Transitioning to a Career in Art



  • @Aleksey said in Transitioning to a Career in Art:

    Yay @Braden-Hallett
    I want an original art from Braden

    Whoa! You must be made of money if you can afford a Braden Hallett original. 😉



  • @JerrySketchyArt haha if i was made of money id start my own publishing company and hire all of you to make art. We’ll call it the SVS Publishing House.

    6F31FC0A-5A3E-4951-86B9-EDCAE36AD054.jpeg

    On a more serious note:

    I work retail part time, and the tricky thing working part time isnt just how exhausting customer service can be, it’s also that part timers are treated as lesser people by many companies that can afford to give them things like health insurance. I have some health insurance but it costs more and isnt as good as the full timers get.

    Another big thing I’ve discovered on this path is you have to create a strong network of people you can rely on to throw your name into a hat if the opportunity ever arrives. That’s something I think art schools do well is that you can transition into an art related career after graduating because of the connections the people at the school have already established. Which is why a place like svslearn is such a critical part of the development, there are people here that you can connect with and grow with.

    One thing thats tough on svslearn is (and this might be in the works who knows) connecting with Mentors, people that have been working professionally for a certain length of time that are willing to provide guidance and support and put your name into the hat should an opportunity pop up that they can connect a student with. Because without that relationship it’s not only so much harder to get agents and publishers to be willing to give someone that has never been published a chance because their names, reputation, and money, are on the line. (Which is totally valid) it’s also so much harder to figure out what you should be addressing or working on next if you dont know what your issues are.

    I know that if I keep my head down and keep pushing through and making progress in my art, eventually i will get recognized and someone will pay me for something, but I’m grateful for svslearn because it’s a place where it’s ok to ask for help.


  • SVS OG

    Another excellent podcast! I work full time and while I hate the job, I do realize how fortunate I am to have the regular paycheck. At the same time, I often get really depressed about how slow this process is for me. I have sooo much to improve upon before even considering the prospect of client work. It will be literally years, and at this rate I will hit retirement age before I'm ready. Of course, then I'll have social security (hopefully!) as a base income, so I guess there's a silver lining to the wait.

    I did a lot of research before deciding to follow this dream, so I feel like I've got a pretty good idea of the non-illustrating aspects of being an illustrator. I've also started working on some additional revenue streams, which is a good thing, although it also takes time away from study. Can't seem to give it up, though...

    Anyway, great podcast, and I just need to keep working at things and be patient. Get the ducks in a row, etc.



  • @Aleksey pulling for your success🤞🏻👍🏻



  • @BichonBistro <3<3<3


  • SVS OG

    Great podcast! Totally speaks to where my mind is right now. I feel like I’ve kinda hit a good point in where I want to be artistically. I think sometimes we put validation as an artist on the “demand” for our work and the amount of money we can bring in from it. Being patient with the journey it takes to be full time can be hard. And you guys being up front about the other tasks and stresses helps us see what we would be trading if we transitioned. The example of the Home Depot guy was great. Basically, if you are happy where you are, stop worrying about the amount of work you are getting and focus on the art you want to make, and then make incredible work!

    I don’t think I’ll ever be full time. But if I had to choose the amount and type of work that I would do, it’s almost what I have now. I have a store that wants new seasonal notecards. Which is what I love to paint. And my friend needs spot food illustrations for her cooking school for kids. There are more projects I want to do within those clients, but I’m good for now.

    I would love to have an open house and workshop this November. I want to teach a class and then have my work on display for people to purchase. So.... @Lee-White share all the frame knowledge you got! I really don’t want to go to micheals or ikea for adorable frames!

    And the business classes from lee are amazing! Make sure you guys check those out! I feel everyone who is trying to make this work and especially transition to full time needs to listen to those!



  • @Whitney-Simms I second the framing advice from @Lee-White (and advise for presenting artwork at shows/presenting artwork in general). I don't sell prints, just originals and usually frame them. It's a lot of work and money upfront and I wonder if I would be better off just matting the work or simply putting them with a backing in those archival clear envelopes instead? Do the people buying artwork care if the work is framed? Or would they rather just buy the artwork for less money and frame it themselves?

    Also, great podcast guys! You always tell it like it is which is why I'm a forever fan, supporter and subscriber to SVSlearn.



  • Great episode! a lot of stuff there I agree on. There is no need to rush to be full-time artist. I see my peers who work in the industry and there is a lot of stuff that drains their artistic energy. No thanks. I like to work on my personal projects after the day job. I can afford it. I definitely want to be full-time artist - I just dont want to take the path that will suck the life out of me.



  • also great image @Braden-Hallett ! 😃



  • @kadelex I prefer buying original art unframed and unmatted, unless the frame is inexpensive, in which case it probably doesn't add much of a selling point anyway. The one artist whose frames were truly compatible with her work had them professionally framed by a guy who does work for the smithsonian museums. In my opinion, an artist usually doesn't recover the investment on a good frame. Of course you don't have that option when presenting your work in a gallery, but as a buyer, my preference is archival backing & envelope.



