As a children’s book illustrator, it’s important to get your work out there. If you want to be recognized, you must first be visible. In this blog, I list out 10 great platforms where illustrators can share their work.
Creative illustrators are fortunate that nowadays there are many sites optimized for sharing, viewing, and saving artwork.
However, because it is now easier than ever to share your work, there are more illustrators than ever on these sites. So, it’s not only important for your work to get out, but to stand out.
I hope you see some sites in this list that you’re familiar with, and maybe some that you’re not!
Instagram - the all-time classic photo sharing space
Instagram is the world-wide number one place to share visual information. It gives illustrators access to people all over the world, and allows creatives to upload their work for everyone to see.
Although Instagram uses algorithms that sometimes make it hard to be seen or discovered, it is by far one of the easiest social media platforms to use.
As a beginner who is learning what to post, how to post, and how to create an online community, Instagram is the place to be.
Behance - the trendy & cool design arena
Behance is a platform of huge importance amongst illustrators and creatives in general. It allows artists to upload “projects”, which can include various images and videos at different stages of completion.
What’s fun about Behance is that it gives the viewer a more in-depth look at the creative processes behind projects. This makes Behance a well-rounded site for people who are working on complex creative projects.
On top of being super cool, it’s easy to use and straightforward. A lot of companies have their eyes on Behance to find illustrators for hire.
It is a great place to have some kind of presence, even if you don’t work on big projects with a lot of behind-the-scenes information to share.
Dribbble - the exclusive team of artists
Although you can find all kinds of creative work on Dribbble, it is an excellent resource for aspiring illustrators.
This platform gives new artists a place to share their work, while also inviting others to give them feedback. When it comes to portfolio-sharing websites, Dribbble has a community vibe. I recommend it as a place to feel like “one of the team”.
An upside of Dribbble is that a lot of companies look for illustration and branding content there. You are likely to get comments and inquiries about your work, so feel free to post what you really love doing!
What I love about Dribbble personally is that it feels like a pressure-free zone. This platform is less about who has the best portfolio and more about growing, learning, and just having fun with the content you let the world see.
LinkedIn - the illustrator’s professional network
LinkedIn is a powerful tool when it comes to connecting with clients and agencies. Anyone who has any type of power is on LinkedIn.
This is where children’s book illustrators get in touch with art directors, publishers, and other successful children’s book illustrators who have gone before.
LinkedIn is also a great place to create a presence, as sometimes businesspeople need to hire a creative mind - even ones where you wouldn't expect it. You'd be surprised at the number of messages I get from people that I couldn't have predicted!
That just goes to show that putting yourself out there as a hard-working, legitimate businessperson will get you clients that take you and your work seriously.
Twitter - where illustrators have something to say
Because Twitter isn’t a predominantly visual-based social media platform, it is important to be aware of how often you’re posting your own work. If you’re planning on using twitter to promote your illustrative work, mix it up every now and then.
Talk about your process, your theory, your passions, your aspirations. Don’t feel the need to continuously post final products- people want to get to know you.
Because so many people are on Twitter, you will have to establish yourself as a creative and make meaningful connections because people will most likely not be on Twitter specifically looking to find an illustrator for hire.
Facebook - so grandma, grandpa and all the aunts can see your illustrations
Because Facebook owns Instagram, they work in a similar way. For me, Facebook simply gives me access to a different community than I have on Instagram. A lot of the friends and family that view Facebook are not active on Instagram, and likewise the other way around.
In my experience I have not gained a big following on Facebook, nor have I gotten any children’s book illustration jobs through it. That’s not to say it’s impossible.
My method is that I focus my attention on platforms that are more likely to put me in touch with potential clients, but if I post on Instagram I'll also put it on Facebook for the people there.
Dayflash - the cool spot only the devoted creatives know about
I’ll be honest, a few weeks ago I didn’t know what Dayflash was either - but doing a bit of research has show me that this platform is special.
Images can be shared in high resolution without being cropped or altered. That’s huge.
Another highlight of Dayflash is that it does not use algorithms like many other sites in this list, such as Instagram and Facebook.
If you use this platform, you are less likely to be missing friends' posts and seeing the same 10 art accounts every day, which takes visibility and opportunity away from smaller businesses and lesser-known artists.
I can’t speak from experience, but reviews say that Dayflash is easy to use, straightforward and fun! I think I may have to try it out myself.
ArtStation - the place where gaming illustrators go
If you’re aspiring to work in film, games, and the entertainment industries, ArtStation is for you. As for children’s book illustrators, this platform could still be of use to you.
Although it is catered toward artists competing for digital media jobs, you never know what recruiters will be looking for. Maybe, as an illustrator you could bring something that is visually different to the table.
It doesn't matter if you’re not creating high-tech work or hoping to have your creations featured in the next version of Black Ops - you’re putting your stuff out there and that’s what counts!
Plus, there is always inspiration to take from other artists, even the ones most different from you.
DeviantArt - where illustrators go to get feedback from peers
With a more amateur and casual feel, DeviantArt is where you might go as a children’s book illustrator to get feedback from other like-minded illustrators.
Although you might be less likely to get a commission directly from DeviantArt, it is a great community and has lots of free resources for illustrators. After all, every creative needs their hype people and a strong support system.
Another plus of DeviantArt is that there are no algorithms and no games to play in order to get viewed. It’s simple and straightforward.
The Dots - the network for creatives
The Dots has had some pretty big success linking up artists and clients. It has even had companies like Warner Music, Discovery Networks, and Google use it as a tool for recruiting illustrators and artists.
This site isn’t just useful for finding jobs though - you can stay up to date on the latest news, make connections with other children’s book illustrators, and learn what others are doing to advance their creative careers.
With all these platforms hanging around, it is good to have a strategy that you can stick to. Someone people choose to put their work on every and any platform they can find while others choose to focus on two or three platforms and stay active.
I’m not going to tell you which strategy is the most effective, but I do know that active users on any given platform will do the best.
As you might have already figured out, the more websites you’re on, the more time it takes to maintain your presence, and the less time you have to work on illustrating children’s books.
Personally, I’ve chosen a few of these platforms to stick with because I know if I was managing 10 accounts, I would lose my mind. Everyone is different though, and everyone feels comfortable with a different schedule.
My hot tip: if you’re looking to widen your chances of getting children’s book illustrating jobs and create a bigger network, join at least 4 of these creative platforms. Creating connections between sites helps increase your chances someone will find your work.