I have been working with Derwent for well over a year now. It’s a strange kind of relationship if you’re not used to being a consultant, but it’s definitely a rewarding one. I get a lot of questions about what it entails and what I get out of it, so I thought it might be interesting to take you through my experience thus far.
How did you get the job?
I’m sure there’s an element of luck, right place-right time, that sort of thing, in becoming an Ambassador. I had a friend who was already working with Derwent so that probably helped me tremendously. I was invited, via that friend, to an online meeting to chat with the team. We got on well and I loved that they had already seen some of my work and had been following me on social media for a few months. I was following them too, engaging occasionally with likes and shares and a few comments. Nothing spammy! We talked about my personal life a little bit, about my art style and journey. They were very interested in what I wanted to do next. I remember saying I wanted to catch-up on the 25 years of creativity I missed!
Is there a contract?
Yes. It was intimidating at first, but actually it’s quite a simple one that establishes the nature of the arrangement, the duration, and the responsibilities etc. I can’t detail it here, but it’s fair and legal.
What sort of work do you do?
Aside from using a lot of Derwent products and low-key promotion of the brand on my socials, I’ve also written blog posts for their website and articles for magazines. I’ve taken part in surveys and research and testing. I’ve taken product photos and made some cool videos with professional videographers (click the image to view one) led workshops and delivered product training. I’ve drawn, painted and swatched with pencils, paints and blocks. I help moderate their Facebook Group ‘Art of Wellness’ and I’m heading to Patchings Art Festival in a few days, which I’m really excited about!
My main responsibility is to always remember that I am a Derwent Artist Ambassador and to act accordingly.
Do you get paid?
I do, but it depends on the type of work I did. Sometimes it’s a flat-fee, sometimes I am asked to quote if it’s a longer piece of work. I also receive a discount on anything I purchase from their online store, which is great for when I need a re-stock of pencils, and there's an affiliate programme (which I have still not sorted out !).
What about free products?
Hahaha😊 There’s some, of course. I am sent products if a job requires it and I do not already have it. Since I could open my own store with the art supplies I now have, I don’t need much anymore and it would be wasteful and a bit disrespectful to just keep taking for the sake of it. Paper is the thing I run out of most often, since I’m always creating and playing and learning.
What do you enjoy most / least about it?
I love that I am encouraged to explore their full range of products and that I’m invited to create work in mediums I wouldn’t normally go for. I could easily say, ‘no, I’m a colour pencil artist’ but I have found new confidence with my painting abilities and a joy in experimentation that I didn’t have before. The team have been nothing but supportive and encouraging.
My least favourite part is deadlines….ugh they scare me. I find if I’m open and honest about what I can and can’t achieve by a given date, there’s usually a compromise.
What about copyright?
In essence, the rights for any artworks produced in relation to work undertaken under the Agreement are retained by me, however I grant licence for those images, posts, videos etc to Derwent for global use, and they agree to include my name whenever they use/post/tweet/share etc.
How can I get noticed by a big brand like Derwent?
In my experience, tagging and mentions on social media is a great first step, but only tag one brand at a time. They are less likely and less willing to share a post that has multiple brands tagged. Competition is fierce, so make it easier for them to share your work.
Secondly, be professional. By this I mean behave yourself when online. Don’t get involved in flame-wars, don’t bad-mouth the opposition and say nothing if you can’t contribute something positive. Big brands have a reputation to protect and an audience to maintain. They are less likely to want to work with someone who is offensive or negative.
That said, being authentic is important too. If you are passionate about something, that will ring true and shine from your online presence. It will give you that little extra appeal and it may even be the hook that your favourite brand is looking for.
I asked Derwent’s Global Brand Manager, Charlotte Watson, for some insider information on how they find and pick artists to work with.
“We always ensure we are working with Artists who align with our brand values; being excited by the future, being creative and original, taking pride in what we do and that we are authentic and true. We always have an initial meeting with the potential Derwent Artist Ambassadors to ensure they would be a good fit for the brand but also that we as a brand are able to support the Artist in the way they need to be supported.”
Do you approach individuals, or do you prefer they approach you?
“It’s a mixture of the two, we do get a lot of Artists reaching out to us but similarly, if we can see an Artist on social media using our art materials (as an example) we may approach them. We’re happy to say it’s a two way street!”
What’s the best way to get noticed by a big brand?
“Tag them in any work you create using their products, message them on social media, email their customer services team but always ensure you are introducing yourself properly and telling the brand why you think you should work together. Don’t forget big brands such as Derwent receive hundreds of messages a day! Ensure your message stands out 😊”
And there you have it! Hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes look at being an Artist Ambassador. Like/comment/share if you did. Y’know the drill.
Thanks for reading!
Visit the Derwent website https://www.derwentart.com