Are Artists Afraid to Sell?

Are Artists Afraid to Sell?

If you look at the fact that the Artstation Marketplace has just passed $500,000.00 in payouts (some of which I happily received!) Then the answer is probably not. 



However, this is ONE big issue, and that is PROMOTION. 

Promotional Perils


Promotion, and more specifically, SELF PROMOTION is one of the hardest things to master. 

  1. You have to be confident, but not cocky.
  2. You have to take a stand, but not be too polarizing. 
  3. You have to do it without any shame.

It's like committing to a line you're drawing rather than sheepishly drawing it. One comes out clean and crisp, and the other, well, it's crinkly and ill-placed.

Here's the thing, unless you get comfortable promoting your art, your exposure is limited. 

Limited exposure means limited opportunities. 

In which case, you'd better be REALLY kind to your Current ADs (which you should do anyway) in hopes that they keep sending you work. 

In fact a nice, warm studio seat is much better than going hungry because you're not comfortable putting yourself and/or your artwork in the limelight. At least then you have a measure of security.

Now, many artists are humble by nature. No one wants to be seen as a braggart with a big mouth and artwork full of gaping flaws. But many of us work HARD. We've studied this craft for years, and we've put the work in time and time again. 

We should be proud of our work, and if not, we need to go back to the drawing board (or the 3D interface) until we are. 

Now, not all promotion has to be self promotion, there are many ways in which artists can get featured, interviewed, or win a contest of sorts.

Like it or not, it opens doors. 

Sure, you can plateau for a while until someone finds you, or you can recede into your studio until you have a plethora of masterpieces that you unleash upon the world...But the bottom line is that in order to win, promotion is a non-negotiable.

In the future, I'll be creating more content regarding this subject, and documenting my journey when it comes to such endeavors. 

Even if I get snatched up by a studio in the near future, I'll still be honing my promotional prowess, ready to create new opportunities down the line. I suggest you sincerely think about doing the same.

Also, check out my courses and tutorials. They're incredibly affordable and value-packed.

& Don't forget to follow me on YouTube for free content.

Until next time - happy creating.

Endurance - What Most Artists Lack.

Endurance: the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. 

Giving way - that part, that's the part right there. 

Avoid that at all costs.

Agreeing to bear the burden of creation and creativity doesn't mean turning it into a struggle.

You can be stoic in the face of the unpleasantness or difficulty. 

However, once you give yourself an out before the process has completed, you're cutting away all of those future benefits that lie in wait on the other side. 

The gilded pieces you never finish. The soulful stories you never write. The character-building situations that you go out of your way to avoid.

These are all signs that you lack endurance. 

You bemoan the lows, and fight the highs. You procrastinate, justify, whine, and cry...but you don't work on your endurance. 

Endurance Enunciated

This POWER, this asset, this iron-hearted force can be yours if you so choose. 

Some are born with endurance, and some are galvanized by their environment to have it. 

But all of us can cultivate MORE of it. 

How? That's simple - 

By getting to the end of your current capacity.

By learning how much you have, and how to manage it in accordance with your aimed achievements.

I'm not going to pretend I know your degree of endurance, but I can bet there are times in your life wherein you can recall having to use all of it- and then some. 

A time that perhaps broke you for a bit. A time that took you a while to come back from it.

Those times are a part of all of our lives to some degree. The greater the endurance we have, the stronger we'll be in the face of those times.

The more endurance you have across the board, the better off you'll be. Your tenacious adaptability and steeled-nerves sharpen you daily. You don't lie in bed waiting for the self-defeating and lackluster thoughts to stop - you plant your feet on the floor and you seize every opportunity the day presents.

One of my favorite things about having a potent wellspring of endurance is the ability to click into a flow state during unpleasant periods. 

This effectively allows you to usurp victory from the clasping claws of defeat. It allows you to derive unique and silver-lined pleasures from otherwise cloudy or sullen circumstances.

How to Endow Endurance

To gain this power, and the presence of it will yield rewards of every kind to you in multitudes.

Use your current endurance. Tap into your reserves. You have it in you, after all, you're still here. Gain more of it gradually, and do the things that replenish it.

Endurance is your ally all you need to do is focus on it, and watch it's power grow. 

That feeling in your solar plexus, right below your rib cage - that's what I'm talking about. Feed that fire. Fuel that diesel. You're a cutting-edge organism with latent potential you can't even fully explore in this lifetime. 

It's almost as though you can see the "stat" of endurance on your personal character. Every time you feel that surge of excitement, that electric undercurrent, you're pumping more power into it. 

