1991 Calendar Self Promotional Mailer

self portrait, Self Promotion

My First attempt at a ‘calendar mailer’ probably sent out late in 1990. I had previously thought these lost, but discovered a stash of samples of my early self promo pieces in a keepsake drawer of my Father’s when he passed away in 2014. The styles are still pretty slapdash and all over the board, but you can see early versions of my scratchboard technique, and the cartoon style, and quite a few pastels, which, at the time I still thought of as my ‘biggest potential seller’. Looking back at these early mailers, it amazes me that I was able to get this business off the ground at all. Chalk it up to sheer dogged determination, which sometimes beats skill and talent in the right situations.

These are not the greatest scans, just photos taken off my cell phone, but I’ve included every page of the calendar, which includes some interesting pieces I had completely forgotten about. The cover is a photo reproduction of a rather large pastel that I eventually gave away to some friends in the early 2000’s (and a better scan of this is found elsewhere on this blog). January, I have a picture of a ‘Ballerina Bear’, which I believe was a sample drawing for a children’s book that my brother had written and we had hoped to sell (but never got off the ground floor). February was a small scratchboard doodle I did especially for the calendar layout (trying to market towards the newspaper editorial market). March was an early cartoon ‘city scene’ of which I’ve done several variations of over the years (for example, see my ‘creature double feature’ postcard from around 2009). Another bw cartoon follows in April (these were similar to the sorts of things I was selling to Gemini Publications around this time). May was another reproduction of a large pastel piece (pictured elsewhere in the blog if I remember correctly). June and July another scratchboard created especially for the calendar. August and September were examples of my caricature skills, one in colored pencils and the other pen & ink (I think the Gustave Corbet caricature is my favorite from the calendar). October and November are a couple more pastels. December another crowded Xmas cartoon scene (similar to the sort of thing I was selling to the Worldwide Church of God around this time).

Most of my self promotion in these early years was pretty scattergun in approach. Any and all styles were up for grabs, and I only mailed out a limited amount of any one postcard or brochure. Below are several more samples of various mailings that confused potential clients in 1989-1990.

(the drum corps line drawing on this brochure was one of the only surviving pieces of art from my college years)
An early scratchboard style postcard.
A early ‘cartoon style’ postcard.