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INTRO Starving artist tired of starving

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ProcessionOfEye

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Aug 5, 2017
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Hi,

As the title suggests, I've been doing art for a long time. Illustration, graphic design, product design, painting, and so on. I've had other careers, but art has always stuck with me in some form, even as something to fall back on.

I'm a very private person as I have a serious case of social anxiety which has been with me for many years now. It makes marketing my services very difficult. I want people to know about my business, but the idea of having a personal online presence is horrifying to me. For that reason I have never used social media, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Obviously this limits my ability to feed myself, and well - do anything really. I've flirted with the idea though, perhaps under a pseudonym. I found this forum searching for how to market online, as I'm in need of good ideas for promoting a portrait painting service. I'm aware of influencer marketing, referral/commissions, but applying this to my niche as an artist with no name is... challenging.

Combine that with no resources to invest in advertising etc. I'm currently living on a diet of oatmeal and rice. I'm hoping to learn and grow with this community, as I prefer the more personal feel of forums over public networking based websites.
 

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TheRegalMachine

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Hi ProcessionOfEye,
I too am a fellow artist and also not too keen on social interactions.
I'll give you some advice but be aware you might not like the advice.
It's advice most artists loathe hearing but the best medicine is sometimes bitter.
First things first.
Social anxiety sucks, but what sucks more is letting it run your life due to you not trying to battle against it.
To beat social anxiety you have to literally do what makes you uncomfortable.
You will have to talk to people, stand out in a crowd, and as Weird Al said "Dare to be stupid".
There is a youtuber who lives in Japan, a handsome gent, who has anxiety and did exercises where he walks up to people and asks them to either do something with him or interview them.
***Edit: Forgot the link. But the guys name is Regan and he did a whole series of videos part of his self imposed rejection therapy.
Rejection Therapy Japan - YouTube
***
I'm not telling you to grab a camera and do that but you should slowly try to interact with strangers more and more.
I've tried it myself years ago and met some really nice people. Some became good friends.
Second, Social media.
It's just a tool. Don't let it intimidate you other wise it's a shitty tool that does you no good.
If you want to make a persona or brand go for it. Many artists do this and they still make a living.
Just know that you have to be active. Once you start you will have to build a community around you. A fanbase if you will.
And you will have to interact with them.
As for flirting with the idea, screw that. Jump that ideas bones.
Make a profile anywhere and just go. Do. Start.
I promise you before you know it you will become active on that platform and before you know it enjoy the experience far more than you expected.
I know I did. I thought Facebook was for assholes who enjoyed stalking other people and posting vague statuses about their exes.
I got one (because a girl I liked told me too) and I've enjoyed using it to connect with other artists and people with similar interests.
Social media is free and you don't need money for advertising just produce quality content on a regular basis, hashtags are your friends, likes, follows, and interactions will gain you a following.
You have all you needs but you have to actually work.
You have to draw more. You have to post. You have to start.
And it won't be easy.
 

kelvinfernandezm

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I have a lot of social anxiety too. I wasn't always like this. I remember I used to talk to everyone. That means that nobody is born extroverted or introverted. They are all learned behaviors. Slowly I'm starting to learn how to be more extroverted. I'm sure you can too.
 

TheRegalMachine

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That means that nobody is born extroverted or introverted. They are all learned behaviors.
There is always a root cause to either behaviors (I believe there are people who are too extroverted as well). Sometimes you have to sit down and access yourself. How did I get like this. What lead to this behavior.
I did this and remembered events that lead to embarrassment or other negative emotions.
Sometimes it can stem from childhood and adolescence. Sometimes it's fear. Either way you have to come to terms with those feelings.
Talking to people is a skill.
Exposing yourself to criticism or uncomfortable scenarios is about managing your feelings and adapting.
All have to be learned and honed.
The more you exercise those skills the better they become.
The more you experience social discomfort and see that it's not as bad as your mind makes it out to be the easier it becomes.
 

kelvinfernandezm

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There is always a root cause to either behaviors (I believe there are people who are too extroverted as well). Sometimes you have to sit down and access yourself. How did I get like this. What lead to this behavior.
I did this and remembered events that lead to embarrassment or other negative emotions.
Sometimes it can stem from childhood and adolescence. Sometimes it's fear. Either way you have to come to terms with those feelings.
Talking to people is a skill.
Exposing yourself to criticism or uncomfortable scenarios is about managing your feelings and adapting.
All have to be learned and honed.
The more you exercise those skills the better they become.
The more you experience social discomfort and see that it's not as bad as your mind makes it out to be the easier it becomes.