Your job every day is to take that sacred reserve and USE IT. It atrophies very quickly from leisure, fear, and procrastination. You will have to rebuild it the longer it stays dormant.

If it's asleep, you can wake it by breathing into it and holding space in your physical body. If you're ever feeling drained or depleted, it's because it's running low. 

Look for a way to practice it in the face of every task. This will fully-orb your indomitable endurance. Lift weights? Hold it up instead of just repping it. Have to sit through a boring lecture? See how long you can listen attentively by pushing yourself to.

You needn't look far for an opportunity to cultivate endurance, these optional fortitude-quests are in every single task or situation life could ever offer.

Where's your attention?

I know, it's a bit like a video game, but our perspectives are so personal that it's hard to see and solve these matters when they arise.

None the less, it's up to you to raise your awareness and ability. How else do you expect to succeed in the capacities you've defined?

In the face of it all, endure. 

See the process through, reach the next milestone, and strive to unlock the hidden powers you've sealed from yourself. 

Endurance is the channel through which they will manifest, so you'd better get to building it.

Happy Enduring.


If this hit home with you, consider enrolling in one of my courses/lists or working with me - Links below:


Beginner Drawing Course:  http://bit.ly/Beginner_DrawingCourse_... 

Beginner Painting Course: http://bit.ly/BEGINNER_PAINTING_COURS... 

Art Commission Specialist: http://bit.ly/GET_WORK_AS_AN_ARTIST 

Full 2D Art School Curriculum: http://bit.ly/PowerPainters2dartschool 

Personal Site: www.taypayart.com 

Mail: taylor(at)taypayart(dot)com 

Commission Requests: (Page Coming Soon) - Mail: taylor(at)taypayart(dot)com 

Groups: FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/14441... Discord Server: https://discord.gg/hNZyukp


5 Secret Ways You Can Draw Better TODAY (Revealed)


Look, it’s no secret that we all want to enjoy the art we make. But all too often artists are mired with thoughts of inadequacy, fear, self-doubt, destructive criticism, and just plain lack of inspiration and low energy.

I could go on and on. There are literally thousands of ways that we as creatives sabotage our efforts to create the work we want to create.

How do we defeat these “creativity killers” and actually let our work shine like it’s meant to?

I believe that all we need to do is shift the way we think, and thus the way we feel, act, and draw.

Leonardo Da Vinci said it best “There can be no smaller or greater mastery than the mastery of oneself.”

And with that, I want to share with you 5 ways that I’ve discovered that have been positively pivotal for me in my artistic development.

I’ve made a living through my art and freelancing for over 2.5 years now, and I continue to grow my income and abilities year after year. I say this not to impress you, but you impress upon you that what I’m about to give you works.

I’ve taken these techniques from books, other artists, videos, articles, deep meditation, and a bevvy of other sources. I’ve found them to be so effective that I feel obliged to do my part and share them with artists like yourself.

So give these an earnest attempt, and tweak them to your liking. Over time you’ll likely develop your own, but please allow me the honor of giving you a basis to work with:

1. Breathe deeply, calmly, and slowly before and during the creative process.

Take a minute to gather yourself before beginning. Stop any irrelevant thoughts that may have been floating about in your consciousness prior. Shift your attention toward your breathing and calm yourself with each deep breath.

Allow tension to release in your jaw, chest, stomach, neck, or wherever you’re holding it. You can use your mind to ease this tension with every breath.

Finally, simply smile — You’re about to embark on yet another creative journey, and whether it’s a quick doodle or the beginning of a 40-hour painting, you’re now in a state that will permit you to access more of your creative faculties.

2. Take frequent breaks, step backwards from the monitor/easel/sketchbook and assess the “impact” of the work from afar.

Taking breaks every 25–35 minutes will prevent you from cultivating Repetitive stress injuries, which will detract from your joy when it comes to drawing.

I like to use breaks as an opportunity to stand up and zoom out. In today’s day and age people see thumbnail-sized images before they ever take a look at the work in detail. It’s up to you to make sure that the thumbnail version of the work is interesting and well-designed enough to merit a longer look.

If it isn’t, then worry not, because these frequent breaks allow you to correct your course before investing too much time in the details.

3. Direct your thoughts into positive (or at least neutral) territory

As you’re working, keep your mind on things that are relevant to the piece by asking yourself questions regarding where you want to take it. Don’t allow the inner-critic to berate you or your creation whatsoever.

