Blog / 2024 / How To Make a Press Kit for a Visual Artist
January 8, 2024
An artist press kit is a complete package of promotional materials used to introduce your work to the media. It’s sent as a PDF along with a press release or on its own as a way to get a media outlet like a podcast interested in interviewing you.
If you use the first person on your website and generally try to keep things playful and approachable in your online space, you can think of a press kit as a more condensed and more business-oriented version of your website. It uses third person and does its best to make its subject sound important.
A press kit should include:
- plenty of stunning examples of your art
- lots of quotes by you and by others talking about your art
- a table of contents
- a bio
- some kind of statement about your work as a whole
- something about your current project
- a few pages about anything that makes you stand out
- some highlights from previous press coverage of your work
- your contact information
One of the most frustrating things about building a press kit as a visual artist is the lack of available examples. For that reason—and because sharing is so significant to me that I wrote a whole book about it—I present to you my press kit!
Below, I’ve separated out the PDF into its individual pages, and I go into some of the choices I made for each one. To download the full PDF, go here. (Depending on when you download the PDF, it may or may not be exactly what you see below, because one of the key elements of a press kit is that it must be up-to-date.)
For the cover, I chose a piece that I know a lot of people like, but also one that showcases my style in a relatively simple composition. My name and how the press should ideally describe me—“professional artist”—are prominent, and then I name the document “Artist Press Kit” because that’s standard practice. I threw my website in there too, because that’s where I want the media to point their public to.
I used the table of contents page as an excuse to feature another one of my paintings, and I added a brief bio, hitting on some of my more impressive accomplishments right away in order to draw people in.
This page starts off with a quote about the “why” of my distinctive style. And that flows nicely into a bio that contains both professional achievements and a dash of personal color with explanations about how certain aspects of my identity inform my art.
I chose to include a photo of me because I think it can be advantageous to get the press imagining a real person behind the art. And I picked this particular photo, which shows off my Progress Pride flag tiger image, because it’s a clear statement to queer people and allies about a major part of my identity.
This the first of two pages about my style, because how I paint is one of the big ways I stand out.
Talking about my style also leads naturally to my TEDx talk as well as to the photo filter that was named after my art—two distinction that not every artist can claim.
This is a version of the press release for my current project, Everything’s Fine.
And this is a version of my press release for a project that’s still fairly recent and that reveals a lot about who I am, Baby Sees ABCs.
My decision to quit social media is one of those things that makes me stand out, but it can also be seen as a problematic choice, from a marketing perspective. That’s why I paired the un-social story with some of my more significant press coverage.
Even though I’m proud of having my art featured on the covers other people’s books, I was bummed not to focus more on my own publications on this page. Ultimately, this was just one of the many tough choices I had to make as I built a press kit that was both comprehensive and concise. And, for obvious reasons, devoting a half-page to the documentary that features interviews with me made more sense than going on and on about all my books.
I almost didn’t include this page in the press kit. For one thing, I’ve read that ten pages is really the upper limit. For another, while I still make plenty of portraits, it’s no longer my main focus. In the end, this page made the cut because I’m proud of the quote from Bust about my portraiture, and it seemed like a good way to end the press kit.
The last page is all about contact info and featuring one more painting.
This press kit would not be what it is without feedback from my writers’ group, who helped me finesse my word choices and also determine the most compelling order of the pages. I’m no graphic designer, so I know the layout isn’t everything it could be, but I’m still pretty excited about my press kit. I’ll be sure to keep you posted about where it takes me!
Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!
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