Do more of what makes you happy: my first postcard mailer

After a few years of trying to get some illustration experience (having none after coming from a graphic design background), finding my style, figuring out which areas of illustration I want to specialize in, and building up my portfolio, I finally feel like I’m ready to take the next step: sending out a promo postcard mailer to potential clients (companies I want to work with).

Before I even finished the illustration for what-would’ve-been-my-first-postcard-mailer, I already had a better idea.

This is my quick and lazy concept sketch. I’m almost embarrassed to show you this. I drew this slumped over on a couch, and it shows 😛 My intent for this introductory postcard is to introduce these three things to new clients: 1) myself, 2) my illustration style, and 3) what I like drawing (to get similar work).

Do More of What Makes You Happy - my postcard mailer
I like drawing children, cats, cupcakes, objects, hand-drawn lettering.

 
My concept was “do more of what makes you happy.” It’s a phrase I first encountered on Pinterest about a year ago, and it’s made an impression on me since. It’s an idealistic and somewhat indulgent thought I believe in, having done exactly just that a few times by resigning from stable design jobs to do more of what makes me happy (which is illustration).

I didn’t intend to include the actual phrase in the design, just the idea behind it. I set up the illustration to have my cartoon self working in my studio, surrounded by little things that make me happy: drawing, my cats Sushi and Tiger, cake and candy, taking pictures, my work and my computer, arts and crafts, coffee and tea. I had to limit myself to include only things that would make sense in a work (from home) setting, otherwise I would’ve thrown in a giraffe in there or a suitcase and passport (travel makes me happy, too).

Do More of What Makes You Happy - my postcard mailer
Art imitates life: most of these objects are an illustrated version of their real-life counterparts.
I don’t have a red and white striped mug though, or a yellow polka dot teacup. I wish I did.

 
I compiled all my elements into a 5 x 7-inch portrait layout.

Do More of What Makes You Happy - my postcard mailer

 
I was pretty happy with the first output (left). But after some thought, I decided to stick to a cream, red, and turquoise color palette (right). I thought that while there was nothing wrong with the all-color version, the second version shows more thought and restraint, color-wise. It also reflected the color scheme of my real-life studio. Potential clients won’t know that, but I have every intention of having this design printed as a poster for my studio walls so it’s nice to have them match 😛

The red/turquoise color scheme also matches my business card, which I got printed a few years ago.

businesscards.jpg

 
I was ready to take my design to print, but decided to play around with the layout a bit more. What if I actually added the words “do more of what makes you happy”?

Do More of What Makes You Happy - my postcard mailer

The Internet is on a quote kick. It’s all about empowerment, feel-good mantras, witty one-liners. These are what get pinned and re-pinned, hearted, favorited, reblogged, liked and shared, and printed and tacked on to bulletin boards and inspiration boards. With that in mind, I decided to include the phrase to give more meaning behind the design of my mailer. By doing so, it became the design’s new focal point, and me-the-illustrator was now secondary. Which is fine because with the new design, it then had a new purpose. I hope that when an art director receives it in the mail, he relates to the message and tacks it up on his bulletin board beside his computer as a daily reminder, instead of filing it away together with the other mailers he receives on a regular basis from other illustrators. That way, my name and URL is constantly in his line of sight. Haha, at least that’s what I hope happens 😛

The final design that went to print, with the red/teal/cream color palette:

Do More of What Makes You Happy - my postcard mailer

 
I also added that word balloon at the bottom. Now it kind of suggests that working with me makes one happy. Hahaha. That was totally intentional ;P

This is the back of the postcard.

Do More of What Makes You Happy - my postcard mailer
Keeping the tone light, casual, and conversational.

 
There’s space to write a short note on the left, if needed. The pun-ny tree stump stamp (*insert canned laughter here*) didn’t make it to my final print file as you’re supposed to leave that space blank so as not to violate USPS regulations, but it’s a fun element nonetheless.

I just sent my file off to the printer (Overnight Prints— same company that printed my business card above)– hoping to have my postcards out to potential clients by the middle of the year 😀 I’m excited 😀

Sunday Snippets: on speaking English, how I draw sunblock, and the land of Oz

A question I get asked often when I'm in the US.