Shove such thoughts aside, as they are mostly destructive in nature. Destruction is diametrically opposed to creation, so we want to immerse ourselves in as much positivity as possible.

This is especially helpful when it comes to spotting and correcting mistakes, which brings me to the next point.

4. Profit from Failure

Part of being human is failure. From the greatest artists you’ve ever heard of down to the humble child learning to walk. Each has failed innumerable times in their endeavors.

We largely have a stigma when it comes to failure. We think that it means we’re inadequate or broken in some way, when really the opposite is true.

We are perfect in our failures, because they’re leading us to where the next success is.

Life is a series of cycles, ebbs and flows. Success cannot exist without failure.

So befriend failure, profit from it. Even if you make the same mistake a couple of times, there’s not need to fret. Clear your mind and probe the dirt of failure until your find the seed of success within.

I always recommend planting that seed as soon as possible.

5. Use every tool at your disposal

We are fortunate to have a plethora of tools in our ever-growing artistic arsenals.

These are things like process, references, programs, tutorials, and the like. Everything you need to improve your work rests both within you and outside of you, and they exist in the present.

It’s comforting knowing that the wells of your potential are as deep as the ocean, so long as you acknowledge them as such.

Many artists treat themselves and their work like they’re hardly more than a pothole filled with debris and muddy water. Shallow, unwanted, and inhabited with less than desirable materials.

But this is only true as the fulfillment of one’s own perceptions.

No one outside of you can dictate the way you feel about your art, that administration is yours and your alone. Remember that you can always tap more of your potential and find the solutions to every problem you face.

Conclusion:
And there you have the 5 key steps.

I can guarantee that these techniques will be of great use to you if you’re willing to implement them with earnest effort.

It also bears reminding that your journey is purely unique, and it does you no good to compare your life or development with that of another.

Keep digging deeper into the wells of your potential — breathing deeply and letting creativity and joy flow forth from your works. It’s never-ending and ever-expanding development with you as the centerpiece.

To master your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions, means that mastery cascades into your works as well.

I recommend that you re-read this post daily and practice at least 1–3 of these techniques every time you find yourself gifted with the opportunity to do so, as they all unfold deeper and work better with persistent application.

If you want a more solid grasp on basic drawing concepts so that you can express yourself even further and expand your artistic arsenal, I have several courses and tutorials on the matter at the bottom of t his article.

I sincerely wish you the best of luck and fortune in all of your endeavors, creative or otherwise.

Sincerely,

-Taylor

www.powerpainters.org


˚˚˚˚˚˚ Full Courses ˚˚˚˚˚˚ 

Beginner Drawing Course:  http://bit.ly/Beginner_DrawingCourse_... 

Beginner Painting Course: http://bit.ly/BEGINNER_PAINTING_COURS... 

Art Commission Specialist: http://bit.ly/GET_WORK_AS_AN_ARTIST 

Full 2D Art School Curriculum: http://bit.ly/PowerPainters2dartschool 

Personal Site: www.taypayart.com 

Mail: taylor(at)taypayart(dot)com 

Commission Requests: (Page Coming Soon) - Mail: taylor(at)taypayart(dot)com 

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STRATAEGIS - The Tactical RPG-inspired World building Project

I’ll Start at the Beginning.

Growing up, I remember my first PSX Console. It was a humble thing - a mere solid gray rectangle with a circular top that popped open.


My dad got it for me when I was 6 years old. He bought it used from a Pawnshop (we used to frequent pawnshops with my pop, as it was one of his hobbies.)

He then told me to pick out a few games from behind the glass.

There I stood, mesmerized by the case art and the titles I could barely read. I picked based on feeling, as most children do, and out we went with a used PSX and a gaggle of games.

When I sat down and plugged everything in, I was overjoyed. I don’t much remember the first 5 titles or so I played, but one of them stood out to me above all else, and that was Final Fantasy Tactics.

North American Box Art

This game captivated me immediately. The wonderful art of Akihiko Yoshida was quite memorable and appealing:

Art by A. Yoshida - Copyright SquareEnix

and the captivating scores of Hitoshi Sakimoto rang my little soul like a bell.

Never mind that I could barely read, I sat there sounding out the words as the story unfolded, and before long I found myself in the tutorial battle.

Controlling only Ramza, the protagonist, I played all my turns until the allied AI destroyed the opposition.

Then it was time for the real battle, the first one wherein you fight with your entire party. You had to be smart, as the units were under your control this time, and not at the whim of the game’s surprisingly smart AI.

