Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On joining a portfolio site...

Hey guys and gals!

So I received the following e-mail recently:

Hi Joe,

Recently I viewed some of your illustration work online - this is great illustration work! Very talented and creative!

Are you interested in marketing your work to North America?

I'm a creative consultant here at I'd like to talk with you about further promoting your portfolio to our advertising, corporate and publishing clients in North America, and discuss how we can help increase exposure of your work to creatives and art buyers worldwide.

I should say we are not an agency, we do not represent artists. Our business is to help you market, promote and expose your work directly to various art buyers and increase freelance job opportunities for you.

I've worked with many Australian based artists who do very well on our site.

When would be a good time to call you?

It seems fairly clear, to me at least, that this is just a generic promotional e-mail with the name changed to the recipient. I'm assuming it's not a coincidence that I received this not long after I joined Illustrators Australia and got listed on their site.

I'm still at that early, first-year, starving (not really) freelancer stage, so I'm finding it difficult to justify the $400 annual fee (although there is a by-the-month fee trial sorta thing).

I posted the above on an illustration forum I frequent, and got a couple of responses from some of my favourite illustrators.

"Creative Consultant" is just a nice way of saying "salesman." Just after high school I almost took a job as one of these guys that you got the email from. Basically, my job would have been to surf the net and go to Comic Cons looking for fresh meat. I would get a commission for every artist that signed up under me. Then I would send a form email describing how the artist could set up an account with the company and list their portfolio on the site, then I would send form emails every few weeks reminding the artist to update their profile (because "current profiles got the most traffic"). I never felt to good about the whole thing so I never took the job.

Now, all that said. It was not for, and it wasn't $400 bones (if I remember right it was $50 to start, then $5 per month set as a reoccurring transaction billed directly to a credit card [very hard to cancel]).

If it were me, I would see if they would give you a free trial to see if it brought back any real work. Plus I would look for somebody that had already put up the cash, and I would ask them if it was worth it for them (just go to and search the artists there, get some of the contact info from their profiles, and send some nice emails. Hopefully they won't mind the question).

I hope this helps, and if you end up doing it, I hope you get lots of work and make lots of money and become famous and retire young and do whatever the hell you want for the rest of your life.

And another:

Creative Consultant say in email: You give me money and I maybe give you more money¤

The small print in left corner: ¤ that is if someone wants to give me money for your work, and if not, we do not care about what you earn or the money you have given us. )

Creative Consultant 1 say to Creative Consultant 2: "I got 6 today so far."

Creative Consultant 2 say to Creative Consultant 1: "I got 7, this is just a great job, sending some emails and then the money come flowing in."

And one more:

It's all advertising.

Making money off of wannabe illustrators is a huge racket. I used to get calls from Black Book and I still get them from Directory of Illustration and others.

My Rep puts everyone they represent on the iSpot. I've got friends who say it's gotten them work. There are a few reputable portfolio sites out there, some in particular are the iSpot and Illos, and there are a few others.

Do research, figure out who gets work from where, maybe contact some people who's work you admire on the site.

Lots of people knock advertising, but it's just an investment in your work. You have to spend money to make money. You might not get any hits, but the idea is more folks will get exposed to your stuff.

Useful advice from some respected people.

I love that the Internet allows me to converse with people who inspire me and have a wealth of knowledge about the industry I got myself into.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You might want to check out their testimonials, rather than accepting the opinions from illustrators who have too much time to spend online because they aren't working.

My hero is Drew Struzan, one of the most successful illustrators in the world. He's using them.

I put my money where the most successful artists are promoting themselves.

If you are not serious about wanting freelance work, then stick it out in places where art directors don't go and won't find you.

Exposure and marketing is the ONLY way to succeed, free and cheap generally means you get what you pay for. People looking to "hire" someone on spec or for little money.

How many people really make money off of being on Deviant Art or Myspace?

If after looking over hundreds of portfolios a week, someone sees potential in you, shouldn't you be appreciative instead of maligning them?