It's summer again: time for my yearly journal update lol;;
It's been a busy year of balancing my work for the university with training to become a pro recurve archer and, perhaps most challengingly, actively pushing my art. I got to know some really cool people in business and entrepreneurship, as well as amazingly successful and inspiring artists like Brosa, and I must say their mentality has really made me reevaluate the art world and my role in it.
The business mentality is one of attaining success as measured by public interest, whereas artists tend to focus on improving for themselves. The idea here is that "if I can get my art to a point where I am happy with it, the rest of the world will see it and just follow". I was a firm believer in this, thinking the quality of art should speak for itself, and always feeling anxiety central at the thought of spamming people too much with my work. However, I've realized this way of thinking is flawed for two reasons.
1. We will never get to a point where we're happy with our own work, because this perpetual dissatisfaction is what drove us up to whatever point we reached in the first place. Winning the game and calling it quits is simply never going to happen.
2. No matter how good you are, everybody needs marketing. The internet is a mega vast and growing ocean of art and creativity and you will be invisible in it unless you actively work on changing it.
Since these eye-openers earlier this year, I've gone on an internet-wide experiment in self-promotion. Not really knowing what I was aiming for, I tried to just get over myself and share my work more actively and in different places. The results are as follows:
Twitter: I made a twitter and started doing Sketch_Dailies. It's been super fun and motivating and it's gotten me in touch with super amazeballs artists. My work also got featured several times, which has been a great way to gain some exposure and figure out twitter at the same time LoL.
Facebook: I made a facebook page just for my art. Without plugging it too much at all, it exploded organically for some reason with 2K likes in the first month. 2000+ people is a huge amount to suddenly be seeing your work on their timeline, and I've received several commission request because of this. But more motivating than anything has been to see the things I upload actually being looked at by so many other artists and art lovers from all over the world. To have other people find and enjoy my stuff is really the best I could wish for.
DD: I got my first Daily Deviation here on dA after simply noting a mod (Astralseed) about it. I explained how I was trying to get over my fear of self-promotion, and they looked over my gallery and featured my Boy and Giraffe illustration. It might not be as glamorous as being featured organically, but it does go to show that exposure and quality are not necessarily naturally related.
We Love Fine: We Love Fine found my work and I joined as a Mighty Fine Artist. They were able to get licenses for my My Little Pony fanart. As far as I know, this is the first non-EQ anthro fanart that Hasbro has approved, possibly due to my freelancing for them idk. Considering the general caution surrounding anthro art, I'm super honored to know they found it tasteful enough to carry the brand name.
VALVE: Through We Love Fine, I was invited to a beta version of DotA2's Steam Workshop for artists. I have several pieces up for votes now to be sold at Ti4 (The International DotA2 championships in Seattle, WA, mid July) which can be found here. Please take a moment to upvote if you can! I might actually quite serendipitously be in Seattle around Ti4, so it would be really cool to run into my own stuff being worn as a tshirt Anyway being up on Steam might not seem like such a big deal, but any involvement with Valve, however tiny, is a huge deal to me since I'm a biggg time fan of the company.
Free To Play Expo (Antwerp): Finally, I did an illustration for Free to Play, an indie game and art exposition, and was up in a real life real world expo hall for a little over a month! It was great going berserk on such a big piece for a week, and then being rewarded for it by seeing it under a spotlight up on a wall.
me and my :> face next to my stuff!
SO... what to think of all this experimenting... My conclusions are actually sort of surprising. Now that I've put all this down on paper, it does seem like a lot for roughly 5 months of switching up a mentality. But in the end the question remains: what did it actually do for me? For example, I'm still not paying my rent with art, but then I realize that wasn't really the goal with this particular experiment. What I set out to do was to see how I could develop artistically if I just removed the hurdle of being continually half ashamed of my own work.
Through the exposure on different platforms, I got in touch with different industries -- from commercial/merchandise, to commissions, to exposition -- and was able to figure out where I'd like to take my illustrations. I now know that I'd like to develop my own style and move in a direction where I produce finished pieces that can be looked at and enjoyed in their own right. Realizing this has made me grow tremendously as an artist. I hope sharing this story can give some of you some inspiration or direction on how to move forward as well, or at least be a comfort of sorts that you're probably doing better than you think and should stop being so hard on yourself all the time <3
I'm not sure what next year will bring yet, but reflecting on this one so far I'm excited for it :> For now I'm getting ready to go on a summer sabbatical to Canada and the U.S., to visit family and friends. I plan on being (at one point or another) in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. West coast hollaaa at me! ^_^