I lost that battle countless times. Then I figured out I could add more units to my party prior to starting. From there the game really kicked off, and I was hooked.

I spent hours customizing my units, changing their abilities and equipment, and playing through the story while synergizing the group I was growing.

All of these memories are some of the most dear to me. I sought these types of games thereafter, and have played and thoroughly enjoyed many an SRPG since.

In fact, it’s what lead me to generate the world of Strataegis: Rhapsody of Battle.

And overview on some of the completed pieces I’ve done thus far.

My highest ambition is to realize the project as a game for a major console or directly on Steam, but for now it’s an excellent exercise in world building and visual development.

Here’s a bit of backstory

Strataegis is the fabled shield of the creator, wielded by a long lineage of heroes in times of great need – the likes of which occur every 888 years.

A chaotic populace of malevolent forces are always aiming to besiege the world Valon. This populace is ever-scheming with various occulted denizens of Valon; some of whom hold great power and influence.

Sanquisition is a secret organization that seeks to recruit promising soldiers, warriors, arcanists, agents, and everything in between in order to carry out a gamut of missions. The aim is to thwart the malevolent takeovers and onslaughts while seeking the fragments of Strataegis.

It is the 880th year in the grand cycle, and as the two moons begin to seek their celestial alignment (growing closer to the planet Valon on which this story occurs) the attacks from the Morivolum are growing more frequent, and require greater cost to fend off.

Worthy recruits of Sanquisition are being scouted and indoctrinated faster than ever in an effort to reunite the fragments of the Strataegis before it's too late.

Pictured in the center is Arcus - a sword-wielding Taroteer who plays a crucial part in the events of Strataegis.

If that wasn't enough, a triumvirate alliance of kingdoms and surrounding principalities have banded under the kingship of a possessed Ruler, Khard Trummeldane IV. Khard  will stop at nothing to ensure that Sanquisition gets wiped off the face of the planet.

Villains serving Khard T IV.

It's up to small collectives of Sanquisition agents (Sanquisitors) to do everything in their power to fell all of these opposing forces within 8 years, lest the veil break and the Morivolum infect the world.

Caeli - one of the higher-ranking Sanquisitors.

Thus far I’ve focused primarily on illustrations, but there have been some classes or job concepts completed as well:

Generating worlds visually, textually, contextually, and otherwise is one of the greatest joys of expression. After a certain point you begin to feel more like a faithful teller, rather than the creator of said world.

None the less, I’ll continue to put work into Strataegis whenever time permits - if you’re interested in direct updates you can sign up for news here: http://eepurl.com/cLDqrn

If you’d like to talk about contributing to the project, you can reach me here.

Here’s to further developments! Until next time.

Value-Based Pricing: Why I don't have "rates" as a freelance artist.

Set rates our hourly rates don’t make sense in many cases.

Ah, rates. The classic tyrant to many-an-artist.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s a screenshot from the “Services” subforum on Deviantart.com

The sad thing is, is that many of these poor artists will never be able to make it out of this very forum with that mentality, and a vast majority can barely get ONE commission.


It’s a bummer, and I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve secured my fair share of commissions from this job board.

In my lowest of lows, I was selling commissions for a mere $50 a pop. Art-slaving away for hours just to eat. It was the worst - even if the clients came back with no revisions…I spent the better part of the process mentally flagellating myself for stooping so low.

That’s no way to live, and whether you’re an artist or you’re interested in making a career out of your creativity. I’ll explain how I ascended beyond this dead-end, pale-green scene, and instead began to prosper from my hard-earned skills.

In short, I had to earnestly seek answers to these dollar-based dilemmas.

For me it was all about education and implementation. Following the advice and practices of high-earners in other industries, and translating them to what it is I do (more on that later.)

I studied business acumen, marketing prowess, principled actions.

Let’s go into more detail.

The turning point - when I began pricing based on value


I had finally reached my breaking point after barely being able to save money month and month. I was working full-time, but my income did not reflect that.

The breaking point hurt, but it was also a seemingly magical event, a sudden willingness to challenge old beliefs. I did so until my efforts became the sword of sovereignty, deftly slicing that old mentality to ribbons.

here’s how I shifted my approach:

  • I went from charging for time, to charging for the event, to charging for the process and it’s effects.

  • Instead of hungrily taking every job where the client seemed halfway sane, I started being far more selective.

  • I began to look at myself as a peer, rather than a for-hire commodity.

  • The focus shifted from “make them the art they want” to “get them the objective results they’re after.”

  • I raised my prices. A lot.

