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!
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!