My Latest Art & Videos

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Patreon 6 Month Follow-Up Report

I'm nearing the 6 month mark of my existence on Patreon and wanted to share my thoughts!

For the most part, I still stand behind my positive first impressions of Patreon.  I believe it's an amazing way for artists to connect directly with their audiences in a uniquely intimate way that's only going to gain momentum as time goes on, especially with the infusion of funding that Patreon has recently received from investors.  They're well on their way to making this format bigger and better!

My Art page on Patreon.  See my Artisan page here.

Building Audience Engagement


Hosting on Patreon has only made me grow fonder and closer to the special few who have sought to support me not just with their words, but with their wallets.  This is important as I feel like I am nurturing an important list of clientele who, due to their relationship with me, will also feel more motivated to spread the word about my art, word of mouth still being the most powerful marketing method available beyond any method we could pay for.

Engaging with people on Patreon has also had the wonderful side effect of motivating me to finish work not just for myself, but so I can have something amazing and worthwhile to share with my patrons.  It's a positive form of pressure that really energizes me as an artist.

The funds I do get from Patreon have had real results, such as allowing me to upgrade my old paints and to purchase a yearly membership to Artist Market Online.  Again, I've created engagement because my Patrons are a part of helping me succeed, further building a rapport between us.

Doing the Math


As of this writing, I am making $50 per painting thanks to 4 patrons and they have helped me to meet 2 of my goals.  This generally results in $50 extra a month on top of my current income because I usually only produce one detailed painting a month.

For those who say that this isn't a lot, I still believe my time on Patreon to be worthwhile because I have built my rewards in such a way that I am not doing too much extra work that I wasn't already doing before to share with my fans (more on this in the next section).

Chances are that my current patrons will stay if I can keep my material meaningful and engaging to them, meaning that my Patreon page is more than likely to gain exponentially higher return on investment as time goes by.

EDIT:  I had a question about charging per Creation or per Month, as you are able to choose either method on Patreon.  I have my Patreon set up per creation since that seems to work the best for me.

I am not always sure I'll have time to finish something, so that removes any pressure from me if I don't deliver, as I'd hate people to pitch
in and then get nothing that month either because I wasn't able to produce, or I was working on a project under an NDA that couldn't be shared on Patreon. If I don't produce anything, patrons won't have to worry about spending any money and being disappointed in their investment in me, which could lead to a bad reputation on my part.

However, I can see a monthly pledge working really well for comic creators who have very concrete schedules of production and releases. They'll always know when they're going to have pages out and exactly how many they can expect for a month so that their patrons will never be disappointed or feel like their investment was misplaced.


Patron Rewards


The way I have crafted my rewards by fashioning them as a natural extension of what I am (or planning) to do with my art business has made them much more manageable and proactive for my business.

For instance, I host Q&A sessions each month which are meant for my Patreon patrons, but are open to the public, so I'm not completely excluding a large part of my audience.  I had planned to do this before, but had never gotten around to it.  Patreon provided important motivation for me to get serious about sticking to a video production and broadcast schedule, which is a great move for my art business.

I also provide my Patreon patrons with sketch diaries of my paintings, which I used to do on this very same blog.  However, they are private and only for Patreon patrons now.  To make up for this loss to my blog, I still produce a video compilation of my creative process for the public at large which covers much (but not all) of what I talk about in the sketch diaries so that my regular fanbase won't feel neglected.

My Patreon patrons also get to see these process videos a week ahead of my regular fanbase, which still helps them to feel special.  My patrons also get to interact with me privately on these sketch diaries, which are open to their comments, where they can engage with me directly during my creative process.

Sketch diaries and videos were already part of my business model, but I have monetized them in such a way that is more friendly to my fanbase rather than alienating them.  I advise others to consider doing the same on Patreon.  Find a way to make interesting exclusives and consider doing time-based releases that still help your patrons feel special, while still leaving material for your non-Patreon fanbase.

