I hope this isn't a stupid question, but how did you get your art noticed? I just started to post my art on here and I was just wondering.
Ah, that’s a bit of a complicated answer, actually. (But not a stupid question!)
(Note: This kind of applies mostly to those who fanart, so yeh.)
Let me start by saying that:
# Of Notes Does Not = Self Worth.
Because it’s really, really important to remember that you exist and have value as a person outside of the attention of others, especially on this website. That being said, there’s absolutly nothing wrong with wanting appreciation. Everyone deserves appreciation.
So, let me tell you a little bit about my Tumblr art journey. Way back in 2013 when I first joined, I posted my first art on here and got 5 notes. [ x ] (And my first ‘fanart’ got 5 more notes.) At the time, I had only joined Tumblr so I could talk to my favorite fanfic author at the time, and I hadn’t really settled into the whole Tumblr of it all. I wasn’t really in a fandom, I wasn’t expecting anything, I didn’t know the 5 tag rule, or the ‘no-no’s of Tumblr. What i’ve learned over time, however, is that you’re going to have to be actively paying attention to a lot of different aspects of Tumblr, fandoms, pop culture, current events, memes, movies, etc etc etc. So #1 is going to be:
PAY ATTENTION TO THE WORLD AROUND YOU:
A lot about posting art on here and aiming for recognition is riding the ‘wave’, so to speak. See a fresh new meme you can throw at your favorite ship? Do it, make them wear pants one way or the other, here come that boy. (Does Derek Hale wear them like a dog, or a person?) New preview for a movie/show that catches your attention? Doodle a scene from it. Did an actor sneeze popcorn out their nose? Draw Batman doing that. Why not?
The second part of this, though, is knowing what and when to contribute. Sometimes it’s not a good idea to make light of a current event, or reference/draw a problematic celebrity, or support a certain film. So looking into these things first is probably a good idea, because there are people out there who won’t care that you didn’t know that so-and-so did something horrible, they’re here to tear you down and hurt you regardless. (I’m sorry, but this is 100% true, there’s no sugar coating it. Some people are just assholes.) So, while you’re keeping an eye out for something funny or a fun mashup of fandoms, always try to be aware of the less-fun issues that are around too.
And, if you mess up / did not know / accidently phrase or draw something problematic / etc, IT’S OKAY. You are not a horrible person. You made a mistake, that does not make you evil, okay? Apologize, remove or fix the thing, and don’t do it again. But please don’t beat yourself up about it, or listen to anyone else beating you up over it. It happened, you’re now aware of the thing, and it won’t happen again.
Anyway, #2 is:
THE WILD WORLD OF FANDOMS AND SHIPS :
I’m going to start off this one with a tiny warning. Watch out for fandom drama. Look out for the people starting fights just to fight, look out for the people pushing their ideas on others with no regard to anyone else at all, look out for the people using your content as a soap box from which they spout their opinions from. I’m not saying everyone in the world of fandoms does these things, but good god there are a lot of them out there who are more than willing to start something if you so much as sneeze in their general direction.
So, if and when you post content/art/etc in, say, your favorite trope, and someone hops onto your post and starts caps-locking about how this trope promotes ‘something they don’t personally like but is not actually a major problematic thing’ and how y’all gonna burn in hell for this art, try to avoid engaging with them. Because they’re honestly not here for a discussion, otherwise they would have probably sent you a private message, sans the caps lock, and requested an opportunity to talk about this. Also, this is a matter of personal likes and dislikes, for which you are not responsible for.
You do not have to cater to every single person on Tumblr.
You also don’t have to love every ship, every character, every idea, every story line, every moment of every film, TV, book, magazine, interview, anything. No one has to broadcast their hate for these things either. If it’s not hurting you or others, you probably don’t need to create content with the express purpose of attacking a different ship/etc. ( If it is hurting others, try the more diplomatic way first, and report their asses to Staff.)
Which leads me to #3:
CATER TO THE MASSES (But also, like, love yourself) :
I’m not saying sell your soul. (Seriously, please don’t, the Art Institute isn’t worth it.) But a lot, I mean a LOT of what I do is to feed my fans and friends. (Also, commissions are basically getting paid to feed your friends and fans whatever art goodies they want to pay for, so there’s that too) A good sum of my time is spent drawing things I have literally no interest in, or have very little knowledge about, or am up to drawing but aren’t 100% invested in. But I still do the thing, because I respect other’s likes, and it appeals to people i’m drawing it for, and I’m always happy to make others happy. (And sometimes I actually grow to like a thing.)
So, draw some stuff that other people would like to see. Are peeps out there begging for an assassin AU? (You bet your hiney they are! I’ve doodled some myself, hoo-boy.) Do some assassiny things. Are people always sighing about the lack of decent back story about so and so? Doodle a little moment from the past. Friend says they just want some Mpreg? (APOCATITS) Feed them, feed them the art.
But–huge BUT here–do not sacrifice your values and comfort.
If something bothers you, is out of your comfort zone, is something you have trouble drawing and just don’t want to tackle right now, DO NOT DO THE THING!
Second but–another huge BUT here–Make art for yourself.
To quote Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead:
Guildenstern: “Is that what people want?”
The Player: “It’s what we do.”
Create for yourself. Give water and sunlight to that little seedling of an idea in your mind, try and try again to create that moment or look or design. Ignore art requests like a boss, and draw something to feed your own needs. Because you deserve to be pampered and treated to art of your favorite thing just as much. :D This is leading into #4, which is:
CREATE UNTIL YOU DIE DRAW UNTIL YOU STOP AT A DECENT AND HEALTHY POINT IN TIME:
Please do the thing. Please draw to your heart’s content. Please push yourself, expand, experiment, practice, take breaks, draw some more, and some more, and some more. Please don’t give in to self-doubts, frustration, envy, or art blocks. It’s okay to let things go for a while, to step back, to stop working on a drawing that’s just not working. But do not give up forever. I’m saying this for you, personally, but also for the goal that you’ve set before you. To achieve a certain level of appreciation, to get noticed, to be seen, you have to keep creating content.
So, to sum it up: