i think i made the biggest strides in my artwork and lost my art block forever when i realized:
not everything has to be beautiful,
not everything has to be anime,
not everything has to look like something i’ve already seen,
not everything has to look on model,
and mistakes don’t really matter, nor are they something to be afraid of
haha um? since when did it become acceptable to “compliment” people by telling them how much you hate them or how bad they make you feel?
“wow stop making me feel bad about my art… you’re so good…”
“I hate you you draw so good”
why is this okay? it’s not okay. don’t do it. it makes people feel like shit. it’s a bad way of complimenting. do not do it.
telling strangers you hate them in jest is not funny or okay or nice or acceptable. telling them they make you feel bad as a roundabout compliment is also equally unacceptable.
Some thoughts on digital marketing and networking:
I was recently interviewed by a fine tumblr friend for a presentation they were doing on networking, and since I get questions about this sort of thing fairly regularly, I thought I might share my response!
The prompts were as follows:
So, to begin with could I get how old you are and if you have schooling, how long have you been in school, and how long have you been getting money from your art? In the post you did on tumblr you mentioned how you’ve basically been networking since you were 14, but when would you say you really buckled down and started doing it intentionally rather than just socially? What do you think is your most important tool with networking, and do you have any suggestions about social interaction dos and don’ts with potential clients? What would you think is something not worth bothering when it comes to networking, and on the other side what shouldn’t you forget? How much of your income would you say is from your work with art?
I am 27 years old and received my Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and East Asian Studies. I went to school for five years for my double major, including one full academic year abroad in Japan. My studio major is a traditional one, which offered nothing in the way of illustration, but gave me rock-solid fundamentals to build on.
Previous to pursuing my freelance business full-time two years ago, I’d been doing commissions on the side for about a decade. My first commissions came from family connections when I was about 16 years old, but the longer I spent cultivating my internet presence, the more business I got from my own marketing efforts. It’s difficult for me to say when it transformed from incidental to mindful networking, but I think my major turning point was in 2009 when one of the art directors from Fantasy Flight Games found one of my portfolios and offered me contract work. I knew that if I wanted to keep getting published and get in with my dream clients, I’d need to be more proactive. I was still working a full-time job at the time (in-house product and packaging design), but after another year of concentrated effort and psyching myself up, I took the leap and started supporting myself exclusively with my illustration. Art has been my sole source of income for a little over two years now.
As for which is currently the most important or effective tool, I’d have to say an art blog. With the recent surge in blogging as a widespread social networking service, rather than simply a journaling outlet, and the flexibility with which they can be set up, an art blog can now easily double as an online portfolio. It’s still important to have your own site, I think; something that is more tightly controlled and selective in its offerings that showcases the best of the best of your work. But when you’re just starting out, and all you can afford is what you can get for free, a customizable blog is basically priceless. Since it makes everything you post incredibly easy to share, and comes with the added social element that allows you to interact on a personal level, it gives you maximum PR for minimum effort.
But make sure you pick one or two outlets that you really enjoy (or can at least reasonably tolerate) updating regularly. If you pick a blogging or gallery platform that you don’t like or can’t get into just because other people talk it up, or because it’s the latest trend, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. Feel at home using Facebook? Set up an artist page! Hate Facebook? Give tumblr a try! Or blogger! Or deviantArt! You could probably even get away with using Pinterest if you really wanted. These are all easy to set up, post to, navigate, and share from. The more comfortable you are with the tech you’re using, the more often you’re likely to use it. The more often you use it, the more likely you are to gain more followers, and more followers means more potential business.
Talking about blogs segues nicely into the dos and don’ts of networking, because one of the biggest mistakes I see people make with regards to these incredibly valuable networking tools is failing to separate the personal from the professional. If you really like reblogging stupid YouTubes, engaging in social justice arguments, or discussing salacious fanfictions, make a sideblog for that, and try to keep it as private as you can. The only things you should be putting on your art blog are 1) your art, 2) discussion relating directly to your art or career, and 3) relevant articles or tutorials relating to your field. Even then, items 2 and 3 should be comparatively sparse to item 1.
On a related note, keep your correspondence professional as well. It seems like a small and relatively unimportant thing in today’s casual, e-mail centric age, but making sure your spelling and grammar are correct, avoiding slang and profanities, and generally being on your best, most adult behavior (even when the person you are corresponding with doesn’t appear to be concerned with formality) always reflects well on you as a businessperson. In this field, I honestly wouldn’t get hung up on the stuffy formulas recommended by career centers for cover letters and the like. Those are boring and almost never worth reading. Just be your most polite and professional self.
