I love hearing about designers “being discovered” on Instagram or a design taking off on Spoonflower. You put your art into the world… and BOOM: success finds YOU!
But after 6+ years in this industry, I know those stories are pretty rare. And even if they weren’t, there’s no way to replicate them because they depend on luck.
Pitch Your Portfolio gives you the plan (and the emails). So if you can bring the patience and tenacity… there’s nothing in the way of getting your art licensed.
Feeling short on tenacity? The PYP community can help fuel your motivation!
5+ hours of practical video lessons to walk you through my system for getting your art in front of art directors (without overwhelm).
Easy-to-use email templates for different situations, making reaching out and responding to companies less scary.
Ready-made portfolio sheet templates to make your designs look perfectly polished when you present them to art directors.
Screenshots of my real-life email interactions with companies to help you feel more confident & in control of the contacting process.
Airtable templates & easy set-up instructions to organize your outreach efforts, so you can spend more time on your art.
Radical transparency from interviews with art directors and veteran artists so you know what to expect, like a seasoned pro.
Instant lifetime access to the course on our class platform, Searchie, allowing you to find all course content easily and quickly.
Inclusion in a private online community for unconditional support PLUS regular live Q&A calls with Shannon during & after the course.
Pitch Your Portfolio was a wonderful stepping stone for me to take myself seriously as a business, and it gave me the tools to start acting like it! If you are ready to take a serious step into an art business, this is a great place to start.
Before PYP I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. But this course gave me clear steps to get organized and target companies. It’s a very extensive, practical, and straightforward course aimed at making seemingly complicated things easy and even fun.
I’ve been an art director and project coordinator, but hadn't come up with a set of tools that worked for licensing until PYP. I honestly was ready to leave the business, but I sold 3 pieces during this course because I found the confidence to re-contact two potential clients at the right time.
She gives you step-by-step ways to organize your computer files, actual templates you can use to track all of the company research you do, and email templates to use when reaching out to companies. It really removed the stress of starting from scratch when I was ready to pitch.
The 12 most common surface design markets with a SUPER helpful chart showing which themes each market uses.
How to package your portfolio for maximum impact and organize your design files, so you can find and send things easily.
Real-life examples of how to evaluate your design style, plus a 70+ word cheat sheet you can use if you don’t know where to start.
BONUS: Portfolio sell sheet template suite provided in PSD, AI and InDesign, giving you maximum flexibility when designing.
How to organize your research from day one, using a single document making it easy to keep track of it all.
The #1 thing to keep in mind during company research to make your search as efficient and effective as possible.
Company search 101: Demonstrations of 8 different methods for finding companies, including the one you should avoid – I’ll walk you through each step-by-step.
BONUS: Lists for 3 of the search methods to help you get a head start with your company research.
Other job titles beyond art directors to look for because ADs aren’t the only ones buying art.
How to search for the right person to contact at a company with live demos of 6 different methods and which approach is best for different companies.
The best tool for finding an art director’s email and exactly how to use it, plus what to do when you can’t find an email at all.
BONUS: Cold-call scripts for phone, DMs, and email.
How to decide who to contact and how to prepare your inbox before you send emails to help keep you focused and organized.
Top tips for writing killer intro emails and knowing exactly which art to send. Don’t worry, I make it easy and fun!
My #1 hack to boost your confidence and why not hearing back from an art director is never the full story.
BONUS: Mad-lib style templates to help you write a customized intro email within minutes.
20+ ACTUAL screenshots of my interactions with clients. Yup, I’m serious! I’ll show you exactly what art directors say and how I’ve responded to them.
How to write follow-up emails. I’ll hold your hand and walk you through the 4 different replies you’ll get and the subtle differences for each.
The 5 questions you’ll get asked most frequently. But don’t worry, you’ll learn how to respond to each.
BONUSES: Video excerpt from our Artful Pricing course AND mad-lib email templates for your follow-up emails.
The biggest mistake you can make and how to avoid it. No BS here – follow-up is where so many designers drop the ball. But that doesn’t have to happen to you!
How to build relationships with the companies you contact. Watch me create the follow-up art emails I send to my clients in real time so you can see how quick the process can be.
Art newsletters and why I think every designer should have them. News flash: They don’t have to be complicated or lengthy and using my method you can create one in under an hour!
BONUS: How to build a newsletter in Mailchimp demo video.
Flying solo and killing i!
Represented by Jennifer Nelson Artists
Represented by Courtney Davis
Ever wanted to ask an art director or agent what they think of our emails? Well, I did just that!
Randy has over 14 years of experience and is currently a Creative Director in the home decor & giftware industry at New Home Gifts, creating products for thousands of independent shops and national retailers across the US.
Brenda represents artists around the world who create designs for home decor, apparel, gift and stationery markets. She has 23 years of combined industry experience as both a buyer/licensee and an agent.
Eirini is a founding partner and creative director of DHOME Brands, the parent company of Entryways, Divine Home, and Skeem. She has 30 years of experience in consumer goods in retail and wholesale in the US and Europe.
I have received numerous licensing contracts since Pitch Your Portfolio and found out a few days ago my dream of getting into Hawthorne Fabrics has come true! Your PDF layouts, advice, and Airtable all made it happen for me. So thank you!
Nothing was left for us to figure out on our own. It’s a game-changer and really equips you with the practical tools and confidence boost you need to approach businesses, and put your portfolio out there in a professional, yet accessible, way.
