Where to Find Work as a Freelance Designer

Here's a great article on the creativeoverflow blog by Jacques van Heerden

Freelance Job Boards
Job boards are a good place to start off and build your client resume, yes you won’t always see thousands of dollars flung around to the freelancers but, that’s only because the advertising party is looking for a designer for a once off job and to get it done quickly and efficiently. Yes some Employers will reuse that freelancer if they are happy with them but, that is all up to them. Let’ s look at some job boards you can use to find yourself some decent jobs. All these job boards I am mentioning are FREE to use.





Design Jobs on the Wall


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Interview with Wall Art Manufacturer

Copyright © 2010 GCDesigner

Bob Koehler, of Koehler Companies, Inc is a special person to me because he was the first company I licensed with. I attribute all my subsequent success to the opportunity he gave me.

It was because of Bob that I took my first steps into licensing, and left a hectic, 12 hours a day manufacturing business. After receiving one of my first checks from him, I remember calling him, and apologizing for having been so reluctant to license.

At the time I didn't know what licensing was. Bob convinced me that licensing was worth trying, since there was no risk involved, and it wouldn't compete with my other products. He was right.

Without his prodding and encouragement, I don't think I would be where I am today. It was truly a life changing experience. Now I can actually spend my days making new designs, rather than meeting with the UPS man everyday.

I asked Bob if I could interview him about art licensing, to get the "manufacturer's viewpoint," and he was kind enough to offer his knowledge and experience.

QUESTION: For my readers who know nothing about Koehler Companies, can you describe exactly what your business does?

BOB: Koehler Companies has been in business since he mid 80’s. While the products have evolved over time its sole mission has been to design products for (giftware oriented) mail order catalog industry. We work with writers and artists to create affordable wall d├ęcor (decorative plaques and framed prints) with a message and then sub-contract out the manufacture.

How did you end up getting into this business?

I moved to Minneapolis from a small Northern Wisconsin town in 1975 to attend Northwestern College of Chiropractic. A friend got me a job making candles. By the end of Summer I was intrigued with the whole “business thing’ so I put off school and became a partner in the candle company.

Three years later I decided I liked the sales side of the business so I started a manufacturer’s rep agency in the wholesale giftware business. After 19 years of owning that I sold the company and moved full time into what is now Koehler Companies.

Exposure to the mail order catalog industry was the result of selling other people’s products to the catalogs when I had the rep agency. While doing that I realized that a more focused approach to meeting the catalog industries unique needs had merit. So far, so good.

How many artists do you work with and how do you discover them?

All things come in multiple ways. The truth is that I work with very few artists. The type of art we use is a support to the writing so it cannot overpower that aspect of the final product.

I work with a few local artists that can react quickly to needs that arise and several licensed artists.

On occasion I work with randomly submitted art. This is more challenging for most artists and my company as most are complete picture oriented rather than product oriented.

Admittedly, that’s hard for artists to consider when they have had little product use exposure. All total I may work with 4-6 artists a year.

What do you think is the biggest mistakes artists make when submitting designs?

Not doing their homework.

Most small companies simply do not have time to be approached on the basis of “I’ll throw this against the wall, to many companies, to see what sticks”. If you are able to do even a simple search of a company’s history and products you can target specific art to their potential needs. Even if you miss you will get a more sympathetic ear from the approach.

As an artist you will also begin a long term learning process of “learning the market”.

The most valuable and successful artists have gone through this learning curve and “get it” more often than not, regarding product use.

I personally know that you raise money for schools in Africa. Can you tell us how you got in involved in this and information on this group?

This is a personal passion that I’ve been involved in since the idea surfaced eight short years ago. A friend grew up the son of a missionary in Africa until the age of 12. He became quite successful and now devotes much of his time to building a school in Tanzania. Some unique things about this school;

  • All children have lost both parents to AIDS.
  • The kids live at the school year round
  • The best and brightest among them are selected to go to the school.
  • In addition to the three R’s there is a heavy focus on developing entrepreneurial skills.

In a country where no jobs exist it didn’t do much good to simply educate a child and set him or her free.

To accomplish this, the school has set up joint venture education programs with several university grad schools in the States (U of Michigan, U of Colorado, U of Minnesota). Their business grad students develop curriculum and, in some cases, teach on site.

