Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lots of Links and Reviews Part 3: Hire an Illustrator

Update on the Update: (November 3, 2014): I really should've dated the previous update! I'm back with Hire an Illustrator, have been for some months now. I went back because there was an opportunity to be part of a show and collaboration project that I wanted to submit to and I needed to be a member of HAI again to do so. I've stuck with it and have had much better success with it in terms of getting illustration work. -- Julia

Update: I cancelled my Hire an Illustrator subscription. After 97 weeks of trying it (far too long but I only have myself to blame!), I've concluded that it wasn't worth the investment. Didn't get any work from it, got maybe a click a week from it. Pretty disappointing. And I used it fairly actively, submitting work (and getting it approved!) maybe twice a month to be featured in their promo emails. As far as I could tell from the site they still had a supply of my postcards that they were using for their mail packs. I'm just mad I let it go for that long.


Hire an Illustrator is a lot like IllustrationMundo. It's a great one-stop destination for artists where you can manage an online portfolio, your contact info, and connect a bunch of widgets (Facebook, Twitter, a shop page -- mine is connected to my Society6 store, Google+, and LinkedIn. Every week they send out a well-produced promo email featuring a bunch of artists (you can submit a new image which may or may not be approved for that weekly email) with links to profiles.

(Click to enlarge above images)
Besides the weekly promo email, Hire an Illustrator does a particular special thing that IllustrationMundo doesn't do. If you mail them a bunch of postcards and mailers, they put together these promo packages of multiple artists and mail them to contacts every few months. Hire an Illustrator is based in the UK, so I figured it would be a good way for me to dip my toe into the European market. And save on that pricey overseas postage!

Which is a good thing, because (and here's where Hire an Illustrator is especially different from IllustrationMundo) HAI is a paid service. $7 per week, which I have set to automatically come out of my PayPal account. 

If they didn't offer that promo mailing service I'm not sure that I would've stuck with them. I've been with them since April 2011 and I haven't seen much traffic being driven to my portfolio site or blog from this source. It's a little tricky to track because a potential client could be entering my name into a search engine after receiving a promo mailer sent via Hire an Illustrator. IllustrationMundo has driven far more traffic to my site and blog in comparison. Also, IllustrationMundo is free!

What makes it a little odd is that Hire an Illustrator runs another illustration news site where artists submit their work and it's free! Little Chimp Society. LCS doesn't do a weekly email or (edit: I think they actually do this) mail out your promos for you, but free is free. 

Hire an Illustrator is a good site, but there are a lot of options out there that are free that perform basically the same services. Except that mailer service. That one might be worth it, although I haven't gotten any jobs from it. 

Disclaimer: These are only my experiences, I'm sure other people would have a different perspective!

Hope this was helpful,



Laura Wood said...

Hi Julia, thanks for sharing this. So far for me has been EXACTLY the same. I'm not sure if I'm going to stick with HAI any longer, I'll see how the promo mailer goes. I don't think these portfolio websites are really working for me...

Julia Minamata said...

I'm glad you liked this! What's been working for you?

Julia Minamata said...

Laura, I forgot to mention! An illustrator colleague of mine did a testimonial for HAI, he's had positive experiences with them:

Wylie Elise Beckert said...

Hi Julia,

Thanks for adding your input on Hire an Illustrator - I'll admit that after the initial flurry of job offers in the first few weeks, I've gotten only a handful of inquiries, only one or two of which have resulted in jobs. I get a small amount of referral traffic to my site each week from my listing there.

It seems that having my profile on the front page (in the New Artists section) for that first week or so directed a lot of attention to my work; now that I've fallen off the front page, it seems that my portfolio is lost among the other artists (and there really are a ton of them on Hire an Illustrator). I have been on the front page a few more times with news items, but these don't seem to generate the same level of interest.

Still, the work I have gotten has paid for the listing many times over; so hard as it is to part with the cash up front, I'll probably be buying membership next year as well - all it takes is one client finding me to make the membership worthwhile.

I'll probably let my subscription lapse, though, in hopes of getting that front-page exposure when I sign up again.

Thanks again for passing along your experience, and thank you for posting your own promo site reviews on your blog - you have some that I haven't run across before, and it's very helpful to hear about another illustrator's experiences.

And I love your illustration style, by the way!


Julia Minamata said...

Thanks, Wylie! There are so many portfolio sites out there -- Maybe you'll get some luck with one of the sites I've listed!

Alessandro Bonaccorsi said...

Thanks Julia for reviewing HAI. I'm a member too and I have a lot of doubts about his utility for my job.
I think the greatest problem of HAI is that if you are not in home page, your profile get lost.
It's important to send news, but I feel more comfotrable with other portfolio systems as Altpick that gives you visitor stats and let you appear in home easily.
Although, I think Illustrationmundo features only some illustration styles, because there's only an editor that make the featured choice.
(I hope my english is understandable)

Julia Minamata said...

Thanks for sharing, Alessandro! I really appreciate hearing other people's experiences.

According to Google Analytics, Hire An Illustrator has gotten me four clicks to my blog and six clicks to my portfolio site so far this month. Not so great.

Someone showed me this great stats site that gives info and rankings on any site and Hire An Illustrator seems to do decently ( but doesn't really seem to work for me!