I've been getting into watercolours this last week. It is a tough medium but I'm starting to get the hang of it.
Australian Digital Marketer looking to make the change to fulltime illustrator and independent artist. Currently working on my art foundations :)
Inktober has hit in Australia. Here is my first one. "Poisoned"
This is my first ever ink drawing for Inktober. It was definitely a challenge, but I really enjoyed exploring what I can do in a limited timeframe and with little to no experience using ink.
Like Jake says "better finished than perfect". While I can see there is definitely room for improvement, I am happy to have finished it.
Ok, I really geek out when it comes to marketing (its my current 9-5), so this post was a lot longer than anticipated, however I think there is a ton of useful info.
I've actually been speaking to a number of artist friends who have asked me the same question.
Here is a bunch of things I have found work through my own experience, and also talking to other successful artists.
Based on what you want to achieve (selling prints), you need to ask yourself "Where are my target audience hanging out and engaging in work similar to mine?"
Quick overview of the popular methods of promotion online
To cut to the chase, my experience and through speaking with other artists is that Twitter isn’t the best platform for artists to promote their work. There is too much noise and the people on there aren’t as engaged as they are on other platforms.
In regards to Facebook, it can be a hit and miss for artists. It depends on your audience, and how they interact with similar art to yours. Often the case, promoting your art on Facebook is a “pay to play” situation.
I wouldn’t bother with SEO at first until you start to make a name for yourself and people are searching for you online.
Instagram, in general, is one of the better places for artists to promote their work, and eventually guide people to your website where they can buy stuff. It is orientated to the visually minded, which is what your audience will be. Its based on developing relationships, which is also what helps artists sell a piece.
There are plenty of other platforms and social media sites out there that could help. But I guess it comes down to which one.
How to choose
There are so many options out there. Already you are off to a good start by knowing what you want to do – sell prints online.
However, you probably don't know where to start. Here's how you can find out no matter what art style you have.
The next step is to find artists who have similar styles to you and are successful online.
Once you have found these artists see what they are doing that is working. Look at their overall marketing strategy, and take note of what they are doing in each post. If you do this for a number of successful artists you will start to see patterns that you can take on and try yourself.
To expand on this, contact the artist directly and ask if you can have a quick chat with them. You can ask them questions about what works, and what you should avoid. Again, you will gain a lot more clarity about what you should do and what should work.
The mindset you should take on
After doing the above, you will have a very clear idea what you want to do and how you should go about it. AND you will still have a 100 more questions as a result.
The trick here is to take on the mindset of experimenting. You are never going to have a marketing plan perfect the first time. I’ve been marketing for 10 years, and I never get a marketing plan perfect the first time (if I do, I wonder what is wrong that I’m not seeing). The key is to experiment.
For example, let's say you have chosen to promote yourself via instagram. You know this hashtag thing works, but you are not sure which hashtags are best. The solution: choose the top 20-25 you think will work and use them for a set period of time - lets say 2 weeks if you post daily. At the end of those two weeks, look at how you went. Then, change 5 or so of those hashtags, and use that new combination for two weeks. You can compare which combinations of hashtags got better results for you. By continually and systematically experimenting, you will refine the effectiveness of the hashtags you use.
Another example of experimenting on Instagram: Test different types of content to see what engagement you get. You can try a direct front-on photo of your piece. You might also try a photo of your piece on your desk, surrounded by the mediums you used to create it. You might put up a time lapse of you creating the piece. Try them all and take note of what works, and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to include works in progress. It tells a story….which brings me to my next point.
Its not the art (on its own) that sells, it’s the relationship that the customer has to the piece
Building relationships with your customers is what sells art. This is why “buying followers” doesn’t work – they are either bots, or not that engaged.
So how do you build a relationship with your audience? Through stories. Creating a new piece? Take photos as you go, documenting the process and your experience creating it. Have two character designs that you love but can’t pick which one to use? Throw it to your audience and conduct a poll.
