Category: Advice for Artists

[VLOG] Print Shop Prep!

Here’s a quick peek recorded live of the print shop prep for my next convention! I haven’t done a convention in a couple of years since I took the time to create a new body of work, but getting back into prep has been like riding a bike!

Some advice on buying and saving money:

BAGS & BACKING – You can get backing made out of spare matboard for cheaper than the white boards. The Clearbags branded bags are also cheaper and have a tiny URL for the bag company on the adhesive strip.

PRINTING & INK – I bought my Epson printer at Staples where they let me trade in an older printer for a $50 discount. They’ll also let you trade in used ink cartridges which earn you store credit vouchers. The Staples brand paper is also much cheaper than Epson branded paper and has more weight to it!

The Epson Artisan 1430 I have lets me print up to 13×19 inches, which is a nice size! Anything larger I will have printed at http://www.iprintfromhome.com. Tell them Angela Sasser sent you to earn some referral bucks!

(CORRECTION: They DO have gloss photo paper at Staples, but it never seems to be in stock at mine and I prefer matte or semi-gloss for printing my art, regardless.)

MAT CUTTER – The Logan Compact Mat Cutter can be found in many of the hobby stores in the US like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Joanns, etc. where you’re generally able to use a 40% off coupon on them!

(NOTE: I have a master list of my favorite suppliers with reviews of each online here.)

SUPPLIES:

Epson Artisan 1430

Staples Premium Matte Photo Paper

Avery Full Sheet Labels

Logan Compact Mat Cutter

Paper Cutter

SUPPLIERS:

Bags & Backing

Custom Playmat Printing

Dice Bags

Investing In Myself

After the last post discussing how things have been going for me over the past couple of years, I realize I wanted to talk more about the Ladies of the Months and what this series means for me right now.  I realize that after years of chasing freelance work and trying to break into game/RPG/publishing companies with my portfolio that I made an unprecedented decision…

…I decided to invest in myself.

The Circle of Self-Doubt

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with working for other companies/employers other than yourself.  Goodness knows I’d probably be making more money right now if I did!  However, the race to be hired was becoming tiresome for me, personally.  Every time it seemed people were interested in my portfolio, they wanted me to work for an unrealistic wage OR my work didn’t match their projects. “Thank you for sending in your work.  We will keep you on file” was an automated message I saw too often.

Somewhere along the line after numerous rejections and/or low paying bids, I realized I was running in circles.  What did I really want from these jobs, anyway?  Validation?  A decent wage?  Listening to my friends in the industry (particularly the folks over at One Fantastic Week), I wondered if maybe these jobs weren’t as glamorous as they seemed?  So much of an artist’s creative work is used for products they have no monetary stake in.  

Even saying that, I’m not going to lie. It’d be very nice to have a Magic the Gathering or high profile book cover gig under my belt, but is being hired for jobs like that the only thing that makes me a ‘real professional artist’?  It certainly feels that way sometimes.  This feeling was yet another road block in choosing to work for myself.  I needed a ‘real’ gig to make me a professional and spending time on doing my own stuff was a waste when I should be making work to fit in to get me hired elsewhere.

Even then, my gigs with self-publishers and the companies who did hire me still did not feel like enough to make me ‘a real professional artist’, even if I was.  This notion of validation is one of the worst fallacies of this industry that keeps people with valuable and marketable ideas from investing in themselves because they’re too busy doubting themselves and their own worth to even consider it. 

Inception

Something changed for me in the past couple of years.  With the advent of crowdfunding and Patreon, a little light led me off the beaten path. Investing in my own ideas started to look more feasible.  I started up my own Patreon and have been growing with it slowly, but surely, as I work on the Ladies of the Months series

The Ladies were something I wanted to work on for myself but also a project I judged to be marketable and appealing to others beyond my own scope.  I could make many products from them, including calendars, prints, art books, coloring books, etc.  

One of the best real results I’ve had so far is that in being over halfway done with the series currently, I have a stellar consistent body of work I can show off!  Lately, I’ve started formulating Kickstarter plans for the future, even if my first try at Kickstarter was a failure and a blow to my ego that I almost didn’t recover from.

