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Marketing Yourself as an Artist

Journal Entry: Thu Jan 23, 2014, 9:50 PM

Food for thought.

According to deviant DamaiMikaz, who went from having 500 to 20,000 watchers in one year, becoming popular on Deviant Art is a matter of good marketing --  not necessarily exceptional art skills -- and can be achieved by anyone who puts in the social effort.

As a social media experiment, she went about doing her best to be seen.

Strategies for being seen include: commenting extensively on others' artwork and providing in-depth critiques, being present in the forums and chat rooms, and writing lots of journal entries with thoughtful content that people will want to read again and again.  

There's also the tried-and-true strategy of posting new artwork several times a week... though, the aforementioned artist admitted that she didn't do that. Most people find it difficult to produce quality pieces one after another, quickly, and continually. She's no exception. You can read her article about her popularity boom here.

So, it's been said. The DA popularity hack is doable. Are you ready to do it?

I'm not sure, myself. Part of me likes living in my own little bubble, doing my own thing. The outside world is a scary place. It's full of people who will judge you. But... there are also people who could love you. We all crave some recognition for our hard work. There's also great allure in the idea of having a fan base so large that you could possibly make some money for doing what you do. -Gasp!-

It all comes down to how you define what it means to be successful.

Would having more viewers make you feel more successful and confident? How many would you hope for? Enough to support you?

A fairy once told me about an article called 1,000 True Fans, that states how you can make a living for yourself with this sweet, magical number of fans. I think it's a beautiful thing to strive for. True fans are the ones that truly love what you do and will be happy to buy your artwork and support you. Ah... Dreamland, right? I love this idea, because it goes to show that you don't need to be the most famous artist ever in order to support yourself. Also, it's a mutually beneficial relationship between creator and fans! 

In conclusion, I say yes, a degree of popularity would help me feel successful. My number one concern , however, is to produce quality artwork... to enjoy making it... and enjoy sharing it. With commitment to your craft, the rest follows.

...Which is not to say that self-promotion should be an afterthought. I think that marketing yourself is very important if you dream of making a living as an artist. So... Would you try these marketing techniques? Do you have other cool ways of reaching out and connecting with fans and potential fans?  :aww:

  • Drinking: Thai Tea
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svetlania Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist

Hmmm, that's a really tough question on a very resonating topic.  My work is my baby, I would certainly want to give it the best chance in this world to be seen.  And people's lives are so full of Shiny Things now, they no longer find stuff the way they used to, so I can't count on them to just stumble upon all the little things I do.  Soooo, while outright marketing is probably something I could never make peace with as an artist, perhaps 'being seen' is something that I'd work at?  The problem with that one though is finding the time, because it's true what was said--making art takes FOREVER, and I don't want to take too much time away from that...  My own 'little bubble, doing my own thing' is the true core of me as an artist, after all, I have to take care of that first... Or there won't be any art :D;;;

...Anyway, interesting topic, thanks for bringing that up!  Do you mind if I post a link to this on my journal?

Moonie-Dreamer Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Professional General Artist
I wouldn't mind at all! :) I'm glad you found it to be an interesting read. I agree with you about the personal bubble being at the core of it all, and not wanting to be away from it for very long. Often, I feel like I have to completely switch gears in order to jump from art-making into outreaching through my blog and other social media. It's as if the two modes use different parts of the brain. For me, social anxiety stands in the way sometimes. Realizing the importance of our limited time helps me to overcome it. Also, like you said, the desire to give one's artwork the best chance! 

alakotila Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Most interesting. I decided to put in a lot of effort for networking and visibility this past year as well and it did pay off, though I wasn't focusing on deviantart. I didn't even know there were forums or chatrooms! All the same, I think I'll stay to my comic community ^^; But I think it's about time for another run of expending energies on promotion! 
Moonie-Dreamer Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Professional General Artist
Time for another run of promotional energies? I like that. The idea of tooting a horn and waving a banner for yourself once every season or so appeals to me. Like how stores will have semi-annual events. Though I've never done it, I like the idea of printing postcards a couple times a year and sending them to friends and potential clients and publishers, to show them what you've been up to. There's a thrill in seeing your artwork in print, even if it's just a stack of business cards or postcards. :D Plus, if I were on the receiving end of a postcard promotion, it would be a lovely surprise to get some art in the mail from a friend. 
alakotila Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
ahaha! Yes. I felt silly at first doing so, almost fake, but for a month or so I'd spend several hours a week promoting, mostly through networking and building connections. Also I began paying for advertisements for my comic ^^ Now I just am busy keeping up with what the promotional energies have brought so I can spring forth again X3 And I agree - getting random post card art would be wonderful! I know I was taught to build a mailing list when I was in school, but I never really built one. ^^; Maybe the time is now.
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