There is a misconception in the current social climate is that one should be an Youtuber, or Instagramer. This mentality can acrew to the artist circle too. The problem with the term artist is that it’s too broad. It’s kind of a useless term unless one is in the academic circle of fine art. Then, that artist title can have a merit to it. But in the meantime for everyone else… They are better-off having a more niche job description in mind.
Ranging from Cartoonist, Illustrator, Inker, Pixel, and the list of more specific spots goes on. ‘See, artists are becoming more and more obsolete since everyone want something more specific as the internet allowed for these niche obsessions to become a thing. In my case, I stayed away from the Digital Works due to the fact, it’s becoming the majority for industry-level artists and workers. But Paper and Pen type artists aren’t as common nor there are initially enough good-level artists out there that can get noticed and be worth working with long term.
It’s better to be that Brushpen Cartoonist, or the Mecha Desinger.
Because it’s such a niche creative job title that people who care will actually remember them most likely. The problem with being an artist is that it’s not a very viable title nor association anymore with many people calling themselves so-called artists, it’s only a matter of time before the boat flips over and it loses it’s real meaning. So, in the meantime it’s better to cultivate the concept of illustrator, designer, cartoonist, animator, etc so there is a more tangible meaning to it. Just because you can draw, sculpt , or even paint means that you are considered an artist. You’re product or piece of work isn’t up to spec. Chances are, you are amateur if you spread your attention that much to too many radically different mediums. Those who focused on a few or one thing only. They earned a position in the field at that point.
Stop it, just stop calling yourself an artist, content creator, CEO life, etc.
Chances are, you are doing a big disservice to everyone anyways. Just figure out your actual Job, and focus on that aspect.
Keep it Real.
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Look, I could have been a so-called gamer if I felt more encouraged and felt the
so-called community, in fact I could have been a boycon-bro among you should my focus was gaming in general. But, in the end, I end up making art that is well, just drawings or illustrations. It’s not much more than that.
‘See, gaming is a strange thing to me as I get into my mid 20s. I don’t feel that connection to characters, in fact I feel a bit of resentment and loathing to gaming culture ironically, since I end up creating a sizable body of work featuring gaming related stuff. So, what does this mean?
gaming was a thing for me, back in the PSP era, in fact like most normal western developed world kids of the 90s I got to play on the N64 and Xbox, and that is about it.
So, what happened? Why this huge far-cry in mentality and why my work is somewhat strange in terms of the thought process behind it?
Let’s turn back the clock, to back in the early decade of 2010s, it was a turning point for me, I started to get bored of gaming, gaming culture was more or less not as praised compared to the mid 2010s decade where twitch and youtubers played games to be paid. Mind you I basically missed out on the gamers and weeabou booming movement essentially since I packed up and left the scene more or less years earlier not knowing if it was all cracked up to be.
But what fumy is that the internet allowed me to be informed in almost real time on what’s going on. It’s the broadcasting boom that allowed me to be informed of what’s going on.
However, it was a recommendation of my art mentor’s Eldest Son that really started off the Series of shenanigans that I end up following through for a couple years.
‘see, I hate to admit it but I’m sure that greed of sort tends to run through of us. It’s never enough and the scarcity for things we want is out there.
And I thought back in the day, that chasing these vanity metrics on reddit or imgur was a good idea during that time.
It’s was not until I started to do for months, darksouls and bloodborne paintings during 2016 that people start to notice. But then out of the left field. A commission came along.
the client wanted me to so a DarkSouls Inked drawing at a rather substantial price at the time. It signaled the type of work people wanted and a several months later people will start to notice.
And after that the follow through of DarkSouls,Bloodborne, and other fanworks Inked, and the rather disastrous social arms race on instagram.
Rest is History.
You must be wondering why I never do digital render of my ideas ever, the answer is rather linear and simple. ‘See, I never really grew up with Technology in a traditional sense like most people pf my generation, I’m stuck using paper notes, and used more pens than most average north americans. Texting is a rather forcing thing to me since it has all these small bugs like typo corrector and what not, interrupting my line of thought(which is rude by the way to my personal, thought technology is supped to make my miserable life better, not worse….), And Looking at these screens of “normies” trying to get on with the internet is rather strange too. So, does all this to do with my absence of digital art? Kind of Yes. Because I’m not really integrated like Millinelas and Gen-Z, there is a bit of an off-put in terms of how I try to use the latest tech they tend to have. I’m still using a Thinkpad and Windows 7 and longs to downgrade to an XP at times myself.
