a girl who creates

Category: promotion

Business Cards
June 29th, 2011

I hardly ever use business cards in everyday life, but you kind of have to have them (even if it is just to win a free dinner at a restaurant) so after re-branding earlier this year, I thought I’d ditch my old “HOLLi CONGER designs” ones and get some new ones printed up. To maximize my $ and varied illustrated logos, I went with small square cards. I printed them double sided and 2-up per card at Overnight Prints and then cut them.

1 comment » | business, promotion

New Portfolio Site & A Giveaway
June 27th, 2011

So most of you all know that I love to test things out when it comes to marketing. I like to see what works and what doesn’t and then evaluate it. We’ll I came across a new site I found via twitter called That’s My Folio. It’s brand new and get this, it’s only $12.50 a MONTH for 15 images. With that low a price, any illustrator (even newbies trying to break into the field) can afford to test it out and they give you your first month free (use promo code 1month). Since I only subscribe to one online portfolio listing site right now, I though I’d give it a try. I love how easy and clean the site is and how big the images show and since it’s just starting up, you really have a chance to get noticed on there.

I was so impressed with the site and since it’s new, I thought I’d help Lanette and Patrick out by promoting it on my blog so I asked them a few questions so I could post about it:

Do you have a background in illustration or publishing?
Patrick has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in marketing. He has done some marketing for Prairie Breeze Gallery in Mitchell, SD. He has also been working on website marketing independently for the past 7 years.

Lanette is an admirer of art and creativity in many forms, with an Accounting diploma and over 20 years of customer service and sales experience (6 of those with a local bookstore). She is learning more about marketing by attending local business conferences and workshops.

Why did you decide to start a portfolio site with all the others out there?
It started with Lanette’s desire to start her own business, grew as she and Patrick brainstormed on what types of businesses either or both of them could do, gained substance as they focused on what they wanted their lives, careers and world to be about, and jumped onto the World Wide Web as an easy-to-use, professional site that still maintains a personal feel, geared to help illustrators get their talent shown to the world.

We are not planning to overtake all (or any) of the great portfolio sites that are already available. We just want to offer a smaller, more personal and affordable site where illustrators can feel like more than “just another artist”.

What type of advertising do you do to promote the site and the artists there?
At this time, we are focusing on social media advertising and have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We also believe word-of-mouth communications via blog posts and articles and networking are very valuable. We have recently begun placing ads online on some blogs, also. Our site has been developed to be as search-engine friendly as is currently possible, including an opportunity to upgrade with mobile web use in the near future.

We are networking at local book fair/festivals as well as small business conferences and workshops.
Within the website itself, we are using a featured artist spotlight and a blog area that we hope will help create some “buzz” about us.
We do welcome any suggestions for marketing and advertising that anyone might have!

AND Lanette and Patrick were so nice to allow me to offer a free one year portfolio to another illustrator. So, it’s Giveway Time!! All you have to do is enter in one of 3 ways:

1) Leave a comment on this post.

2) Leave a comment on my facebook page under the contest status update.

3) Copy and paste this RT in your twitter status:
RT @HOLLiCONGER enter to win one year subscription to @thatsmyfolio http://tinyurl.com/437y8td #illustrator #illustration

PLUS following and liking That’s My Folio on twitter and facebook won’t hurt either :)

I’ll draw a name next Monday, July 4th. Good luck!!

And the winner of the 1 year subscription to That’s My Folio is the fab, ! Congratulations Wendy!

40 comments » | giveaway, promotion

April 26th, 2011

I’ve been on an alligator kick lately. I have a huge empty canvas hanging in Ocee’s room waiting for an alligator to appear on it, but I can decide what I want it to look like yet. I’ve got sketches galore but not settled on one, but I have seemed to show up in some other pieces. This one is for our current promo mailer for Illustration For Kids:

and this one is for a greeting card/sticker combo:

One day I’ll decide on “his” but for now I’ll just stare at the white canvas. At least he doesn’t know it’s not supposed to be blank.

Later gators!

1 comment » | junk-a-doodles, latest work, ocee, promotion

February 19th, 2011

I’ve been working on doing some re-branding for myself since my efforts to separately market the children’s & licensing side of my business hasn’t work like I planned. They tend to crossover all the time, so I’ve decided to brand them as one and not try so hard to keep them separated. I’ve been playing with ideas for a while and really wanted something I could easily change if I wanted to, while still keeping a consistent look. I have a entire page filled up with characters and objects so I’ll never get bored. Here are just a few:

Now I just need to get my sites all combined and I’ll be set!

21 comments » | business, licensing, promotion

Custom Portfolio
December 3rd, 2009

Target recently contacted me (via a contact made at SURTEX) to send them “my book” to share with their creative team. My 3-ring binder of samples or my black leather portfolio was not going to be good enough for them, no, no. I needed something that said “Hey, look at me!”, showed off my style from the front to the back and incorporated my love for found objects, lettering & color, so I created an entire customize album (that I can use later) where the contents can be easily edited and expand to any size.

