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Posts tagged art
Top Tips to Level Up your Newsletter Game

When getting serious about becoming an artist in this digital age one of the many things that you’ll probably here is that “you should have a newsletter.” In a nutshell, a newsletter is a way to connect directly with your audience in their inbox. Since the beginning, I’ve kept a relatively simple bi-monthly newsletter for this very reason, and I'm happy to add that it works.

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Where do you make your art?

It’s a simple question with a plethora of answers. Is it a corner in your apartment? The dining room table? Outside with nature?  A spare room of your house? Or as in my case...a walk-in closet.

Wherever this magical spot is, it is in fact magic cause we’re all Wizards, its main purpose has always been the same: it’s your secret place (studio) for making amazing art.

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Floating for Creatives

I was recently a guest on One Fantastic Week and briefly spoke about Floating. We later decided that it deserved its own article for those of you who want to try it for yourself. Although increased creativity is touted as a benefit of Floating, I see few artists writing about how or why that is. After giving my lecture about Floating for Light Grey Art Lab’s Iceland Residency, I discovered there’s a lot of interest among artists in this community and I wanted to help other creatives get the most out of their experiments in the tank, and to continue my own explorations.

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Oracle Decks as Myth-Making

An oracle deck is often confused with the tarot but the difference lies in its structure. An oracle deck is free-flowing and can be of any content, unlike the tarot which is defined by its traditional structure and  common meanings. The oracle deck can be anywhere from 12 to 100 cards but a tarot deck is usually 78 cards. It's also common to use an oracle deck side by side with the tarot for an intuitive reading. An example would be to pull an oracle card to set the 'theme', energy or feeling of a situation, and then a tarot spread for more detailed interpretations or advice.

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Artist Alley or Exhibitor Booth?

For the past 5 years I have been exhibiting as an artist at shows big and small, and I have found that one of the most common questions I get asked from fellow artists is “How do I know when I’m ready for an exhibitor booth?”

While each artist’s situation and every show is different, there are some things I consider when deciding what to book. Here are some of my thoughts and what I take into consideration when thinking of upgrading on a show-to-show basis.

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Being an Artist Assistant for Dragon Con 2018

Still wiping the sleep from my eyes after a long greyhound bus ride, I stumbled into the city of Atlanta early Thursday night. It was Dragon Con and the city had sprung to life with heroes, villains, celebrities, and artists of all kinds. Everywhere I looked there were bodies rushing from place to place, eager to celebrate in the overflow of geek culture and festivities. I was excited to finally be a part of it all, in my own small way.

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Inviting Your Audience Online at Shows

When showing at your first convention, or your 20th, grabbing your audience's attention and making sales in the moment is usually the #1 goal for any artist. But once you have them, taking that captive audience online with you for the longer journey is key to growing a sustainable business.

Inviting your audience to join you online can happen in many forms. It can be as easy as giving out a business card or mentioning the fact that you have a website or Instagram account. Here are some ways I make it easy for fans to maintain the connection past our in-person experience at the convention.

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Artist, are you making these mistakes? Frustrations of an Art Buyer

I’ve recently started collecting art & I thought I’d share with you some of the challenges I’ve run into in hopes that my experiences will help those of you who sell your personal art. You’ll notice that all of these issues are PRE-BUY. I was trying desperately to buy art for two weeks and kept running into the same issues.

As a buyer, I’m not so concerned about shipping, which artists have no control over or even about things like broken glass, etc. (I had one item damaged in shipment). As long as the artist makes me feel like they still care about their item and about me as a customer after I’ve bought from them, then I’ll not only still feel good about them, but I’ll actually feel better knowing they’ll take care of me should something go wrong.

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Artist as Introvert and Extravert

Artists are often thought to be introverts, working long hours in quiet reflection, keeping to themselves, and gaining energy and creative ideas from their time alone.  Though artists’ personalities may lean more toward introversion, personality traits are often thought to exist on a continuum; they are not all-or-nothing traits. Instead of being introverted all the time or extraverted all the time, artists often bounce between the two. We have to. It is the nature of our business.

