In the last couple of weeks I visited NYC twice for several days at a time. The main goal of my trip was promotion, visiting childern's book publishers to show my portfolio personally or to do a portfolio drop off. I was able to get a few personal appointments and those were extremely helpful (it's really hard to get a meeting with an art director in this day and age), the rest were portfolio drop offs. I was also able to arrange one portfolio drop off with a Boston publisher.
Thank you to everyone involved in this process for taking the time to look at my portfolio and helping me along the way: art directors, designers, design assistants, receptionists and security guards. Planning these trips took about three weeks in advance, and still there were a lot of confusion and hustle and frustration in NYC. I'm really glad that I finally took the courage and made the trip and took charge of my career. Plus, it was exhilarating to get out of the studio and have a complete change of scenery and pace.
I learned so much just from seeing how different publishing houses operate, where they are located, who they are, how the whole process of dropping off portfolios really work and seeing actual people in their work environment. You can only get so much from talking to people on the phone, the rest you just observe and listen and process and make notes and meet all these nice design assistants/receptionists who share some valuable insights with you.
The trip gave me such a boost of confidence and encouragement. While my work might not be suitable for some publishers, I got the general idea that I am definitely moving in the right direction, that I can do sequential images for children's books and I just need to keep working on my skills. The main compliments were that paintings were very expressive, playful and fun, I had some dramatic compositions, good technical ability in using media and unique visual elements. Some of the most frequent criticisms were to brighten up colors a bit and keep working on my children and people characters (my animal characters are already appealing), experiment more with composition and refine the style. I feel really good about all the comments that I got, especially the ones from personal meetings. It's nice to know that I'm on the right track and I just need to keep working.