Something that we don’t really address too often as artists is the business behind our brands. All we really ever see are the people who are wildly successful. Even the ones who DON’T have the dream jobs at the dream studios. I’m not going to name any names because their success is not my focus. Your focus should be YOUR success just like my focus should be on MY success. And it’s a lot of work to turn yourself into a successful business especially when everyone is making art to be sold as prints, charms, lanyards, stationary sets, stickers, t-shirts, leggings etc either on their own or on outlets like RedBubble, Teefury, Zazzle… The list of ALL these things are endless and every single person making art is clammoring just to be ranked 1500 on a list of thousands.
The latest trend in all of this are courses. Animation Mentor and its ilk started a fantastic new trend that is forcing traditional art schools to adjust themselves to stay relevant in ways that they did not expect. Online programs are helping to churn out better and better artists technically at reasonable tuition prices and now they’re working even harder to teach students how to innovate and stand out. While our section of art, animation, and design is still a relatively small part of the National Population, competition has never been more fierce when there’s such a high concentration of talent. How are you supposed to actually get anywhere?
Well, for a lot of people, this answer is to develop their own special online course where they can teach you how to sell the fact that you’re the best Copics marker refiller since the machine that fills Sketch Markers just for Copics. And that’s cool, if you’re really passionate about refilling Copics. But what if what you’re passionate about is still technically generic. Everyone wants to work for Disney but you want to tell stories from a perspective that’s not heard from very frequently. What if what you want to do is not necessarily teachable? And what if you don’t even want to teach, you just want to help people get from Point A to Point B however they need?
Honestly, a lot of those questions are answered over time and with age, not exclusively with experience or producing as much artwork as possible. The hardest part about working towards your own success is when you realize you don’t want to be successful just like the people you follow on Instagram. You want to do it in your own way, in your own style, with your own combination of artwork that you don’t shove down people’s throats. A lot of artists get so big they either post whatever with no goal of selling people on anything or all they post are new products.
I know the kind of artist brand I want to be and I don’t really see any other artist doing it, which is great for me. But it’s also terrible because I don’t know how to get there. That’s why this blog tends to be a lot of experimentation and randomness. I could curate it so that you only ever see perfect images but that’s not being true to myself. And that would also mean I wouldn’t post as often because I don’t actually have all the time in the world to dedicate to my personal work. In any case, I’m going to be focusing on truth for a bit. Bear with me, it won’t be angry and mopey. We just have a long way to go.