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First Year on Patreon

I had been curious about trying Patreon for a while, and wondered if the monthly crowd- funding model would generate enough support for me to live off my Terratoff earnings. After hearing about the possibilities at my first 1FW workshop, and seeing other independent artists thrive on the platform,  I was inspired to create my own campaign! Finally a "central hub" for all things Terratoff where I could create the art and write the stories while getting paid to do it! I was totally committed to making this work, my journey began with researching and building my campaign... and I fell into a unique and personal experience with my audience I never thought possible before.

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Defining Your Audience

Whether we want to admit it or not, everyone wants a hit. Every time we post something on social media we hope that it’s the one that blasts off into the stratosphere and solves all our problems. Suddenly our audience is massive - we’ve made it and the days of watching the sales roll in while we sip cocktails in the sun (or La Croix in the shade) are here! But this moment isn’t reality. The "hits" you see aren’t overnight successes, they are the results of sometimes decade-long efforts to cultivate an audience. 

Building an audience takes time, it takes dedication and discipline, but it also takes planning. We’ve committed to dedicating our lives to making art, but how do we know that we’re heading in the right direction? Sometimes it can feel like we’re adrift in the sea alone - it’s time we made ourselves a compass.

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Traveling to Conventions by Airplane

Growing up, we traveled and moved a lot as a family, packing our lives up into a handful of trunks to move between countries. This constant packing and unpacking has made me efficient at squeezing my life into a suitcase.

One of my early experiences traveling to a show was for an event while I was still living in Japan. At the time we didn't own a car, and my only option for getting there was public transportation. I packed up everything I would need for my small 4ft by 3ft space at Design Festa, including a folding table, and with the help of my mom, carried everything on the train over an hour into downtown Tokyo. That was the longest I have ever walked carrying my convention setup, and every show since then has been a breeze by comparison.

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The Power of Perceived Value

Artists are at their best when they can push their artistic vision to its fullest. However, when this runs against what the majority of people might want to purchase it can be hard to make a living. So, how do we fulfill our creative vision and still afford to live?

We start from what I call a ‘minimum effective audience’ or the smallest number of people willing to invest enough money so you can afford to focus on making art. With the right strategy we can find our minimum effective audience and make the products they want to buy at a price they are willing to pay.

In my last article I talked about crafting an experience at your convention booth. This experience needs to extend to the items you’re selling. What types of items does your audience want to purchase? What type of materials make sense to print your work on? These are great questions to ask yourself to fulfill the wants of your audience and help yourself stand out even more. Most importantly we have to price effectively and offer a range of products to allow our audience to invest what they are willing to.

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Why I Hired a Photographer

You may have heard that your portfolio is everything, and that to attract “the right kind of interest”, you need to focus on a beautiful portfolio above all else. But what if your goal, your business model, is not to attract art directors or freelance clients? What if, instead, your aim is “simply” to delight your audience and to invite your collectors into the world behind the scenes?

I recently found myself firmly in the latter camp; what follows is my experience working with a photographer, along with a few tips on what to think about if you’re considering hiring one yourself.

Last year, my website was ready for a major overhaul. My vision for a new online home included more backstage images of me in the studio, as I wanted my brand to revolve around the artist in her natural habitat. The end goal was not just a place to show off my art, but a glimpse into my life that could foster a deeper relationship with my collectors. I wanted to draw people into the whole story, not just the painting on the cover.

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5 More Convention Tips

It was recently brought to my attention that there were some little things I missed in previous convention articles. As someone who does a lot of conventions, certain things become obvious and therefore get taken for granted. At Gen Con this year I got to spend some time with several folks who were setting up at their first convention. This helped me see the convention atmosphere with fresh eyes.

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Guest Blog - Kelly McKernan: One Fantastic Weekend

I have the great pleasure of joining the instructor lineup of the upcoming One Fantastic Weekend workshop! It takes place November 5-8, 2015.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, here’s the gist: One Fantastic Weekend is a four day on-site workshop for art entrepreneurs brought to you by the guys behind One Fantastic Week, a live, weekly webcast hosted by Pete Mohrbacher and Sam Flegal, who interview movers and shakers in the illustration industry. In addition to myself, Sam, and Pete, the other instructors are Annie Stegg Gerard, Justin Gerard, and Sean Andrew Murray. Each of us are bringing years of experience in managing our businesses as artists and illustrators, and we’re on hand to share all of our secrets with you on how to actually make money from your art.

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