Oooh, I'll be listening to this today :D. Thank @Jake-Parker
Posts made by Nathan
RE: On building a business with your art, and finding an audience
RE: My First Entry - "BIG" WIP
@heather-boyd Thanks Heather. I'm glad the 'feelings' of the piece and the girls hesitant by firm posture have come across the way they have. I agree with some of the scaling with the girl. I'm glad you have enjoyed the play with light and shadows. It's been a fun process.
RE: My First Entry - "BIG" WIP
Ok so I had a bit of fun over the weekend
The style I want to try with this peice relies a lot on shadows and perspective. I have no problem understanding how shadows and perspective works with many objects and the human figure, however, I was struggling to get my head around the shape of the monster and how it would look.
To overcome that I ended up using a technique I read in James Gurneys 'Imaginative Realism' Book. I spent a couple of hours making a model of the monster, the girl and some bodies writhing and clawing in slime. With help from my wife I ended up taking a bunch of photos of the scene from different angles and different lighting. It helped a bunch.
I ended up liking the angle and lighting in the top two on the left (the bigger ones).
I used these as references and played with value compositions.
Some notes from these compositions that I will include in the piece.
- The 'black' shadows on the body of the monster, with a slither of light on the opposite site - very similar to redlines style. Looks great. (like in #4, #5, #6)
- All eyes of the monster will be significantly lighter (white?) that any surrounding values
- I like the spotlight effect, and the shadows of tentacles creeping in. (like in #6 & #7)
- I also like the idea of a silhouette of a giant claw/arm in the shadows. It won't be detailed but it will be hinted at. (like in #7)
My only question is should I do the 'portrait' styled peice of the monster standing over the girl and her brother, or the side-on 'landscape' peice of the monster facing off the girl? I'd love to hear your opinions.
I'll get a start on this over the next couple of days. The plan is to to do the inkwork on paper, then scan it and do the colours in digital. Should be fun
RE: My First Entry - "BIG" WIP
Played with poses I liked.
A lot of these sketches were from screenshots from youtube videos of kids. The final sketches were inspired by the Fearless Girl Statue. I just loved the power in the pose, and also the gesture lines in the pose and her dress. I think I'm going to use a very similar pose in my peice.
Tomorrow I'm going to play with the composition a bit more, and start looking at values arrangement.
RE: Human Figure 10,000 min Project Feedback/Advice
Proko has a great anatomy course. I'm about halfway through it and it is incredibly detailed. He is very good at explaining complex structures and making them easy to understand and replicate. Highly recommended. His figure drawing fundamentals class is also available through SVSlearn too. Its probably a good idea to go through that first before doing more advanced anatomy stuff.
https://line-of-action.com/ is also a good place to practice timed figure drawing. (Also has animals and scenes you can draw too).
Best of luck!
RE: My First Entry - "BIG" WIP
Ok, so I haven't drawn many children, so I decided to find some youtube videos of children who had similar angry/defiant expressions and draw them. These are more quick studies, but I had a lot of fun with these. I think I started to find my flow by the second page
The girl standing defiantly is definitely my favourite so far (I put a shadow under her to separate her from the rest of the page).
Tomorrow I'm going to play with gestures I think will fit the peice. And also hands. I can see the way the girl holds herself, and the expressions on her face and hands will be a focal point.
I will then come back to the piece I have in mind and refine the composition, establish the values etc.
RE: My First Entry - "BIG" WIP
Thanks @theprairiefox . Yeah 14 is different from the others. From 12 onwards I was struggling for ideas. This ideas was just going to be a large curious giant squatting down. I think it's the large dark value that makes the eye drawn to it - it separates it from the crowd.
I'm glad others are finding 11 good. I really like it too. I think I can make it really creepy - which will be a lot of fun to do.
RE: My First Entry - "BIG" WIP
Thanks for the feedback everyone.
I plan to continue with a lot of my previous ideas. Particularly the girl and the robot - I started writing a little story to go with it. However, what I have in mind for them is bigger than a months work.
I ended up getting an idea last night after watching Dead Poets Society (Brilliant movie - I can't believe I haven't seen it before.) I liked its theme of individuality. The idea of defiance against the machine. That's what sparked this idea.
A girl squaring off defiantly against a big monster. I'm thinking two panels. The first is the monster looking to devour the girl as she stands there definantly, maybe her little brother protected behind her.
In the next panel, she gives a roar, and the monster shreeks back in fear. Maybe the little brother is shaking a fist from behind his sister.
I might also include a short poem telling the story.
Here are some quick ideas I sketched out.