Survival

I also need to share that I’m lucky I have a supportive partner who helps keep us afloat.  There have been times we have had to suffer and scrounge.  Thankfully, we’re in this together and we accept these consequences together.  He’s been with me when I’ve made these decisions, he’s with me when I mess up, and he’ll be with me with this grand scheme of mine succeeds or fails.  My husband’s faith in me has helped me more than I can express!  If I didn’t have his support, things would be so much harder.  I’d probably be working evenings instead of being able to focus on this venture full-time.

We can’t travel as much as we want. We can’t buy everything we want.  We can’t go out to eat with friends often.  When we’ve had medical emergencies, we cringe at the thought of the increasing debt and have sometimes delayed doctor’s visits.  These are the realities of choosing to make less money while you’re building a business and didn’t have a lot of money to start off with.  Save before you take the leap. It will help you so much!  We actually had savings, but medical emergencies hit us pretty hard.  It can be really scary at times!

The Untaught Freelance Skill

In choosing to invest in myself, I’ve had to say no to some gigs so I could maintain momentum on the Ladies.  That crushing feeling of guilt and self-doubt comes every-single-time I say no!  I could be growing our finances more if I just worked overtime, had no social life, and slept less.  I’m trying not to compromise my mental and physical health just to stave off this guilty feeling. It doesn’t do me or my loved ones any good.

They really should teach the delicate art of refusal to all artists.  It is okay to say no to a gig that you’re unsure about.  You are not an entitled Millennial for doing so.  You are not a loser.  You should be paid fairly.  You should believe in the value of your own projects.  If you truly need money, no one should think less of you if you take a non-art job or do decide to take a crappy gig.  Do what you need to do.  Take care of yourself!  You are the only one you should hold yourself accountable to, not the elitists who will tell you you’re not a real artist/are a sellout/ starving artist etc. if you do this or that.  

I’m going to call this untaught freelance skill Self-Accountability.  You are your own best judge and you know what you need to do to survive and succeed at your goals.  You may take risks, but take them with full awareness and make a decision you can’t blame on anyone else.

What Next?

I’m not sure yet if the light that led me off the path is a Wisp leading me to my doom, but I’m eager to find out!  My worst fear in this life is to die with regret.  The chance of failure is worth the feeling that I at least tried to do the things I have always wanted to do and that maybe, just maybe, I led a remarkable, or at the very least happy, life!

And if the Ladies of the Months fail to be a monetary success?  I will at least still have work that I’m proud of, that’s meaningful to me, and that has a type of longevity in its versatility of subject matter and potential merchandise.  The immense feeling of having completed something so ambitious will last me a long time and gratify me on an emotional level that can’t be bought with money.

Getting My House In Order

Getting the Monster Girls up on Redbubble is a big part of my push this year!

When I first started this blog, my intent was to share my journey as an artist.  Over 2016, however, I noticed most of my posts here have been Sketch Diaries about my creative process.  It’s time to get back to form with a long rambl-y semi-personal post!

How is my artistic journey going these days, anyways?  2016 was an odd year for me.  I didn’t go to any conventions or do any big events due to a limited budget.  Being so disconnected from the art world made me feel pretty bummed about this past year.  However, taking a break from being in the scene was time that I really needed to get my myself in order, business, personal, and art-wise.  I’ve managed to stay hyper-focused on producing art for the Ladies of the Months, which has been one of my central goals and drives of late.

Finishing this series has taken precedence for me for multiple reasons.  I have a bad habit of flitting from one project to the next and following my excitement down a new rabbit hole before actually figuring out how I can market and sell what I’ve created.  This happens so often for me, especially because I have so many multiple art styles vying for my attention, from the friendly colorful stylization of my Monster Girls to the elegant tediousness of my Art Nouveau work to the painterly surreal narrative art I’ve been ultimately trying to evolve my work towards.

Last year, I came to the realization that this is a huge part of my lack of success as an artist.  I’m not a bad artist, by any means, but my huge amount of varied work and lack of cohesive presentation, as well as any consistent large body of work I could market to consumers hinders my success.  I have so many things sitting on my computer that I’ve moved on from without properly utilizing them (ie. the Monster Girls and my Rapunzel comic).  How do I choose which ones have value for me to complete and which ones are better left as a learning experience?  I’m still learning the answer to that question.  As far as I can judge, it’s a matter of being honest about the quality of the end product and how marketable it actually is to an audience.

