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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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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. :}
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...


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