Branding For Creatives -question



  • I really enjoyed this video and it gave me a lot to think about. I'm a writer and illustrator. What I write is for adult audiences but what I want to illustrate is mostly for children. I'm looking for suggestions on ways to keep these things separate without developing multiple personality disorder on social media. I don't have much of a following right now so I think it would be easier to develop a good strategy now rather than later. I want to avoid getting any strange reputations. I write adult fantasy adventure with a medieval high fantasy theme. I like to draw fantasy creatures and kids in medieval fantasy settings. Like witches, sorcerers, dragons, little villages, forests and so on. Similar, but one is not appropriate for the younger audiences.
    So what should I do? I really don't want to have 6+ social media accounts because I'm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and Deviant Art as a writer -and- as an illustrator. Should I use a pen name? How would that affect my brand? Should I have two brands?



  • This isn't really advice, but just something to consider: your children's illustration stuff is visual, whereas writing (obviously) isn't. Social media is soooo dependent on visuals, so your illustration naturally lends itself to those platforms.
    A blog is a good way to promote writing/lengthy work. Simply because it requires more patience and attention, this tends to naturally attract a more mature audience, in my opinion. So your social media can be mostly pictures (children's illustration), with occasional links to your blog (adult stuff). Plus on a website, you can clearly label pages "Adult Novels" and "Children's Illustrations" all under the same name :)

    But I think the question you need to ask is if one specialty would actually hurt the other. If your adult work is simply more sophisticated, complex fantasy, then don't worry about keeping the two totally separate. But if your adult work is explicit, "rated R" type of stuff, it might turn off a creative director or a publisher of kid's lit because of the reputation they want to maintain.



  • I don't have a definitive answer to this, but here is what I've observed from some of the artists I follow online that do more friendly children's stuff to more adult themed stuff.

    On their website they have either have a) a good sampling of their work displayed right there on their homepage, with nothing that's too edgy. b)Divide their website by genre into different sections. c) only feature one market

    On their blog, anything goes. Their editorial work for a children's magazine, illustrations that have violence in them, nude sketches. I've seen all kinds of mixtures in there.

    On social media- This varies quite a bit, but generally if they are someone who does kid friendly stuff as well as more adult stuff, they tend to not post things that are too edgy. They save that for their blog. Social media is the place where I think things get tricky, because people tend to be more focused on a consistent visual style. If your kid stuff and fantasy stuff look like the same artist did them, it might work better. If they are completely different in non-complementary ways, I think it might be tougher to establish an audience, though I'm sure there are some exceptions.

    Deviantart - Not sure, but I think posting your different kinds of work on the same account would be ok.



  • Hello Washu!

    I agree with MissMarck and TessW. I would add that the simpler you keep things the better. The more you can streamline your work the easier it will be in your life, especially when work begins to pick up. There is enough crossover between kids and fantasy that it should be possible to find some sort of neutral ground. You want to err on the side of caution, especially if you do want to work in the children's world on any level. If you have some more adult themed work then do as TessW mentioned, give it a separate home that will be harder for kids to flock to. You don't need to have different Pen names for different styles, but you can separate the two in a distinct way. This would show those working in the children's industry that even though you create some more adult themed art, you have the skill and maturity to stay kid friendly when needed. However, I want to repeat, when you are posting on social media, where the kids are, you need to find that neutral ground. Avoid the super edgy stuff, because you are trying to attract two audiences. A good example is Lindsay Buroker. She is a fantasy writer who writes both clean sic-fi fantasy novels for adults as well as more "not-clean" adult/romance fantasy novels. She does use a pen name for her more adult novels, but it is for fun as she has never tried to hide that it is her. She never quotes lines from those books on her SM, but informs clearly what is in them. So those who want to steer clear can and those who don't, know where to go. You can check her out on twitter @goblinwriter to see how she handles it. She does a fairly good job I think at staying neutral.



  • Thank you so much. I appreciate your advice. ^_^ My fantasy novel does have some rated R content. Romance novel level adult scenes. But they aren't painted/illustrated so there isn't anything visual to share there. You bring up a really good point too, my promo art for my novel(s) wont be explicit.
    Since I'm practicing a digital semi-realistic style both my fantasy art and children's art will look similar. This gives me lots of ideas, thanks for setting my mind at ease everyone!



  • I'm having a similar discussion with myself regarding a comic I'm working on. The conclusion I came to was they're for two separate audiences. Art/comic consumers and art directors so I decided to keep them separate brands. I would say this applies more to you as it's writing. If the promo images are brand appropriate to the illustration brand and audience use them. Good luck with both endeavours!


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