For the future, I want to change my love of different styles into a strength.  For me, this has meant learning when and how to pick similar things in my art and sort them better into websites and ‘brands’ that appeal to their unique audiences.  I’m at that point in my artistic journey where I’ve stepped back to take stock of my large varied body of work and how I can make what I’ve already created work for me.

For instance, the Ladies of the Months can aid me with approaching the Fine Art market.  My Monster Girls can be the central attraction at anime conventions.  My narrative art can appeal to the crowd open to Imaginative Realism or my fantasy writings.  This seems like such an elementary observation now, but it’s taken me the past 5 years (the time I got my business license) to realize how to funnel and package myself as an artist.  I’m learning to embrace my experimental nature, while also reigning it in and becoming more able to recognize what I can utilize for my business before I move on to that next adrenaline rush of a new project.

All in all, I’m more hopeful this year that in the near future I’ll finally start seeing myself being as successful as I want to be and that I’ll make a clean, clear connection to the audiences who enjoy my art.  The big picture is finally becoming clear, as is my own mental image of myself and where I want to be as an artist.  Slowly, but surely!

PS.

A lot of my slow boiling realizations about my art and how I connect with my audiences have come about thanks to Greg Spalenka’s wonderful Artist As Brand workbook. I very highly recommend it!

Patreon Update – Art Student Tier!

A brand new year is upon us and I’m rearing to get started on all the projects I have waiting in the wings!  With so much going on I’ve decided to pause the Mentorships I was hosting through Patreon so I don’t split my attention too much.

I know the mentorships have been helpful (and affordable) for aspiring artists, so I added a new Reward tier to take its place till I’m ready to host full mentorships again.  This new tier is called the Art Student!

With the Art Student tier, you’ll get the following:

  • Access to my usual Patreon Rewards from the prior tiers, including wallpapers, video walkthroughs, PSD files of my paintings, a PDF sketch diary, & the ability to participate in the inspiration prompt drawing each month.
  • A single paint-over OR redline per month for your work in need of critique! Additional paint-overs can be purchased separately at a discounted rate of 25% off for Art Students.
  • A narrated video of your critique will be recorded and uploaded privately for you to view at your leisure on YouTube. Critique videos will be fully detailed, providing advice and study resources.
  • A .PSD of your paintover/redline which you’re free to use as a base will also be provided!

Critiques will be delivered after the 1st of each month once the prior month’s pledges have been successfully processed. I aim to have them online within the first week of each month. You will be individually notified when your critique is available.

Questions, comments, or suggestions?  Feel free to drop me a line in the comments or via email! There’s no greater joy than unlocking the potential of a piece of art, so I’m excited to see what you all might throw at me!

Art in the thumbnail by Jude Mayr with a redline by me.

Does it Pay to Specialize as an Artist?

I was quoted in an article over at CreativeBloq, “Does it pay to specialise as an artist?” 

Featuring some familiar faces and some of my own art and thoughts as well!  I’ve struggled for years to find my artistic voice and sort out my passions from my wide array of interests. Hopefully these words of wisdom help others figure things out for themselves as well!

Patreon Project Kit for Artists

Cross-posted from The Muse’s Library.

I’ve been on Patreon now for about a year since the site went live. I’ve tried a lot of different experiments in that time and have built a small, but dedicated following via this community-driven site. I’m a firm believer that crowd-funding is the wave of the future and the core building block of a growing breed of artist-entrepreneurs.

I thought I’d share that spirit of giving by sharing the structure, templates, and other resources that keep my Patreon ticking!  I hope it helps other artists out there considering promoting their projects via this site.  Let’s make a Patreon!

