Monday, September 29, 2008

They're in!


  Imagine my surprise on Friday when I came back to find a stack of boxes waiting for me. My postcards! I'm glad to say I'm uber-happy with them (yellow, especially bright yellow, can be a funny color to print, FYI). Today I'm going to Staples, and the premise of buying mailing labels has never been so exciting. 

  However, for some reason I do get a thrill out of office supply stores. When I was a kid I marveled at all those pads in special colors for special jobs with special little boxes in them to check for special reasons (eh, I think you get the point). So, even now I still like to stroll the aisles looking at stuff and marveling at the super-sized jugs filled with red vines and coffee creamers for office spaces (does our office population REALLY eat that many red vines???).

On another note, I was reminded last night how AWESOME the resources are in two books: Artist's and Graphic Designer's Market and Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market (mine are both 2008 editions). They give you tons of advice, but my pay off is the client list! It tells you who the art director is, what they're looking for, what they're NOT looking for, guidelines, tips from the companies... the first one has everything from magazines and publishers to ad firms and galleries. It makes my Borders trip look like child's play. If you're new (or newish) to the freelance scene, these books are worth it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Promotional Mailers of Fall 2008

They're done!




 Not only are they done, but I updated my contacts, too! It required a Taco Bell and root beer break, but it's FINALLY DONE! Now I just have to wait for the suckers.

 And if anyone is curious, I use GOTPRINT.COM for my printing needs. They are much more affordable than other companies and I have never had a color issue with their products. This post was sponsored by them and the letter G.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

From the Vault

Beep Beep!, originally uploaded by lauren minco.

Enjoy "Beep Beep!", which once was a print on Etsy as well as the opening image for my website. Thank you for all your help, old friend.

Even though I have quite a few things happening in October, my mind is already thinking about the end of 2008. I am going to make a portfolio book (the nice printed ones like all my friends had for their grad thesis's. SO nice) and these will be sent out to choice clients. One will definitely be Dark Horse Comics. I saw them this past spring at the Surtex convention in NYC, and the rep there was favorable towards my stuff being used for their products such as stationary. I think my chopped up mermaid and smoking little girls can find a rather nice home and following there. I would be lying if I said I was all ready to go with that. Preferably, I'd like to do two more images for them if time allows- maybe another mermaid (pirate mermaid!) or a superhero-inspired character... obviously not a normal superhero... maybe one playing a guitar...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Society of Illustrators West 47

Narrative, originally uploaded by lauren minco.

You may be thinking "Hey! She already posted that. Is this a rerun??".

 No, dear readers. It's only me showing you my entry for the SOI West 47 competition. This one is going into the "gallery" section because "unpublished" is going to be full of entries. This painting was for 1301 Gallery In Nebraska. I'm hoping that maybe...just maybe I might get accepted. In fact, it's the first year as a real illustrator that I've entered, because usually my money is used for groceries rather than entry fees. Also, for the first time I feel like I have a painting that is ME, and not just me trying to do another portfolio piece and such. Wish me luck- I don't find out until November. Oh, the suspense!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Stan Arrives

Stan Arrives, originally uploaded by lauren minco.

It's Saturday, my last Saturday before I begin teaching on the weekend. Thank goodness it's not the morning session because I would be exhausted after teaching at Montserrat on Fridays. Today (drum roll please), I will send the mailers out to get printed! No excuses. There will be 3 different cards, some going to more teen/tween market clients and others to more general clients. In the end I'll have 500 of each! Now I just have to update the client list...

The above piece was inspired by a Coconut Records song, one line saying "I wish you could put yourself in my suitcase", and it put some fun imagery in my head. The actual painting is done on a cardboard backing from a used up wax paper palette. Since I was invited to a group show where the theme is "recycle and reuse", I thought I should just make the piece work for the theme.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Express Yourself

Express Yourself, originally uploaded by lauren minco.

Ladies and gentlemen, my website is updated! To celebrate, I'm blogging about a piece that is finally ON the website even though it was made more than a year ago. It didn't get uploaded because the original is 18"x24" and I just never got around to scanning the sucker. Behold it's online debut!

This is based off of an old assignment I had about the phrase "Say Something". To update the concept I simply changed the phrase a little bit to "Express Yourself" (although cue the Madonna song, right?). I really wanted to do the dragon, but for some reason I kept trying to convince myself that it "wasn't meant for my style". At that point I knew it was do or die time. Besides, if I started to doubt myself, I knew I wasn't going to take the necessary risks an artist/ illustrator has to.

Lauren 1, Dragon 0.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Bear Hat Girl, originally uploaded by lauren minco.

Well, I'm sad to say that I did not win anything in the Etsy Kid Contest. Thanks to all who supported me! As they say in the film industry, "it's an honor just to be nominated"...

I scanned some more work today and am hoping to have the ole website updated by this weekend. The MAILERS, which have been the bane of my existence lately, should be done by Saturday (or heads will roll). Then I will begin the process of updating contacts at the local Borders, with me on the ground hoping no one sees a woman in her mid 20's peeking inside Teen and Seventeen Magazine for art directors' names , let alone Cat Fancy (seriously, I want to have that magazine on my client list. I mean, Cat Fancy just sounds ridiculous. Ridiculously awesome).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Wendy, originally uploaded by lauren minco.