I mailed it off a few weeks ago and got it back today in the same condition I sent it. I had a professor in college who had made this really cool portfolio that turned into a house (as part of her application for a architectural graduate program) and when it came back to her, she said the person looking through it must have been eating a snickers bar. There was caramel & nugget stuck to most of the pages. So thank you Target creative team for taking such good care of it.




(I’m pretty big on reusing packaging materials so that’s what I did)

Comments Off | lettering, licensing, promotion, surtex

Podcast Interview
December 1st, 2009

I was recently interviewed by Thomas James of Escape From Illustration Island about how I promote my work. The podcast is now available so take a listen. Hopefully you’ll get some ideas on how to market yourself as an illustrator. After my Surtex trip to NYC I became more aware of my southern accent so if you hear some “twang” in there, feel free to giggle. It apparently amuses those not from the south :)

And in other news, next year I will be relaunching Living The Creative Dream. After a year of examining what I’ve done (I’ve even written a book on marketing for illustrators – but no takers yet) and what my original plan was to do with the site – I’ve decided to stick with what I know best so I’m shifting the focus more on helping other illustrators with their marketing. So stay tuned for that.

6 comments » | interview, podcast, promotion

art filled weekend
September 11th, 2009

I am determined to have an art filled weekend! I have a promo to do for the Illustration For Kids mailer, greeting card ideas to finalize, some product ideas to compile and send to a manufacturer, plus start junkin’ my pumpkin for my annual contest & exhibit (you can follow Pumpkin Junkin’ on twitter or facebook for updates)!

Comments Off | licensing, promotion, pumpkin-junkin

HOW now brown cow?
August 19th, 2009

Thanks to Jeff Fisher, I’m quoted in the October Issue of HOW magazine which happens to be the Self-Promotion design Annual. If you are any kind of artist selling your work, this particular issue should be on your shopping list every year. This is a really great article about social networking for creatives and Jeff does a great job of it with his business. I met Jeff on the HOW forum around 8 years ago and he has always been so helpful to those newbies and veterans in the design field. Be sure to follow him on twitter and become a fan on facebook.

I thought I’d share my full interview so you could see how I use social networking:

1. Prior to your involvement in sites defined as “social networking” what
constituted the online presence/involvement of your business? Website? Forum
participation? Online portfolios? Blog?

I’ve always had an online portfolio and website, but when I first started out, I participated on a lot of forums. I read more than I commented or posted and then moved onto blogging that opened me up to other illustrators who were more on my level (career-wise) and I could connect to them better.

2. When and where did your business first venture into social networking?
LinkedIn? Facebook? MySpace? Twitter? Other?

I’ve been on LinkedIn for a good while now and have been able to find some good contacts that way. I’ve also found it to be a great place to update my mailing list. With everything going on in the economy, I’ve found that a lot of publishers have laid off their creatives so I’ve been able to see who all is where now.

I’ve never been on MySpace – it’s always seemed so “high school” to me and most of the people I’ve seen on there have beer parties every weekend!

I joined Twitter in February of this year. It became an instant addiction, but in a good way. I’ve been able to network with a lot of other artists and it makes it feel like I’m working in the studios with other colleagues. I know a lot of people on twitter just like to have large following numbers and will follow anyone just so those will follow back – I follow people who I’m truly interested whether it be their art, a service or their personality. I don’t have time to weed through people I’m not interested in.

I joined facebook a month or so after twitter. I’ve been resistant to joining facebook because I didn’t want to mix business with personal. I didn’t want to hook up with old friends (there’s a reason they are “old” friends!) and didn’t necessarily want to mix my personal conversations with business. I’ve been able to keep it pretty professional by automatically posting my tweet to my facebook status*.

*Note: since this interview, personal was bleeding over to professional a little more than I liked, so I’ve started a fan page that is business related. To get all my business “friends” to meet me over there, I posted this status:

“Attn: FB art/design friends: I’m switching business things over to a fan page to separate personal from biz here on FB. Please, don’t take it personal if I unfriend you, I just need to redirect your friendship over there -… we can still talk:) To get my updates “fan” me over here: http://www.facebook.com/HOLLiCONGERstudios and “follow” me on twitter. Thanks for understanding guys!!”

Almost everyone has fanned me over there now.

3.What business benefit did you initially see with your initial social
networking experience?

In a way it makes me more accountable. I usually let people know what I’m working on or what I have coming up and since I’ve publicly mentioned it, I feel like I really need to follow through on it. It also make me feel like I’m working with others in the studio.

4. What social networking sites or tools are you currently utilizing to
market and promote your business efforts?


5. How do you specifically make use of these resources as a self-promotion

I mention what I’m working on and link to what I’ve been working on (usually housed on my blog agirlwhocreates.com). I’ve mentioned my online shop some (typographyphotography.com) to generate business – but overall I use it for networking.

6. Which social networking resources is currently the most effective in
bringing business to your firm?

I haven’t been on twitter long enough to see how it’s bringing business my way. LinkedIn lead to a pretty lucrative design/illustration contract that feeds me work monthly. I found the company through another contact and noticed in their profile that they were hiring in-house positions. I emailed them to see if they would be interested in working with me on a freelance basis. They said yes and they have been one of the best clients I’ve ever had!

