Top Ten Marketing Tips for Artists
Mike Considine posted this to the D&D Art group on Facebook. It was such good advice we decided to share it with you all here at 1FW.
Here's some marketing advice, from a friend in marketing who I recently set up to do a call with some freelance artist friends:
1 - Find your super power.
Figure out what you do best, and focus 80% of your effort on that. Whether it's doing that, or doing things that support it (studies, business/sales, marketing, etc), and the other 20% for trying out other things to see if they may be part of your strength but you don't know it yet.
2 - Your Strength + Pop Culture + Relatable = Winning Strategy.
Take that super power, associate it with something pop culture (such as DnD, Warcraft, Pokemon, whatever) and find a way to to make it something that viewers will find an emotional attachment to. It may be making them cute animals like in Humblewood, or maybe injecting current political events into a high fantasy setting. The relatable part is hard, and most people don't figure it out!
3 - Better Together.
Find a group of peers to help eachother out. Share your communities together. The more cross sharing, the more each community will grow. This is the part that gave rise to the FantasyArtists subreddit. The idea being a rising tide lifts all boats. It's also in the form of shoutouts to other artists, or raiding/hosting on Twitch. Don't just focus on those with bigger followings than you in hopes that they will recipricate, they probably won't if they don't already know you, but if you sincerely love their work and not just want their followers, feel free to. People with about the same size, or smaller, audiences will appreciate your shout out more anyway!
4 - Get Digital.
Find the places that talk about what the types of things that you make and join those communities. Participate in the discussions, help them out, etc, and find the other places that they go to talk about these things. Then later they can see your work and be supportive of you as one-of-them rather than someone who is just coming in to peddle their wares.
5 - Make it Shareable.
Put it on Twitter or somewhere else that can easily be shared with others rather than just on a portfolio site. Retweets and similar mechanics help spread your work. Being something people can link to is not enough!
6 - A great Idea is Better than a Great Opportunity.
Don't spend all of your energy chasing the recent meme. If, however, you have a great idea that fits the current hot thing, like a film noire version of Detective Pikachu, that's great, but don't just do a standard pikachu in a hat because that's what everyone else is doing. If it's a low effort thing, like making a collage of your previous work and your real life face in the middle of it, or being part of #visiblewomen when that sparks back up, go ahead and do it.
7 - The Netflix model is real.
Make your art bingeable. It's better to share a bunch of related things at once than to post them out continuously over a longer period of time. If you plan to make a handful of mermaids for mermay, post them over a shorter timespan than stringing them out over the entire month. Let the people dive in and fall in love with your new concept. Diving deep is what lets them fall in love.
8 - Focusing on What a Few People Love is Better than What a Lot of People Like.
Your dedicated followers will be those who love your work, not those who just like it. Things that are super specific for your audience will speak directly to them, rather than something that may be broadly appealing to everyone a little bit.
9 - Communities are Great at Identifying Problems, Not Solutions.
Don't just listen to direct requests (unless they're paying you). If multiple people request similar things, that's a sign to maybe go in that direction. Look at the general themes of things people are asking you for, rather than individual requests- if one person requests pikachu with an omelette on their head, that's weird. But if several people are suggesting you put an omelette or various breakfast foods on to pokemon or various cute cartoon animals, maybe there's a market for art of breakfast foods on cut animal heads.
10- Learn from People You Admire.
Look for videos/talks/presentations/blogs from creators that you admire, they often have already given advice out there. Maybe listen to GDC youtube talks while you're drawing, maybe Proko, Marco Bucci, Bobby Chiu videos, or check out Twitch artists who talk about their careers or processes, etc while they stream.
And my personal addition at #11 would be to…
Charge What You're Worth, Not Just What You See the Other Artists Publicly Posting.
The artists who are comfortable publicly sharing their prices typically are super low, as the artists who have higher prices are often tired of having random people, who have no interest in buying their work, debating them on their prices. I recently met a great artist who was having a hard time paying their rent, despite having a 4 month backlog of work, because they were charging too little, trying to compete with the people who can charge $100 for 10-15 hours of work.
-Mike Considine and Brian Perry, Head of Marketing for MtG Arena
Check out their reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/fantasyartists