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Hello all, I was wondering if I could get a bit of advice on drumming up commissions, or anything else that you think might help.

Basically, I've had a personal art website up for a couple months now, and my art's been on Elfwood for years as well. And I just can't seem to get any interest in my art. :/ I have had a few commissions with friends and people I know personally in the past, and I have sold a few small, cheap ink pictures on Furbid (I'm Fen :P), so I know at least SOME people like my art -- but as for the online world as a whole, the fish aren't biting. I'm no newb to art (at least I don't consider myself one), moreso to the online commission community at large. I don't know if the problem is if my asking prices are too high, or if my website doesn't seem professional enough, or if my style isn't "commercially friendly"... I'd really appreciate any advice anyone could give me, feel free to be harsh as necessary. I can take it!

My website is here. My prices and info for (hypothetical) commissions are on this page. (Tad long, prices are at the bottom if you just want to skim.)

Also, I simply must say hello to Chell. ;) Thanks again guys, ANY help is welcome!
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Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.
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Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
thaily
May. 8th, 2006 10:00 am (UTC)
Hmm, your art looks great and your rates are cheap.
Only problem I can think of is a lack of exposure?

I don't think there's many people on Elfwood looking for commissions, you might want to look for more archives you can join (FurAffinity also accepts non-furry art for example) in order to get more exposure.
Auction sites are good too and I think there's some LJ communities where you can advertise the fact you're accepting commissions.

Good luck :)
leahtaur
May. 8th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
I never knew FurAffinity wasn't only for furry art. o_o Thank you, I've gone and gotten myself a gallery there already. Good advice!
thaily
May. 8th, 2006 10:43 pm (UTC)
Gimme the link so I can watch you.
leahtaur
May. 8th, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC)
Here I am: Click!

Thanks for the interest. :)
thaily
May. 9th, 2006 08:39 am (UTC)
No thanks needed, I love your colouring.

Also...

I'm the goddamn Batman.

;P
(no subject) - leahtaur - May. 9th, 2006 08:41 am (UTC) - Expand
kareizel
May. 8th, 2006 10:03 am (UTC)
I think you charge pretty reasonably for traditional work, as for CG... I can't judge on that.

As for interest, you just have to approach the right people. What I know right now is that a certain... slightly stereotyped group goes for the very anime-ish style (you get what I mean >_>), while another for the furry ones. Sad to say, realism just isn't all that popular as before unless you have really remarkable skills.

And also, just a side opinion - you might want to do up your site a little more. People tend to like stylish and easy-to-navigate sites.
leahtaur
May. 8th, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC)
I'm new to html and website design and this is my first site. I guess it shows more than I thought. :/ Ah well, back to the drawing board I guess. And you're right about realism being an underappreciated style, everything I see now is either anime or furry. Not that there's anything wrong with that! It'll just require me to change things up a bit.

Thanks for your help, by the way!
chlorophyta
May. 8th, 2006 12:17 pm (UTC)
I agree with kareizel, make your site more snazzy and easier to look at more art with less effort. I think I only actually clicked on one or two things to actually load up and look at. Make your thumbnails slightly larger, and make those big square things leading to the different galleries smaller.

Another reason you probably aren't getting many commissions in the fur community? You don't really have much fur art! Maybe if you had a section on your page specifically for fur art, people would be able to look at that and get an idea of how you draw animals and stuff. People generally aren't going to commission you if they don't know what they're going to get, and even if you do have SOME fur art on your page, no one is going to want to root through all your other stuff to find it.
leahtaur
May. 8th, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC)
Darn, I just shrinked my thumbnails down yesterday because they were too big. Now they're too small. XD Guess I'll go for the middle ground.

To be honest, I'm looking for commissions in any genre, not just fur art. Furries are just something I picked up doing, literally, a month or two ago. In fact, given the choice, I think I'd rather focus on humans/fantasy (the subject I'm most proficient in) -- although I wouldn't turn down a fur commission if I got one. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I have no desire to become an "only furry" artist, at most I'd like it to have equal placing with my other subjects. Thank you for your feedback though, it's appreciated.
neongryphon
May. 8th, 2006 01:24 pm (UTC)
Hey Leahtaur.