Web comics on Patreon use this strategy to great effect by providing rewards for patrons such as exclusive stories, week early releases, and other such enticing digital content (ie. My $5+ patrons also get exclusive wallpapers!).

Conclusions


Patreon is a wonderful way to create engagement with your audience and is especially smart for creators who produce regular ongoing digital content, such as podcasts and web comics.  It is less effective for painters and other 2D one-off creators, unless you can find a way to create rewards that do not take you too much time to fulfill or that work in synergy with your current promotion efforts.

Even though it may not be as effective for painters as it is for podcasters, this may change in the future as Patreon becomes more widespread and improves their format, especially their currently limited categories.

Patreon also represents an opportunity for painters to get creative with what they're offering.  Just because it doesn't seem as good for us now as it is for others doesn't mean we can't discover brand new ways to creatively engage our fanbase!

That's what I'm planning to do and why I have no intention of leaving Patreon any time soon.

Reader Questions



  1. Are you on Patreon (or a patron)?  What are you creating there and who are you sponsoring?
  2. How do you handle your rewards?  If you're a 2D artist, what rewards are you offering for your patrons?
  3. What are some particularly groovy rewards you've received on Patreon?

(I'll share my answers in comments!)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Using a Mailing List to Promote Your Art


Reading this great post about mailing lists by Sam Flegal inspired me to share my own two cents about mailing lists and their uses for artists.  Now that I've returned to conventions, I've been sharpening my marketing strategies and trying to figure out more efficient ways to keep in touch with my fanbase as a freelance artist.

While I do hope to work with more studios and publishers in the future, it's useful for me to nurture my independent career by also nurturing my direct relationship with my fans as well.  After all, I have a lot of personal projects that I do for no one else but myself and the fans that offer me opportunities under my control instead of at the whims of another entity.

Benefits of a Mailing List


For one, I've realized that the advantage of a mailing list is that while not everyone is on every social media outlet ever, most everyone has an e-mail.  Even if my newsletter gets put in the Trash, it's still a central method at which I can communicate directly with everyone without relying on the sporadic shotgun method of hitting all of the social networks and hoping someone sees it.

This is especially relevant in an age where our posts are getting lost to social network feeds that now require small businesses to pay to even be seen (ie. the recent neutering of the reach of unpaid posts on Facebook Fan Pages).

What to Use


I personally use Mailchimp, which is free to use up until you hit 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month. After which, I'd be happy to pay, considering the usefulness of this service!

Essential Setup of Your Mailing List


After setting up your mailing list, these are the two essential parts of your list that you need to set up as well.

The Signup Form

The signup form is a form you create that is linked to your specific mailing list.  Mailchimp lets you customize it with a theme that you can match to your website and gives you a short link which you can share by linking directly to customers.  Mailchimp also provides signup form integration with Facebook and Wordpress widgets.

Check out my signup form to see an example of one in action!  You can also see the Wordpress signup Widget in action on my website.

The Autoresponder


An autoresponder is also linked to your unique list and is the automatic e-mail which is sent out after a subscriber signs up for your list.  Mailchimp has a default one, but it's wise to customize this e-mail to your business to make a more personal connection with your fans.  I use my autoresponder to inform my new fans about what kind of updates they can expect from me, provide quick links to my social networks, and pitch my Patreon page in an unobtrusive way.

The autoresponder is also a great way to reward your new fans and make them feel special!  For instance, I offer a link in my autoresponder to a free gift of a coloring book that would usually be a paid item.  Other ideas for shareable promo items could be downloads of your art as wallpapers or a discount code to your shop.

Here's a screenshot of my autoresponder (or you can see it in live action by signing up for my list, if you like!)

Promoting Your List


So now that you have a list, don't forget that it exists!  Here are some ideas to gain new subscribers.