  • @NessIllustration @MichaelaH @Aleksey @JerrySketchyArt @Jonas-Zavacky Thanks guys 😃

    I really wish I'd had this advice a few years ago. Such an awesome podcast!



  • @Braden-Hallett an original please. 💵 💵



  • @Aleksey Check your discord 😉



  • Top episode, lots of great advice and warnings there. I've never had a salary, so I've no idea what that life is like! So the multiple revenues streams makes perfect sense. The life of a juggler.



  • I was very pleased that the direction of the conversation went towards folks other than students. After a few decades of trying all kinds of art and styles while holding down fulltime work I've reached a crossroads moment. I'm out of a job and only doing a little freelance at the moment due to a serious work injury - I'm debt free and I have saved a bit of money and started classes at SVS. I'm mostly self taught, no art school, no degree and it really feels like This Is It - this is when I can focus on the one thing that has remained constant in my search for the right thing - the picture which tells a story. I've found a bit of a niche in doing bookcovers for a small publishing company - mostly photo-bashing - and I've gotten better at it - but it's the hand drawing and illustration side that I'm here for. Thanks again for the supportive environment and remembering that not everyone here is a fresh 20-something art school grad.


  • Pro

    @JaneElliott27 Actually I've noticed most people at SVS and here in the forums are not fresh 20-something art school grad! Don't worry you are not an exception, you're in good company here!



  • @NessIllustration I'm just starting to look at the forums - I'm still on my first class ! Thanks Ness !!!!!!



  • Thank you so much for this episode! I am currently restructuring my life to make room for illustration (in the practice phase right now). It's so encouraging to know that I'm not the only one working around kids and jobs. We've started with preparing our family - I've just stopped homeschooling our kids, set up my work so it's only 3 days a week, and got my 3yo used to looking for me in the studio rather than the kitchen each morning. I am very grateful that I've received an education in being an entrepreneur/working for myself from my husband and that I have flexibility in my job since it is our business that I help run. This episode gave me a more realistic view of how to plan the next phase of my illustration career and inspired me to continue carving out time wherever I can. Thank you so much again!


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Whitney-Simms You have no idea how much research I've put into framing. It is truly a stumbling block in gallery art/art fairs if you don't know what you are doing. So here's what I've learned:

    1. Work in common sizes
    The big framing costs come from having to custom frame something that is a weird size. There are some great places online to frame if you already have art made, but moving forward only make art in sizes that work for standard sized frames and mats that are pre-made! This tip alone can save you literally thousands of dollars. I've listed below the common sizes of frame/mat combo so you know what size to make the art. I typically work at 24x30 or 30x40 for my newer work.

    2. Frame DEPTH and WIEGHT
    This is how deep the frame is from the side. Why in the world would this size matter? Well, there is only so much room in your vehicle or trailer. If you use frames that are 1" deep instead of 2" deep, you can bring TWICE AS MUCH ART TO THE SHOW.

    Weight is also a huge factor. If you are painting on deep canvas or cradled panels, you will need a deeper frame to fit it. That means weight. Weight and shipping don't go well together! I try to keep my frames and art as light and thin as possible for shipping and transportation.

    3. Try to frame nice, but keep costs down!
    You aren't trying to actually frame the work for the audience. You should assume they will frame it themselves later. So your frame is to show the art off in a nice way and to protect it during travel and shipping. I'd much rather break a frame corner than the corner of my painting! Keep the framing VERY SIMPLE. Either black wood frames with nice white mat or natural wood finish like maple has a very modern feel. Buy in bulk and keep all the frames consistent.

    OK, here's some resources:

    Custom Framing: If you already have weird sized art, I recommend going up a size with the frame and getting a custom mat with a standard sized frame. But if you have to have a weird size frame, these guys are great!: www.frankenframes.com

    Custom mat: If you want really nice thick mats, these guys are great. You can have custom size art or whatever you want really for a very good price: www.matboardplus.com

    Great standard size frames:

    Floater Frames (these look great and quality is great too). Only snag is limited sizes: https://www.dickblick.com/products/blick-maplewood-floater-frames/

    Maple Floater frames at all kinds of sizes. This is who I am using to frame my next show. They are cheap and beautiful! I'm painting on panels which allow me to use their panel frames. These are only .75" thick so I can bring a lot of art. These guys have a lot of sizes and they are wonderful to work with. Highly recommended: www.canvasplace.com

    Glad you guys are liking this episode and I hope this helps with some of the framing questions. Let me know if you need anything else. : )

    -Lee

    Frame Sizes.jpg



  • @Lee-White Is there a reference for business plans available?


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