My favourites are 10 & 11. I'm leaning closer to 10. I have always enjoyed drawing eyes and teeth. I was inspired by the slime monster and the outreaching human element in 11. I will include the slime and I'm thinking of including some little "demon's" hidden in the slime at the bottom of the page.
The inclusion of appendages (claws/tentacles/slime) will allow me to physically show the body retracting in fear (as well as the surprise of the main face). If I include the little demon's their posture and facial expressions will reinforce this too.
Anyways. I'm liking this idea. I'm going to have a lot of fun with it. I think it will suit the strong shadows of the style mentioned in my first post.
I'm going to play with the different expressions of the girl (and possibly baby brother). Might study some stills from Youtube videos of kids saying no, haha.
My First Entry - "BIG" WIP
My first entry into the monthly competition. I'm excited and a little nervous.
Below are some ideas I'm just throwing about.
I recently watched 'Redline'. A Japanese Movie with a very unique art style. (@Jake-Parker You will love the movie - fast cars, robots, awesome animation and a killer sound track.)
Takeshi Koike who was the director and lead animator has a very unique style. He is also known for his short "World Record" as part of the Animatrix.
What I like about his style that I want to try and emulate in this peice.
- Black shadow shapes mixed with bright, vivid colours
- Slight distortion/characterisation of everything.
- Great use of perspective.
Here are some studies I did of his style. (At least the shadow side of things)
His style is very different to what I usually do, so I want to challenge myself and bring the above to this piece. I get the sense that the end result may look a bit creepy, or scary. I'm willing to play with that.
Here are some ideas I've been playing with.
1. Younger brother getting into the sisters doll house (comic short)
Apologies for the lightness of the image. It is more of a brainstorm that a proper concept sketch. Essentially what is happening in the photo.
- LIttle brother is looking through the doll house door at the doll inside. He looks BIG and ominous.
- Shot of doll looking scared
- Shot of hand reaching to the doll.
- The scream of the sister yelling out the kids name.
- Pans out to see the back of the sister, and the little brother sitting next to the doll house with the doll in his hand.
2. Just the face looking through the door at the toy.
I liked the idea of the massive face peering in. I played with putting a lego person or toy soldier instead.
3. Giant Robot Covered in Trees
The idea here is that a young girl finds a giant, old robot. The robot is so old that trees and vines have started growing all over it. I have two images. One with a mountain background, or the robot is found in an old forest with giant trees.
4. The Giant Poo
This was a redesign on Frank Frazettas cover peice for Conan the Adventurer
Essentially it is a mother standing on a big mountain of diapers with baby in hand, husband exhausted at her feet. A human hand and skull can be found in the pile (they didn't make it). The background is the mother shocked at discovering the size of the mess as she changes the babies diaper.
5. Giant Babies on the move.
I'm thinking of doing a landscape style peice as the babies are moviing towards something in the distance. Possible have blocks and blanket made to look like houses and mountains.
Anyways, these are some idea sketches. I'm going to choose one and build it out.
Which idea do you like the most?
RE: Creativity/Productivity book club?
Great book list.
Deep work is fantastic. Carl Newport's other book "So Good They Can't Ignore You", is also a good read.
The Artists Way changed my life. It is why I draw every day now, and love what I do. Before that, art was a struggle, riddled with self doubt. Now (for the most part) I just love the process.
I'm all about productivity, learning and creativity. Here are my top 5 to add to the list. (The artists way and deep work would be in this list, but I decided to include 2 others instead)
- The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin - great book on how to learn and enjoy it as you go.
- Switch by Chip and Dan Heath - How to create new habits and make them stick
- Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink - Book on mindset and a great read in general.
- The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco. This is more a business book, however if you plan to go down the self publishing route, I recommend reading this book. The way he approaches money is very different, but the mindsets will greatly help you.
- The One Thing by Gary Keller. - Book on keeping focussed and productive.
Another interesting one is Daily Rituals by Mason Curry.
I'm always hesitant about reading books about selling art online. Specifically, if they go into strategy and tactics - the internet is changing all the time.
However, two online resources I've been devouring (and recommend), is the Art Storefronts Blog and Podcast and Comixlaunch.com. Both are relevant, and ahead of the curve.
RE: Ergonomics when drawing?
My day job requires a lot of sitting down. So when I draw I usually stand up and use an easel. When I do sit down, I usually use my table easel or a cheap A2 sized desktop drawing board that I can angle. I find bending over a flat desk to draw does my neck in pretty quick.
