Monday, February 9, 2015

Value What You Do Or No One Else Will

Over on Instagram I started the topic of value -- specifically that the value of your work is not given by others, but by you first. I opened up the comments section to anyone who had any questions about being a working artist. I thought it would be best to answer the questions here for everyone to see, because a lot of artists have the same questions and concerns. I'm answering in the order in which they were received. If anyone has any further questions, please leave a comment and I'll answer you personally. Let's get started.


@rickycharms 
Could you describe/show your work space and supplies? Any tips on getting more awareness for your art?

Everyone wants their work noticed and with the ease and power of the internet, lots of people have the chance to see your work. If your goal is to get a following, Instagram is a great place to start. I would recommend Facebook, but if you weren't grandfathered in before they started charging for post boosts, you don't really stand to get your work out there. Still it doesn't hurt. But I think you have more to gain from finding a local Artwalk night that you can participate in or register for one of the tons of conventions around the country. It's the best way to meet people, because it's absolutely true that it's about "who you know". It'll take some investing in yourself ($$$) but if you're serious about having your work seen, it's what you gotta do wonders for you. But do some research and you'll find venues that are looking for artists. As for my work space. I have a studio crawling with toys, statues, CDs and lots of prints and posters of artists I admire. I have a drawing table and a desk where my computer sits. The most important thing is that you surround yourself with stuff that you love and inspires you. As for drawing supplies, I recommend the Pentel Pocket brush, Faber Castell pens and pencils and Prismacolor markers and Verithin color pencils. All of this stuff can be found on Amazon.



@rey.paez
As a freelance illustrator/artist how are the best ways to go to work.

You can go with headhunters like Artisan Creative who look for freelance and full-time artists. A lot of these places get part of your pay, so they may say the project or position pays $35/hour but the reality is they're charging the company $40/hour and you're getting the lions share. Lots of times these places will keep you from getting hired on full-time so you'll have to quit their services and take a chance on your own. The key is to find an agency that will get paid a fee from an employer to find the right person for the job, so it doesn't come out of your pay. There's also resources like the Directory of Illustration, and or talent representation like the Bright Group. They find work for you for a percentage of your fee, but they're well connected and have tons of resources. Of course, none of this is free, so you gotta be willing to invest in yourself. And then there's the option of going to networking meetings and mixers. This will force you to get out of your comfort zone, which I highly recommend, and get you in front of people. Again, you'll have to do some research online to find places where people gather to share their services. A lot of times they're free, but you'll have to have some nice business card printed up (I recommend Moo.com) in order to be prepared.

@luisdrewthis
Any tips for artists struggling with drawing figures. I can't get the grasp of drawing people (cartoonish or real life) I want to break into digital comics but I can't seem to pass my limitations on awkward body figures in my art.

Figure drawing classes. That's it. And draw from life when you're out and about. The worst thing you can do is learn from looking in comic books, because every artist has a different approach. Some styles are realistic and some are stylized, but when you draw from real life, there is no mistake there. Draw what you see. Look online for Figure Drawing classes. Sometimes meetup.com has groups that get together to draw in groups. And remember, they say every artist has 10,000 bad drawings in them, so just get them all out asap. 

@teddy_scribbelz
How do I go about selling prints of my artwork? Also any tips on drawing females?

Big Cartel, etsy, Society 6 are just a few online services that help you get your artwork up and ready to sell. You can make prints yourself on high quality Epson printers that will cost you a pretty penny (do some research) or you can find local or online printers who offer high quality art prints. But with a site like Society 6, they do everything for you, but of course they get the lions share of the sale for printing, packing and shipping the product. I advise to do it yourself. As for drawing females, see my previous answer.

@i_drew_andrew
Any suggestions on getting people interested in purchasing artwork. Also are there any figure drawing books/sites/references that would be great for practicing? Last question, what is a great resource for art prints (ie type of paper, company, printers, best diy options). 

A lot of these question I've answered above. I really recommend finding a figure drawing class. You'll have to find something online, meetup.com is a good place to start to find groups where there's experienced and non-experienced artists alike. But two books I still enjoy are Anatomy for the Artist and The Figure in Motion. Find them on Amazon. As for prints, look for printers in your area so that way you can get a feel for paper. I like 130lb uncoated because of the thickness and it's a good alternative to the more expensive giclee archival printing, plus it absorbs color right on top instead of it saturating into the paper --makes for more vibrant colors. You can print all of this digitally. It's the industry standard now. Or look at Epson printers that handle high quality paper. Do the work and get to digging. 

@monotonousg 
I've been trying to be a freelancer and wish to improve. I work part time at an art store and balance between spiritual studies, work and arts. My question...are you a full-time artist? Do you do commissions? Did you ever draw outside your comfort zone?

I am currently a full-time artist but continue to do work for my clients from when I was self-employed. I was self-employed for four years and had finally reached having a great clientele, but my wife and I were looking to start a family, so when I was offered a full-time position (with full benefits) I decided to take a risk. Two years later I'm still full-time and still servicing my clients and doing work for galleries and other personal projects. I don't do many commissions mostly because I don't have the time, but if the commission sounds fun I tend to take it on. As an artist that doesn't necessarily have a style, I get hired because of my versatility. That doesn't work for everybody, but it does for me, so I get presented with challenges form time to time, but that's just the nature of the business. If you're not taking risks you're not going anywhere. My advice for you is to make up your mind what you want to do with your life and pursue that. The more your stretch yourself thin, the less you'll master anything. 

+eejits 
Been trying to push my 'brand' of cartoon creatures and want to create a better more involved following with people who are invested in what I do. Any tips to help cultivate this?

You gotta ask yourself is if you're doing this for you or for the audience that you're looking for. If you love what you're doing then just do it, you may garner a following but they may not be as interested in what you're doing as you are. If you're doing this for the following then you should create for them and that may not be what you're currently working on. I always say do what you love to do and don't worry about anybody else. The right people will find you and enjoy what you do. This is probably not the answer you wanted, but it's the reality. Put it out there through social media platforms and see which one resonates the most and just keep doing what you love to do. Best of luck.

Aaron Laurich - email
I saw your post on instagram. That is a great idea. I have a couple questions for you if you don't mind. 
First off is about promotion. I have been finding it hard to promote my work. I have a website and a Facebook page and Google+ page. But I'm still finding it hard to get my self out there. 
Next is about prints right now I'm using Nuvango.com to sell my work but the pieces I sell they take a large chunk of the money. Thank you for your time. I enjoy always seeing your work. Your style is really great. Keep creating and thanks for looking out for us just getting into the game. 

Aaron, I'm pretty sure I've answered the first part of your question above. Social media is great and Instagram has been especially great for me, but meeting people in person is the way to go. It gets you out of your comfort zone. Find an Artwalk or a local convention where you can sell prints, books, sketchbooks, whatever... directly to an audience. It's scary but worth it. Also, I don't know where you live but if you have any galleries near you, reach out to them. It's pretty competitive, but if you're nice and not pushy, you can almost always get an honest answer from someone. 

I had been approached by Nuvango a while back, but I already set up my shop through Big Cartel, which has worked for me for over three years. They have all kinds of plans, one which is totally free. Thanks for the kind words and thanks to everyone for participating in this last minute experiment. Let me know if there are any other questions you could use some help with.

Happy Creating,

Dennis (aka tanoshiboy)