Children's Ilustrator Wisdom: Why Artists Need Blogs

GC Designer Blog invited Allyn Howard, Children's Illustrator, to be a special guest writer for "Social Media Month" and talk about why she thinks artists should have a blog.

Guest Writer, Allyn Howard

I started my blog, on a whim after someone I knew created one for her baby. I thought if a newborn could have one, so could I!

I post about once a week and share aspects of my life as a working artist living in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. It appears that most commercial artists have one for the additional exposure to their work.

I enjoy writing about my process for illustration & mural projects, but knew I didn't want to write exclusively about it.

I was surprised by just how much I enjoy profiling other artists, designers and businesses that I admire, plus interesting neighborhood characters. There is so much great stuff out there, it feels rewarding to help shed light on what I find deserving and getting to know the people behind it!

Sharing my inspiration, influences and neighborhood gems in a casual way makes it fun to write and lets readers get to know me in a relaxed way that a single (work-related) website doesn't.
Maintaining a blog can be time consuming and I opt for a mini-post when time is tight.

Facebook and other social networking sites are a good way to find readers. I've even become actual friends with a reader who lives nearby. I love taking pictures and an added perk is having a reason to always have my camera on me.

With a blog, there's always a chance that your business or your personal favorites will experience the dream; word of mouth gone wild or at the least, a few kind comments.

I was just hired for a job that came directly from writing my blog. A toy store in my neighborhood with a kids' hair salon is in need of some cute characters to spice it up! I had profiled the shop last Spring and when the owner revamped and renamed it, I decided to post about the changes. The owner gave me a call and now I have a fun new project. Again, one of the best things about having a blog has been meeting people that I may never have said more than hello to otherwise. It takes work, but so far it has been very gratifying.

ABOUT ALLYN: I am a Brooklyn based painter who specializes in artwork and custom murals for children's rooms and nurseries. My business has expanded to include a line of greeting cards, T-Shirts and art prints. I work in both a painterly style and a simplified graphic one unified by the use of vibrant color and the innocent optimism of my characters. I'm currently launching my designs to license on products in the children's market & beyond.

Allyn Howard
507 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Studio: 718.643.6065
Mobile: 347.512.7340


Unknown said...

Love it! This looks great. Thanks so much for including me Kate :)

Kristine said...

Her work is as lovely as her personality. I love to read her blog to see all the cool things going on in her neighborhood. Allyn is great at chatting people up and the perfect person to run such a blog. Thanks Kate, for posting this profile!

Anonymous said...

Reading Allyn's blipadee blog the last year has
been so much fun for me. She not only focuses
on her own work and efforts to "make a living"
in an expensive place, but she writes about
the Carroll Gardens area, and all of the
interesting stores/restaurants there. It's
a treat when she has a new posting!

Anonymous said...

Allyn is one of the most creative and talented artists around. I have enjoyed following her blog and seeing her neighborhood in pictures. It is such a pleasure to see what she will come up with next. Her designs for children are amazing. Allyn has a great future.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I love reading about inspiring artists and writers like Allyn. Gonna check out her blog/work. Maggie

Mika said...

I have many Allyn's positively happy art pieces and I love them all!! Mika

Marty Moore said...

I loved it and glad to know you have a blog. I subcribe to many...what a great way to communicate!


Unknown said...

Thanks so much for these nice comments!!
Hi Marty Moore, Anne must have sent this to you. Thanks!
Kristine and Mika you guys are so talented and supportive of your friends. I neglected to mention that having a blog can be frustrating when you start out bc it's one more thing that needs exposure! It's great to have friends who keep you going in those 1st few months or during the lulls when it seems like no one is looking at it.
Slowly but surely I've been finding an audience and this month alone has garnered attention from several people seeking mural commissions and even an interest in my writing. Just thought I'd continue my answer here for any of Kate's followers on the fence about starting one. Can really be as public or private as you want it to be. I didn't want to feel pressure early on, but now that I'm used to doing it, I want everyone to read it :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Allyn,
I love your work. Your characters are so endearing. How do I order greeting cards? I am technically challenged, so I couldn't find them on your website. Your Mom's "Frenchie" friend Carolyn Frahm in Wintergreen, Virginia.

Unknown said...

Hi Carolyn,
On my website, just click on the (far right/top) "Shop" button. I will ask mom for your email :)

sean Sullivan said...


Thanks for the article. I have not yet seen the fruits of my labor, but I am confident that my blog will improve my visibility. It helps to read your article to tune in on what I need to do to optimize my potential. I recently arranged the connection between my blog and website and I'm very excited about that.


Unknown said...

Hey Sean,

It looks like you have lots of followers at least! Only recently have I started receiving any projects from having mine. I started it last May '09 and I'm slowly starting to see more comments from people I don''t know. Recently someone google searched "nursery murals brooklyn" and my blog showed up. It's 4th or 5th in listing whereas my regular/art website shows up way down on the search. It helped that I did a piece on Blipadee "from sketches to finished murals" in January. I notice those keywords are really important. Your work looks incredible! I think it helps to branch out beyond writing solely about it from time to time. I had lots of feedback after profiling a stationery shop for instance, which brought viewers from card companies I highlighted. Those are small designer-run companies. I don't expect to be hired, but I like attracting viewers who do something similar to what I do. Of course, I hope they'll join the mailing list or even just check back occasionally.

I think illustration and licensing leads are harder to get in general than custom projects myself. Anyway, I know the feeling of wondering who if anyone will look at a new blog! I still have a long way to go. That's why I think it's important you write as if you have thousands following like Kate here :) and really enjoy keeping it up even if only your closest friends are checking it out each week. Not sure if this helps, but suddenly can't stop myself ;)

Anonymous said...

I love the sense of community that I get when reading Allyn's posts. As a former Carroll Gardens resident it is nice to see how everyone is working to support the neighborhood.

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