By telling a story and encourage follower interaction, your art becomes something that the audience becomes invested into. In some small way, its their journey too. When it comes time for you to sell this art, they want to have a memento of this journey. They love it more, because it's not just a picture, it’s the hours you put into it, the love and precision. The story behind it. It’s also the input that they may have had in the process too.
So that should give you a massive amount of insights, and hopefully actions you can take to refine what you should do to get a ton of engaged followers.
My last point is it takes time. Promoting yourself online, particularly in social, is a marathon, not a sprint. Online marketing is like a heavy fly wheel. At the start it takes a lot of effort to get any movement, however if you are consistant and smart in your effort, the fly wheel will move faster and faster and gain momentum. It will eventually get to a point where to keep up the momentum, the effort involved is minute, however it will take a while to get there.
I have a ton of more tactical stuff, but as an overall strategy, the above will see you go far.
The name is Nathan, I'm 32, Aussie, and getting back into drawing. I discovered this forum through the podcast. One of the best! Really enjoying it. Can't wait for more.
I use to draw heaps as a kid, but stopped for 10 years, studying computer science then pursuing a career and business in online marketing. Fast forward to about 1 year ago, I read The Artists Way on the recommendation of a friend. From there I've gotten obsessed with drawing again. Still very much a beginner, but started an Instagram a couple of months ago to share something that was once very private for me. (I think I surprised many people)
Anyways great to be here. See you around the forum
Day 2: Tranquil
I originally struggled with this drawing. I didn't want to do a typical 'tranquil' landscape of mountains and water, or someone meditating which (according to Google image search) everyone relates to tranquility.
For me, tranquility is finding peace and enjoying the little things. I wanted to capture that in this artwork. It was a lot of fun.
Another quick update. Inking done. Thoughts so far below.
It was great to get this part of things done. I plan to scan it into the computer and do the colours in photoshop. Do some touch ups as well.
All in all, I'm not sure on this peice. Sometimes I hate it, sometimes I just interested to see what it looks like when its done. A couple of reasons for this:
I think taking on one of those differences would make the peice enjoyable yet challenging, however taking on all three has meant that I haven't been able to just lose myself in the piece. It's been a slog.
I'm going to finish it. But the lesson I've learned, is not to bite off too much that I can chew.
I would love to hear your feedback. Anything you like, or things that can be improved? Cheers
Here is my quick feedback after a quick look through your site.
3 second rule - Homepage
I could tell you do some sort of art. I would add some text that actually says what you do and a call to action. A call to action would be something like "View portfolio", or "enquire to hire" or something - you need to decide what you want a brand new person to your site to do. For someone who is new to your stuff, directing them to your portfolio would be a good start.
Doesn't exactly align with your homepage. Your first paragraph is about websites and social media, the last sentence is about illustration. I would put more focus on illustration.
Your site has a mixed message.
I can see you have included your website design and branding along side your illustrations. It sends mixed messages. I would have this site be 100% illustration, and set up another that takes care of the website design stuff.
Eg, if I was someone coming to your site for webdesign, I would be turned off - why? Becuase it looks like an artists website rather than a webdesigner.
Hope that helps.
In my job (digital marketer) I work with different CMS's all the time with my clients. My number 1 website builder I recommend is Wordpress. It's easy to use, highly flexible, and probably the best for SEO.
While I know many other artists use Squarespace, I would choose Wordpress over Squarespace. I avoid Wix and other CMS's altogether.
Oh man, Ink is not as easy as it seems. I had some issues mixing the ink wash over some ink pen lines I did. Seems like the ink from the pen is water soluble...hence when there is a slightly different colouring on the floor of the "cave".
Bummer. Oh well, that's the whole point of inktober - to learn something new. Seems like I'm feeling the learning part of it. haha.
Oh and a special shoutout to everyone that followed me on Instagram. Loving the support.