Patreon Profile Image

Release Schedule

When you set up your account, it’s important to have an idea of how and when your releases will occur and also other notices you’d like to send to your Patrons so you can be aware of how much you might be spamming them at once so they don’t get fatigued by your posts. Mine go something like this:

– Last Day of the Month.  Patreon begins charging your Patrons on the 1st of the month, so let’s start there!  The monthly image is uploaded. I only release one painting per month to keep things simple, but you may want to release more frequently! If I ever do more than one painting a month, I stagger out my releases so that there’s always one being posted per month.  However, I do not charge monthly because I am a slow worker and I’d rather my Patrons only get paid when I release a painting, rather than taking a chance that they might not receive anything if I’m not productive enough.

– Within the First Week of the Month.  Rewards for all levels are posted in individual posts (one for each tier) and a PM is sent out regarding my Keyword Inspiration sketch (an event I hold monthly for $5+ Patrons where they turn in prompts and I draw the most inspiring prompt).

– The 15th of Every Month.  A mid-month reminder post reminding people to attend my monthly Studio Hangout (with a link to the Event on Google+), sharing a WiP of that month’s art, and any other important reminders that might be relevant. The 15th is also my internal deadline to have the physical Rewards mailed out.

Last Wednesday of Every Month.  A link to the recording of my live Studio Hangout is posted.  The recording is auto-generated by Hangouts and posted to YouTube for me, which makes things easy.

Digital File Rewards

Digital Rewards are the cornerstone of any Patreon since they’re easy to fulfill and require less of an expense on the artist’s part. Here are a few ideas for distributing digital items.

Patreon Attachments. The downside is a user might have to sift through a lot of posts to find the older Rewards that wouldn’t have been emailed to them. Storing a master list with links that you can link Patrons to in a private Rewards post is another idea to help keep track of older Rewards for new users.

DeviantART’s Sta.sh. DA’s sta.sh allows for private viewing of file links for anonymous viewers who have the url. You can store any kind of file (image, video, etc.) and also ‘stack’ them if you have multiple releases you’d like to show at a single url. The current default limit for free users of DA is 2GB while Premium members get 10GB. Another random perk is that you can also hotlink to sta.sh files if you are embedding images into html on other sites.

YouTube. YouTube allows you to upload videos at private links (called ‘unlisted videos’) that are only accessible to those who have the link.  It’s a good alternative if you want to offer a streaming option for videos instead of requiring a complete download of the entire file.

Private Journal Entries

Sharing exclusive posts can really make Patrons feel special! However, Patreon’s current journal function is very limited and doesn’t allow images and text to be formatted easily. For this reason, here are some suggestions for ways to share private journals:

WordPress Public Draft Previews. If you run a site built with WordPress, the Simple Preview plugin allows you to share a link to a Draft which is private and only accessible by those who know the url. The downside is comments currently don’t function on these posts. A workaround is to disable comments on the post and request that Patrons comment on the original Patreon post that led them, including a link so they can easily access the correct url to post their comments.

DeviantART’s Sta.sh. While also useful for storing files, you can also use Sta.sh Writer to create more robust journal entries than Patreon currently does. These private journals also allow users to comment on them.

Physical Rewards

Postcard and Greeting Card Mailings. I use www.postable.com for a fast, secure, and easy solution for mailing out postcards (ie. Christmas cards, Thank You cards, etc.) to my Patrons. You can personalize your cards online, though they will not be handwritten.

Prints. I usually print off my own prints via an Epson Artisan 1430 which boasts lightfast inks and wide format printing (up to 13×19 inches), but when I need bigger and/or fancier prints (ie. giclee, canvas, mounted prints, etc.), I turn to www.iprintfromhome.com (tell them Angela Sasser sent you and we both get Thank You dollars when you make your first order!).

Reader Suggestions

Before I get to the Templates, I’d love to hear your reader suggestions in comments!
If you have any tips or resources you’d like to add that I find particularly helpful,
I’ll add your tip to this journal entry with a link to your Patreon page.
Let’s make this entry a great resource for the community!

Templates

It’s important to have a link to your Patreon wherever you promote your work. Here are a few buttons and banners to help you out with that!

Download the editable files all at once here.

Profile Image Montage:

Button:

Event Banner:

Logos:

Confessions of an Artist: Embracing Defeat

This post needed some humor so here it is!
This post needed some humor so here it is!

