Author: grimsoul

How to provide value with your art 2


So I am constantly watching successful people videos, listening to podcasts, trying to learn what they are doing good and I came upon this video:

At the time I am very interested in the art business, how to monetize your art, how to provide value and similar questions. In this blog post I wanted to summarize this video and add something from my own experiences as a way to restructure my thoughts and help myself to learn while at the same time sharing this to some fellow artists which are interested in the same topics. So let’s begin.


Joshua is talking about the 6 reasons / ways to provide value with your art (we need that because we are in the art business) if we want to make any sustainable income. That’s what businesses do – it provides value and makes money in return. So these are the ways you can do that:


1. Fame – if you have fame. It is automatically seen as valuable for people and they want to buy stuff from you, because everyone is doing it. Can’t rely on that though, because fame comes with hard work, being unique, after a very long time and most of us even if we are very good at what we do won’t have that anyway. That’s how the world works, only a small percentage of people wins.


2. Skill/Style – these are built up over a very long time and hard work as well. If you worked harder than everyone else and, because of that you have developed very unique style and amazing quality work, people will line up to get to work with you and the price will most likely be no issue. But that’s very hard to do and to be honest, most people won’t achieve it or are not gifted enough, so we can’t rely on that alone too.


3. Emotional connection – if your art resonates with the people emotionally. For example, you have had depression in your teenage years and now you create beautiful artwork that conveys that, everyone who can relate to that will see themselves in that artwork and this way you will bring value to them and then you can ask for a sale in return when the time comes. Or for example, if you create really motivational art, people will find inspiration and motivation in your art, they will feel empowered.


4. Fanart and trends – for example, you draw a cool Batman illustration and everyone who loves Batman will automatically love your art and you will build the audience, because Batman already has a really big fan base and you are just tapping into that. I personally would be very cautious with that, because most of the stuff is copyrighted/trademarked and/or intellectual properly and you can get into really big trouble legally. Also, you are not original and just copying other people stuff while doing that. Joshua talks that it should be a balance between your own art and fan art that you do, for example, 50%/50% and I agree with that, If you want to do a fan art don’t do only that and be very careful if you want to sell that fan art, because most of the time it is illegal. There is ways to be able to sell fan art legally and one of the ways would be to obtain the permission from the author, but that’s probably unobtainable for most of us, because it would usually cost a lot of money. Another one would be to partner with sites like Redbubble or Design by Humans or TeePublic, which have big brand partner programs, where you can legally make art for your favorite brands and sell T-shirts if your art gets approved by the copyright owner. Corona virus pandemic, which we all relate to can be a trend to connect with people somehow too. Maybe to create positive or dark humor art that makes them feel better during this time, that could potentially result in very big audience growth.


5. Sexy drawings, nudes – “porn” sells we all know that :). Draw it good enough and you will have a following over time. For example, drawing pretty girls and posting them on Instagram and DeviantArt. Just be careful and read all the rules on whatever platform you are posting and don’t overdo it.


6. Commissions – providing a service to a client. You do a specific project that the customer wants and you get paid for it. You provide them value by fulfilling their idea and they pay you in return. Personally, what I discovered after doing it for a while (more than 6 years), that it is not scalable and I am not really a big fan of working only on other people projects. Also, you only get paid for the amount of work you do. For example, if you are capable of doing 4 commissions per month you will only get paid a fixed amount for these 4 commissions. Of course over time you get paid more for the work that you do, but for me, that’s very similar to a 9-5 job, that I just hate, and you just have your own clients (which in a way are your boss).


I could add a few of my own ideas on how you can provide people value with your art:

1. Teaching art – if you have a good art skills, maybe a degree, know all the theory, you could be teaching other people to draw and create art. For example, through sites like YouTube or SkillShare or even private lessons or workshops.


2. Entertainment – events like a certain type of workshops, where people meet to draw something and have fun. It’s more like a social event than a teaching class.

Joshua also says that we should not rely on only one method of providing people value, because that’s usually not stable enough. I agree with that 100% from my own personal experiences starting only with commissions I quickly learned that it is not stable and not consistent. Of course, there are people who make a living from commissions alone, but I’d rather focus on having several ways to make money from my art as I am starting to realise that in the end the biggest value for me is the freedom to do what I want, when I want and how I want!


Let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions or have something to add from your own experiences!

You will never be fully ready


In this short blog post I want to talk about being ready to start something, for example business, commissions, quitting your current job and finding a new one, starting a YouTube channel, it can be whatever that you want to start. You just not feel like you are good enough, like you are just not ready and you need to wait for a month, for a year, for 10 years… to be fully ready. For example, you want to start a YouTube channel and you feel like first you need to get a good camera to do that, because your videos will be shit if you film it with your phone right? Well NO, there is a bunch of people out there who starts with just a phone and over time they build their following, their skills, their quality and can actually afford a better camera. In other words, our doubts and insecurities tell us these stories that we are not good enough so we won’t change or do things, because human nature likes comfort in general and comfort is good enough, but is it good enough for you?