But it totally has as I feel I have a roadmap on how I should go about building my portfolio and so many ideas have come to me, now that I know what the process is of how to go about pitching my portfolio to companies. This was a missing link for me.
I've known for a while I needed to start gathering company information but avoided it because it felt so overwhelming. But I've felt a shift in myself just in the past month since taking this class and my goals feel much more attainable!
It’s not preachy or overly optimistic where one feels encouraged but still gets lost when trying to do it…I started sending out my portfolio to clients and within a month got 2 licensing contracts and 4 inquiries. I know I wouldn’t have had the confidence to start thinking on business terms if not for you.
“In just six months, I reached out to over 30 companies and licensed 2 designs.
Now I’m more confident in pitching, and create strategic artwork for specific markets. This course is for anybody who wants to take action in developing his/her own creative career in surface design."
“Your class is the only one I have truly felt connected with the teaching style, knowledge, and community!
I would have never known how to reach out to a few of my dream companies before your class. Now, I’ve successfully contacted some of my dream brands using what I've learned."
“Utilizing your email tips, I submitted to 10 art agents and signed with one of them two weeks later!!
Everything in PYP is done in a way that makes sense for someone like me who doesn't have a ton of time or stress to their day. They want it to be simple. And it really is."
You dream of seeing your art have a practical impact on the world by making products beautiful and fun.
You’re working on building your portfolio, but you’re not sure how to organize it and need structure for the business side of surface design.
You want to connect with surface designers at your level — those who know how to design but aren’t making a full-time living yet.
You resonate with a to-the-point approach that balances reality-checks with upbeat encouragement (vs. fluffy “go after your dreams” style motivation).
Over the past decade, I slowly transitioned to my dream job as a full-time surface designer working for myself. And when I say “slowly transitioned,” I mean it! It was definitely not an overnight success.
One thing that did help? Though I’m an artist, the other part of me is a total numbers nerd, so I thrived on testing different approaches, documenting my results, and creating streamlined systems for myself.
Ultimately I arrived at the methods that led me to collaborations with brands like Papyrus, Cloud9 Fabrics, Pyrex, and Trader Joe’s — and seeing my designs on products in stores I shop at! Now, I teach these methods to other surface designers who would prefer to just borrow my analytical brain instead of figuring it out on their own (like I had to).
When does enrollment open next?
Enrollment for Pitch Your Portfolio will open again in spring 2024. Join the waitlist to be the first in line!
Is there a time limit for course access? And how much time do I need to complete this course?
The course itself is completely self-paced, so you can go through it as quickly or slowly as you like depending on how you like to learn.
The time commitment you’ll need every week depends on how quickly you want to work through the course and its resources. My suggestion is one module per week (the modules range from 30-80 minutes to watch).
Still, I don’t want you to get too overwhelmed, so I encourage you to go at whatever pace you’re most comfortable with given your current schedule. And because you’ll always have access, you can revisit any video or resource anytime you need to.
How much does this course cost? Are there payment plans?
The course enrollment fee for 2023 is €699 (approx. $730 USD). Prices are in Euros and exclude VAT (which will be collected for EU customers). USD prices are approximate and based on the current exchange rate.
Please Note: We no longer offer payment plans. If you'd like to understand why we made this decision, click here to read an article where Shannon shares her reasons.
Do you offer refunds?
Yes, within the 7 days of purchase. Just email us and we'll send you a simple refund request form. Once completed, we’ll process your refund within 5 business days.
Do you teach how to design in this course?
No; this course is about pitching your completed work to companies.
Can I take this course if I already have some art licensing deals?
Yes. If you’re established but not happy about how much work you’re getting OR you want to be more organized in your business, then Pitch Your Portfolio will be useful.
Will this help me if I don’t live in the US?
Absolutely! Pitch Your Portfolio has alumni from more than 40 countries, from Australia to Germany to Malaysia, who have used what they learned to further their design careers.
Will this help me get freelance work or is it just for licensing?
Yes, what you learn in Pitch your Portfolio applies to getting freelance work as well.
The process for finding and contacting companies for licensing vs. freelance client work is very similar, so this course will help you no matter what your focus is and you’ll find several examples of both throughout the modules.
How much art do I need before I’m ready for this course?
A lot less than you think. If you have a portfolio with 10 good designs, you have enough – yes, really!
Do you provide captions or transcripts for course videos?
Yes! Every course video has captions and downloadable transcriptions available to make it easier for you to learn the material in whatever way works best for you.
There’s also a full course workbook you can download or print out so you can follow along through each module.
What’s the difference between Pitch Your Portfolio and Artful Pricing & Negotiation? Which one should I take?
Pitch Your Portfolio teaches you how to pitch companies, and Artful Pricing & Negotiation teaches you how to price your work. I recommend taking Pitch Your Portfolio first — because if you’re not pitching, there’s no one to negotiate pricing with!
What’s the difference between this course and other surface design business courses from other designers?
The biggest difference is that Pitch Your Portfolio is a deep dive into one specific (vital) business skill for surface designers: Finding & successfully pitching your work to companies.
Other surface design business courses broadly share how to launch a surface design career through various business models, and many even start at teaching the craft of design for complete beginners. This is helpful if you’re just starting out and want an overview…. But in my experience, if you already know how to design, mastering pitching is what will help you start earning money faster.
Because we go deep, everyone walks away with an actionable plan that generates income. Not just a bunch of knowledge (which can feel overwhelming to implement).
What if I have more questions before I sign up?