Journey To Become A Full Time Artist
I'm not quite there yet myself I know, But my journey has begun to become a full time and so with that in mind, I am always planning and thinking and trying to DO more than think about my plan of action.
An Artist needs income of course to live, like any other job, it has to feed itself or you'll end up failing like I have along the way. You have to be good at marketing as well as being good at creating your art often, you need to have a course of action that you run through, a way of promoting what you do that your customers can find and hopefully buy your new artworks.
If you don't have a plan at the start, that's ok, you can just start working and work out how you can be full time along the journey.
Here are some things to think about.
1. Decide where you want to focus in art
This is most important, because if you can have a specific idea of where you see your art and who could be interested in buying it, then you are off to a good start. For me I have always liked to draw fantasy and horror art because it involves me using my imagination and temporarily escaping from reality for a bit, which is always nice to have a bit of escapism when creating new works of art.
Of course when you start to go niche in an art genre then you get to explore the avenue of fan art that relates to that niche which can also be a lucrative way of making side income. So for example I love horror movies, so what I am beginning to do is try to get into the sketch card market for that particular are and sketch some original art for my favourite horror movies and because I was a child of the 80's, then classic 80's movies too, such as Ghostbusters, The Goonies, Howard The Duck etc.
Of course the sketch card thing came about on my own journey as I did work for Topps, MNS Cards and some other properties, but it's worth keeping in mind the many ways you can earn from your own art such as art prints and original artworks.
2. Create a main place were people can find you and your artwork
Of course, a website would be the preferred way of people finding you and your work, but you could also have a combination of social media presences to capture future fans and customers of your art for sale. I use a combination of Facebook Pages, Instagram and YouTube channels to promote my own artwork and that usually involves work in progress shots or the final artwork that I have scanned.
I have a website, but that links to all of my other social media and the main places online to buy my art on print on demand sites such as zazzle and cafepress. And it's equally important to offer a way of offering commissions too whether you use a freelancing site like Fiverr or just use paypal and send an invoice for art made.
3. Search for technical ways to do stuff and things you need to advance your art career
What I mean by this is, if you need to create a kickstarter or you need to figure out how to create your own book whether that's using a print on demand service such as createspace or lulu, it is a really good idea to research how you would do that and find anything out that you are really not sure about. I know it sounds like an obvious thing, but you will come up against technical obstacles and other things that will stop you or waste some time before you are able to proceed with your idea.
One of the things I am looking into right now is to create my own colouring book, now I am researching the print on demand route first, but really for that, the only thing I am not sure about is how to format the artwork for the book and if the paper will be any good for people to colour on it. So I might decide to use a publisher and work out a contract of being paid if the POD path isn't the right option.
So what I'd do is google some questions that you have about a project, just to see if other people have come up with the same problems and quite possibly they might have and explain possible solutions.
A lot of the most common things could be how to size your work or digitally enhance illustrations and drawings using photoshop which you might have to do, so just make use of other artists and designers knowledge out there.
4. Always remember the journey isn't always clear for some!
Being an Artist of any sort is always fraught with pitfalls, mainly having the income to make art a full time thing, so if you need to work a part time job or several, then it is always common to do so. I right now don't, but in a couple of years down the line I know I may have to if I can't earn a full time income as an artist.
So often the dull job just for the money can also prevent you from starting on your art career, I get that, been there done that and still in some ways living it. That's why some sort of plan has to surface for you to get somewhere as a creative.
I am attempting to do 5am early morning starts to really start the day off and work on important stuff whilst everyone else in the house is still asleep, it's hard to get into that mind set, but I really want to get the early wake ups instilled in my brain to build up some sort of routine
5. Draw and create any time that you can
I do this often, any OTHER spare time that you have must be dedicated to actually creating the art that you want to create. and the more you make the more you can see an improvement in your technique and style of art that you produce.
Not all sketches, drawings and stuff in your sketchbooks or journals will be good enough for sale and there will be unfinished pieces, but every new work that is made you will learn from and go into your artist memory bank for further use.
6. Learn to market yourself and your artwork
Not all Artists are good at marketing themselves and for some they may need some outside help either now or in the future in the form of a business partner who knows how to market artwork.
But for those who can't afford to employ someone, they have to go it alone and figure it out themselves and I suppose this goes back to your social media sites, if you look at each one and work out what works on each individual site then you may be in a better position to market your creations and get the word out. So for example you may have created a series of videos on YouTube that seem to have done well and got a load of views and likes meaning that the videos have been viewed and received quite well, so it would make sense to do more of them types of videos ongoing wouldn't it?
Not all marketing online is going to bring new customers however and that has to be acknowledged as fact, so mixing it up with offline promotions adds extra fuel to your marketing and this is something I am aiming to work on more.
The way that proper professional business entrepreneurs explain things now about having your own business is that you have to tell your story and let that be at the forefront of your offerings whether that is a service like illustration or digital art or just wanting to sell art you've already made. People want to know who they are going to be buying from and they want to relate to the person, so if you make yourself accessible and transparent and trust worthy and honest, then you can gain customers trust. Just always be you and never something you are not.
7. Don't be afraid to change direction
If something isn't working or you find no enjoyment in what you are doing then move on, the whole idea of you becoming an Artist is to gain a high level of enjoyment from what you do or else what's the point?
Early on I found that I wasn't cut out to draw realistic portraits or huge landscapes in actual real life details as that wasn't within me, the passion really was to try and interpret the things in my head and be able to draw the stuff that I was really interested in. Of course some element of life drawing has to come into it unfortunately to learn how to draw those things but I just found drawing from life boring.
But art has a way of drawing you in and attempting to draw the stuff that bores you could also push you to learn, so never listen to one Artists way of doing things, do you, each Artists journey is different so don't be afraid to do things different, if you have an idea to go into a graveyard and draw what you see, then do that, if you have an idea to do Portraits of people and zombify the art them, then do that, there are multiple paths to take.
So whatever you do, your journey should be your own and you should enjoy the process of being on your own path.
Further Help and Advice 7 Tips To Become A Full Time Artist