Exactly is a skill and a very useful one. No man is an island we need others to grow.
 

Waspy

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What about UpWork or similar? Then it's less about marketing more about your ability to write a good proposal (and provide quality work). You will find a lot of great information within @SinisterLex's threads on the subject.
 

ProcessionOfEye

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Aug 5, 2017
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I have a lot of social anxiety too. I wasn't always like this. I remember I used to talk to everyone. That means that nobody is born extroverted or introverted. They are all learned behaviors. Slowly I'm starting to learn how to be more extroverted. I'm sure you can too.

It's interesting how we change. I've had a very unusual childhood. When I was 10 I had no fear, I could climb buildings and handle venomous insects. I don't remember any anxiety, and any stress I had as a teen I dealt with by running. Now even small heights make me sick, and a cockroach would send me scurrying. I can't really say when I changed, but it's hard to rationalize fear. Maybe loss, extended isolation. I've tried working on it before, but it's like fighting a weight that is always pulling you down.
 
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ProcessionOfEye

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What about UpWork or similar? Then it's less about marketing more about your ability to write a good proposal (and provide quality work). You will find a lot of great information within @SinisterLex's threads on the subject.

I appreciate the suggestion, this is the first time I've heard about UpWork actually. I'll look into it.
 

MJ DeMarco

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You can rule your fear, or your fear can rule you. You decide.

BTW, I'm also introverted with a touch of social anxiety. But I haven't let it kill my dreams for autonomy.

Also, try a pseudonym and create a brandable alter-ego that coincides with your art.

Maybe @AgainstAllOdds has some tips.

And finally, I also recommend that you read UNSCRIPTED as is probably more suitable for you right now. A decent chunk of it is about breaking mental roadblocks, things like "I'm this, therefore I cannot." It's called cerebral dogma. Or in other words, it's bullshit.

Welcome to the forum.
 

ProcessionOfEye

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That sounds like something serious you didn't visit your doctor?

At that time I had lost just about everything, I never felt like talking about it. And I never felt depressed or emotional, just paralyzed. I wasn't interested in dealing with my problems through medication, although it may have made things easier. It wasn't worth putting something potentially stigmatizing on my record. So I kept it to myself and eventually got over it. But I still have anxiety, a good part of which is related to things I need money to solve.

I have a problem asking for help. I've never received any government assistance, unemployment, healthcare, loan or really anything. Actually, I probably gave too much information. I know it's a bit strange ask, but is there any way to remove or edit the quote?
 

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AgainstAllOdds

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If you're scared of using your name, then use a pseudonym.

No one cares who you are, but they need a brand to associate with the work. If there's no brand behind the work, then the work is of little to no financial value.

Study how Banksy brands yet remains anonymous: Banksy - Wikipedia.

Also go to an art licensing convention. This is not meant for artists, but most people won't mind. Meet people that license work in person. Show them your portfolio. Get their business cards. Follow up. Build an income stream through licensing. If you're scared of putting your face out there, then licensing is your best bet.

Personally I don't think there's good money in art unless you're at the top, but it seems like you're determined to be an artist and nothing else, so keep pushing forward.

Best of luck.
 

ProcessionOfEye

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Personally I don't think there's good money in art unless you're at the top, but it seems like you're determined to be an artist and nothing else, so keep pushing forward.

Pretty solid advice. I actually have experience in manufacturing, prototyping, supply chain and to some degree (although I'm 10 years out of practice) programming (PHP, MySQL, C#, Python) and Linux server administration and network security. I built a very popular ____ many years ago and shut it down for legal reasons. The main reason I want to work on art again is I need fast money to fund another project (as well as eat), and art is something I can do right now.
 

AgainstAllOdds

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The main reason I want to work on art again is I need fast money to fund another project (as well as eat), and art is something I can do right now.

In that case you're doing it wrong. Art is the opposite of "fast money". It's also a lot harder to make money from art to fund something else instead of vice versa.

If you need fast money to eat, then do something like working at fast food. You can't make art if you're dead.

Make some money. Then make art in your spare time.



Making money from art is incredibly difficult. It doesn't fill an actual need relative to the amount of existing competition.

The probability of you going from making no money from art, to making "fast money to fund another project (as well as eat)" is next to none. Suck it up. Get a job. Eat. Then make art (or work on whatever your other project would be).
 

