I have a few things that I want to see discussed. I don't think that there's enough talk on how to get your name out there other than passively. Is it something that is taught in art schools?
I would very much like to hear what it was like when you were first starting out and began to advertise. Was it you doing all of the work? Did you get an agent? How about now? What have you changed? What is usually overlooked? What will you never do? What will you always do?
I think the topic interests most everyone. Especially people like myself. I know I have enough skills to be making some kind of living, but there's just nobody out there that knows I exist. So life is pretty rough. Seclusion is pretty easy to achieve in suburbs that are far from any social hubs.
I would like those posting (if they are able to) to perhaps lend thoughts as to high/pro advertising techniques and experience as well as an economic alternative or the "poor man's" techniques.
I plan to use anything that I can which is posted here. So I will also be posting updates as to the results.
So how does one go about taking control over one's exposure and name?
Level 16 Gladiator: Spartacus' Retiarii
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Advertising needs something to sell. The biggest thing I see that slows people down is putting their stuff out there when it is still amateur work. Nothing will hurt your chances like plastering your work everywhere when it isn't professional level. How do you know if its ready for primetime? Look at the top pro's in the industry and see how your work stacks up. If you want to post here or on Wetcanvas or DA thats fine, but use it to get better.
Better sites are linkin and its professional networks for jobs in the industry you are interested in. My last three freelance jobs were through Linkedin.
The best way to advertise is still go where the work is or the pro's are. Worldcon, ComicCons, any pro event that will give you a chance to interact with the people you want to work for. They will tell you if you are good enough or not, which is the best way to get better.
When I was coming up I did conventions which led to almost every job I got. I met other professionals and expanded my network of working people as opposed to unemployed people looking for work.
To pay for all of this while I was working on my abilities I worked in industries that paid me the most amount of money. For me that was construction and computer electronics manufacturing. These jobs gave me the money to travel, pay for art supplies, portfolio costs, and enter art shows.
The internet can only help you if your really good at what you do. Because its free to put your stuff out there, you are in a pile with every grandma and third grader all over the world that wants to be an artist but can't pay the money to advertise or travel.
Why you gotta be an angry burd
Level 16 Gladiator: Spartacus' Retiarii
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The way I have started getting my name out there (the little that I have) is by getting published. And the way I have gotten published is mostly by directly asking whether place/publisher/magazine X is interested in my art (noticing couple of these has involved a con, actually). Getting stuff published has brought more work, and it mainly required an email and a website.
I agree with DPaint in that you really want to make sure your stuff is up to snuff before you start putting yourself heavily on the radar. That's what I'm trying to do right now, work on the skills so that they can one day pay the bills.
As far as promoting yourself, what I learned from professors, the blogs and advice columns of professionals, and books, is that you will have to really get in the public's face when you are unknown. You'll want a promo kit, which includes your business card, postcard, tearsheet/leave-behind, portable portfolio, and/or give-away mini portfolio. Business cards are the easiest to give people, postcards are great to send to folks you've met at the conventions who work at the big studios every so often, the leave-behinds are for those stacks that the studio's hiring people have to go through, and portable portfolios are for when people agree to take a look at your work on the spot! Basically, your promo kit should be designed to make it as easy as possible for people in the industry to get your information from you, remember you, and see your best work without having to do any searching for you (because they won't if you are unknown) - and to jump out at them as something special. There are cheaper printers out there, but you still wanna make sure you are getting good quality printed materials, so get proofs and stuff. There's also the yearly publications of Illustrators/Designers Market - they have all the contact info for the different companies and publications and what kind of work they are looking for. When you are unknown, there will be a lot of cold-calling and hard work into self-promotion.
Anyway, that's what I've gathered from information from other people - I'm still not at a point where I'm ready to advertise myself full-steam, so I guess I'll see when I get there.
really good start. I already have a few good ideas floating in mind.
I haven't heard of a promotion kit. But it's almost genius. I am going to take my time and look for places that can provide me with the prints I need to put it together.
In Utah, we don't get very many conventions. Though it does seem like it's changing. I plan to start doing some travel to get to more cons. But I don't believe that I'll be doing so until next year.