  • I became less of a pair of hands, and more of a brain.

  • New thoughts about business practices and paradigms had to be programmed into my operations.

  • Specialization became the focus, rather than generalizing.

And those are just a few ways I had to pivot from my once poor mindset. You see, life is too full of riches to stay under the providence of our limited scope. You have to be willing to reinvent yourself and your work for the results you’re after.

The world will try to melt you down. It will want to standardize, unify, and program you. It’s your job to reject what everyone else in your field or your community is doing, and do the opposite.

Let’s talk Clients - an integral key to value-based pricing



The client is best served by having their issues resolved quickly and effectively.

And here’s the thing - hourly billing isn’t moral in that regard. This is something I learned from Alan Weiss and Nathan Stark.

The longer you stay, the more your client pays - that’s not quite right, is it? After a project drags on and on, and your clients are over-budget, you get the “client from hell” scenario - even if circumstances were beyond your control.

No - it’s better to go in lean and mean, and price yourself based on the big difference you can make for your client’s business. Then deliver as quickly and effectively as possible.

For example - if you pay me $100,000.00 up front to knock out a project and it makes you 1,000,000.00 over the next 12 months, you’re happy.

Whereas if things aren’t coming together right, and the scope keeps changing, and over the course of a year you’ve spent $1,200,000.00 trying to get the thing to fly, no one’s happy.

That’s why having a bid where you don’t pay a dime more than the agreed upon price is ideal for the client.

Again, it took a while to pivot into these new paradigms, but now that I have a more solid foundation, years of experience, and the income to triple down on my skills and ongoing education, the effects are multiplicative.

I strongly urge artists who are freelance to consider value-based pricing, and to reap healthier profits, and happier clients.

For the clients out there, make sure that going to a particular freelancer is what you’re in definite need for at whatever project stage you’re in.

I can’t tell you the number of gigs wherein I took the job to fast, only to find out that my clients weren’t every 100% WHY they needed the artwork created. Some had asset lists wherein 80% of the items were superfluous to their project goal.

If you’re gathering another round of funding, that needs specific strategy - if you’re trying to engage your player base more, that needs a specific type of work as well.

And if you’re unsure about what will move the needle, then don’t be afraid to ask. Part of having integrity on my part is to let you know if what I can do for you is something that you actually need.

It requires a good deal of forethought and transparency to conduct business at this level, but ultimately it yields more desirable results for all parties involved.

Value is the key to creative collaboration, and when both sides can mutually prosper as a result of a near-alchemical value fusion, the resultant projects are more readily bound for success.











An Artist’s Best Friend: Iterative Drawing (Step-By-Step Drawing)

We’re going to explore some well-known drawing keys that will unlock new areas of creative potency and technical expression for you.
Today’s Lesson: Iterative Drawing


Here’s a simple rule you can begin to apply today: Draw in stages.

The act of drawing can seem overwhelming, rather than fun and expressive.

After all, there are so many things to consider.

But if we prioritize and organize correctly, then we have more freedom in each step, rather than fear.

There’s a tendency to fight what works– even if we know it does. Some of us are addicted to a certain degree of uncertainty in our work.

I invite you to look at everything you’d like to create in steps or layers.

Some people barely go beyond Stage 01 (I was one of them.)

Others stop at Stage 02.

And where I happened to land this time was Stage 03.

Still, there are further stages after that one.

You have your own stages.

All stages are for the purpose of reinforcing and harmonizing what we’ve established.

Your most rudimentary scribbles can turn into potential masterpieces if only you take the time to develop and divest their potential.

Sometimes it will require starting over entirely, and only keeping the “feeling.” But if you have a process you can have faith in, then that feeling is all you need to carry with you.

So think of your work in stages– each one prioritized for your best expression.

If you need to return to previous stages to reinforce what you’ve created, then so be it.

A well-optimized model for working allows you to “move backward in time” if need be.

This means keeping things light and easy to retract in favor of solidifying the more appropriate pieces.

In conclusion, if you take things in a clean, step-by-step fashion (which our impatience often doesn’t permit.) You have a much more “bankable” result.

  1. In the beginning be free…Express, create, and channel.
  2. As you move forward, be sure to refine, harness, and subtract.
  3. Then as you approach the final stages, tweak, detail, and conclude.

Surely as you develop yourself and your patience, your art will follow suit.

This Golden Key is now in your possession. What you use it to unlock is up to you.

and as a friendly reminder: Always Work Your Fundamentals.

Happy Drawing,

-Taylor Payton

IT ALL COMES BACK TO DRAWING.

