In this blog I am going to give you my 5 top tips for getting off the blocks as an artist.
I know from my own experience that these tips work!
1. Get A Space
You need a space to create in. My business partner and I have worked hard over the years and we now have 6000 square foot of awesome space to work in with a big creative facility. But, we didn’t always. When you are just starting out, it is critical that you have some space.
Have somewhere that you can organise and store your equipment in. Somewhere you can keep all your raw material. A place to work in. If you need natural light, make sure you have it or a decent light source.
Working at home is absolutely fine but if you can rent a studio even better as having your own space is important. If you are doing this at home make sure your workspace is respected by your family. Establish some ground rules for when you are creating.
Give yourself the best chance of being able to create as much quality work as you possibly can.
2. Create a body of work
It is critical to have a body of work when you launch, for a couple of reasons. When you have a potential buyers attention, you need as you can. This gives them a really strong idea of what it is that you do.
How to build a body of work
If we take Pet Portraits, the majority of this work is going to be on commission. When someone wants a portrait of their pet you need to have a body of work to show them. If you are just getting started think about your family and friends or if you own your own pets, do them. You can work from photographs online or go to your local animal shelter and take photos of those animals to work from (just don’t take too many home with you).
For a landscape artist, the chances are that your body of work is going to be appealing to people who are looking to buy something rather than a commission. Take a camera and take some photographs or use images from the internet.
There are thousands of websites with stock photographs on so you should be able to find plenty of subject matter.
Get your head down, work hard and create. Practice as much as you can.
The more work you produce the more people have to look at and the better you become.
3. Who is your buyer?
Let’s say you now have 30-40 pieces of work that show off your broad range of skills and general fabulousness – who is going to buy it?
You need to identify your ideal buyer. Find the people who engage with what you do and are likely to spend money on it.
In terms of who your buyer is, let’s take the example of the Pet Portrait artist again. If you look at the statistics there are approximately 200 million dogs out there. In the UK alone there are 9 million dogs registered. There is at least a small proportion of those owners who idolise and want to immortalise their beloved pets in a portrait. There is room for everybody in that market.
For the landscape artist your buyer could be anyone with walls in their home.
I’m not suggesting you run out and start doing landscape painting or pet portraits but its is vital to understand the types of people who are going to buy your work.
I have a very niche market. My buyers tend to be people with a fairly large disposable income and who have maybe remodelled or renovated their homes. They have plenty of wall space and that means their houses are going to be slightly larger than your average home. They are normally readers of magazines like House Beautiful, Grand Designs or Homes & Interiors magazine.
Get into the mindset of the type of people who will be buying your work.
4. Finding your buyers
We live in an environment where we are surrounded by the internet. There are a thousand different sales channels and we are bombarded with information about how to build websites and sales funnels. If you are just starting out you don’t need to worry about the intricacies of buying platforms like Etsy, Not On The High Street or Artfinder. For now we are just going to concentrate on two main online platforms;
Facebook & Instagram
You only need two things to get going, Facebook and Instagram. Generally speaking, these are the best two platforms for creative people to start their online presence.
If you are a technophobe or you struggle with social media, people under the age of twenty five have been surrounded by these platforms since day one. Find a son or daughter, nephew or niece, and rope them into helping you to open an account and showing you how to use it.
On Facebook add family and friends. Post some pictures of your work, add a short description. How you created it and why, what your inspiration was. Pop a price on it and ask people you know to share it with you. Do the same on instagram.
Find people you can follow, maybe other creative people. I follow a lot of creative people on my social profiles because it’s a way of getting invaluable feedback. When you get feedback and improve your work, your confidence improves as well.
5. Presenting your work
You can have the most amazing portraits or the most incredible landscapes but your work needs to be presented in a professional and personable way.
What do you do differently?
Is there something that you do with your creativity that no one else is doing? What marks you out as unique amongst your peers? Is there a material you are using, technique or colour range that identifies your work? Have you abstracted anything? Are you working in a big format? Do you use a mixed media?
This is about making your work memorable.
Is your presentation engaging?
When you put your work out there you need to have a story behind it. Something that helps them understand a little bit about you. Let people know how you created it. How long it took you to create. What you think of it or something special about it. This helps engage and involve the audience.
Making your work look professional
Use photographs to engage your audience. It is important to take good quality photographs of your work and that you take them with a decent resolution. Make sure your photographs are clear. They also need to be well lit. Have a good platform and a good device to take decent photographs. If you are sharing your work on social media, a quick snap full on and you can post straight to any platform.
Make it easy for your buyers
Always put a price on your work and let potential buyers know how to get in touch with you. It’s that simple. Do they need to call you, send you a message or email you. Don’t make them jump through hoops to part with their cash.
If you are just getting started, you only need to remember these five things to get off the blocks;
- Have a space to work in and make it your own
- Get a body of work together. Significant enough to show off your talents
- Find out who your potential buyers are. Do as much as you can to find this out. What do they like and why do they buy.
- Find the buyers. Just start by posting on Facebook and Instagram. Share with your work with your family and friends and move forward from there.
- Present your work in a way that is engaging. A decent photograph with a price and a bit of back story.
If you found this article useful please feel free to share it with others! Oh and if you want to se this in a video then watch my YouTube video of me talking about all the above in more detail.