April 19th, 2005
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promoting the quick and dirty way

Sometimes getting to the work is like trying to move while wearing lead shoes. I have to give myself little rewards for everything. (“If you finish this task you can sit outside for half an hour.”) The weather is reason enough to keep one from anything that needs doing.
I am currently working on a new promo which in fact I am quite excited about. I was speaking recently to a friend who is a graphic designer and we talked frankly about how we both got overwhelmed at the idea of doing a new promotion. Every time. A string of thoughts immediately fly in, must make sure it is appropriate, must have excellent presentation, must show our best work. All of these things only serve to pressure me to do something great, the bane of every artist. As I sort through my recent illustrations I feel inadequate and discouraged. And in fact most times it just causes me to give up in frustration.
So when I was asked by my new agent to do a two page promo showing a selection of my work I was a bit hesitant. She was asking for colour copies, something she could hand out to various publishers, brief bio, client list. Quick and dirty. Hmmmmmnn. Well, normally I would want to create a little booklet, a small portfolio with at least 12 pages, bound nicely, etc., etc. I would want to, and it would be too much for me to do. I got excited about trying something different. And I was reminded of one of the things I like to tell myself…do the OPPOSITE of what you thing you SHOULD do and see what happens.
So I went home and put together a two page colour promotion (in less than a day), showing several pieces, got it printed, and mailed it out. All in under three days total. No labouring for weeks, feeling grumpy and untalented. I feel pretty proud when I see all of my work and accomplishments sitting there simply on those two pages. Done.
So now I have decided that I am going to send this out to various clients too. My professional mind screams, “you haven’t sent out a colour copy since you were in art school, what will they think! Real illustrators do flashy printed promotions.” Yup it’s true. But I think I’m going to try it anyway, what the hell. The interesting thing here is that when I talk to art students I often tell them to just send out good colour copies, don’t fuss over it too much. Needing to follow my own advice.
Do the opposite. It is much better than getting overwhelmed, taking weeks, and potentially not doing it. Sometimes doing Less than expected means that you actually complete the task at hand.
(*above piece done for American Salon Magazine, April issue, on the topic of domestic violence)

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