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Finding your niche!

It’s all well and good telling people you’re a Jack of all trades… if you’re a handyman. But even if a client doesn’t have a specific style in mind, you’re not going to stand out from the crowd. Not being able to show people that special thing you do means you’re not special at all, or to finish the saying… a master of none.

Judge Dredd - The Natural ©Rebellion

Judge Dredd – The Natural © Rebellion

I’m not saying people shouldn’t expand their horizons, it is just that it takes time to build a business and you shouldn’t run before you can walk. Illustrators should find something that they’re really good at and make sure any potential client knows it. You want to pigeonhole yourself and make sure you’re the go-to guy for something specific. Deciding to play to your strengths doesn’t necessarily guarantee work, but it does mean you’re competing for clients in a smaller field with less competition. By narrowing your market you’re actually making more work available to yourself and not less.

Where's Stig? The World Tour - BBC Books

Where’s Stig? The World Tour – BBC Books

For example if someone’s looking for an animator, they’re going to hire an animator and not a children’s illustrator who dabbles in animation. The Jack of all trades might not even be on the client’s radar if they’re not specified what they specialise in for the sake of wanting to not miss out on a job. The same goes for comic book artists – if that’s what you do, that’s what you should call yourself. People will hire comic artists for more than graphic novels and comics, but they tend not to hire people for comic work if they’re not a ‘comic book artist’. Also as far as I know, specialists or people who work in a niche market tend to get paid more too. Have a look at successful illustrators, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree the common thread is that they all have a specific style and that they tend to work for similar clients and do variations of the same kind of job, time and time again. There are exceptions to the rule, but not everyone can be Damien Hirst.

Find your thing and make it yours! The world is your oyster.

Artist Credits…
Judge Dredd / Graeme Neil Reid / http://illo.cc/528
Where’s Stig? / Rod Hunt / http://illo.cc/9747

We built the new HAI website

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It took almost three months, but we did it. The new website we built for Hire an Illustrator is now online and you can check it out at hireanillustrator.com. The old site was just over six years old (a dinosaur in internet years) and really needed an update, but we didn’t want to stray too far from the established design as we believe if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. HAI is an important part of many creatives’ daily routines, whether it’s updating their own profile or searching the site for an illustrator to hire. It needed to be easy to use and familiar to avoid any major learning curves when it came to the new site. The most important part was clients being able to find the type of illustrator they wanted as quickly as they did on the old site. And the 500+ members needed to know what they were doing with the new site without a series of complicated instructions.

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We rebuilt the site from the ground up, as the old site had five years worth of patches and fixes to keep things running smoothly. It would have actually been more work to drag the site into the 21st century than rebuild it. We worked on making the site as fast as we possibly could while integrating modern technology and techniques. We’re pleased to say the site is now fully responsive, which means you can use it on your laptop, iPad or smartphone with ease. Finding an illustrator has never been easier.

We’re really happy with how the site turned out and we hope the members of HAI love it too. Traffic has increased and job requests for illustration work are already up by a third and we’re sure that trend will continue.

If you’re looking for an illustrator, the staff at HAI are more than happy to assist you with your quest: hireanillustrator.com/i/submit

Likewise, if you’re interested in becoming a member of Hire an Illustrator, you can sign up at hireanillustrator.com/i/apply.

First things first.

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It’s a little bit late, but happy New Year guys! Mail Me Art: Open All Hours (MMA4) is still going strong, although we’ve been a bit lately quiet on that front. We’ve decided to delay the exhibition and latest book for the minute and start the ball rolling on them again in late 2016 which will be followed by the launch of Mail Me Art: Apocalypse (MMA5). However, this does mean that MMA4 is now open again for submissions and all you need if you’d like to take part is the Mail Me Art: Short & Sweet (MMA3) book. The reason for the delay is that the LCS is currently working on a complete redesign of the illustration promotional service Hire An Illustrator and it’s no small feat. Once that’s complete we’ll be fully updating Mail Me Art’s website and social pages and further integrating them into the Little Chimp Society to turn the LCS into the creative community hub we always intended it to be.

The awesome bit of mail art above was sent to us just before Christmas by our friend Beach and I’m sad to say today… RIP David Bowie (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), legend.

The London Illustration Fair 2015

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Taking up residence in the Bargehouse, a four-storey warehouse on the heart of the South Bank, The London Illustration Fair 2015 will showcase the work of 50 young, emerging illustrators, selected by an esteemed judging panel made up of some of the UK’s leading figures in the illustration and graphic arts. – The London Illustration Fair

December 4th-6th… More information.

Carlos Garde-Martin‘s newly formed collective Hip! Hip! will be there exhibiting and doing live Gocco printing with bags of quality art related stuff to buy. The video above is from Carlos’ Brighton Cityscape Mural. It looks like the Illustration Fair is going to be an awesome event.

Introducing Comic Artist Brendan Purchase

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The man, the myth… Nah only kidding! Brendan’s only been working professionally as an illustrator and comic artist for 3 years now. But what makes him worthy of a mention on the LCS is that we’re really digging his style and the offbeat look of his character work. It’s a refreshing change to the over-polished work dished out by the House of Mouse and DC these days. The organic feel and obviously hand drawn look in my opinion (when it comes to comic work) gives the reader more opportunity to use their imagination and really get into the story. Brendan’s style of work only tends to be seen in indy comics, which is a shame really. It’s not as if bodies and the human figure aren’t distorted beyond nature in the mainstream comics and graphic novels, so why can’t comic artists be a bit more loose with their artistic interpretation instead of perpetuating a distorted view of beauty? Anyway! That’s another topic for a whole other conversation. Brendan’s figure work looks bloody awesome and you know the work was done by someone with talent that cares about art.

Check out a bit more of his work below and have a gander at his full portfolio at brendanpurchase.co.uk. He specialises in horror and dark imagery and is currently taking on new commissions.

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