Freelance artists and illustrators struggle with finding outlets to publish their work. With technological advances, it has become easier to self-publish artwork. The following steps apply to self-publishing, as well as seeking professional work as an artist.
Create a portfolio. Before taking any steps toward publishing, an artist needs a portfolio of work. This can be in hard copy or electronic form (preferably both) depending on the type of art produced. The portfolio should be a collection of your best art that can be shown to prospective clients, agents or publishers. This can include drawing, paintings, photographs, graphic art, film and many other forms of art.
Market yourself even before you search for an agent or publication. Create a website that shows your work. This way potential agents and clients can peruse the site easily. Print business cards, with a sample of your art on them, that include your contact information. Carry these cards at all times to give to people you meet casually or professionally.
Self-publish. For many artists, self-publishing is the easiest and quickest way to seeing work in print. Many companies will publish books or other forms of artwork that can be sold though popular online bookstores. These companies will charge a printing cost per item, and the marketing is left largely up to the artist.
Volunteer your skills. Surprisingly, one of the best ways to showcase your talent is by giving it away. Volunteer at a children's hospital teaching a class or drawing for the kids. Try to get an exhibition at an art gallery or even a framing store. Partner with a friend who is a writer, enter contests and join artist groups online or in person. By whatever means, the goal is to have your art available to be seen by potential clients.
Try to get work as a freelance artist. Check the submission guidelines of magazines for specifics. Follow those guidelines in sending queries to agents. Check online magazines, print magazines, newspapers and comic companies for submission guidelines.
Find an agent. Though more popular for writers, some artists and illustrators find it easier to use an agent to find work. As with magazines and publishers, each agent will have different criteria for submissions, so check each one individually.
Stick to it! Finding a publishing outlet can be a long and daunting task. If you persevere, you will go further than a lot of people who just give up.
Money should flow toward the artist. Unless you are paying for a product, such as when a print-on-demand company is printing a book, reputable agents and publishers will not ask for money.