To get noticed as an artist,

newspapers may seem very old school in this digital age, but it’s definitely a useful way to get your illustration work known and to attract new clients. We’ll cover: the advantages & disadvantages of the press, how to get interviews, and the workflow of an interview with many tips.

So, ready to get more eyes to your art? Let’s go!

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Advantages & disadvantages of the press

Interviews in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio – it’s a great way to reach a new and much wider audience, reinforcing your image as a professional. And it’s free!

I often feel that having an article in a newspaper makes people respect you.  With Instagram ads, anyone can do it, but for a newspaper article, you need a journalist who believes in you, an editorial staff that agrees to publish, in short, it shows that there are people who recognise your talent to the point of dedicating an article that can potentially be read by a whole country.

So, the first advantage: a press article is a nice social proof that shows people that you’re so badass and that you’re doing interesting work.

Second, media coverage is usually broad and can help you attract clients without you having to do anything. Since a press article gives you a certain recognition and thus, makes you seem more professional, it can actually increase the interest and confidence of people who don’t know you yet. And even for those who do know you, if they keep seeing your name, they will end up remembering you, because seriously, your name comes up everywhere, so you MUST really be something! 

To give you a concrete example, I was in my last year of study when an article about my latest manga appeared in L’Essentiel.daily newspaper in Luxembourg, everyone reads it at school, on the train, at work, in short, it’s a big national thing. In one day, I have increased my Facebook fan base by about sixty people, and suddenly I got an email from a certain Mr Yannick Ruth, who has read the article, and who is supposedly the manager of an old castle renovated into a luxury hotel. He’s asking for a meeting because he’s looking for someone to create a manga about the history of the castle, to make a promotional brochure to be distributed at a tourism fair in Japan.

My first reaction was really, like, where’s the hidden camera? But actually, it was a real project, and thanks to this very newspaper article, the Château d’Urspelt manga became my first big commercial project. 

So, a simple press article can have great results… but what about the disadvantages?

Overall, there are none, it’s free publicity which is always good to take. The only thing is that, there won’t necessarily be results for every article.

Don’t expect mass sales and raving customers after every interview, because it won’t happen. Different media address different audiences, and sometimes it will be so broad that your ideal clients won’t be there.

But then, what do you have to lose, if only a little time to answer questions?

An interview with a nice title, which flatters your creative work, will always be a nice trophy to display.

To be honest, every time I post a newspaper article on Facebook, my engagement sometimes triples compared to my illustrations! People congratulate me, it proves that I’m a “good illustrator” and all that. So, convinced? Let’s see how to get your own artist interviews!

Method 1: You reach out

If you want an interview with a certain newspaper, you go to their website, look up the address of the editorial department, send an email with a description of your work, and… that’s it.

Actually, organising a press article is not much more complicated than that! At the beginning, I also thought that you had to pay a lot of money for publicity, have a great press kit, or be super famous to get people to take an interest in you…

The reality is that anyone with an interesting project can simply contact a newspaper.

Just put yourself in the shoes of a journalist. Every day you have to write new articles, be on the lookout for news, find new subjects.

You need to have something new all the time.

So if someone voluntarily contacts you about an interesting project that you didn’t know about and that is out of the ordinary, that’s cool, right? That’s easy work for you!

Journalists are always in need of interesting news. So don’t hesitate to contact them with a short presentation of your art project and what you do. Especially as an artist, you can also add your website and illustrations to stand out. Send them a nice email that makes them want to learn more!

Be careful, however, to contact newspapers in your field of interest: for example, if you create erotic postcards, don’t contact a gardening magazine. If you contact a mainstream newspaper, mention that it would be for the culture section, and check before to see if they actually have one!

Some journalists will respond, and will be willing to organise an article. Others won’t follow up, and that’s fine.

If it’s something you really care about, you can also follow up with a second email a couple of weeks later. Sometimes people see the emails but forget, or don’t see them at all because they are so busy.

For the launch of IllusFairy’s latest Ulule campaign, I contacted 12 media outlets, with 3 responses.newspaper contacted me during the campaign, which they discovered through an interview with those who had responded. When I told them I had contacted them a month earlier, they found my email, which had indeed drowned in the mass. It happens, so don’t hesitate to follow up if it’s important to you.