Regarding numbing of the hands, play with different ways to hold the pencil, and brush. Proko has a good video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMC0Cx3Uk84
When I'm drawing, I try and keep my hand loose. It helps with your drawing and can reduce hand strain.
All in all it comes down to your own style of working. Take what you can from my suggestions, but ultimately you will find your own way of working. Try, and adjust.
RE: Do you use Pinterest?
I'm busy over the next couple of days but can do a case study on an art Pinterest profile I have (not my personal one - this one). It has over 1200 followers and 700k+ views a month. I can give you tips to grow your own and what has worked for me if you want?
RE: Social Media: 2019 Update
If you are just starting out, I recommend just having one ideal customer. When you are first starting out, focussed action is far more effective than trying to target multiple different people. It is better to master communication with one ideal customer, than be mediocre with multiple.
So you need to make a decision - who is the #1 person you want to speak to? Assess your long-term goals. Do you want to be an indie artist? Do you want to be a prolific children's illustrator? (Yes, you might want to be both, but for now pick one - you can pivot later) You need to focus on actions that bring you specifically to this goal. Anything else will have you spinning your wheels - especially at the beginning of your journey.
A great question to ask yourself, both in the moment, and when you are creating actions for a longer term plan is:
"What's the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"
(This question is from the book, The ONE Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan - highly recommended)
It is not an easy question to ask. And many people feel that by focussing on ONE thing, they are leaving things on the table. This is where the term Return On Investment (ROI) comes into play. It's a business term, but it comes from the understanding that resources such as time and money are limited, so how can I get the most out of it.
Regarding @Sarah-LuAnn and the idea behind multiple social accounts - I recommend having one for each social media you choose to be on. Projects come and go, and your target market may change over time as your goals change. However, there is one consistency with all of them, YOU. Brand yourself, and market to one target audience from there.
Here is an example. Note: I have not tried this, but this is how I would first approach things. The key to marketing is to try, test, and refine - I would approach the below example in the same way.
Let's say that my big goal is to be a children's illustrator and get published. The key here would be to develop relationships with publishers and art directors (I'm guessing here, but for the sake of example, let's assume this is true).
The first thing I would do is research individuals who fit this bill. Who are the people that make the hiring decisions? I would actively make a list of 50 or so individuals that fit the criteria. I would then list out their social media profiles, and email address - yes, there is research involved.
This is where social media comes in. Firstly I would fill my social media with things they would be interested in seeing, and knowing about me. This is the opportunity to show off your best work, how you solve problems and other things. Think of it as an informal resume/portfolio - almost a behind the scenes of how you work. The only difference is, instead of trying to sell yourself, you are facilitating a relationship. The content is designed to let your target audience know, like and trust you. They know what you are about.
Set a schedule to continually update your social media. It doesn't have to be a lot. Once or twice a week to maintain regularity. I would still do the standard social media marketing thing with the posts (hashtags etc), however the focus of all these posts is to build relationships passively - we are not actively interacting with these people in this instance.
Once I have a handful of posts that represent you and your brand (I would imagine you would already have this content). Go back to your list of 50. You will now need to start actively interacting with these people. Follow all of them on social media. Pick your top 10 to focus on. Reshare some of their content. Comment on their posts (always from the position of adding value). Interact with them. Over time these people will likely start to notice you.
Once you have started interacting with them (eg after 10 interactions), I would then send them an email. Now this email isn't trying to sell myself. It's the next step to deepen the relationship. Separate myself from the crowd and built rapport.
Over your interactions, you might start to have a question you might like to ask the person. Or maybe you know of something that you think will honestly help them. Sometimes you just want to send them a message to acknowledge and show gratitude.
Whatever it is, email them. Mention that you are a children's illustrator and have been following them on social media (to remind them where they may have seen you), and mention something that you specifically liked (to show that you are a real person).
Then ask your question or show your acknowledgment. (Note: With questions, make sure it can be answered easily in one or two sentences. "How can I get a book deal" is way too broad)
Keep your email short, simple and to the point. However, don't forget they are a person too.
Hint: Include links to your social media and website in your signature. It looks natural, and many times they will click and find out more - hence why we filled it out before.
Continue interacting with these people. If you are happy with how the first 10 are going and can manage some more interactions, go to the next 10 on your list and build relationships with them.
From these interactions, it is a lot more likely that you will start to get work offered to you. Later down the track, when you have built enough rapport, you can always reach out to these people and let them know you are free for any projects they might have in the works.
To summarise this example: My goal is to be a children's illustrator. My target audience is publishers, directors etc. So instead of using social media as a billboard, I'm using it as a networking tool to build relationships.
