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Showing your art to other people.

I have some questions about the display of your artwork, specifically, on websites/galleries online dedicated to it. I hope these questions are allowed here, but if not it'd be cool if I could be directed to a place that could help and get rid of this post. :)

I've just recently decided to get truly serious with my art (I've always wanted to make some kind of career out of it, but I had a sort of "click" in my head that I need to get going on it because my art is getting better now), and so I've finally decided to set up a website for it. I got a domain name--it's not my name, but it's a word I like. Even if it's an uncommon word, it has meaning to me--is that okay? I personally hate my name and wouldn't want a domain of it. But that's not really my question.

I draw a wide range of things, including adult artwork, and sometimes get commissioned for that type of stuff. I don't have any issues with it or drawing adult artwork in general, but what does make me feel strange is that... well, I have a lot of people who want to see my artwork that aren't exactly "in" on things like the furry fandom (where a lot of the art is focused) much less adult artwork in general, and I've already had one instance where a teacher in high school got weird on me after I gave him a link to my deviantART gallery. It didn't even have adult artwork, but i suppose some of the content weirded him out, and thus he didn't like me anymore.

So what do you do when you want to show off your artwork, but it's not something a particular individual would understand/approve of? I don't want to have to censor myself too much, but there are a number of things I draw that might offend people... and I don't want to hide. I want to be able to showcase all my artwork; the general/adult thing isn't an issue to me personally, but I worry constantly about scaring off people I know, or even potential employers who think I am "weird" because of what I draw...

One more question in passing: how do you promote yourself on the internet? My deviantART gallery never got many views, and while I realize the whole world isn't deviantART, I was under the impression it's a pretty big and important place and good for promotion. I also try to promote myself on LJ but I'm not sure if I'm doing it right. I was tempted to even buy some adspace or something, but I don't know if that is desperate or not. I'm really lost on how to get myself out there.
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Comments

( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
dinogrrl
Jun. 18th, 2007 02:17 am (UTC)
If you have your own domain, can't you just make different gallery pages for different kinds of stuff? That way no one can complain that you had yiffy furry stuff in the middle of your children's book illustrations :}.

Can't say anything on the advertising end, I don't do too much of it myself.
avanyu
Jun. 18th, 2007 03:45 am (UTC)
As dinogirrl said, use different galleries. I have perhaps, threeish more than the furry ones I use, and I don't consider that "hiding". To me, it's simply a matter of presenting the right person with the appropriate folder from the same file cabinet. Deviantart-wise, if you think something's over-the-top for the peruser you directed, it might be good to mark an item as mature temporarily till you know they're done rooting around. Most of the time, clients I've directed to my DA will not get an account just to look, so it's all good.

And I know people kvetch that 'O It Takes 4ever' when you have more than one arena to upload art, but really, only two of my galleries I keep up to speed. The rest I update wheneverIfeellike in the span of two weeks to a month. This has never been overwhelming, and it keeps a lot of people , at many angles, exposed to my work. Win/Win.

As for advertising, LJ communities have been pretty helpful for me and shoot, you're in 192 of them? XD Study them. Narrow down to the few most strategic ones to post in and utilize them. Even when results aren't seemingly instantaneous, your hits aren't skyrocketing, your favs aren't up, ohno watchers are low, etc- you are still catching people's attention. You want&need that more than frabjous internet stats on some public gallery. It might not feel like that now but honestly, you do, because when a viewership becomes comfy that you are reliably visually there, enthused and productive, they may approach without you having to lift a hand to plug at all.
roaring
Jun. 19th, 2007 12:36 am (UTC)
Thanks for the tips! :D
anarchicq
Jun. 18th, 2007 04:17 am (UTC)
Thumbnails.

Snip a little square of the image, put something like "Adults only" "mature content" or "Nude vore-tastic lesbians!"

I consider that their warning. If they clicked, they have no one to blame but themselves.
roaring
Jun. 19th, 2007 12:36 am (UTC)
LOL. Yeah, I'm definitely investing in some thumbnails.
(Deleted comment)
roaring
Jun. 19th, 2007 12:37 am (UTC)
Thank you! I definitely read+bookmarked that.
foxhack
Jun. 18th, 2007 04:49 am (UTC)
Post samples of your stuff at places like FChan. Make sure your images have a website address, too, so if someone stumbles upon your art and likes it, and is interested in a commission, they can contact you.