THROUGHOUT THE AGES, THE ACT OF DRAWING HAS BEEN A PREVALENT AND POTENT MEANS OF HUMAN EXPRESSION.

From raw cave paintings to elaborate murals, from the tiniest post-it sketch to the most complex composition imaginable; drawing is the backbone upon which a vast swath of great works have been built.

Drawings can be established in virtually all mediums and media, and all you need is a surface and a drawing utensil…That is to say, a piece of paper and a pencil.

The act of making marks upon a surface is something that we’re wired to do. Whether it’s letters of the alphabet or a complex mechanical juggernaut the core principles remain.

Drawing can allow us to express ourselves and our ideas, it can train use to think in ways that shift our perceptions to higher planes of cognizance.

It can be a therapeutic act of creative joy, or a delightful discipline that we pursue in an effort to reach mastery.

Chances are that if you’ve read this far, then somewhere inside of you burns the sincere interest to draw.

The point of this post is to stoke that burning desire– whether it’s a small candle or a roaring furnace, you can be taken on a journey that will show you not only what you can create, but reveal to you aspects of yourself that may surprise you.

So why should you follow that urge? What have you to gain from allowing yourself to create?

Well, as I hinted to earlier, the journey is the true reward, though another wonderful thing about drawing is that you have something to show for it.

Even more wonderful is that if you persist you will have a timeline of evolving works, the source of which is yourself.

From humble beginnings you can steadily (or explosively) grow your skills. Even if you’ve been at it for a while there’s always room to improve.

There’s nothing like a feeling of progress and achievement to layer atop the simple joy you can gain from sitting down and making work.

When you get right down to it, we only have some much time on this earth. That’s a fact.

Assuming you only get one shot, wouldn’t you like to allow that creative urge within you to express itself? It would be a shame to regret that you didn’t develop the talent that you naturally possess.

You could spend copious chunks of time playing games, watching netflix, and consuming media ad nauseum.

It’s not wise to cut those things out altogether, however, all you have to show for hundreds of hours in many games is a save file and some memories.

So what does one do in order to embark or continue upon this journey? How do you find an outlet? What do you study? The questions are seemingly endless, but allow me to simplify things a bit:

JUST DRAW IN YOUR SKETCHBOOK.

THAT’S IT.

FILL PAGE AFTER PAGE.

Let the forms and ideas come into being through your pencil or pens.

Listen to music, or if you prefer, a good audiobook.

Pay attention to your thoughts, and train your already keen senses to perceive the work in new ways by squinting, flipping the work upside down, or holding it up to a mirror.

Over time your hand will grow more sure. Shoo away the thoughts of self-doubt and non-technical comparison to others. It’s apples to oranges.

There’s only one you doing what you do.

And the more you do it to the best of your ability, the better you will become.

FIND FRIENDS TO DRAW WITH, EVEN IF THEY’RE ONLINE. START A VIRTUAL SKETCHBOOK. (1) (2) (3)

Do it daily. But don’t over-do it (aka hurt your wrist and such.)

There isn’t any real need to compete (unless that’s your thing.) Give yourself the freedom and liberty to work.

That’s it, really. It all begins and ends with you.

Make time for it, obsess a little. Find out more about who your are through your sketchbooks, and find out how you and your work change with each sketchbook you fill.

Don’t forget to have fun, it really isn’t all that serious. Drawing is a game with few rules and many exceptions.

If you get lost or feel unsure, that’s okay. We all need a little guidance from time to time.

And that, dear friend, is why it all comes back to drawing.

Happy creating,

3 IMPORTANT Keys to “Making it” As an Artist.

The image above is one I did when I was just leaving college. I was about to embark upon my journey as a freelance illustrator…


(All I wanted to do was draw and lift…college photo from 3-ish years ago^)

Sporting a decent portfolio and a potent drive for success, I began emailing people frantically in search of work.

I sent over 50 emails in the first week alone, using a list I had compiled through a technique I call “lead scraping.”

To my surprise, I actually got a few gigs.

The pay wasn’t great, but at least it was something. I completed the jobs, collected the money, and….

Silence.

My clients were happy, but their budgets were limited.

They didn’t have the funds to rehire me to continue their projects– let alone pay me enough to keep up with my student loans.

This was a painful realization. My inbox was quickly filling up with No’s and my bank account was draining along with my inspiration. Things were looking grim.

I had to do something, ANYTHING…Or I was going to drown in depression and debt. My anxiety was at an all-time high, and my drive to succeed and all-time low…

but that didn’t matter, I had to find a solution.