I am actively reaching out, rather than posting up on social media and hoping someone finds me.
Hope that clarifies some things.
RE: Social Media: 2019 Update
A couple of tools I use for social media marketing, particularly if you are time poor, or like automation.
I use Buffer and Tailwind to schedule out social media posts. If you are time poor, these are awesome. You can book a time once a week/fortnight/month, to focus specifically on the content you want to share in the world. This is great if you target audience is on social media at a specific time, but you are at work/asleep/doing art. Here is a quick review of both.
This is my goto for Instagram and Pinterest. The interface is awesome for both of these accounts and you can link between. They give suggested posting times, based on the interaction of past posts, or niche trends. The Instagram tool also gives you relevant hashtags you can use. You can also save a group of hashtags that you use consistently. I've found this hugely useful. It also provides tracking information. There are a ton of other really great features too. The Instagram tool allows 30 free posts before you have to pay. It's $15US a month for the Instagram tool, and $15 a month for their Pinterest tool (total $30US). Cheaper if you pay yearly.
Buffer is another scheduling tool. I use it for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+. It also does Pinterest and Instagram but I prefer Tailwind for those social media. Like tailwind, it does give suggested times to post. It is free up to 10 posts, but if you want to schedule ahead it will cost $15US a month. Cheaper if you pay yearly.
Note: Instagram only allows for the automation of single image posts for business accounts. Videos, slideshows etc aren't available yet to scheduling software. Tailwind has a good workaround - you can still schedule a post with the description and hashtags, and instead of automatically posting it up, you can have it message you everything. You can then log into Instagram on your phone, copy and paste the description and hashtags, then replace the static image with the video/slideshow etc. It's not purely automated, but it definitely helps.
Want to post something on Instagram, and automatically have it posted to Flickr? Automation software can help with that.
Automation allows you to essentially create a program that is triggered when you take an action (eg post on Instagram) and then take an action (get that post, and put it on Flickr). It sounds complicated, but the below suggestions make it really easy.
The two best are IFTTT.com and Zapier. Both have limited free tools available, and you can pay for for the advanced stuff. For what most people here would use them for, I wouldn't bother paying.
The way I use this, is for syndicating my content to places that really aren't worth me actively posting to every week, but if a small handful of people find me there, I might as well automate it.
And these programs aren't just for social media. If you find yourself doing the same action again and again, see if you can automate it using these tools. It could save you hundreds of hours and headaches.
A word of warning
If you do use these programs always double check that it works according to plan. This software is great, but it isn't perfect. Check the results of all your automation to make sure it is working the way you want. Particularly for the first couple of posts.
Also, I don't recommend automating your main social media accounts. You still want to have some personalization for those. The scheduling software should be enough for those.
If anyone else has some tools they look, feel free to let us know (I geek out about these things)
RE: Social Media: 2019 Update
Oh man, I'm loving this thread. It's great to hear everyones take on different social media and the way people are approaching it. (The relationship between Behance and Art Directors is really great to know!)
It's also interesting to hear what people are struggling with. Hopefully, I can help with some of that stuff. I've got a bunch of things I want to cover regarding social media. I'll separate them into different posts to make it a bit easier to read.
The first thing I want to cover is the foundations. Like art, marketing has its foundations. The main two can be put down to knowing who you are (branding) which I mentioned in @smceccarelli branding post here and knowing who you are trying to reach (your target market).
The way you would go about getting your art in front of Art Directors and Publishers will be very different to trying to Kickstart your own book. And which social channels are best, and how you use them will depend on who your target audience is.
So in this post, I want to address target audience and how it will can turn your social media effort from a shotgun approach (spray & pray) to a targeted sniper approach. Which will save you a bunch of time, and money, if you chose to go down to the paid advertising approach.
Firstly, many mistakes people make is they think that when they come up with a target audience, they think they are addressing a crowd. Even though you might be putting your message in front of hundreds, or thousands of people, the key is to market as if you were talking to one person. Your ideal customer, also known as Avatar in marketing circles.
Your ideal customer is someone who shares traits to you, gets your work, likes similar things that you like, hires you/buys all or most of your art, gets other people to hire you/buy your art, and is someone you want to make more art for.
The idea of creating an ideal customer, is instead of trying to communicate with a faceless mass of people, you create value and communicate with a specific person. It is easier to chat to a friend and form a connection, rather than trying to do that to a crowd.
So how can this apply to social media?