7. Have you recently moved away from using certain social networking sites
that you used more in the past?

I don’t participate or read many forums anymore. I started finding them less and less helpful to me professionally and there tended to be a lot of nay-sayers and know-it-alls that I just didn’t like to be mixed with.

8. What social networking resources do you see your firm making greater use
of in the future?

I love twitter and see myself using that more and more. I like the real-time aspect of it.

9. How do you balance the expression your company brand and your own
personality in your social networking efforts?

I think it’s important to show your personality, but I’ve chosen to have a more professional appearance on the internet as a whole. Everything is searchable and what you say could come back to haunt you! I mention my family, etc. every now and then and talk about by daughter a good bit (she’s my studio assistant and I will miss her terribly when she starts kindergarten in the fall!) but don’t discuss my beliefs or political views. I have gotten a little more personal on twitter & facebook only because it’s more real-time and I tweet on this-and-that that’s happening right then.

10: What one piece of advice would you give other creatives as they consider
the possible use of social networking opportunities for marketing and
promotion of their business?

If you’re using twitter for your business, keep things professional. Make sure you don’t say anything you wouldn’t want your client or potential clients to read. Personalize your twitter background. I’m surprised how many creatives I follow that use one of twitters unattractive backgrounds. Take the time to add your style to it. Make sure you link to your portfolio or blog in your profile. I have several artist who follow me and I don’t follow them back because they haven’t included a link in their profile. i want to know who they are and see their work. Also, take your client list and promo mailing list and see who all is on LinkedIn and Twitter. Maximize your marketing efforts that way, plus it’s free!

Comments Off | promotion

Surtex Planning: Part 5
April 17th, 2009

Surtex is officially one month away and I still have a ways to go, but I;m feeling really good about my progress so far. I figured out my booth layout and what all I will show (the biggest stressor for me). I used my skills from my environmental design class in college to work up a to scale elevation of the booth:

The green areas are what I already have printed out, the pink areas are what I still need to print out, the blue areas are signage and the orange areas are things I need to mock-up (I’m still working on my last panel though). I spent Tuesday and Thursday this week printing. I am using someone’s large format printer by paying them per square foot. I like this better than sending it out somewhere and hoping it looks good when it’s all done. This way I can check progress as I go. Luckily I haven’t had any issues. I’ve cut everything out and will later mount it all on boards:

This week I also worked on some postcards for Surtex. I decided not to use the USPS postcards like i normally do because I’ll be writing small notes on some of the mailers and I couldn’t do that with the others. One is a mailer I plan to get out next week (we went through names yesterday and have about 220 people to send to), a bio postcard to hand out as giveaways and I had extras printed to include in any samples we mail, and thank you postcards (for Surtex and later). For the design I went with a design I originally went with
last year

I still have to print my other giveaway goodies, so hopefully I’ll get to all that next week. Other things on the to-do list:

  • Get everything printed and assembled for my press kit (everything is written, just need to print it all out)
  • Mock up several physical products to show
  • Mock up products to put in design book – I think I’ll get my designer to work on those next week
  • Start packing my suitcase of of things I’ll need for the booth (scissors, stapler, tape, etc.) – just filling it up as I go so I won’t have to get it all together at once
  • Chart out our road trip via Garmin
  • Download audiobooks for the trip
  • Shop for clothes and comfortable shoes

Now I’m off to spend the day preparing for the Woog’s 5th birthday party tomorrow!!

Comments Off | licensing, promotion, surtex, surtex planning

Licensing Postcard
August 23rd, 2008

I worked on a new mailer for licensing. Not 100% sure I like it yet though. I want to go ahead and get some promos out there and then figure out what my next step is for promotion. I don’t think postcards are the entire way to go for this type of work so I’m coming up with some other ideas. I’ve found a lot of companies who have take email submissions so I’ve emailed them my tearsheets. It’s been fun watching my stats as these companies come to visit my site.

I’ve also loved having the opportunity to just play. I’ve been experimenting with textures and more collage in my work. I’ve been able to break more rules and get out of the ridgidness (is that a word?) I’ve put myself into with children’s illustration. I’m loving it!

I have big plans and expectations for my licensing work and I’ve been tackling it like I did when I first started out to become an illustrator. It’s been so fun and I’ve already learned so much!! I’ve even decided to take on a marketing assitant who will do a great job for my business and I think be a great agent/rep one day. She has a sales background and is used to the phone call, meet and greet scene (something I’m not into and don’t like very much) plus, I’ll have someone to travel with for trade shows and such. Plus part of her responsibilities is window shopping so that’s right down her alley! I’ll be sharing what all she’s doing for me throughout the process.

Thanks to everyone for the “good luck” and “advice” emails. I really want to thank Vela at Little Star Soup for being so generous with information. Isn’t her work the cutest?

By the way, my desk still looks like it does from the last post. Maybe I’ll have time to clean it today….

Comments Off | licensing, promotion