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Recommending illustrators for jobs…

Screenshot of the job submission form.

Screenshot of the job submission form.

Over on hire an illustrator (the other site we run) me and Jane take it in turns to handle the job requests that come in asking us to find illustrators for the requester’s project. Sometimes it’s tedious, sometimes it’s fun and exciting. Normally we’ll recommend a dozen or half a dozen illustrators depending on the job. It’s not always easy finding the right illustrators for the client’s request, but we do the best we can.

Many moons ago I used to CC (Carbon Copy) the recommended illustrators in on the reply to the client so they could see the process and know what we were up to. But I had to put a stop to that because as soon as I sent a reply out I’d end up with a dozen emails from the illustrators asking for more information and the illustrators would also follow up with the client rather than waiting for the client to get in contact with them. It’s all fine and good for an illustrator to keep on top of things, but it wasn’t a follow up with the client a week later to find out if they’d found someone for their job. Instead, it was an email 10 minutes later telling the clients they could see more of their work at some web address. When 4 out of 6 illustrators do this to the client when they’ve already been sent links to portfolios which hopefully contain the illustrator’s best work it’s a bit overkill. Hence why I don’t CC the illustrators anymore.

My problem is that we’re running a promotional service for illustrators, but they can’t see all the hard work we put into pushing their styles and skills to potential clients. I guess there’s not much we can do to change that even though we’re doing 10-15 job requests a day, I just wish we could get the illustrators more involved without the site devolving into a job board. The way we work at the moment is if a client’s budget isn’t high enough for the type of work they want we’ll tell them before any illustrators are even mentioned. We also advise clients in the politest way possible how to proceed when there’s no budget for a job. Most clients are brilliant and over the 7 years we’ve been doing this we’ve build some really strong relationships with clients who come back again and again to hire our illustrators.

We love what we do, it’d just be nice for our customers (the illustrators) to see what goes on behind the scenes. We know the service we offer has value, maybe one day we’ll figure out a way to visibly show it’s value. Until then, it’s business as normal and back to the job requests.

If you want us to help you find an illustrator for your project, submit a job at: www.hireanillustrator.com/i/art-buyer.

Long live the Little Chimp and his merry band of super talented friends!

Mario Wagner for the Financial Times chimp.cc/73759

John Harrison by Mario Wagner for the Financial Times chimp.cc/73759

It seems every week fewer and fewer people submit news to the LCS. Which is fine, people’s habits change. This doesn’t mean the LCS is going away any time soon. Over the last few years our focus has moved away from us being an art news portal and towards being an outlet for our products and projects. We run Mail Me Art and Showcase 100 along with offering hosting services for our users and we’re also constantly updating our blogroll with new websites. We’ve got upcoming projects in the form of a new zine and we’re very excited to be launching a clothing brand next year. Products, publications, exhibitions and events are our future and that’s what we’re doing. It takes time to move from being a little website with user generated content to a group of people who curate exhibition, publish books and create merchandise, but we believe it’s worth the sweat and tears. We’re here for the long haul.

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Image credit: beachy.co.uk

A little while ago we said a sad goodbye to Illustrationmundo, it was fantastic website and it’s going to be missed. Nate Williams was kind enough to let us have the old IM artist interviews for reposting on the LCS, along with the ICONIC Podcasts. We’ll hopefully get these up on the site in the coming months for posterity and for people new to the world of illustration to discover and love. If there was a hall of fame for contributions to the online illustration community, Nate would be in there along with John Martz (DRAWN!) and Jason Arber (Pixelsurgeon).

The Little Chimp Society is a still a community and everyone is welcome to join. Users can still submit news and we’ll share the pieces and announcements that grab our attention. We’re growing and looking to the future, but that doesn’t mean we’ll forget about the talented people who got us here in the first place. If anything our evolution will allow us to give back and further connect with the thousands of followers and fanatic members of the LCS. As Dr. Emmett Brown said “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads“.

Welcome to the LCS blog…

Apefluff by Darren Di LietoFormerly Apefluff.com, the new LCS Blog will be musings, articles and comments from Darren Di Lieto (founder of the LCS) normally unrelated to any specific news item. The Apefluff archive has already been migrated to the LCS and added to the Blog category so you can still check out all the old Apefluff blog posts.

Apefluff was originally Darren’s illustration portfolio website when he used to freelance, but when that came to an end it was turned into a personal blog. The blog went through several changes including a private forum for close friends and a number of restarts until it became the official blog of the LCS, but now has come the time for it to become part of the actual LCS website.

Goodbye Apefluff, it’s been fun! Hello LCS.

Stay tuned to get background info and hear about all the brilliant projects we’re working on.

SEO, no shortcuts

I finished my second hour of SEO work yesterday on a site I’m helping out on at the moment. I need to give it a few days now before I can do my 3rd and last hour. SEO is a fickle thing and there aren’t really any shortcuts. It’s a painful and boring process, but I don’t really mind doing it. I just hate trying to explain to clients that there’s no easy fix, they won’t see instant results and I can’t make any promises.