Artemisia

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There is some incredibly popular artist within the art and entertainment history that do not have a website or social media presence. Although these people tend to have risen to fame when social media didn't exist yet.

You don't need a social media presence to get a job as an illustrator. ( Although it definitely help nowadays. )

If you want to be a freelance portrait artist you need to put your work in front of as many people as you can and build a solid following.

If you just want money and you are willing to trade your artistic soul, you could look into licensing some commercial art for companies to print on merchandise but none of those options are "fast money". Even if you license a piece today you might not see a check for the next 6 months.
 

ProcessionOfEye

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There is some incredibly popular artist within the art and entertainment history that do not have a website or social media presence. Although these people tend to have risen to fame when social media didn't exist yet.

Yeah, I just came across a pretty decent artist on Instagram who's posted 500 times over 3 years with only 1,000 followers and only gets 9 dollars a month on Patreon. Sounds like a long road to hell the more I look into it. Most of these platforms are overcrowded and difficult to get ahead in unless you take risks and bend rules with promotion. About 10 years ago I posted a couple videos to youtube under a pseudonym and got a few hundred thousand views, probably should have kept with that when I had an early bird advantage.
 

minivanman

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Sounds like a teaser for a heist film.
lol You would think that there would be security for things like this but every day there are billions of dollars going up and down the highway like they are hauling water. Not just in this country.... lots of countries. Speaking of heist films.... if you didn't watch Teenage Bank Heist give it a watch. I may or may not be related to the 'star'.
 

KeepGoin

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Hi ProcessionOfEye,
I too am a fellow artist and also not too keen on social interactions.
I'll give you some advice but be aware you might not like the advice.
It's advice most artists loathe hearing but the best medicine is sometimes bitter.
First things first.
Social anxiety sucks, but what sucks more is letting it run your life due to you not trying to battle against it.
To beat social anxiety you have to literally do what makes you uncomfortable.
You will have to talk to people, stand out in a crowd, and as Weird Al said "Dare to be stupid".
There is a youtuber who lives in Japan, a handsome gent, who has anxiety and did exercises where he walks up to people and asks them to either do something with him or interview them.
***Edit: Forgot the link. But the guys name is Regan and he did a whole series of videos part of his self imposed rejection therapy.
Rejection Therapy Japan - YouTube
***
I'm not telling you to grab a camera and do that but you should slowly try to interact with strangers more and more.
I've tried it myself years ago and met some really nice people. Some became good friends.
Second, Social media.
It's just a tool. Don't let it intimidate you other wise it's a shitty tool that does you no good.
If you want to make a persona or brand go for it. Many artists do this and they still make a living.
Just know that you have to be active. Once you start you will have to build a community around you. A fanbase if you will.
And you will have to interact with them.
As for flirting with the idea, screw that. Jump that ideas bones.
Make a profile anywhere and just go. Do. Start.
I promise you before you know it you will become active on that platform and before you know it enjoy the experience far more than you expected.
I know I did. I thought Facebook was for assholes who enjoyed stalking other people and posting vague statuses about their exes.
I got one (because a girl I liked told me too) and I've enjoyed using it to connect with other artists and people with similar interests.
Social media is free and you don't need money for advertising just produce quality content on a regular basis, hashtags are your friends, likes, follows, and interactions will gain you a following.
You have all you needs but you have to actually work.
You have to draw more. You have to post. You have to start.
And it won't be easy.

If he actually has social anxiety then it is not good advice to tell him to "go talk to people", what anyone needs to do in this situation is first to accept they have it and then gently move towards rewiring your thoughts and habits with CBT. It is not a cure all therapy strategy, but for social anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy works.


As someone who suffered and is taking this approach, I recommend looking into the Social Anxiety Institute. They are based in my lovely state of Arizona. Founded by a psychologist who himself spent 20 years trying to overcome what was wrong with him. Before any type of help was available. He was finally able to reclaim his life and now has a program to help others.

Highly recommended for someone who has it. Not the "oh i feel so much anxiety today!" type. But for someone in which it is ruining your life.
 

