Easier said than done. Choosing a logical career path as an up-and-coming artist can prove difficult, especially if you have educational or family expenses to worry about. Many young artists work a separate job in addition to their education and artwork. After all, your bills have to get paid somehow!
With so many factors in the real world pulling your attention away from your budding career as an artist, is there a logical approach to business growth that will reap immediate fulfillment and results?
Below are a few frameworks for you to consider. By no means are they all-encompassing or inadaptable; however, they should help young artists begin to think seriously about their career path and how they are can make their talents work for them.
Note especially the examples under each category. These individuals have mastered their business strategy. Keep in mind that marketing your art requires that you be an entrepreneur and think logically and creatively about how you can market your brand – not just expand it with a glitzy social media presence.
- Characterized by selling products as a brand, not just as “art”
- Must combine skills in order to succeed, i.e., become an author/illustrator or bring a new product to the market.
- Example: Eirc Dowdle (https://dowdlefolkart.com) creates unique and personalized puzzle products in a folk art style.
- Example: Jake Parker (http://mrjakeparker.com & https://www.svslearn.com) creates his own self-published and traditionally published items including a series of art books, children’s books and various comic books as well as promoting his brand by creating challenges such as Inktober and Art Drop Day on social media.
- May have personal projects that fail or are not accepted by potential buyers
- Must have excellent business skills and be able to “sell yourself”
- Characterized as creating artwork for other people
- Multiple projects active at one time
- Examples of possible work
- Illustrating for children’s books, board games, video games, editorial illustration, etc.
- Development art for film, video games, etc. (this can be in the form of a long-term position, an internship or a single assignment)
- Teaching art classes online or at a school or university
- Must have excellent business skills and be able to sell your services
- Must be able to produce a unique style of art that stands apart from the crowd
- Competing with international and local artists for positions
A Combination of Both
- Combines the lucrative elements of freelance and branding
- Example: Brittney Lee (http://britsketch.blogspot.com) visual development artist Walt Disney Animation Studios, creator of Calendar Girls desk calendars, unique paper sculpture personal work, strong brand presence on Etsy.
- Example: Claire Keane (http://www.claireonacloud.com) former visual development artist, author/illustrator, strong brand presence on Society6.
- Example: Victoria Ying (http://www.victoriaying.com) visual development artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios, collaborates with husband as an author/illustrator and comic book artist, teaches 1 online class and offers public speaking engagements.
- Essentially a hybrid that seeks to make time for both freelancing and developing a brand
- Way to avoid “putting all of your eggs in one basket”
Whichever career path you choose, be flexible and remember to be comfortable in your own skin. If you show confidence, practice positive thinking, display a positive attitude and avoid procrastination, you will be able to level-up your skills and open yourself up to new opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise considered or seen.
NOTE: FYI, I will only be posting one blog in the months of November and December because of the holidays. Have a great Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, everyone!