Sorry for not having answered this one sooner. I’m falling behind it seems. :(
Ok, if you want clients first thing you have to do is actually assess your own work. What type of work do you do? What mediums do you use? The better you are at knowing WHAT niche your work might fit in, the easier it is to find clients and work.
Let’s say you draw cute animal cartoons using photoshop. You’re certainly not going to start looking for work at places that have NEVER used this type of work, such as Asimov’s magazine.
You’ll want to find places or people who will actually use this type of work. You do this by researching your market.
This is a great place to start. (http://www.artistsmarketonline.com)
Read what they want, how to submit and be sure to check out their website. You can get the book at the store, but I like the online version because I don’t have to manually type in their address. I can do it in browser.
Then, you put together your portfolio. This has to be some of your best work. This usually consists of at least 6 pieces that can really represent your work and what you do.
Next, shop it around. If you can’t afford sending out your portfolio to many places but need work, you can print off postcards with a sample piece of work on the front and contact info on the back as well as a summary of what you do. Some people print off a newsletter or a brochure and send it out as well. (Many places accept online submissions as well.)
My aunt use to sculpt figures by hand and in order to get business she would print off a brochure and send it out to stores, galleries and other people who would like her work. Out of 100 sent she got back about 2 responses. You may not think that’s a lot, but it’s the sort of return you’re going to see when you have ANY business. Even the big name businesses see this sort of return in their products.
You can also put up a portfolio dedicated to only your work online. Websites are great and that’s something that can generate a lot of business. www.hireanillustrator.com is another place to put your work. I’ve gotten work through there before and it’s nice to have people coming to you for work. Get out there and show people your work and you’ll see return.