Hey illustrators, how do you approach potential clients? I am so bad at networking, wondering if any introvert managed in this horrible task


  • Hello Robin,

    I find that the best way to approach new clients by email is to start by drafting a short summary including highlights on your work and journey. Then I would be clear on why you are writing to them, ie you've seen they are looking for mural artists or you would like to see if they have time to meet for coffee. Keep it short and clear always. I think also the best is to never expect work from a first email. It's better to forge a connection first. I find that work tends to come a couple of months later in general so patience is key. If they like your work they might also pass it on to other people. I would avoid sending links where they have to download your work. A PDF with up to 5 pages might be enough as an attachment. Also if you don't hear back after a week or so, I would definitely write back after a couple of days and ask them kindly if they received your message and remind them of your 'quest'. People we write to can get inundated by emails so it's ok to try again.

    Best of luck

  • Hey Robin - check out this amazing guide we wrote on exactly this. Hope there's some good tips in there for you!


  • @Robin MoonEye it's not silly! You can approach people who are alone or just go to small groups and present yourself. It's like entering in cold water, do it without thinking too much :). A friend of mine usually wear something that stands out, like a brooch, she says people ask about it and the ice is broken.
  • As a fellow introvert I can feel you:
    1) Find your style. You don't have to be pushy. You can explain how you can help a client with your illustrations, for example.
    2) Believe in yourself but at the same time shift the focus from you to your work so you don't feel the pressure
    3) Be found, as @Tom Gravestock suggested...all the work is done for you :)
    4) At networking events (in person) I've always tried to enjoy myself and have meaningful conversations with just 2 max 3 people instead of spreading my business cards in the room. I usually set myself a time (let's say 2 hours) after which I can leave without feeling guilty: it's amazing how this trick lifts the pressure of performing (at least for me...I've always stayed longer than that :))
    If you don't like much talking, listen and ask questions about the other person: I came across to so many interesting stories!

    Not a new discover, but "Quiet" by Susan Cain really helped me in seeing my introversion as something to build upon, not something to deny or be ashamed of.
  • Believe in yourself. Make strong work. And display it on the best platforms you can find or can afford to join. Behance is good. Twine as well. The Dots is excellent. Instagram and the hashtag world. Most of all, tell stories.
  • Hi Robin, in my business development there are times when I need my outgoing personality to shine through, but there are also many examples when you can contact companies without having to be overtly extrovert. So from your question I'm assuming you wish to find clients. I'd contact ad agencies and ask for overflow work, if they need an extra pair of hands during peak period. This has worked for me and still something I'm exploring. You won't have much or any client contact, but work can come your way provided the ad agency likes your work and sign you up on their list of freelancers.

    I'd also connect with companies here and on LinkedIn. Look into remote work specifically when searching for jobs. Just saw your portfolio. Interesting work you got. I'd contact news outlets and ask if you they help with editorial design / illustration. This is most probably also done via email. I can see lots of plant illustrations, so horticultural associations, food magazines might be someone you could contact too. These options won't need to be explored in person. If anything, perhaps a phone call if they insist on speaking to you, but doubt that will happen. I hope this was of help.

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