I began to read books on business, and to dig through art blogs from artists who had already “made it.”

I kept my spirits up by confiding in friends who I knew would understand. I watched motivational videos and listened to audio programs that would help me keep things in perspective.

But above all, I did 3 things.

3 VERY IMPORTANT things.

It took me months to figure them out, but once I had these 3 keys to artistic success…doors opened, rejections mattered less, and my bank balance got out of the red.

It’s my sincerest hope that sharing these 3 methods with you will enable you to prosper as I have. Any artist who’s willing to improve their work knows that you have to improve yourself and your approach to life as well.

So here are my 3 my gifts to you:


1. Diversify you income.

2. Charge what you’re worth (to people and businesses who can pay it.)

3. Reinvest in yourself and your craft/business.

Sounds simple, no? Let’s take a closer look at each of these keys:

DIVERSIFY YOUR INCOME

Anyone, artist or not, who only has one way for money to come to them, is in jeopardy. You MUST spend time opening up new avenues of currency to come to you. In order to be sustainable as an artist, this is pretty much non-negotiable. Having just one client won’t cut it. You have to find people who will hire you on a regular basis and then find others who will do the same.

You can also start thinking about product creation, or selling your work online to fans instead of doing commissions. There are many, MANY ways to open up different income channels.

Spend some time thinking of ways you can use your art to provide value to others. I recommend taking 15–20 minutes a day to brainstorm methods through which you can open up avenues for your work to flow out and currency to flow in.

The point here is to really take the initiative with your income, realize that getting repeat clients and finding new ways to sell your work is going to help ensure that you’re growing your profits for years to come.

CHARGE WHAT YOU’RE WORTH

Seriously. So many artists have the terrible habit of under-cutting. I myself was guilty of this as well. It’s really hard when it seems like people won’t pay you more than $50 for a piece that takes 8+ hours.

The simple fact is, there are many people who will pay you more than that. MUCH more than that. The key is to connect with this people and not to be shy about asking for $500 instead.

Funded kickstarters, certain indie game teams, businesses that hire artists, the list goes on.

There’s always someone who you can make contact with who will pay you more. The key is to focus on digging for those people and then making a good impression with your work and personality.

If you’re lucky, you may have a decent industry for artists where you live– look for studios, as they’ll typically start with $33,000+ a year at entry level. It’s not great, but it’s definitely livable while you plan your next move, which should be to….

REINVEST IN YOURSELF

This is non-negotiable. You should be taking classes, going to figure drawing sessions, buying art books, finding courses and/or mentors to help you along your journey.

GROWTH is the factor that keeps you green and mean. Stay hungry, and be vigilant in looking for ways to do things better. I wouldn’t be anywhere NEAR where I am today if I hadn’t continued to take at least 15% of my income and put it back into increasing my skills and optimizing my process.

CONCLUSION:

There you have it. These are the 3 things that will help you step it up in terms of your abilities and your income. Above all, don’t stress yourself out– It can be emotionally and mentally taxing trying to improve your work, find new clients, serve the ones you have, and reinvest in your creative business/brand. Take it one step at a time. Even if you aim to do things just 1% better than you did before, you’re making progress.

It’s not a race, there is no end in sight. You’ll never be done learning, growing, making mistakes, correcting your drawing, refining your style(s), and opening up new doors for your career to grow. Making a living as an artist is a wonderful and challenging journey, and it’s certainly not for the faint of heart.

Seeing as how you’ve read this far, I’m sure your heart is plenty capable.

Remember the 3 keys.

And keep up the good work.

Happy Drawing,

-T


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The SATELLITE Still Orbits

Expressing your stories is no small task. Discipline and diligence must be your cohorts if you are to realize the tales you have within.

I'm pleased to share with you the fact that The 3 main characters of SATELLITE have become crystallized.

Rai, Isaac, and Gemina are a band of espers ready to face a deluge of psychic foes, cataclysmic struggles, and otherworldly scenarios.

And that's not all.

I've started a personal movement I'm calling #wiptober (After the immensely popular #inktober.) My goal however isn't to improve my inking ability, but to improve my ability to finish pieces and projects.

And I'm really glad I did. Here's why:

Life has a way of letting those things we don't consciously cling to drift off into the perimeter of our focus.

Once it escapes the peripheral of our consciousness, it gathers two things: inertia, and then dust; neither of which are fun to shake.

SATELLITE was starting to get to that point. I hadn't lost interest, but I did lose focus.