- Etsy Shop - Include a link to your singup form in your shop announcement and in your automatic sale letters so your customers can remember to keep up with you.  (The same goes for your social network links!)

- Giveaways at Conventions - Host an exclusive giveaway at conventions to entice people to sign up for your mailing list.  Doing this also encourages people to come back to visit against, which provides an extra opportunity for them to be tempted by your shinies.

- Monthly Giveaways for List Members - I already do exclusive monthly giveaways for my Patreon patrons, but I have seen other artists encourage signups on their mailing lists by offering exclusive giveaways only for those on their mailing lists.  This makes your fans feel extra special!

Maintaining a Newsletter Schedule


One of my biggest mistakes was to overshoot my goal and try to keep a really active newsletter.  Create a schedule for yourself that you know you can maintain!

For instance, I used to do a mailing list every month, but the fact is because I work so slowly, I didn't have a lot to share each month.  In the end, it was easier for me to do a quarterly (once every 3 months) newsletter instead.

It's also smart to keep your newsletter text short and sweet!  Big chunks of text do okay in journal entries, but people have very short attention spans for e-mails.  Keep your text relevant and to the point!

I hope this info helps some of you out there who might be struggling with how to communicate with your fanbase or who were just not sure what to do with a mailing list in the first place.

If you have any tips for mailing lists I didn't mention, please do share in comments.  Good luck, everyone!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

7 Things About Digital Painting from a Traditional Artist's Perspective

My master copy of a traditional painting with digital paint.
It's been a frustrating and gratifying experience for me as a watercolor and color pencil artist to switch to painting digitally.  There are so many glorious things about digital just as there are so many things that can make it really difficult to master.

Here are some of my random observations on the digital painting experience as someone with a background in traditional painting.

1.  Digital is NOT Faster


No, digital is not faster.  Perhaps it is if you aren't trying to replicate the look of traditional paint.  But in my experience, particularly when replicating a painterly look in digital, you're going to spend a lot of time layering and layering just to get rid of the pure plastic colors that digital brushes apply by default.

There are some ways around this mechanical computer generated look, such as scanning in your own textures from traditionally painted swatches and programming them into your brushes.

Corel Painter and Photoshop have brushes you can program to emulate this randomness, but it's not as good as the real thing just yet.  There are still too many patterns that are predictable that the eye recognizes, like computerized paper texture, which contributes to that sameness that so many digital pieces have that I mentioned earlier.

Plus, if you're a control freak like me, you'll spend many an hour trying to paint everything at the same level of detail until you realize that zooming out makes all that work for naught.

2.  Addiction to Layers


It is so tempting when you first start painting digitally to just have everything on multiple layers.  Why wouldn't you?  You can control all the things ever and make everything PERFECT!  Don't fall into the trap!  Merge your layers when you can.  For one, merging layers is easier on your computer if you don't have a lot of processing power to spare and makes your files less humongous.

Another advantage of merging your layers is that you can retain those 'mistakes' that make traditional paintings have that lovely painterly feel to them.  Painting over your mistakes instead of deleting them creates a ghost or haze that makes your edges feel more organic, while merely selecting and deleting leaves a perfect edge.  Our human eyes are very keen to patterns and perfection, which can make an image seem harsh and plastic, a very common occurrence that makes many digital paintings have a certain sameness to them.

A suggestion if you'd like to change your image later is to save your selections as Channels, that way you can still retain the advantages of painting on one layer.


3.  Addiction to Undo Button 


Now that I've had the ability to Undo every tiny mistake, Step Backwards, Step Forewards, and change every little pixel, a weird thing has happened when I sit down with a traditional pencil and drawing pad.  I am downright afraid that I'm going to mess it up!  My ultimate power of control is gone and I've lost my confidence with dealing with traditional media.  If I pick the wrong color, that's it, game over, man. GAME OVER!