Part of understanding your ideal customer is understanding where they spend their time, how they like to communicate. If they are an art director, it looks like Behance is a place they hang out to find new talent. If they are an interior designer, maybe using interior design related hashtags or reaching out to interior design blogs to get your work featured on there might be a good strategy.
This can also apply to Facebook. Many times when people use paid advertising they will list some of the peoples interest as "likes Disney" and "Female", "25-35". You might reach a lot of people, but your message is broad, so people likely won't relate. However, imagine if you had a specific person in mind that you were trying to reach. Lets call her Jane. Jane is 33, female, loves disney, pixar, also loves "Kubo and the Two Strings" (which is great, because thats very similar to your style), lives in LA, has 2 kids aged 5 and 8, is interested in promoting healthy choices to kids (so follows Jamie Oliver's Kitchen Garden Project on Facebook). If you were to put those attributes into your paid advertising filters, and create an ad specifically communicating to Jane, you might not reach millions of people, but the people you do reach will be VERY interested in what you offer and will be more inclined to reach out to you, buy your product, or sign up to your email list. (This is a very broad example of Facebook Ads but you get the idea.)
So how do you come up with your ideal customer? We are going to use what we are all good at. Using a creativity and imagination to create a character
- Firstly, give them a name. Write it down.
- Next come up with some of their general attributes aka demographics. This include age, gender, marital status, education, location, occupation, annual income etc.
- List down their interests: Loves, hates, wants, what they are committed to, dreams, hobbies, favourite books, favourite movies, favourite tv shows etc
- Purchasing/Hiring habits (depending on whether you are looking for freelance work or selling your art): where do they go to hire/buy art?, how often, prefers print or digital, what would stop them from hiring/buying
- Their source of information: blogs/websites they frequent, social media, events they attend, anything else you can think of.
Likely as you go through this there will be some big holes. That's actually a good thing. It highlights things you don't know yet. Go and find those things out, it will uncover potential gold mines of information that you can use to reach out to people. (Imagine if you found out that most art directors will attend and likely hire artists who show their work at 1 specific event - and it's in your local town!)
In the past, I've actually reached out to someone who fits my target audience and asked some of these questions to them. Those conversations have been amazing. I always come from a place of "how can I give value to this person" and it has always had good results.
Once you have written down all this info, write a description of you ideal customer. Just like you would be describing a real person (hint: they are), or a character description you might receive.
A good idea is to print it off and post it up where you can see it. Use it to make decisions:
- What would Jane like to know about this piece?
- What hashtags does Jane like to follow?
- How can I use this facebook ads thing so Jane will see my new art and love it?
- What's Jane struggling with that I can help her with?
- What value can I give to Jane?
- How can I make it a no brainer for Jane to hire me?
The benefit of this is you will have a good understanding of who you are who you are talking to. You will have a better understanding of what you can do to reach and communicate with them, but even more importantly, you will know what you shouldn't do. We all have a limited amount of time, so knowing the most effective place to put your effort, can greatly increase your chance of success.
Btw, this is not just a once of thing. As time goes on, you should continue to understand your ideal customer more. Just like getting to know a friend over time, you will know more and more about them as your relationship deepens.
If you can do the work around both Branding and understanding your Avatar, you will have a good foundation to filter through the different tactics and strategies to get your where you want to go.
Hopefully, I have been clear with this. It is a broad topic, and the idea of doing the ideal customer actions above might seem obtuse, but it is something that will benefit everything you do in your quest to market yourself. Feel free to ask questions if I haven't been clear on something.
RE: Any Australian Artists Here?
@daviesdesignated Cheer mate. Yeah, I'm spending about 2 hours a day drawing and refining my craft. I've got a couple of IP ideas, and will likely start them next year.
I'm not 100% sure what area I want to go, but I'm consistently trying stuff, seeing what I like and what I want to pursue. So far, I definitely prefer illustration over traditional fine art (where I started). I love storytelling, evoking emotion and exploring experience.
I definitely want to get studio work, at least at first, but ultimately I want to live off my own IP eventually. With my experience with digital marketing and running my own business, I'm confident I can do this, I just need to refine my art skills.
Next time I'm in Sydney, we should catch up for a coffee. I'd love to hear what you've been up to and where you want to go.
RE: Any Australian Artists Here?
@daviesdesignated Nice. Yeah I grew up in Castle Hill (when Kellyville was still farmland). Where about in Sydney?
Brisbane looks like it has a pretty good animation and illustration scene. I'm looking to use my management and marketing experience to pivot into a role in some of the creative companies there. Once I've built a portfolio, I plan to pivot into a more creative role.