Method 2: Journalists reach out

Another way to get interviews is through word of mouth, and journalists contacting you on their own. As just mentioned with my anecdote, that fourth journalist found me through someone else.

The more visible you are, whether it’s in the press, at conventions, online, the more you get talked about, the more you get noticed and the even more people will want to talk about you.

Again, journalists’ job is to find new stories, so they are always open to new things.

Often when there is an event, such as conventions, exhibitions or else, the organisers will call the press to get advertise it. And it is quite possible that the one or other journalist will be particularly interested in your illustrations and will dedicate a part of the article to you.

Even if you are still a complete stranger, opportunities can come that way!

How an interview works

So, you contacted the journalist, he answered, but now – what to expect concretely? Generally speaking, there are various elements that regularly come up, so here are some tips on how to prepare yourself.

The location of the interview usually has three options:

  1. The journalist comes to your studio. Usually because he wants to take pictures too. And when I say “studio”, it can also be your kitchen or dining room, as long as there is the possibility to take a photo of the place where you draw
  2. You are invited to the editorial office. Because it is more practical and professional in a meeting room, or because there is recording equipment for the radio for example
  3. You do the interview by phone or Skype, because it saves time for everyone

It’s really negotiable and you can propose your preferences. Especially when I have big projects going on and no time to drive around, I offer journalists to come to my place or to just make a call.

Now, let’s move on to the interview, so the actual moment when you’re facing the journalist.

First of all, everyone has their own style: some take notes on paper, others record the conversation on their phone and transcribe it later, some combine both.

Some journalists give you a general idea first to put you at ease: they want to talk about X, Y and Z, your inspirations, your background, your project, and so on.

They will usually have already done their research by analysing your website, your old articles or any other useful information on the internet, to prepare their questions.

However, you are also free to talk about other things that are important to you because in the end, you are the one who knows your work best and what to say about it.

Journalists don’t think about everything because they don’t know everything, so fresh input is always welcome. It makes their paper stand out with unique stories never told before, and you always have interesting and different articles.

In all the years my story of how I got into drawing has been retold, I’m always fascinated to see how different the articles are.

A good journalist will find the right words, dig into details to understand who you are, your plans, your motivations, and highlight that.

Conversations can be interesting because, even if there are predetermined questions, an interview is first and foremost a conversation where the journalist will bounce off what you say, to better understand and present you.

Once the interview is over, the journalist will often ask you if you want to add anything else.

What I usually do to make their job easier is to offer to send an email with important links or names, or even visuals to illustrate the article if there was no photographer.

  • For example, with IllusFairy, I systematically sent the link to the crowdfunding campaign, the names of the stories in each chapter, the cover and a selection of manga pages to illustrate the article.

After the interview, the journalist will often send you the finished text so that you can check if everything is correct, or to clarify certain elements. At this point, do respect the journalist’s work, which is usually good, but you have the right to say if there are elements that bother you or that have been misinterpreted.

  • For example, one article only advertised “IllusFairy”, the pet name of my manga, and it’s probably my fault because I repeat it often, but officially on sale and in legal deposit, it’s “Illustrated Fairytales”. If you write an article to promote a book, you can’t leave a fake name, because people won’t find it to buy it!

Visuals & Photos. If the journalist arrives with a photographer, they will want exclusive photos for the article. In 99% of the cases, it will be to get that photo of the artist at work, where you pretend to draw.

I advise you to make your space look nice, and especially to prepare an illustration or comic page that looks already nice to show that you’re a great artist, but that is not yet finished because you have to pretend to work on it.

And again, if you don’t have a real studio, don’t panic! I’ve been shooting for years in a tiny corner of my room, with the bed half a meter right behind me. The photographers are professionals, and they’ll know how to crop the room perfectly to make it look like an overly classy art studio.

By the way, you also have the right to express your preferences and limits:time, I only pointed to the table, no permission to show the bed or the rest of the room. Now that I have my own apartment, it’s the same: we take the photos in my studio room, then go over to the more comfortable living room for more comfort during the interview – but as soon as we leave the office, no photos allowed, because it’s my personal space. Be it for photos or corrections to articles, journalists understand if you explain things with respect and kindness.


    Anyways, that’s everything I can tell you about press coverage!

    Have you also used this method of advertising or would you like to try it out? Tell us all about it in the comments, I’d love to read about your experience!

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