EXPOSURE & GETTING BETTER AT WHAT YOU DO
I’m only going off of my own personal experiences talking about these few things. So take it with as many grains of salt as you can.
I’ve recently been asked questions like “How do I get people to see my work?”, “Why am I not receiving commission inquiries?”, “Why isn’t anyone following my work?”, “What can I do to get better?”. Often, and I answered it before, the answer is as simple as this:
Create, as in, DRAW. PAINT. RENDER. SCULPT. You have to do develop a tolerance (or the obvious definition: LOVE) for creating if you want exposure and to get better. You have to LOVE the drawing or illustration that you HATE how it came out in the end. You have to ask yourself after every piece, what could I have done to do that differently. And you have to do this frequently.
Some folks come on the scene, post once or twice a week, and expect an audience to flock your way. Even if some have been on the site for years and expect it. This is not realistic. You have to develop an audience somewhat. You do that by drawing and posting and being social.
“WHAT TO DRAW? HOW MUCH?”
For me, what attracted folks to my work are female pinups and fanart. I don’t buy into the “fanart is selling out” because it’s not true. I also don’t buy into the “you just draw tits to get exposure” which isn’t true either. I’ve seen bad pieces of fanart. I’ve seen horrible, gratuitous drawings of tits. And they don’t get the exposure. So, a big fat NULL on that concept. These are just one or two of the ways of gaining an audience. Those kinda comments come from people I designate HATERZ. Draw what the heck you want.
Once you find your niché audience, then you expand on that by working towards creating different things. But of course, remember to draw what you want to draw, you want to keep it enjoyable for yourself. But again, you have to be regular and try to force yourself to excel harder on each consecutive piece or creation. Even if it’s just scribbly sketches, it’s something, and it’s a regular feed to your audience. The more people see, the more they fave, the more other people will jump in their galleries and see, and they fave/watch, and it’s a snowball effect from there on, given that you continue to be regular.
Remember that there will be people who will stop watching you because you’ve changed tastes in style or genre. You can’t please everyone. Not one person have yet to pull this feat off. JUST DRAW.
“B-BUT… MY SKETCHES ARE FUGLY!”
Sketches aren’t meant to be finished pieces of work. Trial and error runs. Sometimes, they end up looking really good. Some of them are meant to be fully finished pieces of work. No matter how they look, POST THEM! If you think a gallery of sketches will change a potential client’s perception in your skills, post them to a blog (BUT REMEMBER TO, AGAIN, BE REGULAR) so folks who are interested can see them. Because there will be interested people in a gallery chuck-full of experimental sketches.
I’M DOING COMMISSIONS. CAN I ASK A MORE POPULAR, EXPOSED ARTIST TO PIMP ME OUT?
Sure go on ahead. But that doesn’t mean you’ll get an instant flow of new clients. They’re not going to buy what they do not know. And they won’t know you. If you DO ask for help, make sure that you hold your weight on your end. Don’t come from under the rock, open commissions, ask an artist to help you, do the commissions you get, and get back under the rock. You won’t make it past the “come from under the rock” phase anyway.
You have to be pullin’ mad weight already and show it. Or else you won’t be taken that seriously.
“SO HOW DO I KNOW IF HAVE THE CHOPS?”
This is where confidence comes in. Confidence is the sum of all the aforementioned things to do: regularity and repetition. When you build up that consistent amount of content, people will then have no doubt that you can pull off what you can pull off. So when they ask to hire you, there’ll be no question in their mind that you won’t be able to (something I wish someone told me before that I had to realize for myself).
Also, don’t become stale. I’ve unwatched artists who at one point were doing awesome things at the skill level they were once at, but they haven’t advanced since. They get too comfortable and don’t bother to get better at all. I can’t condemn them for that, that’s their call. And I can’t condemn the people who continue to watch them, that’s their call. But settling down is something that I personally feel is “laziness”.
You’ll never get anywhere being a loner. You will have to meet and develop relationships with different artists and people you meet. That in itself requires effort. Don’t be scared to ask other artists for help. Truth be told, some may be very busy. But you’re not bothering them at all to shoot a quick note/comment with a question. Either they a) won’t get to answer it all, b) too busy to answer it, or c)answer it. You won’t be delegated as a weirdo or be the laughing stock of the internet if it happens. (Okay, you will, we’ll just make fun of you without you knowing.
Your way is not always the highway. Burger King may let you make your Whopper how you want it, but it can still be a nasty looking Whopper to someone else, or they could probably throw their two-cents on an ingredient that you don’t know about that you could try on your Whopper and it may BLOW YOUR MIIIIIND. Jus’ saying.
Don’t be stand-offish when someone brings up a valuable error that you could learn from. You can still give your reasoning to appear like you know it all (or just state a reason why you did it that way if you had one from the outset) but be courteous and remember that you’re imperfect… as it’s impossible to draw perfect things. That’s like having a lion draw a dog, but a lion can’t draw in the first place. Itth doesn’th maketh senseth.
Of course, I don’t know it all. I hope I didn’t come across that way in this post. But I’m only sharing the things I know that works or have worked for me.
So if there’s anything to remember from this lengthy post:
REGULARITY: POST A LOT. ANYTHING, EVERYDAY!
FOCUS ON IMPROVING: IN EACH AND EVERY PIECE!
CREATE WHAT YOU WANT!
DON’T BE A HERMIT!
DON’T HAVE A POPSICLE STICK UP YOUR *woo-hoo*!
Happy arting, folks.