art PACT

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We’re super-pleased to announce that we’ve entered into a pact with Art PACT! hire an illustrator members are eligible for a $10 discount off PACT membership, while members of PACT can get 10% off an annual membership when they join us!

But what is Art PACT, I hear you cry? Well, if you don’t already know, Art PACT is a fabulous resource for illustrators – think interesting articles, reviews of clients, sample contracts, advice and good old fashioned encouragement to succeed in the wonderful world of illustration. We heartily encourage you to go and take a look: http://www.artpact.com/

Showcase 100 has a website!

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We’re excited to announce that the LCS Showcase 100 project in partnership with hai now has it’s very own website! You can learn more about the project and exhibition, find out how you can get involved, and see some of the entries we’ve received so far at http://sc100.co.uk/

Once the judges have made their final decisions we’ll be adding the selected artists and artwork to the site, and of course, we’ll be making updates with more details about the show and book nearer the time.

Call for Showcase 100, an LCS project

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We’re proud to announce after a number of requests that The Little Chimp Society is organising a group project and show exclusively for members of hire an illustrator. The project is called Showcase 100 and will run from now and culminate with a public exhibition in London in April 2015. The LCS will be printing and framing all of the work on behalf of the artists involved. Plus, they’ll be creating an exciting publication to accompany the show. It’s going to be big and it’s going to be brilliant!

If you wish to be part of Showcase 100, sign up for a hai profile and email us for more details. http://www.hireanillustrator.com/i/submissions/

Artwork by hai member Tony Healey.