If you do adult stuff, FA is a great place to be. DA, not so much, they seem to be against that sort of stuff these days.
roaring
Jun. 19th, 2007 12:37 am (UTC)
Thanks for the ideas! I never thought of promoting on fchan before.
grygon
Jun. 18th, 2007 05:08 am (UTC)
I keep two web sites:
http://grygon.critter.net/gallery
for clean art (some pieces still need to be moved...)
and http://moxylittlepipsqueak.critter.net
for all my naughty artwork.

i just recently decided to do this... the grygon site was my lone site for years until i decided to seperate out my naughty stuff... stuff that future employers might frown at.
thaily
Jun. 18th, 2007 05:22 am (UTC)
Let me begin by saying that your art teacher is a dumbass.

Moving on, if your focus is on fandoms etc. having something other than your name for a domain is fine. Art directors and other professionals seem to prefer it if you have a domain with your name.

You can always fix this later by buying your name domain later and either making it refer visitors to your current site or place a copy of your current site sans naughty things on it.

If you don't want to display naughty things on your current site you can always put it in a separate section and not link it from the main page. You can give the link to adults in your f-list and trust it'll do the rounds word-to-mouth.

Be sure to remember, no mention of Paypal on a site with porn.

I used to keep my porn on a different archive but unfortunately there's a distinct lack of quality adult art archives atm. At least in my opinion. If you consider taking your porn off-site and elsewhere entirely you'll have to look at the archives and consider how easily someone googling your name can find unshielded porn (VCL) or your name on a site which has content with which you do not want to associate (for example FA with it's cub porn).

But the world isn't DA no, thank fuck for that :3
calypte
Jun. 18th, 2007 08:04 am (UTC)
Reply Hijack!

Be sure to remember, no mention of Paypal on a site with porn.

Hokay, so my question is, is it okay to mention paypal if you site does not have porn anywhere on it, but say in your links section you have a hyperlink to an online web gallery that does have porn on it? Does that count?

For example, I don't post any adult stuff on my personal website, but I have an FA account that's listed on my about me page or something and I mention that I have porn there?

I haven't drawn any porn, just tasteful nudity with naughty bits showing, but you never know what happens down the road. :P
(no subject) - thaily - Jun. 18th, 2007 08:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - calypte - Jun. 18th, 2007 08:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Jun. 18th, 2007 08:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - calypte - Jun. 18th, 2007 08:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Jun. 18th, 2007 08:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - roaring - Jun. 19th, 2007 12:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kerstin_orion - Jun. 27th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC) - Expand
crescent__moon
Jun. 18th, 2007 08:06 am (UTC)
That happens to me constantly. Furry and anthro art are unknown at all in my country, and most people here see it as a werid thing. Hence, I´m always scared to show my art to family and friends; I don´t want to scare them out.
But I´m afraid I can´t give you an advice for that: I always kept most of my art for the internet buddies only. My family only see the works I think they will be comfortable seeing. I´d also love to show them all the art and know they would appreciate it, but I know they will probably never understand what anthro art is about.

As for deviantart only one advice: interact. I took a look at your gallery, and your art is really good, but I also see you have made very few deviant comments. The better way to showcase yourself there is making comments on other people´s art. Have in mind people have to see you somewhere to click on your avatar. The more comment you do, the more chances you get to be seen.
Hope it helps :)
roaring
Jun. 19th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
That sucks. Well, I kind of know how you feel, as my whole furry identity is online-only and I don't think anyone understands it. When I played animal-games and wanted to be one as a child, my mom thought there was something wrong with me, lol.

But yeah, I need to interact more. I will keep that in mind. Thank you!
gothwings
Jun. 18th, 2007 11:24 am (UTC)
First thing, if you want to make a living from artwork be prepared for very long hours and low pay.

I work about 35-40 hours a week at the moment but my average income comes nowhere near minimum wage. Part of the problem here is needing a UK wage from a mainly USA customer base: the exchange rate is not in my favour! I'm grateful that I have a supportive partner, financially and emotionally.

If you want to show your artwork and be admired for what you enjoy, then ethically that's fantastic! However, if you want to make money and want to be sure of attracting the right clientele, you may have to alter a lot of your content, particularly the furry stuff. Art is difficult to sell since it means different things to different people.

