A Curious Introduction; a Story of Self Promotion

A Curious Introduction; a Story of Self Promotion

Rough sketch for the Bugeyed Beatnik Buddy

Summary: A step by step account behind the conception of my promo mailer entitled, “A Curious Introduction.” I talk about the core ideas that I had intended to communicate, and about how the over all design helped to support those ideas. The post is punctuated by early sketches and drawings, at the end there’s a link to a free downloadable PDF of my portfolio.

“A Curious Introduction” represents the first promo created specifically for a targeted audience of Art Directors working in the field of Middle Reader/ Children’s Book publishing. I wanted this first card to present a clear message and to show that I can tell a story with images. The message that it is intended to communicate is simply one of introduction. Which seems appropriate as I introduce my work to a group of people who most likely will be hearing about me for the first time through this piece.

The way that I chose to show some key story telling capabilities was to create a little mini book of sorts out of the whole promo card. The card has basically 4 panels on it. On the ‘cover’ panel (where the address goes) I put the ensemble shot, or the location shot, or the establishing shot, whatever you want to call it!

an early concept for the rocket

Creating the second read was a bit more difficult due to restrictions from the USPS on where and how the address needs to go on the card. The reader has to flip the card over if they read the address panel first. As a, ‘level of difficulty’ this rates pretty low on the motor-skills test, however conceptually it’s a bit of a challenge to create that moment and to make flipping the card over seem like the natural thing to do. Time will tell how well that gamble paid off.

The second image is made to look like a chapter header from a young reader’s chapter book, and is an introduction to our characters, as well as to the main problem of the story. With the text, the goal is to get the reader to associate themselves with the two human characters.

rough layout introducing the main charaters

Finally on the inside, comes the pay off, a full color painting showing the solution to the problem. I created much of the piece around this moment. Again, going back to the message I am trying to send, I wanted to create a feeling of surprise that such an unlikely creature would be there to catch that wrench and to offer a helping hand.

Final Buggy Character Drawing
Final Buggy Character Drawing

"Surprise!" rough character sketches

A close up sketch of a perplexed space cadet

There are many other contributing factors that went into this specific image, such as that I wanted to show the genres that my work is appropriate for: a young science fiction and fantasy adventure series, as well as to convey an overall sense of warmth. Of course there are other small details and connections that are in there, but I’ll leave it to you to delve into the picture. After all where’s the fun in explaining away everything about the picture!

The final drawing for "A Curious Introduction"

After numerous drawings, revisions, consultations with friends, “A Curious Introduction” finally made it out the door an out into the wide world. It was actually a good learning experience for me on many levels, and I realized some past errors that I had been making with my promotional efforts, and, I was able to apply some of the lessons I learned over the summer at the IMC.

The exterior page layout final version The interior page layout final version

The final piece of my promo puzzle was to have something to offer. So, I got some help from my good friend and designer, and we generated a downloadable PDF portfolio of my work {you can go there now!} The amazing thing about the creative process is that while we often start off with an idea of one sort or another, invariably at some point during the process 10 more ideas pop up from nowhere! While this round of samples are up, keep a vigil eye out for new editions with other offerings in the near future! This PDF is intended as offering to anyone who’d like examples of my work for their own reference files. Please note that I retain all rights unless otherwise stated, please read the disclaimer before downloading.

Time will tell how effective my efforts are, and whether or not they will be fruitful. But, I can say in all honesty that I am giving this my all, and will continue to do so! My new mantra is; “Illustration is a full contact sport.” So, in that spirit, I am taking a attitude of complete engagement in my career as an illustrator. It is clear to me that to do any less is pure folly!

I hope that you enjoy seeing some of my rough sketches, and reading a bit about the thinking behind this promo. As ever, your comments are welcome here and my email box is always open if you’d like to drop me a line. Stay tuned also, next up will be a pen and ink piece that was done for a cool charity auction!

Thank you!

6 Responses to A Curious Introduction; a Story of Self Promotion

  1. Wow.. that is amazing.. Great work and a really neat idea for a mailer. If i received that in the mail I would definitely pick up the phone next time I needed an illustrator..

    good work!

  2. Cool process post – thanks for sharing. Just FYI in case you haven’t sent it to print yet – you spelled “consider” wrong on the contact spread.

    Good luck with it!

  3. EGADS! Has the evil spectre of spelling has had it’s way with me again? Well, I guess it’s better that I am at least asking to be hired on my ability to illustrate rather than spell! Sheesh, so silly.

  4. beautiful work. really interesting way to get their attention in a very crowded arena. wondering how it worked out. i gave up on illustration for profit a long time ago, but it’s hard to take the illustrator out of the artist.

The Un-taping of Bo Diddley