Category: Art Tips, Art Life, Art Business

Art Tips, Art Life

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!

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.

 

https://www3.wipo.int/branddb/en/

https://www.uspto.gov/

https://www.trademarkia.com/

 

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!

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.

 

https://pixabay.com , https://unsplash.com , https://www.pexels.com – 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.

 

https://placeit.net – 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.

 

https://fonts.google.com , https://www.dafont.com , https://www.1001fonts.com – 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.

 

https://sketchfab.com – 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 sketchfab.com. 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.

 

How to create an artist portfolio website by yourself | Part 2

So as promised in this Part 2 short video post I will show you how to actually add some content on your website using WordPress content management system. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know any programming or web design for that. WordPress is very visually oriented and simple to use!

How to create an artist portfolio website by yourself | Part 1

 

Why I need a portfolio website in the first place right? Why can’t I just use Instagram or Facebook page? Well, in this day and age, not having your own website, where you can customize everything and have complete control is just being lazy and having excuses. Also, you can properly showcase your body of work to potential customers and don’t say them something like “yeah go to my Instagram page”, which is not very professional to say the least. Also, it is a single place where your visitors can find everything about you, for example, your about page, your portfolio, your blog, shop and so on.

In this Part 1 post I will show things that you will need and how to prepare everything to build your website.

Things you will need:

  1. Domain name – it is a name for your website, think like google.com or youtube.com – these are domain names. In my case it is grimsoulart.com. You can buy it through my hosting provider called Serveriai.lt(It is the Lithuanian hosting provider)or you can use any of your choice. It costs roughly ~10 EUR per year, but depends a bit on the domain name you choose.
  2. Hosting service – it is a server where you will be holding your website. Think like it is a hard drive where you put your website files, just it is online, not on your computer and that makes the website available on the internet. You can buy it through my hosting provider called Serveriai.lt(It is the Lithuanian hosting provider) or you can use any of your choice. It costs a few euros per month, in my case I am paying 2 Euros every month.
  3. WordPress content management system – In simple words basic frame to build your website upon. it’s FREE!

So how do I create a website when I have a domain name and a hosting service? Follow these steps below to install WordPress content management system.

Here it is shown how to do that with my hosting provider, but you choose any hosting provider and it should be similar procedure, because every hosting provider should have Installatron these days.

1. Log in to your server control panel with DirectAdmin and add your domain name to your hosting server.

2. Then go back and select “Installatron” menu:

Screenshot 2017-08-07 11-59-26.png

3. Choose a WordPress content management system:

Screenshot 2017-08-07 12-00-28.png

4. Click Install this application to continue the installation:

Screenshot 2017-08-07 12-01-05.png

5. Write down the basic data. Important: The “Directory (Optional)” line specifies which directory to install the site on. Leaving blank will install to the root (www.mano-source.com) and after saving to that directory, for example: typing “test” will have the address www.mano-site.com/test. We recommend that you set the database settings automatically the first time you install, and choose the most up-to-date one.
Once done, click the Install button:

Screenshot 2017-08-07 12-06-02.png Screenshot 2017-08-07 12-06-49.png

6. Installation complete. The content management system installed in this window can be updated, deleted, and key data can be viewed, such as the administrator password.

Screenshot 2017-08-07 12-09-54.png

Press to read original hosting provider tutorial in Lithuanian language.

In the Part 2 post I will show you how to actually add some content on your website using WordPress content management system (remember that’s a frame upon which we will build our website). Don’t worry, you don’t need to know any programming or web design for that. WordPress is very visually oriented and simple to use!