But to cut to the chase, here is the why. It’s because it’s too technical, there is a lack of ease of accessibility and things I kind of “get” in order to access these kinds of hardware and softwares. I never used an Iphone or ‘Pad, let alone what a windows surface is like, where most working-class artists, seems to bee already integrated and their abilities are so in-tuned with the technology that is kind of baffles me.
What’s really off putting for me to try to use the digital technology to create art is that it’s not only too clunky, needs load-up time and all this stupid BS. It’s the fact looking at screens at times gives me migraines. I shouldn’t be suffering at thsi level just to make art, I shouldn’t be straining my brain to figure out how to stupid controls work just to get the right colors. Why is technology in some departments so stupid to me?
The other reason? Well, I’m too invested in my paper and pen approach, and the fact there is a growing demand for it kind of makes it hard to back away from it now. ‘See, given that most of the artists and illustrators out there is transition into digital due to the industry demanding it, they have to. Or else, they wont make it.
But as a nobody, I have more broader and more interesting options, I answer to the market, not the industry. There is a subtle difference, but one of them is where my actual customers and clients hang around.
People still want hand drawn stuff at times if not the ideas I pump out and offer to clients. If I can fabricate ideas and sell to clients quickly and efficiently while keeping focus and costs low, it’s good. And my pen and paper approach is just happen to fit the bill. It’s not as high-end like the professionals that gets their work in galleries, nor is it technically and deep like the digital ones, but I managed to find a way that at times gets people noticing.
I’m just an isolated guy who just got left behind, and technology tends to do that to people who aren’t in the forefront of it.
Just can’t keep up.
So, since starting and seeing what might happen back in 2019 of early summer, I kind of place bets on a thing that is often mocked, parodied on youtube, and whatever so-called stupid things people think of it. I just went for it.
And after half a year, and more or less apparently got to Level 1 (and lost the official of it due to some issues on maintaining a key aspect of it)
here is a several notes on what I learned and you might be able to apply to your own life.
Understand the position of the Pipeline you in.
The project or thing you are working on is at times bigger than the assignment you are given. It may well be part of a series of works and you are either the early, mid, or even stage of the project your client is trying to build. So, in a way it pays to know where you are and perhaps what the client will expect of you as you work on it.
Look at the bigger picture.
Do your Client Right
Focus on creating Products or Services that will solve your client’s problems, and it better be the best of it’s kind in the market. So, to give it context, in my case. I just sketch on a almost pro-level of robots and machines and they tend to be conceptual serving as a base for their designers, developers, or detailed illustrator. If your work is lacking, learn to fix and adjust the issue while time allots.
It’s going to help out not on the metrics, but personal reputation you will bring to the table .
Your client came for your product and services
focus on your Product and Services you want to offer, this doesn’t only apply to fiverr, but business in general.Sure, it’s maybe tempting to use social media, but in reality it doesn’t have an effect on your bottom-line unless you are trying to make it as an so-called influence(and they might not be viable long-term too) What most people online when shopping for is either. Product or Services, and oftentimes stuff you can only find online. So, in a way you want to not only create a product that is great and solves and helps the client get somewhere, hopefully their next level.
And to top it off, it better be unique in a sense that others can’t really copycat off you so easily, it would be a complete cover blow, so learn to cultivate your personal signature on these products and services.
Learn to Improvise
Chances are, you will run into problems, and often too if it’s a large and complex project. So, focus on things like having results oriented action and just get it done somehow. Early orders of mine managed to get me more work than I expected. But also, if the client is cool with you, just ask for more time.
Time is your best bet for solving the complex issue, throwing more money wont solve it if the thing isn’t complete by the deadline.
It’s okay To leave money on the table sometimes-be on the good lookout for Better Opportunities
So, this is a bit of a strange thing, since it’s kind of a counter intuitive thing. Sometimes, you will be approached by rather attractive offerings, but logically. It wont work. either because the nature or it is too technical, or the assignment is substantially above your level and you can’t train or improve on time to tackle it. The whole thing wont’ work, because it won’t work no matter how you look at it, the odds are too stacked against you and time wont allow it too.
For example, I did turn down assignments worth $200 or so, but the problem is the workload and the time and level of work simply outweighed the benefits and the costs would be too high, I had to pass up on a few of these since they were too above my league.
But, there is good news too. There is always opportunities. And if you know what you want, chances are, you will find them easily. It’s not so much about having the most Money per order, but working on things that is within my niche, my interests, and can be done relatively quickly and the offerings is enough.
