10 Tips for Submitting Illustrations to Greeting Card Publishers

By heather at 11:00 pm on Sunday, September 24, 2006

Now that you’ve got some great marketable designs, here are some helpful tips and guidelines for submitting your samples to greeting card publishers.


1. Label Each Sample : Whatever method you decide to send your samples
to greeting card publishers, always label your samples with :

  • Your Name
  • website
  • email
  • phone number

When emailing samples, label your file names clearly with your name and descriptive title (example HCastles_PinkLily.jpg)

2. Protect your images : by watermarking JPGs with Your Name, or on printed samples write Your Name with your contact information.

3. Avoid Sending :

  • original artwork
  • faxes
  • slides
  • low resolution prints
  • hi resolution files via email

4. Do send :

  • clear print outs (See How to prepare illustration samples for Publishers for how to prepare print outs)
  • Cd’s with jpgs (include your contact information on the CD AND as a PDF within the CD. label each jpg within the CD with your name, and only send LOW Resolution…this is for approval only)
  • 3 or 4 low resolution jpgs via email (should not exceed 100kb per jpg)
  • teaser emails inviting to see your work online
  • contact sheets of your designs (2×3 inches)

5. Provide Prices : Some publishers have a set budget for illustration, while others will vary depending on the artwork. Make sure to clearly indicate the price and currency of each piece (Example CAN$250) Tip : Don’t aim too low because if your work is purchased, it will be hard for you to up your price later.

6. Send a Variety of samples : If you have more than one style that you do well, send samples of ‘em all! If a publisher knows you are able to provide more than one style, that makes you a more valuable service provider.

7. Submitting Everyday Illustrations : While it’s good to branch out a bit, try to illustrate a good bunch of the obvious stuff! Greeting card publishers are always looking for a fresh take on the old traditional concepts…birthday cakes, party hats, florals, you name it…the more mundane it is, the more it’s crying out to be refreshed!

8. Submitting Seasonal Illustrations : It can kind of screw with your mind a bit thinking about illustrating for Easter while it’s Halloween…but that’s the way it is! When contacting companies to ask what season THEY are in as it varies from publisher to publisher. Tip : Try to set aside some time to illustrate seasonal subject matter while you’re actually in that season…this allows you to build up a small collection to submit to publishers or have on-hand if it is requested out-of-the-blue.

9. Follow Up : Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back from a publisher directly…they receive dozens of samples a week, and often those samples don’t coincide with THEIR current season. So make sure to follow up with the publisher that your samples came through, and continue to send samples and keep your work “in front of them” throughout the year.

10. Contracts & Licensing of Artwork : Once you start working with a publisher, make sure you understand what you are selling. Most greeting card companies prefer to purchase exclusive rights to the art, meaning they are the only company who can use the art…they often pay more for the artwork, but it is a one-time sale for you. In this case especially, be sure to request samples of the cards, as well as your name / credit on the printed card. On the other hand, some publishers only purchase the rights to use the artwork for greeting cards, which allows you to continue to sell the artwork to other “non-greeting card” industries…these publishers often pay less for the artwork, but you still have the potential to gain revenue from the same illustration.

Filed under: business of illustration

17 Comments »

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Comment by Jane Moore

December 4, 2006 @ 1:03 pm

As a fine artist and Faux finish specialist for many years the field of illustration is very new…and scary…and exciting! to me.

I found this write up extremely sensible and hopefully useful…so thanks for doing it!

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Comment by Sonal Panse

January 10, 2007 @ 1:38 am

Hi Heather,

I just wanted to stop by and thank you for your great and informative blog.

Have a nice, creative day.

Sonal :-)

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Comment by Michael Peoples

February 26, 2007 @ 10:50 am

Hey Heather, Thank you for the info.I am a beginer writer and would like some information on Greeting Card submissions.
I have many samples that I believe are suitable for publishing…Do you have any advice? Thank you for your time.

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Comment by heather

February 26, 2007 @ 6:57 pm

Feb 27, 2006… Hi Michael, Thanks for your comment on my blog regarding submitting writing to greeting card publishers. I used to receive verse submissions often from writers, it’s a bit of a simpler process than submitting artwork you’ll be glad to hear! You can either submit via email a PDF / Word document of your verses via email, or just print out your verses and mail to the greeting card publisher. The same rules apply as far as including your contact information on every page of your submission… wouldn’t want your verses to get lost! You can also include your rate per verse, although publishers often already have a set rate for that which varies depending on the publisher. Be sure to put your (c) copyright and your name on each page, to protect your work as well. Hope this helps Michael, good luck!

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Comment by Christy

April 6, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

Hi,
Thanks for the interesting information. I am just beginning to try and license some art and this was very helpful!! :D

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Pingback by Greeting Card Design Tips from Heather Castles

October 31, 2008 @ 10:41 am

[…] Tips for Designing Marketable Greeting Cards Tips for Submitting Samples to Greeting Card Publishers Open your own POD card shop at Greeting Card Universe […]

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Comment by Card Cafe Cool

November 4, 2008 @ 8:06 am

hey thanks for the tips very useful

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Comment by Sharon Rutherford

November 5, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

Great website Heather, I love your illustrations.

Can you let me know what kind of information you put on the cover letter/email to the publishers?
As I am going to submit some work for the first time, but I’m not sure what information to include? do you go into detail about who you are? or information about the illustrations?

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Comment by Mark Pinto

April 16, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

I am a total neophyte with no knowledge in the illustration field, but I have done illustrations for manuals and workbooks. Can I submit a series of images without a theme or text?

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Comment by Shellio

September 25, 2009 @ 5:08 am

I would always try to obtain a company’s submission guidelines if you are planning to send in art and/or copy.

Sometimes a company’s web site will have an info. page, otherwise you can email them and hopefully someone will send more details.

Guidelines can vary in length, some go into great detail on the kind of art and writing they want, including how they wish to receive the format.

It will also help to research the greeting card publisher’s style beforehand.

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Pingback by blog.illustrationcastle.com » FAQS | Is it ok to send sketches of ideas to greeting card companies?

November 13, 2009 @ 1:32 am

[…] I’ve posted more tips on sending samples to greeting card publishers here. Filed under: business of illustration, greeting cards, FAQS — […]

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Comment by Rose

November 23, 2010 @ 11:10 am

What is a reason dollar amount for artwork on a greeting card?

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Comment by Melia Polston

January 12, 2011 @ 6:53 am

You are the best man. Post more articles, I read your blog everyday

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Comment by melds

April 9, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

thanks for the post. :) I love it!

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Comment by greeting cards

April 10, 2011 @ 8:09 am

Man this is one informative blog you got here, props to you! This is very helpful especially for card enthusiasts like me. We share the same concern with Micheal. I also have few samples worth publishing. I could really use some advice :) Thanks!

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Comment by Send a Smile - Greeting Cards

May 19, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

I just want to let you know about our Greeting Card community www.sendasmile.com. You can upload your artwork and/or start your own greeting card webshop for free. For every sold card you receive a part of the revenue.

We are operational in the Netherlands, UK and US.

Join us and have some fun!

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Comment by Dulcie

June 16, 2011 @ 12:40 am

Thanks for this!! i have just sent off some artwork to some publishers and am petrified!! But it’s worth a try!! Found your blog really helpful and interesting! Thanks! (o hope they accept me!) :)

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