The thing is you will never feel fully ready and you don’t need to, you just have to start and do it. Same thing happened to me around 3 years ago when, I was about to start my art brand Grimsoul Art. At the beginning, I remember, I doubted myself and waited for like 3 weeks to a month before I finally had the strength to fill everything out legally, open up my website, upload my art and so on. I felt like – shit – now it is for real! Even after a few years, starting to write a blog was a bit scary too to begin. I felt like I will not know what to write about, no one will read my blog posts, they won’t be of a good enough quality or people won’t find any value in it… But like WHAT A HELL, I started, and over time, with persistence, I will learn to write them better, I will research the ideas to write about, maybe in the process I will gain a few readers who will find it valuable and interesting and if I suck at it, well, fuck then, at least I will know and start a new thing until something sticks. So starting and doing is THE KEY and over time it will get less and less scary, to try new ideas, to draw new things, to work with customers and continually build your brand and skills.


I think that happens in most aspects of our lives if we want to start something or to change something we feel fear and the old selves trying to talk us back from it, but if we can persist and accumulate the courage and strength we eventually feel good that we did it, we feel respect for yourselves, we gain confidence for doing it. That happened to me and it can surely happen to you too.




Let me know your thoughts and if you have had any similar experiences and/or questions!

How to vectorize your pen and ink drawing?


Sometimes customers insist on having vector file for printing. Even though I am not a fan of vectorizing your hand drawn pen and ink drawing, because it distorts the image a bit and removes quite a lot of the details as well. Vectorizing your drawing digitizes it in a way that’s not very pleasing to me, but it can work in some cases for a client. In this blog post I will show you the method that I use to vectorize my pen and ink traditionally drawn art.


To do this vectorization process, you need to have Inkscape (Click to download) vector software, which is free, installed on your computer. Then do these steps:

1. Resize your scanned artwork to low resolution, at something like ~1500×1500 px 300 DPI (don’t need to be exact, but close). You can do that with Paint software for fast results, it does not matter. The goal is to degrade the quality of the image. This needs to be done so our computer won’t crash when we try to vectorize the art with Inkscape.

2. Then open your art with Inkscape. Select it and press Path->Trace Bitmap and press OK. You can fiddle with the settings or modes, but default Brightness cutoff works the best most of the time.

3. Now just wait for Inkscape to finish, don’t press anything on the app, so it won’t crash. It is very resource intensive task on the computer and the file can be quite laggy after that process is done, but after it is done, you can just export it to PDF or any other vector format and it won’t be a problem. The bigger and better quality the original image is, the more resource intensive the task is to the point that the Inkscape crashes or you would need to wait for like 5 hours for the process to finish (the file would be so big that it would be pretty much unusable anyway). That’s why we resize and degrade the image quality in the first place – to make the process faster and the file more usable.


Before vectorization:

After vectorization:

In conclusion the art loses a lot of details and that traditional drawing feel is lost too. The only advantage that vectorization gives is that you can print the art at any size that you want, but in most cases, high resolution .TIFF or .PNG is enough and most print companies accept these file formats just fine. Those which are limiting themselves to just vector art I think are loosing customers.

How to trademark check t-shirt ideas?


So you have got an amazing T-shirt idea – alien head drawing with a bold font saying “I want to believe”. Everyone who loves X-files will love it and the design will be killer right? That’s awesome and it might be, but you have to perform a trademark search before you use that saying or you can get into a really big legal trouble with the copyright/trademark holder for selling T-shirts with a saying, which might be trademarked. Anyone who have watched x-files knows that it is really popular saying in that TV show. Anything that’s popular and well know could be trademarked so we have to check. But how do we actually check if we can use that saying on our t-shirt design that we want to create?


You go to these websites, which are global brand databases, and enter your saying “I want to believe” and check the results.


For example, using WIPO database we can see that the trademarks are still active and we cannot use that saying on our T-shirt design if we don’t want any trouble. Also, I would suggest to check all 3 of the databases just to be on the safe side.


What we can do though is to change the saying a little bit and be original, for example, let’s say “I want to leave”, which is not trademarked and create your art with that. Of course the meaning changes a bit, but it’s better than getting in trouble with the court anyway and you can still be creative while associating a little bit with your favorite TV show.


P.S. I am not a legal expert in any way and this not a legal advice, I am just an artist, who have learned from his own experiences. Always consult your lawyer with such questions!