TheRegalMachine

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Yeah, I just came across a pretty decent artist on Instagram who's posted 500 times over 3 years with only 1,000 followers and only gets 9 dollars a month on Patreon. Sounds like a long road to hell the more I look into it. Most of these platforms are overcrowded and difficult to get ahead in unless you take risks and bend rules with promotion.
That person is obviously someone who wasn't putting in a lot of effort. Artist that want to make it and who use social media have to understand that they have to build a brand. If it's your real name or a handle: that's your brand. To build a brand you have to be constantly on the ball. You have to constantly produce. You have to constantly engage. Of course if this person was only posting every other day they're going to only get 1000 followers (which isn't a lot and probably mostly bots) and not make shit with Patreon (a platform where you better be pumping out quality content on the reg or else).
And of course it's a long road to hell. Of course it's "hard" as people love to point out. Art is an act of passion, a labor of love. Difficult, lonely, unforgiving, your gonna quit many a time, everything you make is going to look like pure shit (at least in your eyes), and yes it's HARD. Like I said I'm an artists I know. I've thrown away sketch books in frustration, deleted profiles, felt like I was going to be physically ill while drawing due to the pressure, gave up, pretended, failed, and failed some more. But the more you put in the more results you will get. The more you will improve.
The starving artist schtick exists because most artists don't produce at a constant rate and they aren't business savvy. I'll even say we're a bit naive. Many of us think in the classical romanticized artist mentality that we're going to produce a single masterpiece or drawing that will sell for thousands or million and we're gonna be laughin' all the way to da bank. It rarely happens like this and is an antiquated mindset.
I saw you mention "fast money" by creating art. You might want to really rethink that. And rethink it hard. Because as I said it's an act of passion and acts of passion are a long game, and they are hard as shit, and unless you are willing to put in the blood/sweat/tears to make something big out of them you won't go far.

And there is really no such thing as overcrowded. Success isn't a finite resource. Because one person is doing well at art doesn't mean you can't. It's all up to you and how hard you go in.
Also let me say this: If you aren't willing to take risks, Even the most tiniest risk like making a free profile on social media and posting, how to do you expect to make it to your end game? Stop dancing around the task at hand and act. If you truly want to make a money as an artist then "do art". If you just like art then keep it as a hobby maybe make some pocket money on the side.

If he actually has social anxiety then it is not good advice to tell him to "go talk to people", what anyone needs to do in this situation is first to accept they have it and then gently move towards rewiring your thoughts and habits with CBT. It is not a cure all therapy strategy, but for social anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy works.
Maybe. But if I have fever I try to cure it. If my ankle hurts I try to heal it.
You are absolutely right. If "they" (not sure if ProcessionOfEye is a lad or lass) have social anxiety the first step is admitting it. Which they did by bringing it up as an issue. The next step is actions towards over coming the issue. While your therapy might help, talking to strangers, or getting out of ones comfort zone in an attempt to cope or ease the symptoms with anxiety isn't "bad advice". It may seem bad because it's scary but it's a hell of a lot better than doing f*ck all.

All in all none of our advice matters on the subject. It's all up to ProcessionOfEye or anyone else with anxiety to take that first step.
I hope they stop letting it rule them and conquer it for the better.
 

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Mainstream7

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I recommend you read Unscripted. The current state of the digital art community is mostly about passion(and it´s what you get sold on). You will still trade time for money. Patreon in 95% of times doesn´t give enough value to the subscribers. To become unscripted, you may even give up your love for painting and create a business, that you can leverage into millions.

I did online courses, ecommerce and mobile apps(and they all didn´t work out) and finally went into mobile games. If you are going to do an unscripted business, you gotta be committed to it long-term and still somehow satisfy your artistic cravings as well.

P.S.: Just study art for 10 years, become good at it, be passionate about it, and then trade your time for money. At the cost of what?(...social phobia and lack of social skills)
Every day artists hope for the big breakthrough and discovery. Fact is, most artists have a business model based on luck. Hmm...
I would rather become financially free first, and then paint and draw whatever I want just for fun.
 
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TheRegalMachine

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Patreon in 95% of times doesn´t give enough value to the subscribers.

If you are going to do an unscripted business, you gotta be committed to it long-term and still somehow satisfy your artistic cravings as well.
Patreon is a great way to supplement other endeavors. Many artists who have youtube channels, do commissions, sell their art on products use it as such. Another income stream. But because some make it seem like it's their main income others try to follow suit and in turn mess up. I mean if someone can make a living via Patreon then more power to them but the copy cats suffer.

And you make a good point about combining ones artistic craving into a business that could lead to financial freedom. Combining artistic ability with something else can breed amazing results. Sometimes you don't have to be the best at it either. Just look at Scott Adams. He took rudimentary art talent, kept at it, and soon branched out into other shit that made him a millionaire.
And only artists who don't constantly produce rely on luck. All the others work their a$$ off and gain opportunities.
"The harder I work, the luckier I get."
 

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