INTERVIEW WITH HOLLY EXLEY

(Images from hollyexley.com)

Holly Exley is an illustrator from Essex who specialises in watercolour painting. Her subjects include everything from portraits, wildlife, food and cosmetic products.

I was recently fortunate enough to get in touch with Holly through email to discover how she used social media to promote her illustrations and attract clients to gain commissions. Holly has a Youtube channel with insightful videos into her daily working life. Where she shares projects that she is working on and freelance advice for illustration students. It has always been difficult to find resources, so these are a blessing.

What would you say are the main advantages of self promotion through social media platforms?

Holly mentioned that the main advantages of self promotion through social media platforms were that it is free, you can build a network of support with other illustrators and artists. You are able to share development of work and build on ideas with a worldwide audience. Social media is best for selling products and artwork prints rather than gaining clients through.

What social networking site would you say has been the most successful in finding you commissions/and or clients finding your work?

Blogspot has been the most successful in finding commissions and clients as it helped Holly’s work to appear in Google search results more frequently. Most clients find her work through Google search. Twitter is also a great tool as being ‘retweeted’ by a large influencer like a popular art and design blog who are followed by art directors meant that they were able to discover her work. Holly also mentioned that Pinterest is useful as a lot of her images that are found in a Google search link back to Pinterest. This is done when others share her work and label it correctly. Holly said that she had gained clients through Pinterest as they use the platform to search for artists. She also suggested that having a good social media presence is great for building SEO (Search engine optimisation).The more people sharing links to your website and blog posts online, the stronger it will be in search results and it is very important to be very active online.

Due to the nature of social networking sites, anyone can like/dislike or comment on your uploads etc… have you found getting people’s feedback helpful?

Holly mainly receives very complimentary feedback and if she ever needed feedback from her followers she believes they would be well equipped to offer advice.

“I’m sure I will receive more negative feedback as I continue with Youtube. That’s the nature of the of the platform, but I’m sure I’ll cope!”

Finally, I’m just wondering if social networking sites have changed your working practice in anyway?

Holly stated that she can’t say for sure, but she has definitely got faster and that could be for more frequent uploads to social networks. Seeing other illustrators work on social media spurs her on to better herself and keep on creating.

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