What happened when I stopped caffeine ingestion


So one day I’ve decided to stop drinking coffee and black tea (and caffeine in general), just to see what happens to my body. I’ve also watched some videos on Youtube that caffeine is not very healthy on your body actually and it is a “drug” for sure. I also love self improvement of any kind and like to try ideas. I’ve been drinking 1-2 cups of strong coffee and a couple cups of black tea pretty much everyday. I know it’s not very heavy caffeine use, but still I wanted to try and see if I see any benefits on my body and mind without it.


So, after around 2 months I feel like my energy is much more stable, I also don’t have headaches (not 100% sure if it relates to that, but I strongly believe so) anymore and my anxiety decreased greatly. When I stopped drinking it, I realised that I really don’t need it that much, except from occasional thoughts on how it would be nice to drink a cup of coffee for the taste, but I can ignore it. I’ve also heard that digestion should be better without it too. I will stay without caffeine for sure, because the benefits are nice and are greater than my desire to drink it.

How to get free resources for your art projects?


How to get free resources for your art projects? I mean fonts, textures, photos / photo references for your art projects. , , – free stock photos, great to use as a photo reference or you could use them for your design projects since they are free, just double check website rules and photo licence to make sure it is 100% free and available for commercial use (selling your project, which includes that image). You can find some textures there as well. – various mock-ups and templates – from apparel mock-ups, to Instagram posts, stories, Facebook ads, banners, logo templates and so on… This one is not free though, but really really useful and low cost. , , – a bunch of various free commercial licence fonts, which you can use for your t-shirt designs, album covers etc… A lot of them are free, just look at the licence file on their website and when you download the font to be 100% sure. – 3D models. Some of them are free, some are not. I sometimes use 3D models similarly as a photo reference, but they allow me to look at the object from various angles, right in the browser, don’t even need to download anything. For example, I’ve never seen a real tiger in my life and I want to draw it realistically and take a closer look at him from various angles, there it goes Just don’t copy or trace those models, just use them as a reference to help you imagine things and get inspiration.

Why it’s important to charge the price YOU want for art commissions


You have to ask the customer to pay the specific amount for the commission that YOU want, not the low-ball amount, but that one amount, that would make you feel valued, respected and adequately paid. Why you need to do that? Well, because only then you can create your best work, it does not make you feel resentful towards the client and towards yourself for accepting the work that you don’t want to do anyway. If you charge on the low side and you are not happy with the price, but you still accept to work, over time, you become resentful with yourself and the customer, you feel used, you start to rush, to do mediocre work and you don’t even enjoy the process anymore and enjoying the process is VERY important if you are planning on playing the long game. Finally, if something goes wrong during your commission process, you are the only one to blame, because you accepted the customer who can’t or don’t want to pay you adequately and don’t respect you. So say NO way more often, pick the clients very carefully, charge the right amount for your work and remember it’s quality over quantity and it’s a long game!


P.S. Good customers actually understand that they are getting the best work ONLY if they make you feel valued, respected and pay you adequately. So it’s a win-win situation.

Though I’ve had while creating Memento Mori Art

So I’ve been reading about the Memento Mori theme online and found this beautifully dark 13th century poetry on Wikipedia:


Original language:

“Deyr fé,
deyja frændur,
deyr sjálfur ið sama;
ek veit einn at aldri deyr,
dómr um dauðan hvern.”


In English:

“13th century Memento Mori poetry
Animals die,
friends die,
and thyself, too, shall die;
but one thing I know that never dies are
the tales of the one who died.”


This beautiful stoic philosophy poetry really inspired me to create this illustration and I feel like it’s given me hope, even though if we all are going to die, if we live our lives to the fullest our tales will live forever! I think that’s the best goal to have in life, is to live to your own fullest, to create something, that at the end there would be something to leave behind, that would live for a long time after and posibly inspire other generations.


How to bring value with your art?

I’ve been struggling with this idea for quite a long time, in fact, I am just now starting to realise that if you want to create a successful business of any kind it has to bring people value, and that also applies to the art business, and yes we artists have to think like a business person too if we want to succeed. These videos explains providing value issue beautifully.

Zombie art process timelapse


This is speed up (speed up 21x times, real time is ~2 hours 30 mins) drawing process video of me drawing a zombie illustration inspired by the classic horror video games. I filmed it with my Canon A2600 camera and then I used Shotcut to glue the parts together and also to add effect, edit and speed up the video.

Tools used:

A4 Canson Paper,
Sakura Pigma Micron,
Sakura White Gelly Roll,
Unibal Sigmo White,
Encre De Chine Intense Indian Ink, Pencil.