Another major don’t is to shit-talk anyone in your industry. Not even on your personal accounts. Just don’t do it. The world of art and freelance is a surprisingly small one, and even if you have a major beef with another artist, and they fully deserve your criticism, it still makes you look bad to drag their name through the mud in a public setting. Calling out art thievery or copyright infringement is a slightly different matter, but still one that calls for very careful consideration. Plus, networking with your peers is just as important, if not moreso, than trying to schmooze the higher ups. The acquaintance you make today might be the art director who recommends your portfolio tomorrow.
And thirdly, never talk down your own work. There’s a big difference between modest humility and damaging self-deprecation. If you preface the public sharing of your work with, “This isn’t very good, but…” or any variation thereof, why are you bothering to share it? And furthermore, why should anyone bother to look at it? This is especially important when you are interacting directly with a potential client or employer. Every professional in this industry knows that art is a constant learning process, and that your work always has the potential to evolve and improve, but you’re not there to convince them of how humble you are, or how good your work will be. You’re there to convince them to hire you now, so be confident in your work.
There are many other common tips I could go into. Do show only your very best work when presenting your portfolio to a prospective employer, even if it means you don’t have much to show. Don’t include things just for the sake of having an example of this or that if A) it’s not your best work and B) you don’t have multiple examples of that kind of piece. Do dress somewhat conservatively when meeting clients for the first time, but don’t be afraid to let a little personal style show through. Do follow up, but don’t hound people daily for a response. However, I feel like these are the kinds of things that other artists talk about all the time, while spending comparatively less time talking about digital resources, which are cheap, readily available, and far reaching.
Lexxy's Frequently Asked Art Questions!
Since I get the same questions on a pretty regular basis during my streams and such, I thought I might catalog the most common ones in a single post for people to reference! I’ll probably start opening my askbox here for art-related questions every once in a while as well, so please read this first to avoid asking something I’ve already answered! If you’re seeing this as a reblog, you might need to check the source post for updated information.
It’s a pretty beefy wall of text, so click through the cut to read on!
You might've been asked this already - but could you tell us how you made the cute little Muties? I'd love to have one as a keychain.
Sure! (lengthy art explanation ahead guys, publishing it in case someone else out there is curious in trying it out)
I use the brand EasyCast Epoxy Resin, which I got at Michaels. It comes in 2 solutions, the resin and the catalyst, and you basically mix together equal parts, pour it into a mold, and let it cure for a bit. you can add things to it like objects or dye (there are dyes made especially for resin but I just use oil paint; you can use acrylic too if you have it but you have to mix it really well). there are plenty of tutorials online that are helpful if you want to get serious :3
I make the Muties out of oven-bake sculpey clay and paint them with acrylics, then submerge them in the resin-filled plastic mold (I got mine from TAP plastics). it’s also highly recommended that you use mold release (michaels) as well, otherwise it’ll be nearly impossible to get it out. it’s a lot of work for one little guy, and theres a bit of trial and error involved, but you can make lots of cool things with resin :3
oh and a keychain is a nice idea! I haven’t tried that yet because with the shape of the mold I use, the chain would have to come somewhere out the back—but it’s definitely worth trying out!
Lean Into Art - LIA Cast 08 - Participatory Culture!
Can a podcast episode about artistic self determination and participatory culture be interesting?
That kind of topic exploration is developing into a pattern for our show. The Lean Into Art podcast is only 8 episodes along. However, in a way, that’s 8 iterations.
Each episode Jerzy Drozd and I are both building off what we think was working from the prior eposides and keep trying new things. It’s early to say, but I think we’re finding one of the cornerstones of the show: ask questions about a gray-area visual storytelling topic of one another and explore by constructing and deconstructing the ideas we share about the topic.
We’re sharing it in the podcast to discuss with you as well.
Full audio and video at the Lean Into Art blog.
where do you get your inspiration for your sculptures? Was Beam 1 just something you thought would be fun to create or was there a purpose behind it?
it’s a form exploration dealing with the relationship between solid and ethereal, as well as the relationship between the object, the viewer, and the space it exists in
an integral part of the object is the ambient light that passes through it which is interesting because it’s a physical solid that seems to capture and contain within itself a nonphysical medium
also the experience of it changes according to what position you’re in in relation to it; because of the layered quality of the planes, it’s almost opaque when viewed from one side, and as you move around it it becomes more and more translucent until you almost pass the threshold of visibility entirely. so it’s a piece that mandates a personal intimate interaction with itself. that’s one of the things that i’m all about sculpturally
I realized this morning, after having been on Deviantart for well over a decade, that I’m still trying to undo a lot of the toxic philosophy about art I learned on there. Things like:
- Realism is the end game, your artwork should continually strive to reach realism as your ultimate goal.
