So I am constantly watching successful people videos, listening to podcasts, trying to learn what they are doing good and I came upon this video:
At the time I am very interested in the art business, how to monetize your art, how to provide value and similar questions. In this blog post I wanted to summarize this video and add something from my own experiences as a way to restructure my thoughts and help myself to learn while at the same time sharing this to some fellow artists which are interested in the same topics. So let’s begin.
Joshua is talking about the 6 reasons / ways to provide value with your art (we need that because we are in the art business) if we want to make any sustainable income. That’s what businesses do – it provides value and makes money in return. So these are the ways you can do that:
1. Fame – if you have fame. It is automatically seen as valuable for people and they want to buy stuff from you, because everyone is doing it. Can’t rely on that though, because fame comes with hard work, being unique, after a very long time and most of us even if we are very good at what we do won’t have that anyway. That’s how the world works, only a small percentage of people wins.
2. Skill/Style – these are built up over a very long time and hard work as well. If you worked harder than everyone else and, because of that you have developed very unique style and amazing quality work, people will line up to get to work with you and the price will most likely be no issue. But that’s very hard to do and to be honest, most people won’t achieve it or are not gifted enough, so we can’t rely on that alone too.
3. Emotional connection – if your art resonates with the people emotionally. For example, you have had depression in your teenage years and now you create beautiful artwork that conveys that, everyone who can relate to that will see themselves in that artwork and this way you will bring value to them and then you can ask for a sale in return when the time comes. Or for example, if you create really motivational art, people will find inspiration and motivation in your art, they will feel empowered.
4. Fanart and trends – for example, you draw a cool Batman illustration and everyone who loves Batman will automatically love your art and you will build the audience, because Batman already has a really big fan base and you are just tapping into that. I personally would be very cautious with that, because most of the stuff is copyrighted/trademarked and/or intellectual properly and you can get into really big trouble legally. Also, you are not original and just copying other people stuff while doing that. Joshua talks that it should be a balance between your own art and fan art that you do, for example, 50%/50% and I agree with that, If you want to do a fan art don’t do only that and be very careful if you want to sell that fan art, because most of the time it is illegal. There is ways to be able to sell fan art legally and one of the ways would be to obtain the permission from the author, but that’s probably unobtainable for most of us, because it would usually cost a lot of money. Another one would be to partner with sites like Redbubble or Design by Humans or TeePublic, which have big brand partner programs, where you can legally make art for your favorite brands and sell T-shirts if your art gets approved by the copyright owner. Corona virus pandemic, which we all relate to can be a trend to connect with people somehow too. Maybe to create positive or dark humor art that makes them feel better during this time, that could potentially result in very big audience growth.
5. Sexy drawings, nudes – “porn” sells we all know that :). Draw it good enough and you will have a following over time. For example, drawing pretty girls and posting them on Instagram and DeviantArt. Just be careful and read all the rules on whatever platform you are posting and don’t overdo it.
6. Commissions – providing a service to a client. You do a specific project that the customer wants and you get paid for it. You provide them value by fulfilling their idea and they pay you in return. Personally, what I discovered after doing it for a while (more than 6 years), that it is not scalable and I am not really a big fan of working only on other people projects. Also, you only get paid for the amount of work you do. For example, if you are capable of doing 4 commissions per month you will only get paid a fixed amount for these 4 commissions. Of course over time you get paid more for the work that you do, but for me, that’s very similar to a 9-5 job, that I just hate, and you just have your own clients (which in a way are your boss).
I could add a few of my own ideas on how you can provide people value with your art:
1. Teaching art – if you have a good art skills, maybe a degree, know all the theory, you could be teaching other people to draw and create art. For example, through sites like YouTube or SkillShare or even private lessons or workshops.
2. Entertainment – events like a certain type of workshops, where people meet to draw something and have fun. It’s more like a social event than a teaching class.
Joshua also says that we should not rely on only one method of providing people value, because that’s usually not stable enough. I agree with that 100% from my own personal experiences starting only with commissions I quickly learned that it is not stable and not consistent. Of course, there are people who make a living from commissions alone, but I’d rather focus on having several ways to make money from my art as I am starting to realise that in the end the biggest value for me is the freedom to do what I want, when I want and how I want!
Let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions or have something to add from your own experiences!