To simplify-you have too much on your plate during the time, out of your league. and you have an agenda to tend to. and sometimes, better opportunities comes
Time is Money-But have Buffer
Learn to work effectively and efficiently. You can be good at your craft. But, it’s not worth much if it’s doesn’t get stuff done on time and the execution should be spot on too. Learning to draw fast and with precision is something I learned to do practicing so often for years.
when it comes to making things for clients, you want to think about the following, can you get complex stuff on time?
It’s good to have a day or two to buffer, and ask additional time if the order is too rushed. It’s like an insurance policy.
Have a pre-order briefing
Before you get into the fray. Assess. just get to know what your getting into. So, in my case, I tend to ask for the two things. What is it? and how urgent is it? Usually that will allow me to gauge what I’m getting into. And, sometimes, I do a bit of free work for them to see if they like my demonstration.
In some rare cases, I just learned to back-out early since it’s way out of my scope.
TimeZones and Areas
They might be sleeping or something, so keep in mind, there maybe delays in what is going on out there. Learn to be courteous in their off hours and focus on the project to get it done.
So, the online store was more or less an unlikely thing that happened to do not bad, actually. After 300 sales and 2-3 years of it. It has been working it’s way up quietly and with a degree of success. Prints for sure are the real main seller here. And there are some recurring returning customers too. Unlikely projects that gave more than I asked for.
Here are a few things I learned while getting up to my 300th sale.
On Etsy, it’s mainly a platform or online store where people go to buy tangible things often, but there are cases often of sellers offering non-tangible things like Files and PDFs to name a few. What is important is that if you want to do well on Etsy for a start, focus on building a product that is either Niche, Exceptional, and the service around it is great. In my case, Made to Order Prints-and it’s environmentally sound too. It’s a rather distinct thing since, it’s on etsy and not on places like redbubble and what not. And due to the fact at all the orders all the way up to 300.
I double checked and fixed every single one of them myself. Products and services around it mattered.
Communication is Key
Customers want in on what going on. And they tend to have various questions. For example, in regards to see if their order arrived. Usually I have a FAQ for that nowadays, but in the early days, I told them to wait 2-3 weeks to arrive, if it doesn’t. I just send another batch for free on my tab, and if I felt like, even tracking too if the cargo is valuable enough. It’s just a matter of solving problems yourself if the FAQ doesn’t yield anything. Communications is mostly reversed for more personalized things, but it’s to give clarity directly to my customers if things aren’t going smoothly or is just too complex.
Do right if something goes South
So, this is one of the biggest problems all artists and sellers tend to have. Half of them, they wont lift a finger to fix even small issues. ‘See getting up to 300 sales is rather hard for me I realized. Since, your customers is your life-line in some ways. So you rather do them a favor and fix the issue either via sending another batch, or a refund if the issue is too severe. It’s a case of mitigating issues before it gets out of hand. Everyone makes mistakes and learn to owe up to that and do what’s right. And then move on.
It’s just a case of stumbling forward towards a “passing grade” and getting better.
Offerings, Figure it out
Do most people know what they are offering? usually no. they are often clueless to what they are offering since they never defined what they are offering. Define what you will offer and build on top of it. To give clarity, offerings isn’t only the product, but also variations you may have within that product line. In my case-made to order prints that comes in 2-3 sizes ranging from 6×8, 8×10, and 11×14 inches. Those are my offering that people are starting to understand and it’s becoming an established norm.
The easier your products and offerings to understand, higher the chances people will tag your work with the traits and you can refine it as time goes by.
Focus on your Niche
as tim ferris would say in his 4hour work week. It’s the new big, this is what the internet allows for. You want to build a niche that acrews to your brand. a niche-to give a redundant example, Made to Order Prints that is environmentally sound. It’s a mouthfull, but given enough time and reviews with it. People will start “getting” what my products are actually.
Focus on building something very specific and unique, and it will acrew to you.
Give more than Asked for
This one is a rather personal one since, it’s really a thing I tend to do myself. For a little while now, from 2017 to nowadays in 2019. I have been giving away free sketches and prints to my fellow customers. It’s more than what they asked for, but from my subjective views.
I felt the need to just do as much as I can. I felt that I’m doing them a favor of sort.
Focus on Actionable/Practical Things
Forget about the metrics if people are favoriting your products, what counts is either they are buying your work, or leaving stellar reviews. It’s all about doing things that matter to you.
Focus on building or improving your products and offerings. It will serve you well on the long run.
So, this is a long one, but it’s because it has been a recurring thing for the year 2019. That’s 12 months. And I been able to do much with it.
Card-Stock. A type of paper that is seemingly overlooked in a world where art boards and Bristol is king. It’s kind of a strange thing for me. Since, I’m used to for a couple years using larger and higher quality types of paper. But with the booming days gone, it’s kind of a thing where I felt that for a certain amount and a bulk stack of them, it’s logical to take this route and make a plan around how to make work for myself and client’s eventually. And it did after half a year.