I have to agree with the above commenters: it’s all about spreading your name around. The net’s a big place with its little niches and fandoms. If you want to get commissioned, you need to be haunting the right places, targeting the right audience. On Furbid-SF, you’ll need to a have a lot of anthro to fantasy/SF examples to do your pimping with. Try setting up an attractive auction page that offers samples (and don’t forget your ‘ME’ page.

Don’t expect auctions to get bids first time around. Just keep posting to keep your name out there, and a buyer will soon come along who sees your art for the quality and great prices. Joining some webrings and taking part in a banner exchange is also a decent way to get people moving through your site.

You’ve also got quite a few LJ communities, like artistsunited to advertise your work. And keeping an art LJ lets people have easy access to you, your details, and your commission openings. There’s also ArtWanted.com and Epilogue - and ebay is a good place to throw up random auctions for any genre. And update all your galleries regularly.

As for the website. It’s a good start, but I think something needs to be done with the gallery layout. The most popular monitor resolution is 1024 x 768 so try to make your pages fit. People don’t like scrolling down/sideways or reading small print that is hard to see against busy backgrounds. If you can fit the choice of sub-galleries onto one screen and make all the choices appear right there for the viewer, it holds their interest much better; and it also looks more professional than just pictures slapped onto a wallpaper background. If you need a little help, give me a mail sometime, and I’ll make a template page for you at some point.

Also, I recommend http://statcounter.com/ for all your website research needs. Including how people find your gallery, who linked you and visitor length etc.
I hope that all helps. Good luck with the ‘missions.
Chell x
leahtaur
May. 8th, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
Hey Chell!

Speaking of banner exchanges, thanks again for doing one with me. ;) I have asked a few other artists who do link exchanges to do one with me, I think they just haven't gotten around to updating their links. *shrug* I'll just have to do more, as you said.

For some reason it never occurred to me to look for other LJ communities that might be able to pimp my art, thank you for letting me know. I've shied away from Ebay simply because I thought my art would get lost and go unnoticed amongst all the other auctions -- have you sold much successfully on there, getting decent prices? It may be worth a try. As for Epilogue I think I'll wait until I get a really stellar piece to try entering. I don't think I'd be accepted the way my art is now. ^-^'

I really do need to just bite the bullet and start working all the time in 1024 x 768 resolution. I'm so used to my 1440 x 900 that anything smaller looks bad (to me.) But I guess my site must look bad to everyone with a smaller resolution, lol. Wallpaper's going down, I've gotten enough comments about it to realize that people don't like it. And I'll see what I can do with invisible tables to spruce up the layout. And thanks for the offer of the template -- I'll see if I can't figure it out on my own first so as not to bug you, but I may end up taking you up on that. >_>

Rydia.net does provide a decent statcounter -- for instance, most of my hits from the last day are coming from people who belong to this community. ^-^

Thank you for all the advice, Chell. :)
--Leahtaur
(Deleted comment)
leahtaur
May. 8th, 2006 08:10 pm (UTC)
Re: I know how to create interest.
I had NO idea this was a furry group. O_O I mean, I knew many of the members liked furries, but it doesn't say anything in the rules about this being a solely furry group, does it...? I'm so confused.

I just set up a FurAffinity account this morning and I can see what you mean; it seems very social, far more active than other sites like Elfwood. I'll take your advice and try to make a network.

I update my site regularly, often even, but you're right. My Elfwood's a bit dormant at the moment. I'll change that and try to keep all my sites active.

Lol, I actually do draw furry porn now and then, but it hasn't sold (only my general audience stuff has) and I can't show anything adult on my website. Partly because my server won't allow it and partly because my mom goes there. XD But I'll keep that in mind and keep trying, at least I can put some of it up on FurAffinity now.

Thank you for the in-depth advice, it'll help a lot. :)
(Deleted comment)
leahtaur
May. 8th, 2006 08:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Ooh, sorry @_@
No problem, I was just confused there for a second. ;)

I may end up offering bargain commissions soon -- I'll have to or I won't have any at all, lol. At least then my name'll be out there and I can always raise prices back to what they are now later. Thanks for your help. :)
go__banana
May. 8th, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Ooh, sorry @_@
When making artists_beware, I didn't intend for it to be strictly furry. However most of its publicity was between furries and the fandom, so... yeah.

