There are over 2,000 greeting card publishers in the United States. One third of greeting card companies use freelancer artists on a ongoing basis. While becoming a freelance greeting card artist does not require formal training, above average talent in drawing, graphic design or photography is a must. Be persistent and submit both ideas and completed cards to be considered for most jobs in the industry.
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Research the wide range of the greeting card market. The most common styles are traditional, conversational prose, humour, and alternate styles. Determine what your style of work would best be used for in the market. Target your efforts in freelancing accordingly. While it is acceptable to submit to various markets, editors usually prefer to work with artists that are experienced in one area, rather then a jack of all trades.
Organise a portfolio to demonstrate your best work that would fit well on greeting cards. Develop a portfolio for each market you are entering. Make it easy for the editor to see your visions of your art work on greeting cards by keeping in mind the size and dimensions of a regular card. Some companies will require your portfolio to be mailed while many companies now prefer a digital presentation.
Research to find companies where you can send your art portfolio. There are many resource books available you may obtain through a local book store or library that will do most of the research for you. You may also find niche greeting card companies by going to various card stores and looking at the back of the cards. A Website or address is usually on the back of each card. Do not be afraid to contact these businesses to ask for creative guidelines.
Submit your portfolio to several companies. Read each company's submission guidelines carefully. Most editors do not take kindly to freelancers that do not follow guidelines of submission. Many talented artists lose work due to not reading guidelines.
Take classes that focus on both art and comedy. Both will only improve your chances of establishing a long-term freelance greeting card artist career.
Tips and warnings
- Consider going into business for yourself if you can do a consignment with local gift shops or novelty stores.
- Most freelance greeting card artists report that it can take over a year to get work on a regular basis.