It’s been a long time since I wrote a personal/art career post here.  The main reason for that has been the absolutely disastrous year I’ve been having.  Rather than continue putting on a happy face, I thought an entry of candidness might be more helpful.  After all, I started this journal because I wanted to talk about my journey as an artist and I want to stay true to that instead of let this place devolve purely into WIP’s and self-promotion.

This year started with my partner nearly dying from heart complications from bronchitis.  Nearly dying being terrible enough on its own, the ensuing mentally draining recovery topped with an icing of medical bills made a perfect cake of disaster.  The funny thing is, we were more prepared for this than most and those savings got us through a difficult time, including the time immediately after his recovery where my partner was let go from his job.

I’ve said in the past we’re a single income household, with my art bringing in some income, but not a lot.  There followed another extremely stressful and depressing period where we both weren’t sure what was going to happen next.  Even still, my partner reassured me that it was okay to continue trying to do art as my living (because he’s awesome and so, so loving).  We had enough to live off of and emergency measures in place.

But I had something to prove.  I didn’t want to be a money sinkhole when we were in such a period of turmoil.  Here I was in my own little dream world trying to squeeze every penny out of my art, which only made it harder to create anything with that pressure to make everything I made worthwhile and profitable.  I spent more days tied up in a lack of motivation and depression than producing anything at all.

As this year wore on and other medical catastrophes and setbacks happened, I hit a low point.  I gave up for the briefest milliseconds on the notion that any of this struggling to be a professional was worth the suffering it was putting me (us) through.  It felt like everywhere I went, people I respect were bombarding me with the fact I was especially failing this year, that I should be farther than I am.  I needed to be stronger!  My insistence that I could never show weakness and should react by working harder and beyond my limits only worked against me because I turned all of that stress inwards, causing my own physical and mental health to decline.

In a strange way, finally accepting defeat this year has been freeing.  I have become increasingly aware of the long game and the shortness of life here on this earth.  Entering the IP Development Mentorship with Robot Pencil earlier this year was a game changer for me.  I have a lot of ideas I’ve always discredited because they weren’t producing results RIGHT now, but here were several professionals telling me my ideas are “F**king awesome”.  I’m not sure I would have entered this mentorship otherwise if I hadn’t been in the place where I was just so tired of struggling and really wanted to give those unacknowledged passions a chance they would not have gotten otherwise while I was obsessing over proving myself.

It’s funny how we need permission to just do the thing we always wanted to do…

Luckily, we’re doing much better now.  Kev has been making leaps and bounds with his recovery and has also found employment.  We continue our game plan to let me build my art career.  And while I feel guilty for having this privilege when so many other artists don’t, I’m not going to squander this opportunity with guilt anymore because I’m trying to impress those who quantify success as merely money, when success in life is so much more than that.  That path leads to elitism and becoming the kind of person and artist I don’t want to be.  With our income stable for now, I have also started saying no to a lot of jobs that I feel aren’t going to advance me as far as my personal projects might.

I’m still terrified of the unknown and of waiting for another bad thing to happen, but I’m hoping that surviving one terrible year means we’re better equipped the next time.

I suppose if there’s any advice for other artists to take away from this, it’s that sometimes you have to embrace failure because it’s one of the best ways to learn how to do anything right, that other artists who you admire more often than not are projecting a self-image of success (even when it’s not true), and that doing so doesn’t make them any less of an artist.  Also, try to save up backup funds for those rough times because they are waiting to sucker punch you in the gut when you least expect it!

Meanwhile, I’m still here…a little older and a little wiser.

CON REPORT: DragonCon 2015

I’m back from DragonCon and have a massive head cold as a souvenir!  Before I disappear with hot tea and meds, I thought I’d post about how my DragonCon went.

This year was an odd duck for me.  I had no table, which is the first time I’ve been without one for a couple of years.  I was completely okay with that, however, because it meant that I got to actually experience the con by attending interesting panels, costume watching, and networking with people rather than being tied to one place.

I went to a wide range of panels, from the history of Persian dance to indie game development (panel notes forthcoming).  I somehow never made it by the dealer’s room since venturing anywhere outside of the Hyatt just seemed like too much effort.  The Hilton for the game dev track was as far as I made it.

