Self promotion is important, and as visual artists we need to get our work out there to solicit paying jobs, be it freelance contracts or full-time benefits-paid jobs. Here are a few of the ways I can think of right away to promote yourself and your work:
1. The Internet
Get yourself a website; a your-name.com website. Put your work up. Tell your friends. Work the blogosphere (forgive me for the term) to your advantage. Find some design blogs, read them, post comments, leave your address in the URL box when replying. Traffic isn’t going to come to you at first, you need to place some lines and gradually reel in traffic.
Pros: Everyone uses the internet, your potential audience is nearly limitless. Personal portfolio sites are great to make your work visible to people that might hire you.
Cons: The Internet is saturated with everyone’s work it’s hard to stand out from the crowd.
2. Pro-Bono Work
Do some work for a needy cause, or an organization in a tight spot. Don’t just do some pro-bono work because the person soliciting the work makes some random promises of more work to follow. Be careful not to get taken for a ride though.
Pros: Everyone wants something for free. You can really easily pick and choose your projects and who to work with (or not).
Cons: You don’t get paid. Exposure is based on how high-profile the client is. Pro-Bono jobs don’t usually have much of a budget at all so often you can’t used much fancy stuff (materials wise).
There’s lots of creative competitions out there; everything from shirts to posters to mockups. Be wary of what you submit work to though, just sayin’ is all.
Pros: Crazy exposure + prizes!? What’s not to like.
Cons: You’re competing with everyone else for the top spot, which means your work needs to be that much more creative and awesome than everyone else’s. Know your rights when submitting work.
4. Be an Entrepreneur
Perhaps get some of your work printed up and sell it, not necessarily to make a big profit but just to get your work out in public (of course you don’t want to lose money). Start a business, a sole proprietorship (cheap and easy), and sell stuff online or in person.
Pros: You can turn self-promotion into money and potentially a side business for supplementing your income when your job/career workload is light.
Cons: You have to know how to do a bit of marketing (and self-promotion [now were getting recursive!]) already and how to work the hype-machine in your favor. Can be a bit costly to get things rolling.
5. Portfolio Magazines
Submit your work of online (or meat-life) magazines that are purely about up-and-coming artists work, usually centered around a theme. JPG Magazine is one dedicated to photography, ANTI by RevloverLover accepts all mediums, ROJO Magazine, and a few others (you can find a bunch at PDF-MAGS.COM).
Pros: Usually completely free. Great way to get your name out there.
Cons: There’s no money it in, but hey, self-promotion’s a bitch.