Presenting Amazing Adventures: An Exhibition of Art Inspired by the Works of Jules Verne. We’re partnering up with the Little Chimp Society again to bring our members the opportunity to be part of an exclusive exhibition and publication next April in London. The show will feature original works and high quality digital prints from our international community of talented illustrators, traditional and digital artists.
All of the artwork will be influenced by the Voyages extraordinaires series of novels by author Jules Verne: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Round the World in 80 Days and so on. This will be our first event where works are being produced specifically for the show, if you don’t count our involvement with Mail Me Art many years ago, and we’re really excited about it. So excited in fact, that our recent Artist in Residence Tom Martin has already produced a Jules Verne-inspired spot illustration for us for this very blog post – we can’t wait to see what our other illustrators create as well!
A special members’ update email will be sent out in the next few days with instructions on how to sign up for the show, and the requirements. We’ll also get events pages up on Facebook and Eventbrite as the gallery is already locked down and there’s no point in wasting time… and when it comes to the show, we’re hoping to see as many of you there as possible. It should be a fantastic event!
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Over the previous month of October, we had our first ever Artist in Residence (AiR), Tom Martin – or more accurately, Artist in virtual Residence! This has been something new we had wanted to try out for a long time and we’re very glad that Tom was kind enough to come along for the ride.
The residency involved one of our members (Tom) fulfilling our illustration needs over the period of one month. You would have thought finding an illustrator would have been an easy task for us, but things aren’t always that simple. Our first problem was that any artwork produced would need to appeal to our members and also draw in a wide audience of art directors and commissioners, so we didn’t want to go for anything too niche or risqué. Secondly, and most importantly, we needed to take into consideration that whoever we worked with would be a full-time freelance illustrator and we didn’t want them to be turning down commissions due to being too busy with working on pieces for us. You need to remember that part of our commitment to our members is that we’re constantly networking and finding them new opportunities and connections, so making sure that whoever was our AiR could handle the additional workload was essential.
When we asked Tom if he was interested in being our first AiR, we hadn’t quite ironed out all of the details, so there was some trial and error, but essentially we gave Tom directions and then allowed him to guide us. It was a misstep that we had Tom creating Halloween artwork for us in October that would be turned into physical items at some point, as lead time hadn’t been taken into consideration with all the excitement. There was no real need to worry about that though, as we’ll be getting the stickers and pins made up for April to show people at our next exhibition and we’ll have plenty in stock to give away as promo items to lucky clients when next October comes around. However with that in mind, from now on if an artist is working on something seasonal for us, we’ll get them to do it one or two months beforehand.
We really can’t wait to have the pins and stickers made and in our hands! The artwork looks great and we’re really pleased with the website background that Tom created for us, it’s brilliant! There were several other images that he created for us as well, two of them specifically for future posts on this very blog. You’ll have to keep an eye out for them.
We’d like to introduce our newest background, created for us by the very talented Emily Hare. We love Emily’s artwork and thought that one of her paintings could work really well with the site, so after discussing what was needed for of our backgrounds, we left it in Emily’s capable hands to come up with some ideas.
Here’s the first attempt and the work in process illustrations…
At this point Emily decided to go in a different direction, something a bit more cuddly. Although we did really like the previous image and were advising on direction, we gave full creative control over to Emily and we trusted her to complete the task at hand.
And here is the final piece…
We think Emily did a brilliant job and we love our new background! Please note: Emily may have already given the dragons names, but we’ve decided to call them Myrtle and Xaddrarth. 🙂
This year we will be retiring our mail shot packs and refocusing our efforts on collectable postcard-sized art prints. They’re going to be high quality and of limited runs. Our hope is to build a collectable series of prints that will also work as a promotional device that our client base will treasure and retain. There will be more than one set as our clients work in a large variety of markets within the illustration industry, for example we’ll have a children’s series, a separate editorial series, and so on. Our hope is that this new direction will lay the ground work for our physical promotional items for years to come and create a buzz that will expand our customer base beyond our dedicated contact lists.
We’ve been sending out mail packs and printing postcards for just over ten years now, and we always aimed to make the process as simple and accessible as possible for our illustrators. We believe we achieved what we set out to do and the packs have always been very popular with our clients. It has now got to a point though were we believe that we need to evolve and do more than what we were doing to continue to stand out from the crowd. We’ve always had more success with our physical promotions than other companies have had, but that has probably been down to our unique and guarded contact lists. Also, maintaining a healthy relationship with our clients – and potential clients – doesn’t do any harm and I’m sure is appreciated.
We’re not going to be making a sudden switch to the new collectable prints, as we would like to test the water and get some feedback from our long-term clients and members first. The plan is to phase out the regular mail shot packs over the next 3-4 months, so until then it’s business as normal. Keep sending us your cards and designs and we’ll keep sending them out.
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. 🙂
After doing a limited soft launch of our new website last Monday, everything seems to have gone well. So, today we’re rolling out our new site to everyone! Our new site includes improved portfolios and search options, plus we’ve gone fully responsive. Which means all of you who’ve struggled to use our site on your mobiles need struggle no longer. One of the biggest improvements to the site is that it’s now blazing fast; we’ve utilised all of the latest technology to make it as fast as humanly possible.
For our members, our dated administration has also had an overhaul to make it easier than ever to manage your profile and add new work. You may have also noticed we’ve increased the sizes of your images too.
To top off the launching of the new website, we’ve also got a new logo. It’s not a million miles from our old logo as there’s no need to change something if it works. We’ve just had it fine-tuned and embraced what it means to be an illustrator.
There’s only three days left until the Showcase 100 exhibition at the Framer’s Gallery in London. There’s still lots to do, but it’s always exciting being part of a show like this. Showcase 100, in case you don’t know, has been run for our members by the Little Chimp Society (LCS) and consists of 100 illustrations that have been selected for the show and book by our panel of judges. All of the illustrations have been framed as high-quality, archival prints and will be for sale at the show. There’s a wide range of artwork created by an equally wide variety of illustrators, so there should be something for everyone.
The accompanying Showcase 100 publication, featuring all 100 final illustrations along with lots of sketches and notes about the artwork, will also be available to buy at the exhibition as well as online from the LCS shop.
The show runs from 7th – 11th April and the ‘private’ view is on Thursday 9th April, 6 – 8pm. Everyone is welcome to come along on Thursday evening to join us for an evening of excellent artwork, free drinks and general natter. The gallery is located in the heart of Fitzrovia and is easy to get to, with Goodge Street and Tottenham Court Road tube stations only a few minutes walk away.
Thursday 9th April 6pm – 8pm The Framer’s Gallery
36 Windmill Street
London, W1T 2JT
Although there’s the slight smell of nepotism here, we’re very happy to announce the entire Little Chimp Award shortlist all happen to be members of Hire an Illustrator, yay! The shortlist are all fantastic and very professional illustrators who The Little Chimp Society has worked with or had a degree of interaction with over the last year. The nomination is a recognition of their talent and skill as a freelance illustrator and the winner for Excellence in Illustration will be announced in April. There will only be one winner per year, who do you think is going to get it?
While we’re mentioning The Little Chimp Society, they’ve just release their first printed artzine called Secret Self Volume One. All ten of the artists featured in the zine all happen to be HAI members too :). The zine is available to buy from the LCS now at only £5.99.
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.
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.
It’s twenty days until Christmas and we hope everyone’s looking forward to it. We know we are!
We’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.
Other 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.
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