I also ran two panels for other artists entitled Social Media for Artists 101 and 102!  Any event where I can play Duck Army as an ice breaker is a good event.  The attendees at my panel were all very enthusiastic and willing to share resources. Thanks for making it a great first run for 102,  everyone! (NOTE: You can find the PowerPoint files of my presentations here.)

ART SHOW

John, Anne, Heidi, and the other staff ran a tight ship, as always!  It was an experimental year for me in that I left my masks and Art Nouveau work at home and only displayed my digital fantasy work in the show this year, an intimidating decision!  I was happily surprised that two of my canvas prints (Oathbound and Kushiel’s Dart) found new homes!  I did decently in the print shop, though I have a few extra playmats and dice bags still available if anyone’s after them.  Use code DRAGONCON to get 15% off at my shop right now!

dragoncon-2015-gallery-bay
A panoramic shot of my large gallery bay. From left to right, Kushiel’s Dart, Enchained Wind, Keeper of Secrets, Oathbound, Persephone Queen of the Underworld, The Lotus Dancer, and Dreaming Butterfly.
File Sep 10, 10 47 00 AM
See more of these amazing cosplayers here.

FAVORITE MOMENT:

We walked by a guy in the skybridge dressed as a herald from Assassin’s Creed.  He was putting up posters on the walls every few feet.  I heard tales of cosplayers dressed as Assassins zipping by and tearing them down later.  When we asked him how many posters he had, he said 250.  I am highly amused by this kind of clever fun.  I didn’t get a picture of him, but I got one of his poster, which was really well done!

BEST COSTUME:

I snapped a pic of this amazing pair dressed as Na’vi from
Avatar during the Night at the Aquarium.  That baby looked so very real. It was quite creepy (and awesome)!  It’s the dedication to full body paint and detail that made this the best costume I saw all con.  While the Night at the Aquarium was great for costumes, they had all of the lights turned off in the displays this year, which made it really hard to see any fish.  How I wish I’d gone to the philharmonic concert instead.

WHAT DID I LEARN?

I always like to think about what I can learn from looking at the displays and presentations of artists, but this year’s revelation was on a deeper level. Instead, I got a lesson in creativity and motivation from attending the panels on creativity and writing this year.

The advice from a lot of the authors there was that comparing yourselves to others was the quickest way to burn out.  Most of us in the creative industry are just trying to get by and/or create something that we love.  You can partially measure that success by money, but other times, it’s the victory of just having made the thing since, more than likely, creating art is not really going to pay all the bills until a very long time out.  Most of us are in that dreaded ‘gap’ and those who would be at the top are not always guaranteed to stay that way.  Focus on making good art and stop comparing yourself to others.

And that’s a wrap!  You can see more of my DragonCon photos of some of the cool swag I picked up in Artist Alley and other moments over at my Instagram.  Till next time!

Mentorship Slots Available!

EDIT: I’ve updated the Casual Mentorship after some feedback. Now with more bang for your buck!  Also added a more in-depth explanation of exactly what the Portfolio Review and Art Marketing sessions would involve.

Last year, I tentatively opened up the Creative Consulting section of my website.  Now, I’m excited to roll out Mentorship slots via my Patreon reward tiers!  I’ve had a few requests from other artists who wanted to have a deeper educational experience than my painting critiques, which I offer via redlines and paint overs.  I’m currently offering two types of mentorships:

The Casual Mentorship

You will receive:

  • A monthly personalized 30 minute long Portfolio Review OR Art Marketing Consultation (EDIT: changed this previously from being a one-time session). You may also pay for additional sessions separately (see my rates here).
  • A single paint-over per month for your work in need of critique!  Additional paint-overs can be purchased separately (see my rates here).  A narrated video of your critique will be recorded and uploaded privately for you to view at your leisure on my YouTube channel. Paint-over videos will be fully detailed, providing advice and study resources. See an example of how detailed my critiques can be here.
  • A .PSD of your paintover which you’re free to use as a base will also be sent to you!
  • I am YOUR personal Art Cheerleader!  I’m at YOUR disposal when you need advice!  E-mail me any time and I will give you advice on studying, resources, and other art-related topics.