Something that I have a hard time figuring out is when I know which place might be looking for artists. I regularly check a few of the local studios online. Most always have at least 3 positions available. Still I don't know how to go about applying for the job. There's a process for it like any other job, online. But it seems like it would be a much better idea to head to the studio it's self. Mainly because most of these places say on their blogs that they will see almost any art most of the time. I suppose it's just irrational fear. But I'm sure that some other fledglings share this kind of anxiety. I figure that the best way to really find out is to call. But then that is another mystery. I always wonder if there is a specific place to call for submission. There's just a lot of worry within myself of making a single mistake when approaching a studio for a job. The kit seems like it would make the whole thing go much smoother.
So far I only have a few pieces I've done for a pair of small companies and some storyboards that I've done for a successful local film group. Other than that, it's really just personal pieces and commissions. I already have an idea as to what I need in my portfolio. I took a game art college course in high school which really enlightened me. So even though the things that I have are few, they are still of good merit. I wonder if studios care if a piece has been published/used/bought/put to use by a company or creative group. If it's the same piece, with the same quality, does it matter to them? Would it be better to put a piece in your portfolio that isn't as good (but close to) as what you have done for yourself. Or is it better to have the published work in there?
Finally, in accordance with DPaint's advice, I believe I will make a separate site for my production pieces. Excluding things like sketches, speed paints, scraps, and anything that I wouldn't use for an actual game or poster.
I know it can seem like a lot of work & money to go to these things (especially if you live far away), but it is totally worth it. Just do the math: if it takes you $1000-2000 to go to one of these, it'll only take getting one or two small-ish gigs to make it worth your while.
And the connections and contacts you'll make can pay off for years and years.
wow! That's great to have read. It's a very inspiring story. Especially for a person about to go through the same thing. I only hope that it goes half as well as yours.
I plan to use things like greyhound buses to get around until I can start paying for things like a ton of gas or plane tickets. I have recruited my best friend who would loves to travel to help me manage my items. They will be paid so as to keep them willing and also solely because jobs should pay.
One thing that I am very bad at, is approaching people. Especially big strong men, or older more stern looking men. As well as women with quite a bit of make-up on. Or if they look like they should be on the cover of maxim. Any experience with this kind of phobia? Does anyone have any tips? I can honestly say that this is the most common way I drag myself down.
I'm not even going to get into the "are you good enough or not" line but I need to speak on what I saw in your sketchbook, since you don't have a web site listed in your sig. You have to decide what you want to do and go after it. That means you need to do finished pieces that work for your chosen industry. You want to do book covers, you need to have a portfolio full of images that look like finished book covers. It does not matter if the book exists or not, but you can't go post a bunch of color studies and get work doing book covers. When I was a mod in the job forums, there were always morons going "me! me! me!" whenever someone posted a comic book gig, you'd look at their portfolio and see not one single page of sequential art.
Maybe you think cons are expensive, then you can save up your money while you make some samples that target the market you want to go after and research what is the best con to target that market.
I have no arguments with what you said. It's true. I will admit that I was only testing the waters. I'm a rather shy person. I won't make any excuses. I'm just going to take your advice and go and do a bunch of concept art for my own ideas and for some books I've read. Perhaps your doubt may be quelled a little.
I also think that one should not kid themselves into thinking that they are a master of anything. At the same time, one probably should not dispose of one's own merits. So a good balance of self confidence and being humble is needed. I suppose it really is true for most anything.
I've already started saving for cons. I'm now beginning to put together a list of the cons which would be better for me to attend.
Thank you for your feedback.
It's always appreciated.
Onyx, I'm not meaning that as a put down, but you really have to have something to show in a con, or else you will have wasted all that time and money, it's better to have some pieces to show, even if you get them critiqued to death at the con, at least you don't get (or leave) empty handed.
Don't you worry a bit. I wasn't taking it that way.
But the point you made is strong. So my response needs to be strong. Half assing these things is (what I figure) what leads to a lot of artists down falls. I have to keep myself in a "ganbate" kind of attitude
So still, my focus is game conceptart. So I will do my best to produce the portfolio you're talking about. I noticed that people were posting things that I don't really find in a lot of sketchbooks. But it makes sense that they would post it in their sketchbooks to gauge some reactions from time to time. I believe I will do the same with my own. I may just restart my sketchbook in that case. I'm pretty sure I'll be focusing on sci-fi/fantasy and horror. My 3 favorite genres.
back on track, I was thinking...
Does anyone have any stories of a talk they had with a pro early on which really let them know how things work, or really changed your outlook on some things? Either good or bad.