Stop thinking of the Monopoly Man and start thinking of the artist as a swanky entrepreneur.
If you are an artist, especially if you are a freelance illustrator, you are an entrepreneur. Unless you are working under a firm or a company somewhere, you are in charge of the sales of your own artwork. That being said, it is important to culminate good business practices and habits now during school. This will make it much easier for you in the future.
Now that senior show’s all wrapped up, this has been the topic of the capstone class for illustration, Advanced Problems in Visual Communication. Under the guidance and instruction of our awesome teachers, Dennis Corrigan and Kevin O’Neill, we have been doing research, finding potential clients, and discussing the best ways to network among other things. Here are a few key things gleaned from our class sessions thus far:
The Artist’s Market: First tip is to look to a book called The Artist’s Market. It’s not free but it’s worth it. You can subscribe on their website or you can buy the book from Amazon. It’s updated every year and it’s filled with helpful articles on how and where to sell yourself and your art. It’s also loaded with lists of potential employers who may just be looking for art like yours.
Network: Set aside time for networking. Choose a social network and stick to it. Make sure you have a web presence and that you’re making it known to potential clients that you are active in the art community. Facebook, Behance, Tumblr, and even WordPress are all good places to post your art and keep up the rapport with people who are interested in your artwork. And you may want to consider mailing out postcards to organizations that could be potential clientele.
Get Active: Participate in the art community. Make sure you’re going to museums and checking out other people’s artwork. Go to local art shows and craft fairs. Join a group or local organization. And enter contests every now and then.
Make Work: Keep working! Make sure you are always setting aside time to work on projects even if you’re not working on a commissioned piece. Do not let your hands or your mind rust over. Keeping up with work will also keep you on a schedule and make it so that, no matter what, you have a consistent work ethic.
Practice Often: Don’t forget to practice. No matter how good you are, there’s still room for improvement. Set aside time every day to watch a tutorial or just sketch out your thoughts.
Have Fun: And last but not by any means least – remember to socialize, do something fun, and take some time to just chill out. We are not Energizer Bunnies. We are human. You’ve gotta remember to recharge. This is vital or you WILL go insane.
These are just a few tips to get you started. Do more research if necessary but remember, it’s never too early to start your career. So go start your business, you swanky entrepreneur 😉
Featured Image Artwork by Emily Wick