My advice would be to have a site dedicated to the more 'mainstream' work that anyone can view and won't be freaked out by and then have another site or sites for your less mainstream material.
roaring
Jun. 19th, 2007 12:40 am (UTC)
Yeah.... I know living off free-lance artwork is really, really hard. Because of that, I know I want to have my art as a sort of small, extra-income thing, but am really trying to gather up a lot of different ideas so I can fallback on something less risky. But I will always do art, y'know, just in case I get "discovered", plus I love to do it. XD

Thanks for the tips. :)
findmealone
Jun. 18th, 2007 11:46 am (UTC)

Ahh, when I started my site:
http://www.rebeccaholder.com/

If you look, it's all basically serious-ish stuff, showing a wider range of what I do, while my Devart is:
http://fayea.deviantart.com/
And basically anything goes - I'd keep all slightly odd or adult stuff in your devart, and leave your personal domain front to professionals as clean-cut and pro as you can :)

How do I promote myself? Like that! ;)
roaring
Jun. 19th, 2007 12:41 am (UTC)
XD Thanks for the tips.
findmealone
Jun. 18th, 2007 11:49 am (UTC)
Ooh, forgot to say -
If you want to work for yourself in the buisness as freelance, be prepared to be hella poor. What I'm doing now is going to university and getting a degree and then getting a 9-5 jobbie in the field with a company, with luck, but still maintaining a portfolio and a presence online in case I'm "spotted" to do something interesting, or for a company, or anything different that would look good in my portfolio and prove I have actual experience when I look for a job.
roaring
Jun. 19th, 2007 12:42 am (UTC)
Yeah, I know how hard it can be. ): I'm hoping to be "discovered" one day, or work in comics/video games too, or some fantastical unrealistic dream like that, but a regular day-job until that day happens is in my future.
nambroth
Jun. 18th, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
I think everyone's already said it, but my suggestion is this:

What kind of work do you want to draw in?
Professional freelance stuff, or just personal commissions from individuals?

If it's the first, do not put adult work on your personal, professional website, or any high volume gallery site such as Deviantart or Elfwood where people are looking for art of all genres (not just furry). Be as professional as you can while not being too cut and dry. I got my two biggest clients, very Big Name Companies, after they browsed and liked my Deviantart and Elfwood Galleries, respectively. Everyone says that it doesn't matter what you put in your DA gallery because real companies don't browse there looking for artists. I don't know if I'm an exception to prove the rule, but I got my biggest name and highest paying client off of a Deviantart hit!

If you are looking to get personal commissions and aren't planning on expanding a professional career, go ahead and put the adult stuff on your site, or have it linked to separately. Lots of people have started password protecting their adult work, and this is a good idea because 1. You can verify the age of someone before giving a password and 2. You can keep family, teachers, ect out of there if you don't want them to see the adult work. Though I've never touched adult artwork nor done it, I've observed that it tends to bring in a lot of money.

Marketing yourself: Link to and share links with other people, comment on other people's work on DA (don't spam- I mean, leave real comments- but I usually try to visit the people that visit me and take the time to comment), get people interested in your work. If you go to cons or any sort of gathering, or even art faires or something, pass out business cards with your web address on it.
If you are trying for professional freelance, take a deep breath and get out your wallet and set aside a week's worth of work. Some people do get lucky and work comes to them, but more often than not you need to promote yourself. This is not easy or quick or even free. Make a list of at least 20-50 companies that can use work like yours, get their contact info and research how they accept submissions. If you're lucky, they'll take email submissions, as those cost you nothing. The downside is that your email can get buried or deleted easily. Most will need mailed submissions, which you should sometimes follow up on with another mailing. Sometimes a phonecall works best. Some places like a resume and tear sheets... some only accept tear sheets (tear sheets are kinda a portfolio). Get your best work together and make color copies of it. Use nice resume paper if you draft a resume and cover letter. I always included a self addressed stamped post card with my artwork on it so they could send it back and say if they were interested in my work or not. I've been told by at least one company that they chuck any 'folded and wadded into a normal envelope' submissions into the recycling bin- they get so many submissions that they only even look at the ones that come in a full size 9" x 12" envelope and look nice. o_O
If you're lucky, someone will pick you up or want your work! If you're like me then you get a lot of rejection letters and spend a mint in printing and postage.
It takes some people 2 months to break into a pro field. It took me 7 years. You just gotta keep at it and be determined and hard working. You also have to be able to work hard for little benefit other than knowing that you are doing something that you like to do for a living (in theory)..