Their bottom line goal is lofty: To educate the next leaders in industry in the country, perhaps the next president of the country. It’s now the largest project of its type in the country. It’s called Peach House Foundation. Check them out www.peacehousefoundation.org Currently more than 500 children are being educated there.


Message or quotation you have on your bulletin board:

I have three on my office door:

-Two things a man should never be angry at; what he cannot help and what he can help. -Thomas Fuller

-I’m looking forward to looking back on all of this.

-You’re not the boss of me. (still trying to keep the little boy alive)

Industry publication you like to read:

I occasionally peruse Gift and Decorative Accessories and walk local specialty stores. For the most part, though, I try not to be influenced by others work since I’m always trying to create something fresh.

Conference or show you like, and why:

Atlanta Gift Show is sensory overload but probably the best one stop shop for an overview of the gift/decorative accessory world. The stationary show is good for me to see as it runs alongside Surtex as well, though it’s been several years since I’ve attended.

Tip that saves you a lot time in your work:

Staying focused on areas that I understand best and will give the best return.

Technology you use:

I’m pretty low tech for the most part. I use a PC at my desk, a Mac Book for travel and recently bought a large format HP ink jet printer. This allows me to print up to 11 X 17 with quite good quality balanced with relative low cost per print.

On line/off site back ups have become a must now too. I used to have two hard drives in my computer that mirrored one another. If one went down the second would kick in with a little effort. The unthinkable happened last year when both went down within an hour of each other. I know have an external hard drive and a real time on line back up. I’m ready for Armageddon.

Website you visit for your business purposes:

Quote sites can sometimes be helpful. I use Google a lot for random searches based on subject matter. Recently some searches included Native American quotes and quotes of comfort after a personal loss.

Make sure you have a malware program and good anti-virus program though. Lot’s of junk out there with bugs attached.

Contact Info:

Bob Koehler

Koehler Companies, Inc

I have a rather old site that needs some updating at www.koehlercompanies.com and a new retail site I recently launched called www.retiredoldmeneatingout.net . I trademarked the name ROMEO which is an acronym for Retired Old Men Eating Out. There are ROMEO groups all over the country. Nothing formal or organized, just a word of mouth spread. I thought it would be fun to launch a retail site and then follow up with a wholesale program for retailers to promote. My e-mail is bob@koehlercompanies.com

Free Teleseminar with Mary Engelbreit

If you had 30 seconds to ask Mary Engelbreit any question about Art Licensing, what would it be?

Tara Reed is Sponsoring a free 60 minute teleseminar with Mary Engelbreit on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 (5:30 pm PST / 8:30 pm EST) REGISTER HERE

Mary Engelbreit is known throughout the world for her distinctive illustration style, imbued with spirited wit and nostalgic warmth. The unmatched following for her work has grown with a range of licensed products that stretches from calendars, to best-selling children’s books, millions of greeting cards sold each year, and thousands of gifts, crafts and home accents.

Starting in 1977, Mary Engelbreit licensed her art for a greeting card line and today boasts a list that’s grown to include nearly 6,500 products in all, with more than $1 billion in lifetime retail sales.

35 Basic Tutorials to get started in Photoshop

Here are 5. Go to the Six Revisions blog article to see the rest...

1. Getting Started with Photoshop

Getting Started with Photoshop

If you’ve never had any experience with Photoshop, this tutorial from SitePoint will get you up to speed with Photoshop’s basic features.

2. Adobe Photoshop Interface Tutorial

Adobe Photoshop Interface Tutorial - screen shot.

This tutorial outlines Photoshop CS2’s interface. Even if you use an earlier or later version of Photoshop, this tutorial is still helpful in familiarizing yourself with how Photoshop – in general – is laid out.

3. You Suck at Photoshop (series)

You Suck at Photoshop - screen shot.

This wildly popular and humorous screencast on Photoshop techniques by (probably) fictional character Donnie Hoyle is an excellent Photoshop series to follow if you like laughing and learning at the same time!

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70 Awesome Paper Texture Packs

Go to link to download:

70 paper

Legal Note: Artists should investigate the legalities and/or get permission to use any free brushes/textures sets on designs for a mass produced item.
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