Have you ever done pro bono artwork. It is an excellent way to get positive exposure. As artists we have all done artwork for friends or family as gifts. Try taking it one step further and do some artwork for your community, church or charitable organizations.
The pen and ink shown above was done to aid the Shingletown Historical Society, a small community historical society that works to preserve their community legacy. They are a small organization with dedicated volunteer members. They have more enthusiasm than money. At the time, Red Tail Publishing still did book manufacturing for other independent publishers, a service that has been discontinued. The historical society hired Red Tail to do a reprinted edition of Way Back When, a book about the local history, written by Myrtle McNamar over fifty years ago. The original cover art was lost long ago and the previous reprints of the cover were reprints of reprints. At one point the only copy of the cover art was on a tee-shirt that had been produced for a fund-raiser. The cover art had become so degraded that an acceptable copy could not be produced. Mary, of Red Tail Publishing, asked if I would like to create a new piece of cover art for the project, and I agreed. We used an old photo provided by the historical society as a basis. I flipped it around and changed the background to make it work for the cover, and you can see the results below. The Shingletown Historical Society, at no charge, got permission to use my illustration for their book, but I kept all rights to the art.
I have done other art donations, such as illustrations for our church newsletter, and donations of artwork and commission work for local non-profits. Being an artist has not been my primary career, so I have been able to do this simply because I want to. It is a gratifying way to give back and a nice thing to support local organizations that in turn are trying to help others. It is also a great way to get your art seen by folks and to build good will. Who knows, you might even get published.