Good luck and I hope this helped a bit. :}
roaring
Jun. 19th, 2007 12:44 am (UTC)
Thank you for the wealth of information, I appreciate it. :) I will keep it all in mind. I hope one day my effort in the art "business" pays off...
mdetector5
Jun. 19th, 2007 12:30 am (UTC)
I've been on DA for more than two years, and I have did plenty to promote myself. I'm pretty damn popular.
roaring
Jun. 19th, 2007 12:44 am (UTC)
Wow, impressive. :) What did you do, exactly? Or at least, what are the main things you did to get noticed?
(no subject) - mdetector5 - Jun. 19th, 2007 12:48 am (UTC) - Expand
captpackrat
Jun. 19th, 2007 02:43 am (UTC)
Domain names are fairly cheap. Why not buy two? One for your "safe" art and another one for everything else? That way you can give the safe address to family or other sensitive individuals, and the other address for everyone else.
spiffystuff
Jun. 19th, 2007 07:06 am (UTC)
As someone else said, first off figure out what you want to do with your art!
I get the vibe you're wondering how to made a decent amount of money off it? I'm not entirely sure what "getting serious" means to you, but in the comments you seem to be thinking of making at least a partial living off it.

There's four major ways of making money off art: prints, originals, commissions, and donations. I mention that last because a few webcomics people do actually manage to live entirely off donations and merch, but it's really rare. You could even come up with your own way; there's always something new to try, but those are the major ones.

As far as promoting yourself... Ok, this sounds so corporate but figure out your "target audience".
... to say it in a less soul-sucking way, what art do you enjoy making? What do you forsee yourself doing? In my case, it's comics and monsters. And comics about monsters. I'll try anything once (art-wise), but that's what I enjoy doing most of the time. So, I try to do link exchanges with other people who make dark comics, I go to horror cons, do panels on serial killers, yadda yadda yadda. I have other interests, like feminism in the media (yes, it's fine to eyeroll at that ;D ), but those panels/forums/etc don't get me *any* new readers, that I know of :P
So, figure out your niche. Don't, like, adapt so well to that niche you'll die if it disappears, don't be afraid to move to other niches if you like, but try to find what you want to do, and do it well!

Heh, okay, in one of the more drama-laden posts you asked for a crit ^-^ I shall give you a brief one! My heart to anyone who likes crits -- moreover, that's a good sign you're shaping up to be a great artist :)
So... did you ever hang out on Yerf? ... that link's kinda dead now, which is tragic because that was a creat critique site. And if you've been there, my critique is going to sound obnoxiously familiar.
You've got an attractive style and, I would guess, a good eye. You've got a decent amount of skill, although still some work needed, that I can see. For example, a lot of the muzzles come off your animals awkwardly, it looks like. Very geometric, not very organic. That's one that caught my eye, there may be others if I study things but crit communities are better for that!
But, my superharsh critique is: there sure are a lot of character shots there.
Why is this a critique? Because that's the easiest kind of picture there is. It's what almost *everyone* draws. Some people manage to make a living at it, true, but you have to be *Really fricking amazing*, because lots and lots and lots of people are doing it, many with talent as well. And quite a few with a boatload of talent and years of skill and training.
Where are the backgrounds? I don't see anything more complex than some gradients and waves. There aren't many complex character interaction pictures, either.
... so, that's my superharsh critique. You're looking good, on the easy stuff. (actually, that's the main reason I like taking commissions; normally I don't indulge in finished character shots)
If you're wondering what I do, my webcomic Anthem is probably my biggest ongoing project, but it may be worth noting that the style is as simple as fast as I can stand making. The gallery shows more stuff (and, yes, numerous character shots; a lot of these were covers! But there are a few with finished backgrounds, and half are composed pictures, if simple ones). And... uhg, there's lots of other random stuff, but at the moment it's scattered all over everywhere XP

... hope that helps, and wasn't harsher than you wanted!
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