Is the material good enough for work?
Kind of, it can do a bit of everything such as washes and holding up to layering of markers too. So, it’s can holdup. But don’t expect it to do very heavy amounts. It will do sketches and light conceptual easily.
What is it best suited for?
Sketches. Sketches for sure, due to the fact it’s in the 8.5×11 inches range and most of so-called “best ideas” are sketchers often, people want my ideas mostly. And sketches are adequate enough to get it across.
Earlier this year, I did do inking for sure, but that’s about it. It can for sure have a crisp clean finish when it comes to ink.
What does it mean?
Well, it’s nothing short of being economical and it’s to sustain my creative work a bit longer. Given the type of works I’ve been assigned to, it’s kind of a logical move to use something that supports it.
Does it give me any serious advantage?
in some ways yes. Given that it’s already a standardized paper and size, it allows me to refine my technicians and ideas within it’s limitations. Having more doesn’t mean better always. What it’s good at is that it gives a better working surface than simple copy paper where it can fall short in the durability department.
Is this something most people can get behind?
in the direction where it’s either Digital Only, or something higher-end is used. I have doubts that the mainstream will “get it”. There is a skill gap to jump through and most likely my kind of work and knowledge around it is too niche for many to care. ‘See, we no longer live in the 70s-80s anymore, production art done on paper is becoming very very rare, and chances are those who do it for a living have been doing it since the post-war eras. They been doing it that long and I have doubts that they will even give chance to share their knowledge online.
Who does this material suit?
Those needing a practical material to work from. It’s inexpensive and it’s viable for those starting to upgrade from copy paper and want to start doing light renders of ideas and works they have in mind. It can hold up to quite a bit of work, and chances are, it will give it’s bang for the buck. Plus the scans are quite clean too.
So, you must be thinking of this, I need to get it right and all planned out right?
Well….the problem comes to this.
The universe isn’t going to align it’s stars against you as it won’t go out of it’s way to pave the way like how Moses split the sea.
It just, the timing is never perfect, nor the conditions and what you have with you, you’ll have to use it. You have to get used to a few things.
It’s never the right timing nor conditions
Learn to get into small trouble often and ask for forgiveness than permission
you only get this life once most likely
staying still and doing nothing is the worst case scenario
I used to think of ways to perfect my projects, but in hindsight, if I started with less and learned to adjust the course of my craft along the way, life would have been better most likely.
It’s never the right timing, and I started rather late for my rather serious aspect of my works.
‘see, unlike most people software like ‘photoshop and using my own flatbed scanner didn’t
come into play until 2017, so it’s been 2 years since, trying to make my stuff work.
The progression is rather slow in terms of official records.
However, in actuality, my craft has been running much longer as far as 2014, where the internet just really get into the mainstream actually.
So, with all this action going on in my background, and it may well be a historical series of events.
I was just quietly working away at imgur, tumblr, and few ‘sites that I no longer operate on for personal reasons.
We are going towards a more permissionless world, you have to take the initiative.
well, here’s the news flash, nobody, either your parents, boss, friends, etc, won’t tell you want to do in terms of your internet stuff most likely, and in reality they can’t stop you from working on your online shenanigans and gigs you have in mind.
If anything you have a better chance of learning from the small (hopefully not fatal or totalized) mistakes and just try again. It’s better to start small and build up these personal resilience to your own path and endeavors you want to take.
In fact, I just decided to go with a bunch of seemingly non-related projects and later down the road, some of them actually seems to stick. It’s that simple.
You are not getting any younger and being still will kill you eventually
I hate to admit it, but. Time in some cases is more valuable than Money, when I mean by that is that through history, currency and free-trade was always a thing. Perhaps the dollar of today will be less valuable tomorrow thanks to the rise of crypto currency and block-chain, and Gold and Silver still can tank it through the times seemingly. What was consistent was that people tend to wast their non-renewable resources known as time and attention, and after a certain point in their life, people will notice this and start really regretting it. It’s a sad tale of the majority even in the first-world. And chances are you might not get this very statement until it’s the endgame or too late.
There are two way to “waste time” either you do something and slip up, and improve based on it little by little, not giving up and redefine what you want from life, or simply sit and do nothing.
If you can start with a Bargain Price and Setup, and get away with it. Do So.
Here is a couple footage of where I started my serious online art gigs from. Pretty shoddy right?
It’s just the way it is. But that is the thing. I figured out that as long as I can get away with it and just focus on the results. Things will be alright. And guess what? Things are just fine.
