The Advantages of Author Portraits

A polished author portrait

Today’s guest post is by Simone Collins (@SimoneHCollins) at ArtCorgi.

My job is to help people commission original art from up-and-coming artists via ArtCorgi, a company I started earlier this year. Though the art I help people create consists of everything from romantic gifts to mobile game assets and painted scenes for wall art, I have seen a significant uptick in the number of authors approaching me for portraits and book cover design. As a result, I have discovered a handful of advantages they offer.

1. Polished Presentation

An author’s online presence has never been more important; you have to consider how you’re coming across on your website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads, and various other sites where you’re interviewed or might be a guest.

Nearly every post, tweet, or article you publish will be accompanied by an avatar or profile photo. Polished and universally used profile images help create a cohesive and alluring personal brand. Well-lit, framed, and crafted images separate amateur authors from serious professionals.

2. Lower Cost

The go-to polished profile photo of choice is often a photograph. However, professional photographs can be quite expensive. Having a portrait drawn from informal personal photos or selfies can save a significant amount of money. Some of the most popular portrait styles on ArtCorgi hover around $25–$45, making them far less expensive then traditional photo shoots with professional photographers.

3. Uniqueness

Because most authors opt for photographs of themselves when presenting author profiles, one can stand out by opting for a portrait. They are relatively unusual.

4. Brand Reinforcement

I H LakingSome authors come to us for portraits because they help us reinforce their personal brands in a way that photos cannot. I. H. Laking, for example, had a cartoon-style portrait made for Amazon and social media. He opted for this style since he writes books targeted at younger artists.

Laking’s ArtCorgi artist, Joseph Lee, worked with us to make his appearance uniquely friendly (by making the “sparkles” in his eyes larger than they would be otherwise), and the result comes across as more child-friendly and whimsical than a typical photograph could be.

5. Achieving the Impossible

The most common reason clients of all types (authors included) commission portraits is that they can be presented in scenes and costuming that would be prohibitively expensive to create in a photo shoot or with Photoshop.

Take, for example, this piece commissioned by author Abigail Morrison. I do not even know where she might go about finding a shark to punch in real life. But this illustration cost less than $100 to create, which I like to think is quite a steal.

Abby Nailed It by Clay Graham via ArtCorgi

How to get an author portrait

While I would love for you to consider and our dedicated site for authors,, you can also find artists who are available for commissions via deviantART and Tumblr—just search “commissions” and follow artists’ instructions for working with them.

If you would like guidance, don’t hesitate to contact me via Twitter (@ArtCorgi or @SimoneHCollins) or email. I have spent years working with freelance writers and novelists and would love to be of service.

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