There are a few anime artists here and there, and I noticed a couple traditional fantasy artists that recently joined. (By recent I mean since the beginning of the year.)
(Deleted comment)
leahtaur
May. 8th, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
I'd LOVE to do a link exchange, thank you. :)
(Deleted comment)
leahtaur
May. 8th, 2006 08:20 pm (UTC)
I like your commissions page, concise and to the point. I see what you mean now, my own is too wordy and could scare people off with a few things that need to be reworded. I'll rearrange it like you said, that alone should help.

As for prints, I really was planning on buying my own photo-quality printer since I intend to do a lot when I'm able. But perhaps I'll try deviant's in the meantime, I've heard good things about their print quality from others as well. (The rampant art theft there is kind of a turn-off but maybe I'll just have to risk it.)

And no, you didn't babble at all, that's a lot of good, helpful info you just provided me with. :)
(Deleted comment)
leahtaur
May. 8th, 2006 08:22 pm (UTC)
Awesome, thanks again for all the helpful links you've just given me. I'm so glad I asked for help here. :)
caishide
May. 8th, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
the thing is, ALOT of people on elfwood are either younger kids with little to no money that they'd spend on commissions, or are just there with secondary acocunts, or really aren't interested in having originals. i tried the whole exposure thing over there and (at the time i sucked so i'm not really referring to my OWN business) noticed few people are interested in commissions.

the two sites i've seen good business deals come from have been vcl (but that's all furry art) and deviant art. also, over at deviantart you can go to the forums and announce you're open for commissions and drum up busines that way.

i guess what i'm saying is open a few more galleries to reach more people at different sites, and pimp your website as much as possible

i wish you all the luck in the world, your art is quite snazzy
leahtaur
May. 8th, 2006 08:25 pm (UTC)
I'm still a bit leery of Deviantart, there's just SO much theft there... but I think I'll just have to take the risk and join there anyway, hopefully the pros outweigh the cons.

And thank you for your advice. :)
caishide
May. 8th, 2006 09:27 pm (UTC)
if you niw how to handle the theft, it really isn't as huge of a deal. as long as you don't confront the theif and just report the image, admins are pretty good about taking stuff down. there has been alot of flap about their tracing policy, but look at it this way;
if someone's going to trace your image, they're going to do it whether you're on the site or not. BUT if you're on the site you a) have access to the admins and b) will have a fanbase that will be more likely to recognize the work and either defend you, or even just by being there discourage the theif.

i hope you don't have to deal with any of that unpleasantness should you choose to join
leahtaur
May. 8th, 2006 09:35 pm (UTC)
When you put it that way, I guess it won't be THAT bad. Plus I believe there's an LJ community somewhere (can't remember the name of it right now) specifically for routing art thieves from deviantart. That's it, I'm definitely joining. :)
skulldog
May. 8th, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
Conventions. I hate to say it, but the best way to make money is to spend it.
Go to cons, set up shop in Artist Alley, sell art. Meeting people offline puts a face to a facless internet user. Getting your name isn't all about spamming that you have open commissions. Some folks might read that as "I just want money". Get your name out as someone who helps otehr artists, someone who does some nice gift art. Be more than "I have art for sale".

Commission other artists. I get a lot of traffice from trade pictures I've done for folks over the years. Enter contests. The more people see your art, the more it gets around.

leahtaur
May. 8th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
I think cons will be something to consider for me once I have some prints to sell as well as originals. I've always wanted to go to one. And I've been meaning to do more giftart lately anyway... good advice, thank you Skulldog. :)
knifesmile
May. 28th, 2006 09:50 am (UTC)
This is way late I know, but, damn. I wanna do an art trade with you sometime. Totally dig the WC of the geese on your site. That caught my eye more than anything else... I often feel really alone in the fur art world for my preferred media. No one else has even *heard* of a watercolour pencil, and I depend on those. It's kind of culture-shocky.
leahtaur
May. 30th, 2006 01:06 am (UTC)
I'd love to do an art trade with you! ...but unfortunately I've got three other art trades on the go at the moment, so looks like it might be a while. Let me drop you a note when I'm clear again, okay? It sounds like fun, I love watercolour. Although I've never used watercolour pencils -- what brand would you recommend?
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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