This is my second attempt at making a career out of my own art and things have been going fairly well so far.
For anyone who doesn't know me personally, I studied Visual Art at Aberystwyth University in the late 70s/80s. On graduating, I returned to London and tried to develop a career in illustration for a couple of years. I eventually trained as a teacher and worked in a Welsh valleys comprehensive school for 30+ years. I left there 8 years ago now, only starting to seriously make art for myself again around 2017. I was as surprised as anyone when things started to take off. The original hand-made linocuts are doing well and several of the images have now been published in some format.
I'll not get rich from selling the publishing (limited copyright) rights to my work but it does provide a small, if irregular, income. I get a big thrill out of seeing my designs being reproduced in a different format, plus each card and calendar works as a small advert for my limited edition prints.
My main piece of advice to anyone who hopes to get their work commercially published is to look carefully at what the company already produce. Does your work fit within that style and content? You are asking someone to invest time and money in your designs.
Make sure your image files are of a high quality. I've always had my designs professionally captured but if you are technically proficient and know what 'white balance' is, you can usually take your own files and get better ones made if successful.
File size needs to be around 1MB to send as initial samples/examples of work. The size of files for publication depends on it's final printed size.
The internet has its problems but the artist/agent/publisher relationship is very different from the early 80s. Then it was almost impossible to get on unless you were represented by an agent.
Take time to look at the publishing company's website. If they are interested in new work from artists there will probably be a contact email somewhere. Just sending images to the general company email address isn't likely to work. Be polite, patient and not too despondent if it doesn't work out. You may well not hear anything back.
I'm not someone who would advocate changing the style and content of my work to suit the output of a particular publisher but that's just me. Once again you would need to look carefully at the output of a company.
Timing can be important! Not something I find easy with my linocuts. I'm always just behind the season. Christmas card companies would start looking at new designs up to a year in advance (it may now be longer). Flametree have started putting together my 2024 calendar over the last couple of months in 2022.
Lastly I think you need a lot of luck!
Here are some links to my Art Angels page and to a couple of companies that supply my cards etc. online.
Most of my cards can also be found in good card and gift shops.
The Blank Card Company https://www.theblankcardcompany.co.uk/acatalog/Martin-Truefitt-Baker.html
Down to Earth Cards
The calendar is still available from several online outlets, just search 'truefitt calendar'. There are some advantages to havingan unusual name.