My patterns and paradigms tend to be to move toward what I find easy, pleasurable, and routine. The thing is, many of us humans are susceptible to these tendencies. 

Luckily, SATELLITE didn't fall too far out of orbit. I was able to renew my creative fervor by talking about it with my friends, visualizing cool scenarios, and then adding more to the script.

It's only a matter of time before visuals start flowing again, but for now the story takes precedence.

If I say I'll write just a few sentences, a couple paragraphs usually spill forth. The trick is to focus on consistency, not perfection. Progress is my goal, and progress is made. I can always edit and tweak after the foundation has been laid. For now, it's a matter of manifesting that basis.

If you haven't begun your own personal projects, I can't recommend it enough. The reason we got into our crafts is because we want to be able to express the ideas, feelings, and experiences that bubble up within us. Our creative quests are among the most challenging and rewarding undertakings we can earnestly carve.

As I wrap my head around the characters, follow the arcs of their stories, and envision them in their pinnacle moments of failure and triumph, my heart begins to race. There's a special feeling to inspiring yourself, and I believe that it isn't always there by proxy. Like the hungrily licking flames, that spark must be tended with suitable kindling. You must be the one who uses your thoughts and feelings to spur your body into action.

I was watching an interview with James Jean. He's an artist I highly regard for his prolific output, creative mastery, and technical virtuosity. He said something in one of these interviews to the effect of the body being the vehicle for the mind, and that really resonated within me. Our thoughts are creative, and at some level we know this. You can view images in your mind, you can compose music, and you can generate most anything. The key is to practice and hone your skills in a chosen craft so that you have the information to express the inspiration.

Think about it. In•form•ation.

This just means we're keeping our inspiration in form.

It has a structure, something solid we can build upon. All form must have solidity if it is to be scaled.

One of the real-life people who has inspired me greatly is R. Buckminster Fuller. A vast portion of Isaac (The middle character above, and the protagonist of Satellite) is heavily based R.B. Fuller's potent philosophies, geometric wisdom, and architectural mastery.

R.B. Fuller knew a thing or two about solidity. His geodesic dome designs were among the most solid structures this earth has ever known.

So if there's anything I'd like this post you leave you with, it's that your stories and projects are calling to you every time they pop into your conscious mind. Set aside small chunks of time for developing them. Honor them. Do research on how to better your work so that you can express them more aptly.

Trust yourself. Trust that you're the only one who can realize your potential. Share these with the world, and even if you fail, you'll have learned so much in the process that you can renew your efforts to a greater degree next time around.

The cycle continues, it just depends how big we make the circle. 

I don't want to reveal too much about the plot of SATELLITE, but for the next post I'll have a hook, some more vis-dev, and perhaps even some chapter snippets.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to join the mailing list below so that I can update you next time I publish another post (that's the only time I send out mail to this list, and you can unsub at any time if you feel like it's spammy or something.)

All in all, I'm just happy that The SATTELITE still orbits.

Happy creating,

-Taylor

 

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The Beginnings of SATELLITE.

All of us have stories locked within us. It's our privilege to craft them with love and expressiveness. 

The sheer joy of coming up with characters, settings, worlds, and plots is unlike anything else.

Sometimes flashes of inspiration come in the blink of an eye, sparked across the imagination as we sit idly. 

Other times we can work with intent, and through our efforts an idea may be wrested from the ether from whence it was born.

 This is how I knew SATELLITE was going to come into being. 

When I wrote an outline for the plot, started to envision the world, and put myself in the shoes of the main character (Isaac Ling) it all began to take on a life of it's own.

Since then, I've returned to it periodically...Developing bits and pieces-- flirting with the idea of it becoming a fully-fledged graphic novel.

There were many worries, fear, doubts.

There still are.

These are the feelings and thoughts that oft accompany the creative process.

Despite that, you have to know that in the end, there's no unique problem, and the solution is existent the second we come up against any sort of barrier. 

In the end, we must trust ourselves to channel these creations! To allow our diligent efforts to unfold them piece-by-piece. 

So now I work diligently to develop the larger pieces, fleshing out the details as the come to me, and studying everything I can about the successful undertaking and completion of my projects.

Inspiration is everywhere, so join me on The Quest Of Creation!

Sign up for the mailing list below and I'll send out non-spammy updates regarding SATELLITE, the creative process (yes, even the cool technical bits,) and keep you abreast of any amazing resources I come across.

Thanks for reading!  

Join me on The Creative Quest below.

More soon,

- Taylor

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