It’s even more difficult to explain this when you’ve got other so-called SEO experts promising they can get your client on the first page of Google before they’ve even seen or explored the site. The techniques used by these experts with their to-good-to-be-true promises should have been sucked into a black hole in 2004. What I do is optimise the site to the highest standards I can within the time allocated for the job. I look at keywords used, the placement, the code and site speed along with optimising sitemaps. It’s not an easy job, but if the site’s competition has done it you’re levelling out the playing field. If they haven’t, then you’re a step ahead of them.

SEO doesn’t stop at the site when you start to pull email newsletters and social networks into the job as well, but there are only so many hours in the day. Telling the bots and users where to look for your fast and beautiful content is really the only way to go.

This isn’t what the WHOIS is for…

Just got a marketing call that irked me. I run a hosting company, so I register plenty of domain names. What happened was basically a design firm is going through the WHOIS records of recently registered domain names and phoning people and offering to design them a new website to go with their new domain name. They do it in a chummy way which is really annoying, like being asked how your day’s been in the supermarket at the checkout by the till assistant when you just want to take your shopping home. The main problem with this though is I thought it was against the rules or even illegal* to use the WHOIS records in this way. I get enough spam as it is without this phone spam becoming a normal thing. It was a London-based design firm by the way. They called me, spoke for a moment, hung up and then called me again. I think they hung up the first time because they realised they hadn’t used a blocked number as the second call was from a blocked number. They hung up on me again when I told them they shouldn’t use the WHOIS records for marketing. End of story.

If you want hosting or a domain name from me visit Gimur Hosting. I keep data protection close to heart and your privacy is very important to me. Plus I handle all support requests, so you always know who you’re dealing with.

*Update: Apparently it’s legal to use it for marketing and there’s nothing to be done about it. Although these are the terms you agree to when making a WHOIS query…

The Data in this WHOIS database is provided for information purposes only, and is designed to assist persons in obtaining information related to domain name registration records. It’s accuracy is not guaranteed. By submitting a WHOIS query, you agree that you will use this Data only for lawful purposes and that, under no circumstances will you use this Data to: (1) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission of mass unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations via e-mail(spam); or (2) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that apply to this WHOIS or any of its related systems.The provider of this WHOIS reserves the right to modify these terms at any time. By submitting this query, you agree to abide by this policy.

I’m guessing no one is enforcing the terms of the search and I’m not sure if making a sales call counts as commercial advertising as it only lists solicitation as being via email.

Bumbling along like busy busy bees!

We’ve been so busy over the last couple months. I finally posted up some of the new MMA4 mail art on the Mail Me Art website and we got the ball rolling on the Showcase 100 project. I even got a SC100 project page up on the LCS. We’ve been so busy in fact I’ve not really had any time to stop and write about it. Time to get back to ticking jobs of my lists before I start babbling about all the odds and ends we’ve actually been doing!

Because you love illustration

I see so many illustrators put so much time, effort and love into their work… I’m almost in awe of the results. But then when it comes to showing the work around they seem to devalue it by promoting it with very little care or thought. It seems that they feel they’ve done their bit so the rest doesn’t matter. This just isn’t true! When the time comes to show the labours of your love publicly, you need to take the same amount of time, effort and care with the promotional process if you want people to take an interest in your work. You can’t just fob people off with a ‘look at this new illustration’ attitude and then leave it at that. You’re doing yourself a great injustice by not connecting properly with your network of peers and clients.

We want proper descriptions, we want context, we want WIPs, videos… We want to support you, but you need to make us care about your work the same way you do. Some illustrators do this very well, some are even better at doing this than they are at illustrating, but by being good at promoting their work they add value to it. Please put the time, effort and love into everything you do and not just the bit you enjoy. I think illustrators are brilliant and I really want people to really see the value in what they do.

Like me! Like me! Like me!

Well, everyone is on Facebook these days and we all know how “likes” work. I have a Facebook page along with a personal page, as it makes sense to keep family and silly stuff separate from work and official stuff. I do like things on Facebook, I actually “like” quite a lot of things… But…

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If you’re going to send me a message via my Facebook page with a link to your page and the words “please return the like”, I’m not being funny, but you’re putting me on the spot. What if I follow the link and I don’t really like your stuff or it’s really not to my taste, but it’s OK. If you’re going to send me a link to your stuff and you want me to check it out ask me to do just that. Then there’s no pressure and if I like it, I’ll “like” it. It’s scary the number of messages I get where it’s “I’ve liked you, now like me”. Plain and simple, I don’t trade “likes”. I like what I like.

You can “like” me, if you like me at https://www.facebook.com/lieto or if you don’t like me, I’m sure our dog Finlay would love some love. https://www.facebook.com/finlay.mcboo I’m not the type to roll around when my belly’s tickled, but he definitely is.