I have to start painting for the Fall RISD Art Sale! Above is one of many paintings I've done in preparation.

Unimportant things on my mind:

1) plane tickets are going to be EXPENSIVE this holiday season.

2) Is "Bones" on Monday night or Tuesday night this Fall? Wait...Wednesday? I think it's Wednesday.

3) I truly do paint too many characters with guitars.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Graphic Designers are your friends!

bear mailer new Pictures, Images and Photos

bear mailer old Pictures, Images and Photos

If you ever make a promotional mailer, it's great to have some graphic design-savvy friends look over it. They can help you with typography, use of space, and making sure your postcard doesn't come off as I-have-a-copy-of-photoshop-but-can-you-tell-I'm-an- amateur? For this next batch I was working with square images and wanted the images and text to read comfortably but also effectively. Of course your art is the center piece, but remember that overall presentation is very important.

For instance, The above version is the improved version (but "illustration" will be gone from the final design and obviously I will spell my name correctly in the final!). Below is the old one. Some things my buds mentioned...

1) centered text makes you look very inexperienced. That's GD 101 right there. We went with the right justification with the margins.

2) The font I was using had odd spacing, especially with the "i". The new one has more cohesive use of space between the letters.

3) Like I mentioned before, we're taking out "illustration" mainly because I used it as filler.  You'd be surprised how much empty space you can have in an area and still have a good design. People who don't know how to do effective GD usually want to make type too big or stuff an area with too much info.

That's it for today! I'll show you the final along with the back sometime next week. :) 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Editorial Illustration: What are the Pros and Cons?

Woodland Girl, originally uploaded by lauren minco.

Hey troops,

I thought I'd honor my Editorial Class that I teach by blogging about some pros/cons about the market. This was stuff my students and I discussed in class, and for some of you it might be helpful, for others just interesting.

First of all, editorial illustration can be described as any artwork made to be printed in magazines and/or newspapers. It usually accompanies text with the goal of complimenting or enhancing the topic, whether it's a social commentary or a review of the current Harry Potter Movie.


*You are a fast worker.

         Deadlines are quick, usually around 2 weeks.

* You like working on several small projects instead of one big project.

        Some of us are the multi-tasking queens and kings. If you get bored easily, sometimes       longer projects (like a children's book that takes a year) will loose your attention and patience. With editorial assignments you can work on several different pieces all at once.

* You want flexible work

    I take the summer off from editorial work simply because I have a very big teaching schedule at that time. If you decided that you need a break or have other obligations coming up in your schedule, you can turn off the editorial faucet and turn it back on when you're ready. Likewise, if it's a slow month you can take on another job or two without making any serious commitment.


*You don't play well with others

   If you can't handle an Art Director giving you advice or requesting changes, than don't even try. Team players will do well, but artists that are protective of their work will make the process a living hell.

*You prefer one long project to work on.

    Pretty much the opposite of what was stated above. You won't find 6 month long projects in this field of work, nor can you make a reasonable living just doing one at a time. Successful editorial illsutrators can handle 3 or 4 different projects at once.

* You don't want to actively promote yourself

   Many artists and illustrators fall short of their potential because they simply do not advertise their services! Creating a website or making a portfolio on sites like is a good start, but if you sit back and expect people to just find you...well, don't hold your breath! Meetings, mailers, and other forms of advertisement are also needed and deserve your time and attention. Furthermore, once you get hired by an Art Director, don't expect them to hire you constantly. You have to remind them that you exist!

So that's it folks! Soon I'll be discussing basic skills on promotional mailers for all you artists and illsutrators out there. Same bat time, same bat channel.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weddings, booze, and art

The Masked Guitarist, originally uploaded by lauren minco.

I've just returned from a wedding in Maine (which was very lovely) and some other exciting things happened this weekend!

* I've been invited to participate in a group show in downtown Providence during November.

* people still want to buy paintings from me, hooray...and...

*My show form Omaha is over and the 12 year old daughter of the owner loves my mermaid piece (you can see it below). The lass is a little shy about the exposed breast, however, so I've been asked to make a second version, boob-free of course! I am always very honored when it's the younger crowd that falls in love with my work. I think their appreciation of things is very pure and sincere.

Above is a fun little ink sketch that has a simple colored background. I'm experimenting with some pieces like this in my Etsy store and testing how popular they are.

Monday, September 1, 2008

ETA 4 Nahcotta Postcard

ETA 4 Nahcotta postcard, originally uploaded by lauren minco.

It's pretty cool to see that one of my paintings was used for the Nahcotta Gallery promotional mailer for the upcoming Tiny Art Show. There are some very talented artists that will be displayed in the wonderful space that Nahcotta has in New Hampshire. It's a shame I can't be there for the opening!

Kudos to my college students on Friday. I am happy to say they are a good group and am excited to see what art they produce this semester.

I'm hoping this week to do my mailers (cue soprano-singing angels) as well as do a couple of paintings that are due. One is a commission while the other is just a personal piece that will be on Etsy later. Wish me luck!