Nate Williams, creator of illustrationmundo.com, the most amazing online-community for illustrators, talks about how he came up with the idea for the site and some of its very unique and wonderful features.
Love and Water- Can you explain how you started illustrationmundo.com and how the site works?
Nate Williams- illustrationmundo.com was a site I created out of need. Before I was an illustrator I was an art director. I did lots of programming and web-based technical stuff. When I was doing that there was a huge community for programming. Whenever you had a question you’d just go to one of many sites and get your question answered. So I was used to being able to go to a website to get my questions answered. When I began to pursue illustration as a career I started looking for sites that offered similar communities, but couldn’t find the specific niche I wanted. So since I had the technical skills I decided to create an illustration portal that was all about illustration. It started off pretty basic: you could create a profile and submit news in order to bring attention to the projects you were working on. The objective is not to display a whole portfolio, but to get art directors and designers and illustrators onto the actual illustrator’s website; that way it serves as a vehicle for illustrators to send more people to their own websites. So it’s really a portal that links to everyone’s individual sites. My philosophy is that each illustrator should focus on their own website, and everything should link back to their site. So people can locate good content through Illustration Mundo and then go directly to the person’s site to see their full body of work.
L&W- It’s such an amazing resource for that reason. How has the site grown as a result of the community that has formed?
NW- The site has grown organically, and as I see a need I add features to it. So for example, at first you could search illustrators but there wasn’t a way to save your search. So I added that function so everyone can save their favorite illustrators and refer back to them. Another example is that I found there’s not a particularly easy way to find illustrators on Facebook or Twitter, so now you can find those illustrators who are on either or both through illustrationmundo.com. I also make sure the site is very inclusive, in that a person might not be the best illustrator today, but two years down the road they will have improved a great deal. So I never want to turn anyone away, and I want people to learn from each other. So I try to come up with algorithms that filters content for the sake of searches. I want to make sure other people’s voices are heard. If you like a specific illustrator you can also see who they like. The forums have also gone through a few different stages, and right now the categories I have represent the topics that people really want to talk about.
L&W- You also have Letterplayground.com, which is such a clever and smart idea and people can go directly to through illustrationmundo.com.
NW- As people are more interested in hand-lettering and type, I wanted to create a place for them to feature their work, which is how I came up with Letterplayground.com. It’s a great site as well, and I’m always happy to see the quality of content that appears on it each day. There are some really great pieces of work on it.