It doesn’t matter is the Wifi is so bad that I have to get a folding chair and “table” to get up online communications under the stairs and next to a bunch of laundry machines. I just went with what I can afford or bargain with for weeks or months.
2-3 years later, the setup may have changed but the laptop still holds and works.
I just managed to deliver results without an iphone or macbook being involved.
By the End of the Day, only time will tell
Look, I never really expected things to end up the way it is actually.
In fact, most of my substantially exciting events where from starting small and adjust based on what people online reacted with. It’s kind of a strange dynamics for me. Since, starting things like Dark Souls Inked, I actually haven’t really expected much good from it. I only tried because there was a couple incidents from 2016, that signaled that it was worth it. It was that simple.
And after following through for 1-2 years, it did show that certain actions really worked.
Better to start doing now than to ruminate about stuff later.
So, it’s a bit of a late thing for someone like me to get into sketchbooks, started like during late summer, so it’s more than halfway mark that I decided to buy this thing.
And into a rather Knarly habit of working on it by-all means necessary frequently(often but not daily). Don’t know why I started suddenly. Like, it’s a sudden hunch where I simply felt the need to regain a seemingly lost habit and sub-skill. The skill of sketchbooking.
Jake Parker have mentioned this idea in a video, but the thing about sketchbook is this, it’s a way for not only artists or drawers and even architects to work on the go. Like even painters do have these too. (no, canvas based painters gets ruled out from this particular ballgame. too bad)
The Idea is this, it’s not only the ability to work on the fly when on has an idea, but it can double as a record of your thoughts, in the very moment, so it’s an essence capture.(better wording for this must be found) Sketchbooks are pretty cool in hindsight, since my best and most creative ideas came from either, loose leaf or sketchbooks. It’s that blatant. Since there are no fear of material or costs associated so much with sketchbooks in general(unless you go the gold or platinum standard types..) there is an ease of pressure of trying to make things illustration or finished render grade. It’s this pressure of trying to make a master piece every-time is what makes artists and illustrators do too much, or something goes sideways with their work and career in some cases.
the idea behind this year’s sketchbook. well, it’s a bit of somewhat new things, but also revisiting older concepts from 2017-2018. So, some recurring designs and ideas have arrived. Like, there is a thing about, either talking about storytelling or thinking of technical designs. and the ideas tend to be somewhat polarizing.
The iconic Grey brush with picked out details. a trick that is adopted from Scott Robertson’s Student sketches books especially for the development for Hawken.
So, the idea is to have a sense of knowing where the essential things are and how it will be dealt with. For example, The French saying, Mise en place, or Knolling too.
The problem with artists since the start is that they are well..disorganized for the worse.
‘See, I figured out that by starting off with having a complete layout of what you actually use regulatory, and start sorting and finally subtracting the clutter that your business and life in general will be more controllable. It’s this case of figuring out what you really need and don’t need.
I’ve been working on this concept of organizing and doing what is best described as pro-level packing, to a point of being somewhat anal retentive of how I even stack my groceries and tell off the clerks since they suck at packing like a pro.
It’s the concept of knolling, pro-level packing, and having a master list that is fundamental to why I’m efficient even without the cutting edge technology, since I figured out the fundamentals to organization and cutting out what is well junk.
You want to save time and energy while doing the work, you need all the edge you can get.
Kind of always stuck to a certain type of tool set myself while working, and it’s been going strong for months or years if the product can handle the level of stress I’m giving it.
When the meaning behind of everything in it’s place, it can extend not only on the work table, but all the way to the shelving system I thought of. So having a designated spot to put you specific range of tools is key. Like, it saves much time and energy, not having to deal with complexity, you want to be so efficient that you are a drawing machine that draws over the others on the creative battlefield.
The Basics of Knolling goes along the lines of this, from wikipediaof course.
BULLET VIII: ALWAYS BE KNOLLING (ABK)
Scan your environment for materials, tools, books, music, etc. which are not in use.
Put away everything not in use. If you aren’t sure, leave it out.
Group all ‘like’ objects.
Align or square all objects to either the surface they rest on, or the studio itself.
Look , even if it’s not part of your virtue signaling on Instagram, knolling can be helpful if you are somewhat stuck, and might need pointers and have a somewhat of a fancy layout of what you have in say your bag and on-person.
It’s a very visual way of knowing what is either in your carry or quiver systems or what ever was left behind on the floor or desk/drawers.
So, you should ask your self the following.
What to eliminate?
What to keep?
How to arrange the things you keep?
How to streamline the layout for maximum efficiency?