Friday, November 29, 2013

Ask "Stretch"- November

Happy harvest everyone! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and for those that don't celebrate it, I hope you had a great day all the same! It's always great to see family, share in delicious food and have fun times together. The year is winding up fast and soon 2014 will be I swear that time keeps going by faster the older I get. Let's move on to this month's Ask "Stretch".

1. I really want to be a painter but don't really know where to begin.....Where do I start?

Answer: Good question! Contrary to popular belief, traditional fine artists can make a living in this economy. I'm defining "fine artists" as those that paint, use markers, pens, pastels or any other form of art medium that isn't digital. A good starting point is to get your fundamental skills in order. Take some classes or learn from youtube how to use various forms of mediums from painting to drawing and other forms of artistic media. The knowledge and skills from one medium often blend into other mediums. For example, learning to paint and becoming familiar with color palettes really helps in digital painting. Learn perspective drawing and get really proficient in life drawing. Draw/design something EVERYDAY; practice makes perfect.

The next thing to consider is to learn all about marketing yourself. Having a website or a blog is a great way to share your work. Make social media work for you with Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Deviantart and so on. Having an account on a few of these sites helps spread the word about you and your work. Get onto a professional site for networking such as  Connect with other artists and those that enjoy the arts. Making connections means everything in today's world! Also, making connections helps attract fans that will enjoy what you do for a long time to come. They'll keep coming back to your work and tell others to check out what you do. Word of mouth often leads to sales!

Think about selling your work through e-commerce sites such as or through a Paypal storefront or maybe E-Bay. Keep your prices "real." In other words, charge what it really cost to make that piece of art with consideration to materials cost and labor/time. To this day, it remains important that if you wish to be making a living as a traditional artist that you have showings of your work in art shows and museums. Look around and see where you can display your work and attend shows to promote yourself and check out your competition. Have cards made to hand out or flyers. Consider making an "ashcan" book of some of your best current works. An ashcan is a small book at least 10 pages long that you should sell for about $10 or so. (the idea for the ashcan is self-promotion rather than making a profit) The more eyes that see your work, the better.

Being an artist has never been an easy existence.  There will be times of no steady paycheck or eating on the cheap. This is something that you must accept in order to have any fun on this journey. If you do good work, fans will come and they will support you!

And that wraps up this months Ask "Stretch". Got a question about being an artist, the industry or the creative process in general? Send me a note in that convenient field on the right side of the page that says "contact or hire me". Until next time everyone! Have a great day : )

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