Danioover9000

Artists out there, how did you start with your free lance art?

5 posts in this topic

   Especially those of you who like to draw figures, scenery, and who do comic strips either as a hobby or a profession, have any of you started to do the free lance version of them, for example concept art or illustrator? And how did you guys go to free lance of it?

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   For example, My past passions and hobbies include the following: dinosaurs, videogames, board games like chess, writing and storytelling specifically reading fiction, listening to music, poetry, origami, and lately drawing realistic images, manga and western comic styles. I also loved to see fantasy/nature scenery, golf and do quick sketches. These are hobbies thay I'm good  at, and some really good at.

   Where I'm lacking is in marketing, knowing my potential customer base and how I provide my value, in a product or service format. For the marketing bit, I don't know that much. I'm thinking about using spiral dynamics model to tailor my marketing towards providing that value that the group resonates with. It's just that the execution is where I'm unclear, so for those reading who have studied marketing both traditional and digital your insight is appreciated.

   As for the customer base I want to service, again not clear on this. Does it come to using the spiral dynamics series to help with this? Also the opposite problem is too narrow of a base. For example, manga is typically realised comic series unlike western comics in general. shounin manga is a mainstream Japanese comic book published weekly, aimed at audiences that are children to teen readers, while shoujo is aimed more for teens that like romance, with an artstyle good for weekly-monthly realises. Senin manga is a monthly realise comic with more detailed artwork, that narrows sown the niche to mature audiences, yet here we can keep narrowing it down. Some series can hyper specifically provide a niche, and some artist only have a specific style. So when do I decide if my niche is way too narrow? And do do research and listen and capitalize for opportunities? For example, currently manga is seeling better than western comics due to manga being more affordable and have better catalogue as serial series and story narrative carry overs more than western comics (western comics mostly realise issues independently regardless of character/plot development from a previous author's work in that story) aand due to a stage green backlash in rushing in casts of protagonists that are politically driven to represent minorities and some elements of stage green and gen x( I don't mind stories having political elements, other than how it was implemented was too rushed and in your face, that it disrespected any past work of that story.) So I could see myself potentially realising an online comic series that has solid story and good artwork, and I narrow down to one political representation of a specific group. Is this a good line of thinking?

   As for how I provide value, I do have some ideas here at least. I had some experience creating mock websites in past computer classes, ans I know some coding. This, along with some other experiences had me thinking about going free lance with my work. The issue related to this is how I invest time and energy. I could delegate by advertising, for example, a writer to write my story, or an artist that specializes in comics to draw the panels, or an editor, or some other marketing specialist that markets my work somehow, or someone that could set up my website. The delegation I view it as saving me some energy and time for other areas of life. However, most likely the delegation I will be paying more than them doing it for free, and I will be spending more time on marketing for these specialists than on my work. Or the other extreme I could do the entire process, from outlining the characters and plot, placing story beats, really structuring a solid story and script, plus designing the world setting and characters, plus doing rough drafts and finalizing my comic, plus handle the marketing and the website. With this approach, I'm squeezing all my free time into this, and more mental and physical energy into this, and leave me very little wpare time for anything else.

   For those of you who have done a process like this, doing free lance regardless of what it is specifically about, how have you approached this? Really appreciate some feedback.

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really any advice about this issue is much appreciated.

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Posted (edited)

If you want/need to start making money right away, you might have to start off with something less creatively satisfying like designing logos and graphics for people on Fiverr or Upwork. Maybe designing custom characters for people to use as profile pics, drawing Twitch emotes, stuff like that.

I started a webcomic last year, and honestly it's hard to get noticed or grow. As a writer it's easy for me to get stuff to rank in Google, because search engines are built on words. But there is no way for people to randomly find your art in Google.

Doing comics and art stuff is a lot more about "networking" type stuff, basically just posting your comics all over. Post them to Reddit every day in appropriate subreddits. Upload them all to Tapas, Webtoon, and similar sites. Open a DeviantArt and any kind of similar site, post lots of your art and make it obvious that your work is for sale, you do commissions, etc. It's going to be a grind just to get noticed and build some kind of a following.

You also NEED a website of your own... don't just trust other platforms. Try to funnel people to your own site, collect email addresses of your fans (even if you don't know what you'll use them for yet.) Look at the websites of your favorite webcomics and see what kind of stuff they've got on there, and try to copy it. Nowadays setting up a website is fairly easy... just buy a domain, get a host like Bluehost or HostGator, install Wordpress on your site and there are already free themes available for creating a comic-focused website. Just watch a few Youtube tutorials and you can probably do it in an afternoon.

That's about all I could find about it. There are very few guides about how to grow and build an audience as an artist, and like no high-quality comprehensive paid courses. And personally, I just drew about 50 comics and gave up anyway. But if you're super passionate about it, and want to keep drawing for years before you start getting paid, it could still work.

Don't overthink it and try to specifically use spiral dynamics in your marketing or appeal to a specific customer base. Your art will naturally be at a certain spiral dynamics level that attracts people at that same level, and turns away people who aren't.

You have time to try as many things as possible and see what works. Just throw as many ideas out into the universe as you can, and see if any pick up traction. Make shounin manga, shoujo manga, senin manga. Do them all and see what works.

