Art as a business

Up to now, I’ve primarily used my blog as a platform for my drawings. It’s been incredibly useful, assisting me with my (mostly) daily drawings last year. The public accountability and the feedback have been fantastic and I enjoy having that record to look back upon.

What you may not know is that I’ve recently left my corporate job and am in process of making a living at being a full-time artist. So, since I’ve upped my game and am invested in this path, I thought, why not use the blog for more than just posting images. Why not use it to document my path towards a career as an artist and illustrator?

I’d love any feedback, critiques, advice, or banter you’d want to throw in my direction. I’m completely open and will try to be as transparent about this entire process as I can. There’s a lot to learn, a lot to discover, and a lot of dark corners with monsters lurking, so I’ll take all the company and candles I can get.

I have a degree in business management and fine art, so I have a place to start and know about some general concepts in terms of being an entrepreneur. I also have over 20 years of business management, project management, and general “getting things done”-ability. I’ve been an active artist for thirty years, so I know my way around a pen and paintbrush, too. That said, I am walking into this with my eyes (and heart) open. We all have areas where we are naive or insecure and I’m sure I’ll discover mine quickly. For example, self-promotion is not something that comes easily to me and even as I type this, I wonder “will anyone read this and if they do, will they care?” So, there WILL be hurdles. But part of the joy of a hurdle is leaping over it and moving on to the next one.

And, I’m ready.

During the recent 21-Day Drawing Challenge led by the amazing Von Glitschka, I recently won a copy of Mike Rohde‘s The Sketchnote Workbook. I highly recommend it for anyone who is breathing and/or alive. It doesn’t matter if you’re an artist or not. It’s a brilliant method of turning ideas and experiences into image-driven documentation that you can then use in all sorts of new ways in your life. My style of note taking is very similar to this already, so his book helped take me to another level.

I’d been having trouble getting started with my business and had found myself with scribbled to-do lists, ideas, and loads of time on my hands. As much as I wanted to move myself forward, I always seemed to put off the less appealing business tasks and found myself spending most of my time doing the things I haven’t really had time for in the last couple of decades. Bicycling, napping in the hammock in the backyard, drawing, playing with the cat or the dog, surfing the interwebs looking at funny animals… I just haven’t been able to get myself to dig in and get busy on the (to me) tedious parts of the process.

But if I don’t light that fire under myself, I’ll only have myself to blame when the money I’ve saved up runs out and I’m back in the corporate technology grind, daydreaming about the opportunity that I squandered. So, MOTIVATION!

Mike’s sketchnote method helped me to create an agenda of goals to work towards. I plan to attack each one and post about it here on the blog, setting deadlines that I hope you’ll hold me accountable to, and pushing forward into the murky unknown.

First goal: Read about licensing! My friend and fellow artist, Sarah Hudock, has given me an invaluable stepping stone in the form of loads of good information from her experiences as a nationwide, licensed artist. My deadline to read everything and get a handle on the concepts is October 3. I’ll sketchnote everything I learn and post it up here then.

Second goal: Continue to apply to agents! I sent some samples of my work to an agent for review and haven’t heard anything back yet. Considering how many submissions they probably get, it’s likely I won’t hear anything back. Ever. That’s okay. I just need to keep pushing on and putting myself out there, looking for reputable agents, while simultaneously working on my own marketing plan (YIKES!!!!). But that’s a goal for another day. For now, my initial goal is to apply to 10 agents who represent artists similar to me and the deadline for that is also October 3. I’ll keep a database and post that up here to track my progress.

Third goal: Continue to create. Honestly I couldn’t stop this if I tried. I have a list of ideas and will continue to post my drawings as I complete them. I’ll also be adding some color to older drawings posted last year and I’ll post the updated images as they become available. Since this is an ongoing, easily attainable goal and one that I would happily spend all my time doing, I’ll only commit to having two images posted here by October 3. That will ensure that I spend my time on things I’m less apt to want to do (see goals one and two).

If you’re still reading this, thank you. I’m looking forward to this journey and hope it’s fruitful!



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