My brother and I must be on the same sort of inner-tragedy cycle. Around two weeks ago, I had that moment that I really was hoping I had 10 years ago which was 'I need to stop shitting around and work on my art. like, for reals.' At the same time, I also need to pay for rent, food, and medication. "How do I make money to life on while spending time doing illustration + comic stuff?
" The short answer? spend less time pissing around on the internet.
(It's been two weeks and from the whopping 0 notes I've received on the subject, I'll mention this briefly and move on: I deleted my tumblr account. The explanation is below.)
One of the places I fail like a champ (and has been to my detriment the last 15 years or so) is my inability to push advertising. I tend to follow the Lowtax School of Advertising™
which is "don't." Sort of like the Field of Dreams
movie, from what little I remember of the (incredibly amazing)
speech is that people will come to you eventually if you have something they want, AKA, If You Build It They Will Come. The problem with this, however, is that this is assuming you have a perch on which to yell over the loudness of the rest of the Online School of Artist Adoration™
, which tends to clock in somewhere between 'revving up a jet engine' and 'the remnants of tinnitus after spending 20 years being an AC/DC roadie.' I'm sure you can guess, I am neither of those groups.
An oft repeated fallacy I've come across is that you have to work hard and you'll get noticed. This is bullshit.
You can work hard and no one will care. And that's okay. It's lonely, but I promise you it's still okay. You should be doing what you want because it matters to you. Getting Noticed
is not an end-game, it is a perk along the way. I've seen amazing artists get what they put in just as I've seen people who make me go "the hell..." on the daily round of Internet Land's "What is flavor artist XXX eating for breakfast this week?
" And to those people who have made it on the savory flavory list? Awesome
! Congrats on getting something we all quietly hope to attain some day! To everyone else: the act of unburdening yourself of the stories and creativity inside of you is a quieter sort of joy and not a glamorous one by any stretch of the imagination, but it is Honest and it is True. And it will let you sleep at night knowing that at the very least, you did what you came out to do which was to Createin the purest sense of the word.
Returning now to my failed attendance in the Online School of Artist Adoration™;
I once thought that having a blogspot Blog would help get me some advertising. I also once thought maintaining a tumblr might perhaps introduce me to the young new-comers and old masters of the art scene. Instead, the situation left me feeling very ignored and insulated. I often went out of my way to try and reblog art from friends just for the sheer kindness of a signal boost and couldn't get them to do the same for me unless I broke down and flat out asked them "is there a reason you won't reblog my art?" I could also have been going at it the wrong way; a lot of friends now I notice are getting older and are fairly cut-throat when it comes to focusing on themselves as a product instead of just the art, which often means focusing on pushing the signal for themselves as loud as possible and using the leftover time to do what they want with.
To my friends who fit into this catagory: Don't read the above as a slight, because it's not. It's just the truth. The only way tumblr and blogger and facebook, and these eight million other social websites work is if (a) you are on all of them in tandem and (b) constantly yelling into the darkness of the great Internet hallway in hopes someone yells something friendly back at you. I did not even remotely attempt to do all of these things, nor did I do them in the order of "advertise like it means something, use what 15 minutes of fame you have to throw back into advertising, get a little more of a 'following', Rinse repeat." It slices, it dices, it blah blah blah,...
This cycle does not exist in a vacuum: you have to put yourself out there face to face, and you have to have a product to sell before people want it. My problems are that not only do I have enough anxiety to cause a second smaller, pudgier Chernobyl, but I don't make art with the focus of selling it. I make art for the desire to get an idea out of my head. And part of the the Online School of Artist Adoration's School of Not Getting Shit-plowed Online™™™™ is that this reality sucks, but you have to play the game a little bit before you can hope to get anything from it. So I'm getting rid of extra sites where I can and working more on my art locally & on my website. Which means going back to plan 'A' of centralizing it here and then hearing from people on DA. If its taught me anything it's that you can't hope that your art alone is going to be the thing to bring people to you, you have to make yourself available to them in a more personal way before they come to you with the trust of their own ideas and purchasing power.
As you can tell from my neglected website, I still have yet to start keeling it over to a wordpress ordeal, but that will come soon. In the meantime, I am planning on working at some local shows coming up here soon (Artmart
@ Mayhem Comics
on 8/29/15, Mayhempalooza @ Mayhem Comics on TBD, and the Midwest Comicon
@ Vet's auditorium on 11/7~11/8.)