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At Pick Me Up London, i was pleased to meet London based illustrator Alice Bowsher. She had been recommeded to me by Jenny from the YCN to look at her work and from here i decided to email her asking some portfolio advice and whether she had any tips on how to get started as a freelancer ๐Ÿ™‚ Below is our Email correspondance, she was very helpful and asked if i’d like to meet her and her collective at Pick Me Up London at Somerset House, to ask them all some questions and i was very excited to do so.

On 17 Apr 2015, at 19:57, Megan Cox <megan.cox@study.beds.ac.uk> wrote:

Hiya Miss Bowsher ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m a 3rd year illustration student and i was recommended to look at your work by Jennie at YCN and i am definitely a fan of your style of work, i especially like the 3D work you created for the shop window at YCN ๐Ÿ™‚ i was wondering if i could ask some portfolio advice. I am unsure of how to present a physical portfolio to potential clients, as i am not sure of creating a traditional portfolio folder i wondered what promotional materials if any, you send to potential clients? I also was wondering if you had any advice for someone just starting out in the business ๐Ÿ™‚ Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks very much
Megan Cox

On 19 April 2015 at 11:32, Alice Bowsher <alicebowsher@gmail.com> wrote:

Hey Megan,

Thanks so much for your email, lovely to hear from you.
I donโ€™t suppose youโ€™re coming down to London for Pick Me Up at all? Iโ€™m going to be there with some friends and it may be easier to talk in person if you fancied?
If not, I promise I will write you a proper reply, just things are a little mental at the moment!
Cheers,
Alice

On Sun, Apr 19, 2015 at 11:46 AM, Megan Cox <megan.cox@study.beds.ac.uk> wrote:

Hiya ๐Ÿ™‚

yes il be there on this thursday when it opens! ๐Ÿ˜€ that would be great thank you, is it a certain area you will be in? thats fine dont worry i’ll bet its very busy getting ready for that! ๐Ÿ™‚
thank you
Megan
On 19 Apr 2015, at 11:51, Alice Bowsher <alicebowsher@gmail.com> wrote:

Ahh that’s great news. I will be there in the morning and we will be on the mezzanine with ‘Niles Collective’. We have ‘Super mundane’ coming in to do some work with us that morning if you were about he does some great work and might be a good one to talk to as well.ย http://supermundane.com/

But yeah, just come and find our stand and I should be there!
See you then, have a great week till then!
Alice

Alice Bowsher

24 Apr (2 days ago)

to me

Hey Megan!

So lovely to meet you yesterday.
So sorry I was a little out of it, hope we gave you some helpful advice and you enjoyed Pick Me Up.
Do give us a shout if you needed any more help.
Best of luck with everything, Iโ€™m sure it will be fine!
Alice x
Above is our email correspondance ๐Ÿ™‚ ย The one above was after meeting her, she wasn’t feeling very well on the day but she gave me some excellent advice and all of her friends in the “Niles Collective” were very helpful too and very willing to tell me how they got started in the business after graduating!
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These are the photos i took from their booth at the event. The project they were working on involved one person in the collective starting with an image or narrative to respond to, they then created a response and passed their response onto the next person in the collective.Who then created a response to that, and they continued this until each person had responded to the previous persons illustration/ creation and this created some really interesting results and might be a nice little group project for us to try at uni?
Below are a summary of our meeting and the tips/ info i received:
  • Alice suggested having a traditional portfolio as well as a more contemporary take, but her physical portfolio is not a ring bound portfolio but all loose sheets in plastic wallets so its easy to lay out all of her work
  • Her and the other members of the collective all send out various types of promotional materials, one illustrator said he sent left over prints from his university exhibition, whilst another sends out a complete mailer package which consists of some postcards of his work, a business card and a cover letter that is short but individual to each recipient. Alice also said about sending work to Its Nice That, because apparently they like to recieve physical examples of the work ๐Ÿ™‚
  • they also explained about what a collective is, these illustrators don’t actually work together very often but they put on exhibitions together and giving themselves a group name makes them more established and it does seem very professional. They were all from the same course at the same university and enjoy working together. Its not actually a formal thing like i thought but a group of friends who enjoy creating together and help eachother progress as illustrators.
  • They also told me about their jobs before having enough work to go freelance, one man was the print technician at his university, whilst Alice taught a few days a week at a school running art classes. It’s good to hear that there is no shame in pursuing other careers for as long is necessary for your freelance career to hopefully take off, Alice said though its good to stay at least loosely related to your field.
  • It was suggested to approach publications and magazines that are new on the scene, because they will be easier to approach than a very established publication with illustrators lining up to do work for them, one of the members of the collective said he receives alot of work this way.
  • It was also suggested to find out the names of specific art directors and publishers and write to them as opposed to the company itself, and emails whilst easy to ignore are also very useful and be sure to keep them short and sweet and include your website
  • I also met Elliot Kruszynski another London based illustrator, he was the one who suggested mailers and packs to send out to clients and he is also a studio manager and technician at the Fantastic Print Club London and hes also been featured in People of Print and on It’s nice that. here is his website:ย http://elliotkruszynski.co.uk/Toys
  • Social media is the way to go, especially instagram according to members of the Niles Collective
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