My Top 12 LinkedIn Tips

top 12 Linkedin tips

top 12 Linkedin tipsEarlier this week I did a presentation about LinkedIn for the New York Digital Art Meetup Group which is part of the New York chapter of the Graphic Artists Guild. Below is the list of 12 tips I compiled for the presentation. I use most of these myself and hope they help you to take more advantage of the awesome networking power of Linkedin.

If  you aren’t connected with me on Linkedin, take a look at my profile and lets connect!

 

12 LinkedIn Tips

1. Keep adding connections
Think 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. The more connections you have the higher the visibility your profile will get when people do a search. The more connections you have the more likely you will be 2 or 3 steps away from an art director or art buyer who needs to see your work.

2. Complete your entire profile, to improve your connectability
Add as much information about your past education, employers, clients, affiliations, awards and about anything you can think of so that LinkedIn will suggest those connections to you. LinkedIn is like a living resume that you can change constantly. In fact employers are beginning allow you to connect your LinkedIn profile when applying for a job.

3. Create a Custom URL to improve Google Search
In your profile you have the option to customize your URL with your own name which makes your profile more visible on Google searches.

4. Always include a photo (or illustration) of you smiling
Give your profile a human face which makes you more approachable and helps to “brand” your profile. Use same photo or avatar on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so you will have that instant recognition between all the networks.

5. Customize your Connection Requests
Don’t just use the default “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Customize with a personal note, keep it short and brief but its a great way to add a connection who will actually take time to look at your profile

6. Connect to your email address book contacts who are also on LinkedIn
Search your email contacts or import your desktop email to see who you already know but haven’t yet connected with on LinkedIn. Go to Contacts>Add Connections and either connect to your email account or click the link below to import your desktop email contacts.

7. Add the Twitter LinkedIn Application
Your LinkedIn contacts can follow your Twitter feed without their having to be on Twitter.

8. Link your blog to your Profile
An excerpt of your blog posts links right back to your blog. It’s another way to get your blog and information about who you are on linked in.

9. Get and give Recommendations
Ask previous clients and/employers to give you a recommendation to display on your profile. Also offer to give them one in exchange so you both benefit from the credibility recommendations bring your profile.

10. Use LinkedIn Answers
This is an area of LinkedIn that people love and can allow you to learn more about potential clients/employers, get valuable information from your contact and more.

Here are some benefits and reasons to use LinkedIn Answers.
• Questions go out to the entire LinkedIn community.
• Answer questions and connect with potential new contacts or reconnect with past colleagues.
• Answer enough questions well & become an “expert” and you might get featured on the LinkedIn home page. You get “credits” every time your answer is chosen as a “best answer.
• Use the answers you give to topics and create a blog post on the subject and what your solution was. Or use answers you received to create a Blog post.

11.Join Groups
Did you know you can connect with others through groups? Join groups your potential clients are members of and request a connection through the group.

12. Use Behance to create a mini portfolio on your profile
If you have a profile through Behance.com (another social network but for creatives) you can add an application to your profile that will show a mini-portfolio of your work.

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Happy Holiday Illustrations circa 1984

I’ve been a little nostalgic lately since I’m approaching a milestone birthday this year. Today I started thinking about the covers I drew for my Jr. High newspaper. Lucky for me, my sister had made me a scrapbook long ago of memorabilia, and the covers were all there!

Looking at the covers, I realized these are my first cover illustration assignments ever! If I remember correctly we would be given a theme (like a holiday) and we had to incorporate the them with the ‘Peanuts‘ characters in a scene. We had no concept of copyright law at the time, but I guess since our little paper wasn’t quite mass market it didn’t matter that much.  I can see some of the early DNA of my art and drawing style in these, and I actually remember drawing them in the first place.

Here are two holiday themed examples since it seemed appropriate to the current season.

Thanksgiving Cover

I love the details of the brick (just a few grout lines here and there) and the titles on the spine of the books in this one. I think I must have liked drawing Lucy’s hair as well, the shape is very bold.

In the panel, Charlie Brown is saying, “You know you are in the Computer age when at Thanksgiving someone is thankful for their Atari 400!” I assume since my birthday has always been near Thanksgiving, this was more or less my way of saying “I want to be thankful for an Atari 400 so please give me one for my birthday.” Alas I never got a computer when I was in Jr. High or High School for that matter. Which was probably for the best as I would have been bored with it in about 5 minutes after getting one.

Holiday Cover

I think this one was definitely one of my favorite covers I did for the Viewpoint. I like my little type treatment of the name of the newspaper, and the fat lettering in the greeting. I guess I always loved to draw letterforms, and I still do now.

I tried to fill up the sky with a combination of snow and music notes, I guess I liked pattern and had the need to “fill the page”.