 
I don’t remember what I was thinking of that prompted this quick, warm-up drawing I made last week. But it’s a true story and during my last trip to the US almost a year ago, I got asked that question more times than I can count in a span of two months. One such incident was when I visited my cousin at her college dorm in Irvine and I was introduced to her American roommate.

“Your English is so good!” the roommate exclaimed, after I answered the requisite questions on where I was from and how long I was staying in the States. She wanted to know how I learned English. Now, I’ve encountered questions similar in nature every time I go to the US so I already had a ready answer, unlike the very first time I was asked how I knew English (I was 12 years old at the time) and all I could say was, “I don’t know.” But back to the roommate. Before I could launch into my canned answer (“English is the language of business in the Philippines and school is conducted in English as well”), my uncle spoke for me, winking. “She learned English on the plane on her way here.”

* * *

 
Here’s a small detail from an illustration I’m working on. It shows a good visual step-by-step process of how I draw in Adobe Illustrator.

sunblock.jpg

 
I draw my outlines first then fill them up with color. Color is not my concern at the earliest stages, but getting the form and shape right. Nothing too refined or perfect (unless the project calls for it)– for this, I drew freehand on the computer with a pen tablet and I wanted to retain the hand-drawn quality, hence the uneven lines. Once I get my shapes in, that’s the time I change the colors and see what works best. I add details then shadows and highlights last.

* * *

 

 
I watched Oz The Great and Powerful yesterday. I knew nothing about the movie other than the fact that it had something to do with The Wizard of Oz story we’re all familiar with, and that Rachel Weisz is in it. I’ve loved Rachel Weisz ever since she appeared in The Mummy with Brendan Fraser. I try to watch every movie she’s in.

With no expectations before going in to see the movie, I ended up loving every bit of it. Well, most of it. I did not like Mila Kunis’ one-trick-pony portrayal of her character and James Franco’s greasy hat hair and unstable acting. I thought that perhaps Johnny Depp would’ve been better for the role. But that’s not really what I want to talk about. What I LOVE about the movie is how much of a visual feast it is– from the motion graphics opening title sequence, to the set, the costumes, and most especially, the backgrounds.



 
The visual effects were beautiful, whimsical, and at times a bit garish and over-the-top, but it’s Oz. Maybe it’s supposed to be. Oz the Great and Powerful is an enjoyable and entertaining family film which I think I will be catching in the theaters again, for another look at the visuals.

Oz photo sources 1, 2, 3, 4

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(Sunday Snippets is a new, semi-regular Sunday column on my blog, a disjointed, catch-all entry for the little random snippets of art, random thoughts, interesting links, and whatever’s catching my fancy at the moment. It’s my own kind of microblogging.)

Learning my ABCs of illustration and self-promotion

I’m about to send out my very first postcard mailer to art directors and potential future clients abroad. As a freelance illustrator, self-promotion is important, and one way of catching an art director’s and potential client’s eye is going the old-school route: sending a postcard mailer. It’s essentially a direct mail piece but a pretty, less spammy one! You’re still trying to hard-sell a product (yourself/your work) but you do it in style.

Wedgienet's alphabet

 
I thought it would be best to show what I like drawing the most to get work related to what I like drawing– children, animals, cupcakes, colorful things, and my hand-drawn letters. I’d want an art director to look at this piece and immediately know: 1) the illustration style I work in, and 2) the market or audience my illustrations aim to capture. I think this communicates that perfectly. However, towards the end of completing this illustration, I changed my mind and decided this won’t work well for an introductory/first promo mailer. It fails to introduce ME, the personality behind the illustration. It will still work as a postcard mailer, but maybe not for my first as I think it makes for a weak first impression. It doesn’t even have a cat in it! #crazycatladyproblems

Alphabet icons
Alphabet icons
Alphabet

 
I’ve already finished a new, stronger design for my mailer and it’s going through the finishing stages before it goes to print, but I’m not letting my work on the alphabet piece go to waste (it was fun to do!). I’ve made it available on my Society6 shop as a print, a canvas bag, iPhone case, cards, and other merchandise.

 
In the meantime here’s a little sneak peek at the new direction I went with for my new mailer:

Postcard mailer sneak peek

 
Can’t wait to get this printed and get the word out 😀