- There’s no such thing as “stylistic choice”; it’s “you did this wrong because I think it’s wrong/I don’t like it.”
- Having to accept all criticism as valid, despite evidence to the contrary, or you’re a big whiner.
- The idea that your primary artistic focus is to learn to draw “correctly”: realistic anatomy, etc.
- No one does art for fun. We’re all here to get better, make money and it’s useless if you’re not constantly trying to reach #1 and #4.
- No real celebration of unique styles or innovation.
Perhaps I’m giving Tumblr too much credit, but the artistic atmosphere here is so much more inviting and creative. At least I know my art has stylistically become what I wanted it to be in the two years I’ve been on the art side of Tumblr than in 10+ years on dA. Plus the exposure my art has seen — even original, non-fanart — has tripled what dA ever did for me. It’s hard to get seen on dA and despite a few exceptions, people want to see the same thing.
I like that on Tumblr, even though there’s a lot of trends and trend chasing, people are not stuck on this idea that there’s a “correct” way to draw and that some people are genuinely artists for fun.
The worship of the distinct, and of unusual styles is also something I adore about the art community on Tumblr. It’s refreshing.
Cheers, Tumblr!! I have grown as an artist in ways I didn’t know I wanted to since I came here. I like ya’ll.
Let me tell you about colorless blender markers
Some people know about them, some people don’t care, some people leave these to collect dust asking “how the fuck do you use these?!”
This post is for the people who ask “how the fuck do you use these?!”
Sure, there may be lots of online resources for markers, but I feel like doing a straight-to-point one for my followers.
COLORLESS BLENDERS DO NOT BLEND TWO COLORS TOGETHER.
Try all you might. You might get some that looks like two colors blended together, or maybe you just got a pale mess on your paper.
Colorless blenders DILUTE COLOR and PUSH IT AWAY
It’s basically… kind of… turning your marker into watercolor except the water is alcohol so it’s kind of becoming wateralcoholcolor or something. Some people have used a trick where you dab the end of your colorless blender onto the ends of two colors and that causes the colors to mix when you lay it on the paper with the blender. I haven’t tried this yet.
You can stop reading this entry now and toss those blenders out of they’re no use to you after all.
But what if you WANT to know what you can do with the blender???
0. Copic and Prismacolor have the same blender but different nibs to work with
I like to have one of each. The Prismacolor blender has sturdier nibs for details and texturing (discussed later) while the soft copic sketch brush nib is more comfortable for blending and gradients. If you’re a user of different/better/cheaper markers and they don’t come in brush nibs, I highly advise to add this one copic to your stash.
1. Make pretty gradients.
Mind you, this sample doesn’t look very pretty. Anyway, rub in some colorless blender over the edge of a light color and you can soften the edge into the natural white of the paper. Repeat in layers if you want to add more gradient.
1a. Blend highlights
If the highlights are the natural color of the paper, again, rub the blender with the nearest color and this will soften highlights. If your highlights are an actual marker color, like yellow, use that color to blend instead of the blender.
If requested, I will go into this in more detail with a marker shading tutorial. In the future. Maybe.
2. Lighten up mistakes
It’s pretty inevitable that when you color an inked drawing, some color may spill outside the lines. Rub some blender over it!
Dark colors will dilute into something lighter, and lighter colors will almost vanish. Make sure to direct your strokes towards the drawing. If you stroke your marker outward, you’re going to spread some faint color on the canvas.
Both Prismas and Copics can do this job, but the flat end of the copic does get destroyed a lot easier if you find yourself rubbing pretty hard, so go with Prismacolor or something sturdier, even if you’re an avid copic user.
3. Make highlights
Take whatever marker tip you’d like and draw slowly over the color. It’ll look like shit when you first make the strokes, but it’ll look nicer when it dries. You can run a little of a lighter color over the newly-faded area for some fancy effect or something.
4. Make Textures
Because fuck photoshop (not really). While the markers are still wet on the paper, take your blender and simply draw on the colors. tap in some dots, wiggle in some squiggles. Have fun experimenting. There was a lady at an Anime Expo copics class was able to make leafy textures on anime trees but I forgot how she did that. This is where having blenders from assorted marker brands has the biggest use: you can vary your textures with what each brand of blender has to offer.
I never did this much since I do mostly character sketches where I can’t find a use for textures, but hope to start making a habit of texturing in future drawings
End of Tutorial
For my markered stuff, I have about 100 Prismacolors that are about 8 years old, and 27 copics that are about four years old and I use them both together. Most of my art is digital these days so these things have been lasting me a while.