We’ve spoken a lot about general marketing, but what about marketing for the freelance artist? What works, what hasn’t? Enter Kiri Østergaard, an amazingly talented artist and friend from Denmark now living in the States. Over the years I’ve had the honor of watching her boldly step out into the world of the freelance artist.
Lately she has released several promotions to sell her artwork – both through creative media like Zazzle.com and through pre-orders of a season project ‘Fairy Pin-up Calendar’ which she is nearly sold out of at the time of our interview.
Kiri became truly dedicated to art in her mid-twenties when running an online roleplaying server got her hooked on developing her art skills on a more serious level. This eventually led her to move to the United States and pursue a BFA in drawing. She is still searching for what best suits her and interests her the most, but it will undoubtedly have something to do with her website: Wicked Fairytale.
Artwork by Kiri Østergaard is a Facebook page created to promote her works in 2011. She saw other artists doing it with success and decided with the re-launch of her website and portfolio that Facebook would be an excellent platform to connect with people and post more than the highest caliber of her drawings.
“I have learned that if you want to be a professional illustrator you really have to be careful what work you put your name to; if it’s not up to par it might keep you from getting hired. So I guess one drawback is my Facebook page has too many bad drawings with my name attached. I need to clean it up.” Kiri explained during our interview.
She further commented “It has really only been a positive experience, it is a challenge though to keep the page engaging for the followers. If it’s all self-promotion people lose interest really quickly. I have been surprised at how many likes the page has already obtained though, I only know about 100 of the current 220 people. It has also helped me to get commissions.”
When Kiri was inspired by Gil Elygren’s pin ups for the 40s and 70s she decided to create a calendar with a faerie pin-up theme. Because she didn’t have the capital to fund her project, she promoted pre-orders on her website, Facebook, Deviant Art, Behance, WIP Nation, Concept Art and even Craigslist.
Though she enjoyed the exposure her only pre-orders came from Deviant Art and Facebook. However, when she had some extras after the calendars came in, Etsy was an excellent site for selling the remnant calendars.
There were logistical issues too. The calendars were published a little late in the season and weren’t ready for shipping in November when the big Christmas shopping begins.
All in all, when asked what her most successful self promotions have been Kiri said “Definitely the Facebook page and then reaching out to friends and family. In particular some of my more well connected friends have been helpful.“
“I have been told the best way to promote yourself is attending Cons, so this year I will be attending IlluxCon in November and hopefully also ComicCon in NYC.”
Kiri continues to forge ahead in the freelance world and I for one look forward to seeing what paths she takes on her way to the top. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, definitely visit her at IlluxCon or ComicCon. Of course you can also visit her website or join her Facebook page.