I think the funniest part is the little Woodstock hanging on to the end of the banner getting a free ride from Santa Snoopy. This was the year I also made a 3D Santa Snoopy out of 2 styrofoam cups, cotton balls and construction paper. My parents still have this ornament.

I’ll have to see what other “early work”  I can dig up.


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My MoCCAfest 2010 Comic Stash

MoCCAfest came a bit early this year, and it was one the best shows yet. For those of you who are unfamiliar, MoCCA is the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. Every year they hold the MoCCA Festival, a comic book/ art festival for independent comic artists, cartoonists and publishers.

Here are some of the books I picked up at this years show.

Monster Town Mini-comic Trilogy by Prana T. Naujokaitis, self published.

One of the best things about MoCCAfest are the beautiful hand made books that many of the artists create. I am usually a sucker for well designed, screen printed covers, and when the story inside lives up to the package, it’s a slam dunk. The 3 mini-comics (collected in a half slip-case) are each focused on 3 different citizens of “Monstertown.” The short stories are a quick, entertaining read that are related but aren’t sequential. Prana did a great job setting the world of Monstertown and creating individual personalities for each of the monsters. Two thumbs up!

 

 

 

The 120 Days of Simon by Simon Gärdenfors, published by Top Shelf

I noticed this book from afar because of the blocky typography on the cover and unusual, thick “airport novel” dimensions.  The story is based on the artist’s 120 day journey through his home country of Sweden. For 120 days he followed these self-imposed rules: he couldn’t go home to his own place and he could stay only 2 nights in any one place.

I am struck by the depth of the characters and how Simon’s experiences are causing him to make some interesting choices in his journey. Each page contains only two comic panels, so it makes for a quick read. The style of the art reminds me of the Peanuts characters, but with the main character doing drugs and having sex this book is definitely for adults only.

creating individual personalities for each of the monsters. Two thumbs up!
 

 

 

BodyWorld by Dash Shaw, published by Pantheon

I was totally drawn to the metallic foil, hard back cover with the sort of crude, graphic drawing and typography that I really love.

This is a collection of comic strips that originally appeared online, and now they are published in this unusual vertical format.

The vertical layout adds to the storytelling setting the stage for a world full of some unusual characters. There are also fold out maps of the story’s setting “Boney Borough” on the inside front and back cover. Great example of a big publisher adding some cool elements to make a beautiful book. I can’t wait to dig in and find out what BodyWorld is all about.

creating individual personalities for each of the monsters. Two thumbs up!
 

 

 

Over all there was lots of cool stuff at the festival. Even though the show is over you can visit MoCCA in Soho where they always have revolving works on exhibit as well as a ton of events and classes.

Illustrator for Hire, How to be Found by Creatives

HOW DO CREATIVES FIND ILLUSTRATORS?

As freelance illustrators we spend a lot of time marketing our work, and trying to find the best way to reach the people who hire us: creatives and art directors.

I decided to cut to the chase and ask my contacts on LinkedIN what methods they use when they are looking to hire an illustrator for an upcoming project or campaign.

Top 3 Ways to Find Illustrators

1. PORTFOLIO SITES

Sites like The ISpot, AltPick, Creative Hotlist, and Picture Book were mentioned the most.  People commented that because these sites host a variety of artists portfolios and have robust search options (style, subject matter, etc.), it makes them appealing to find just the right artist for their needs.

2. ILLUSTRATORS ON FILE/WORD OF MOUTH

Looking through the illustrators they have on file or getting referrals from colleagues was the second most popular method. No one specified if the files they were looking through were digital or physical, so I think that would be interesting to find out.

3. PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION SITES

Finally a few mentioned going to online membership lists of professional organizations such as The Graphic Artists Guild, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and  The American Society of Media Photographers. Creatives commented they look to these sites because illustrators who are members of these groups are more savvy and less apt to “flake out” on an assignment.

Honorable Mentions

-ILLUSTRATION BLOGS/COMMUNITY WEBSITES

A couple of creatives mentioned using community sites and blogs, like Drawn! and IllustrationMundo which are usually free to join.

-SOURCEBOOKS

Just one creative mentioned that they use Sourcebooks, the big hardcover books where hundreds of artists advertise. They did not specify a single book, so a few examples of these are The Directory of Illustration, Workbook and Le Book.

-PRODUCERS/ART BUYER

One creative mentioned they don’t even search for illustrators themselves but they have their producer (or art buyer at some agencies) do the searching for them.

Close, But No Cigar

No one mentioned using Google or Flickr which really surprised me. Also no one said the used an illustration agent to look at portfolios. One person said she found some agents through portfolio sites, but I didn’t count that as going directly to an agent.

So, how do you find an Illustrator to hire for your projects? Let me know and I’ll post an update.