The Full Mentorship

You will receive:

  • A monthly personalized hour long Portfolio Review OR Art Marketing Consultation. You may alternate which one you prefer each month.
  • Up to three paint-overs a month for your work in need of critique! A narrated video of your critique will be recorded and uploaded privately for you to view at your leisure on YouTube. Paint-over videos will be fully detailed, providing advice and study resources. See an example of how detailed my critiques can be here – http://angelasasser.deviantart.com/critique/.
  • You will also receive a .PSD of your paintover which you’re free to use as a base.
  • Just like the Casual Mentorship, I’m at YOUR disposal when you need advice on studying, resources, etc.!

EDIT:  What are the Portfolio Review and Art Marketing Sessions?

The Portfolio Review and Art Marketing sessions would be hour long online chats that we have together via Hangouts or Skype to discuss your needs during the mentorship.  The Portfolio Review would focus on your art and any concerns you have related to your work and techniques while the Art Marketing session would be mainly focused on your business and marketing efforts.

If there happens to be time left after we’ve discussed the primary topic, we can always talk about other things, but I like to keep the sessions focused on a primary concern so as not to overwhelm us with information.

Extra, Extras!

In addition to the mentorship perks, you’ll receive a slew of other goodies I’m offering via Patreon that come with my Mentorship reward tiers, including wallpapers of my art, monthly tutorial videos, and more!  See the Rewards section of my Patreon page for the full details on what other rewards are included.

I’m only offering a limited number of slots right now so I can make sure that each student will have the dedicated attention they deserve, but this may change in the future, should this venture prove successful!  For those who might be new to my work and would like to know more about my credentials, you can read more about my experience here.

Have any questions or comments?  Feel free to comment on this journal or email me!

Book Club: Artist As Brand Part 7 – The Art of Social Media

My reading of Greg Spalenka’s Artist As Brand continues with section VII. Brand Promotion – The Art of Social Media.

I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!

This section  provides a detailed list of forums and communities for networking, many of which I hadn’t heard of before.  There are a lot of sites dedicated specifically to networking ‘tribes’ (ie. Ryze.net and Tribe.net) that I have yet to tap!  I’ll have to post later over at The Muse’s Library with some thoughts on these sites and their usefulness for artists once I’ve had a chance to properly assess them.

Shop Tips

Spalenka also makes a strong argument for having a shop on your website instead of using a portal shop like the many POD sites (Zazzle, Fine Art America, etc.) or markets like Etsy.  I’ve been back and forth on this issue for years now.  Running a shop on Etsy, for instance, gives me a shop front that’s easily accessible and discoverable by a public market and is supported by the marketplace.  Etsy does take a percentage, but the setup provides a nice backbone for a shop that I didn’t have to build myself.

I’ve built shops from the ground up, spending hours upon hours perfecting it, only to have something go wrong on the technical side of things.  Not to mention the fact my website alone simply does not get the traffic of eBay or Etsy, no matter how much I promote it.  Even still, Spalenka argues that marketplace trends are always changing while your website will always be the same central location and this is very true.

Etsy, for instance, is battling with changes at a corporate level with many artists left disgruntled by the flood of wholesalers taking over the market.  Your central website, however, will never go out of style and a shop would be easy to find if it were located there.

Bearing this in mind, I aspire to create a shop front on my site using WooCommerce, which I hope will be an easy to implement plugin for this WordPress based site.  I’ll probably still use Etsy during high traffic seasons and to sell quirky cute handmade things featuring my art, but it will probably not be my main shop front anymore, granted I can get WooCommerce working!  Adding one more thing to my business re-organization to-do list.

Publicity Tips

This section also features some fantastic tips on publicity, such as ideas for blog events and links to press kit tutorials.  It’s a bit overwhelming!  I know I need to hit publicity harder, as it’s something I really haven’t relied upon. I’m just never sure where genre art like mine can find an audience and partner site to be featured on, since I don’t work with well known IP’s, nor do I have a really recognizable body of work, just yet.

Putting a pin on this section to come back later when I feel I’m finally ready with a decently sized body of consistent (theme and skillwise) work!

I’ve left out SO much concerning all the various resources Spalenka mentioned, so definitely go support Spalenka’s book/workshop if you are finding this blog series helpful!

Next Up: What Makes a Great Website/Blog