Don't worry about how to provide value or think that your art needs some loftier purpose. You don't need to convey political messages or spiral dynamics. Entertainment and aesthetics in themselves contribute value.

20 hours ago, Danioover9000 said:

I could delegate by advertising, for example, a writer to write my story, or an artist that specializes in comics to draw the panels, or an editor, or some other marketing specialist that markets my work somehow, or someone that could set up my website. The delegation I view it as saving me some energy and time for other areas of life. However, most likely the delegation I will be paying more than them doing it for free, and I will be spending more time on marketing for these specialists than on my work. Or the other extreme I could do the entire process, from outlining the characters and plot, placing story beats, really structuring a solid story and script, plus designing the world setting and characters, plus doing rough drafts and finalizing my comic, plus handle the marketing and the website.

You need to do absolutely everything yourself at first. In my opinion, for at least the year. You need to create all your own processes and master them yourself before you try to delegate them to someone else.

If you don't know how advertising works, how will you know if the person you're hiring is good or bad at advertising, or whether what they're doing will actually benefit you or not?

Even stuff that you understand, trying to delegate it before you have a good process in place will just lead to tons of misunderstanding and problems.

You also don't want to delegate stuff like the actual drawing. That's the area that you're the master on and want to focus on. No one will ever work on your project as hard as you do.

20 hours ago, Danioover9000 said:

With this approach, I'm squeezing all my free time into this, and more mental and physical energy into this, and leave me very little wpare time for anything else

Yes, this is how almost any business or meaningful project is started. You should expect to put your entire life and all your spare time into it for at least the first year or two. When you work that hard at something, you also have to realize that it's going to become not-fun any more at some point. Even if it's your life purpose, you'll have days that you hate it. You're creating a job for yourself and there will be long stretches where it feels tedious and boring. But you have to push through and keep doing it if you've got some larger vision in mind.

Edited by Yarco

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On 13/07/2021 at 0:50 PM, Yarco said:

If you want/need to start making money right away, you might have to start off with something less creatively satisfying like designing logos and graphics for people on Fiverr or Upwork. Maybe designing custom characters for people to use as profile pics, drawing Twitch emotes, stuff like that.

I started a webcomic last year, and honestly it's hard to get noticed or grow. As a writer it's easy for me to get stuff to rank in Google, because search engines are built on words. But there is no way for people to randomly find your art in Google.

Doing comics and art stuff is a lot more about "networking" type stuff, basically just posting your comics all over. Post them to Reddit every day in appropriate subreddits. Upload them all to Tapas, Webtoon, and similar sites. Open a DeviantArt and any kind of similar site, post lots of your art and make it obvious that your work is for sale, you do commissions, etc. It's going to be a grind just to get noticed and build some kind of a following.

You also NEED a website of your own... don't just trust other platforms. Try to funnel people to your own site, collect email addresses of your fans (even if you don't know what you'll use them for yet.) Look at the websites of your favorite webcomics and see what kind of stuff they've got on there, and try to copy it. Nowadays setting up a website is fairly easy... just buy a domain, get a host like Bluehost or HostGator, install Wordpress on your site and there are already free themes available for creating a comic-focused website. Just watch a few Youtube tutorials and you can probably do it in an afternoon.

That's about all I could find about it. There are very few guides about how to grow and build an audience as an artist, and like no high-quality comprehensive paid courses. And personally, I just drew about 50 comics and gave up anyway. But if you're super passionate about it, and want to keep drawing for years before you start getting paid, it could still work.

Don't overthink it and try to specifically use spiral dynamics in your marketing or appeal to a specific customer base. Your art will naturally be at a certain spiral dynamics level that attracts people at that same level, and turns away people who aren't.

You have time to try as many things as possible and see what works. Just throw as many ideas out into the universe as you can, and see if any pick up traction. Make shounin manga, shoujo manga, senin manga. Do them all and see what works.

Don't worry about how to provide value or think that your art needs some loftier purpose. You don't need to convey political messages or spiral dynamics. Entertainment and aesthetics in themselves contribute value.

You need to do absolutely everything yourself at first. In my opinion, for at least the year. You need to create all your own processes and master them yourself before you try to delegate them to someone else.

If you don't know how advertising works, how will you know if the person you're hiring is good or bad at advertising, or whether what they're doing will actually benefit you or not?

Even stuff that you understand, trying to delegate it before you have a good process in place will just lead to tons of misunderstanding and problems.

You also don't want to delegate stuff like the actual drawing. That's the area that you're the master on and want to focus on. No one will ever work on your project as hard as you do.

Yes, this is how almost any business or meaningful project is started. You should expect to put your entire life and all your spare time into it for at least the first year or two. When you work that hard at something, you also have to realize that it's going to become not-fun any more at some point. Even if it's your life purpose, you'll have days that you hate it. You're creating a job for yourself and there will be long stretches where it feels tedious and boring. But you have to push through and keep doing it if you've got some larger vision in mind.

@Yarco    Thank you for your extensive feedback! There were areas in there you brought up that made me think more deeper about drawing and art as my passion,  but also past passionpassion I could fuse with potentially, and I've already identified some weaknesses in myself while reading through. I'm gonna pre mortem the hellout of this and contemplate it all. Thanks!

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