I've updated the value around the leg so it reads better. Is this what you were recommending @theprairiefox ? Or did I get the wrong leg? :smiling_face_with_open_mouth_cold_sweat:
Android and Apple are definitely not getting on in this piece. I've just tweaked some things to show that Android is pushing Apple away. The only "Logo" helping out another logo is Google who is helping out Google Ads (because money... ) while pushing over Bing.
I'm pretty happy with where this is at compositionally (though, any feedback is greatly appreciated ). The next stage will be linework.
Thanks for the feedback guys. Good to know I'm heading in the right direction.
I've gone ahead and done a bit of a value composition.
The values of the logos are influenced by the colors of the logos, however, the value for all of them is pretty consistent across the board. As a result, I push the darkness and contrast in the spider to make it more stand out more and seem more imposing and dynamic. There are no straight black values in this peice, I will use black for the outlines. I'd love to hear your feedback on the values I've chosen, whether I'm on the right track, or you can see room for improvement.
I also added shadows to make it less "flat". The cast shadows also help show a sense of perspective too. As I'm writing this, I'll likely add in some form shadows too to give the characters and spider a little more weight.
Once I'm happy with everything I'm going to go back over and do the linework :smiling_face_with_open_mouth:
So I took on the feedback and put the person ontop. I also played around and put other people ontop of the spider with him. I think it makes it more dynamic. What do you guys think? Which composition do you prefer?
I also showed some of my teammates yesterday. Everyone loves it, and it got some good laughs, so I'm on the right track
I totally agree that the rider gets lost in the spider. I was thinking of giving the spider a darker colour, and the person a brighter colour to get that contrast going. But I'll try out your feedback, play around and see if anything sticks
I've been commissioned by my workplace to do a mural for our office entrance. It's my first mural, and finished piece of this size. Scary but exciting!
Luckily, my workplace is very open to ideas so I had permission to go pretty out-there if I wanted. Awesome - plenty of room to play.
I work for a digital marketing agency called Redback (which is also the name of an Australian spider). I wanted to play with the idea that this spider was out there catching all parts of the internet. I thought it would be fun to have the logos running away from this spider from capturing them.
Here is my brainstorming session of how it could look. To give you some context, the immediate left of the wall is the hallway into our office. This is the main wall you see when you enter. To its right is another wall which has a TV playing.
Here are my little thumbnails to flesh out some ideas:
I realized I had never drawn a spider before, so I also did some sketches to see how they work:
I ran the idea past some coworkers, however some people are (understandably), not fans of spiders. I agreed and had a look at how other people have "cutsied" them up, or made them less intimidating. I felt like making a robot spider would be the best options. Its something I would enjoy the most, it would look cool, and fits in with the whole "digital" marketing side fo things. Here are my sketches.
Around the same time I fleshed out the concept a bit more, and coloured the one I liked the most. Its still got the more organic cutesy spider design, but I changed that up later. I added the guy on top of the spider, just because I thought it would be funny. I thought it would be great to have the different icons interacting with one another. Eg Android and Apple fighting. Instagram taking a selfie. Internet explorer as an old man.
I thought I'd flesh the idea more on photoshop. Because it is a busy piece, having the flexibility of moving things around will save me a lot of headaches and time. I'll then project it on the wall and do the outlines in pencil before painting
Here is where I'm at at this point in time. (not the perspective lines will not be in the final piece)
I'll likely add some more logos in, then look at the tonal composition before refining the sketch.
Feedback is most welcome guys. The main feedback I'm looking for at this point in time is composition - how everything is set out and placed.
Here is some initial line practice on paper I did last night. I'm comfortable with ballpoint pen (And If you follow me on Instagram you can see I use it all the time), so I'm going to do most of my practice from here on with a brush pen.
I can see I can work more on my curves. Particularity the long curves. The sensitivity of a brush pen is new, and I will need some consistent practice with it. But overall I'm happy.