It's going to take some re-training to get my confidence back that it's okay to make mistakes.  Digital has made me the ultimate control freak, whereas traditional media is all about letting go of that control and accepting the somewhat randomized results of how the media works, especially with something like watercolor.  For me being the control freak that I am, traditional media helps to balance my propensity for spending too long trying to make everything perfect.

4.  Mark-Making Still Matters


At least if you want to achieve a painterly quality in your digital work.  A lot of folks assume you can just drop a fill into a digital canvas and you're done.  While you can achieve certain kinds of highly stylized effect like this, if you're aiming for a more realistic painterly organic effect, your lines still matter.  Blending takes time and care and usually the same awareness of your marks and how you're using them to define contour as you would have as a traditional painter.  

Also, things that might happen more naturally with traditional media, such as the pooling and blending of colors that form that wonderful randomness in your skyline take dedicated effort to achieve in digital.  In digital, randomness is carefully constructed.  You have to add the randomness to your skin pores to make that surface convincing. It doesn't just happen thanks to the properties of your paper, glazing, and pigments.  Filters and Brushes with custom effects can help.  They get better with every version of Photoshop, but they still have a ways to go.   I haven't used Painter much, but I hear it's getting better at this as well.

5.  Shiny Plastic People


I don't know why, but when I first got into digital, I assumed it'd be easier to paint skin.  There were all these nifty tools and pore brushes and amazing things that seemed to do all the work for me!

Nope.  All I got for about a year of painting people digitally was shiny plastic grey people or shiny plastic pink people.  It took master copies, many failed practice paintings trying different techniques, and brushing up on my color theory to really start bringing life to my skintones.

I still think every time I paint a person digitally that I try a different technique each time.  The more I paint digitally, the more I realize it isn't about how you do it and any one right way, it's about doing whatever it takes to get a good looking end result!

6.  Missing that Good Ol' Tactile Feeling


For as amazing as digital is, I've found I still can't get the same finesse with my lines, especially with inking.  Cintiqs are amazing things made of unicorn dust and the tears of artists, but you still have to rotate the canvas with Rotate View, which takes that many seconds longer than just turning your canvas in real life.  I am personally just faster at working with sketching and inking on paper, which I hope to integrate in my upcoming digital pieces.
Here's just one example of Wylie's
amazing combination of graphite
and digital.

I used to think I shouldn't mix media like that because I wouldn't know how to categorize it online or that the purists would hate me (leftovers from my own snooty traditional art program brainwashing), but now I realize I just don't care as long as I get a cool image in the end that tells the story I want to tell.

See the work of Wylie Beckert as a great example of what you can do when you free your mind to the potential of combining traditional and digital.

7. Layer Masks are Your Friends


Learn them. Love them!  I used to paint everything the hard way and then curse myself when I've made a mistake I can't take back because I've overpainted or deleted my original layer.  Layer masks allow you to retain your original work and visually change it without having to commit to those changes.  I'm probably speaking voodoo moon language right now to those who have no clue what layer masks are.  To you, I say start here.  Learn, my grasshoppers. You will not be sorry!

And yeah sure it may lead to the 'Undo Addiction' I was previously talking about, but that's okay!  As long as you have the useful potential of layer masks available to you, you might as well use it and face your Undo addiction later like I'm doing.  You'll get over it...eventually.

So why do I keep painting digitally if it seems like it drives me crazy?


- I don't have to keep the paintings under my bed. I am seriously out of space for storing them in our apartment (and parents' basement).  No, I don't want to pay for environmentally controlled storage because I am cheap/broke and that type of storage is friggin expensive.

- Being able to change an image indefinitely comes in handy!  When a traditional painting is done, I usually can't change it much. However, if something ever bothers me about a digital piece or a client requests a change, I can most likely go back and fix it after it's done.  This is also a double-edged sword which sometimes makes me feel like my work is never done with any particular digital piece, leading to obsessive necromancing of my older pieces.

Also, if I mess up in the middle of a piece, I don't have to start it from scratch as I would if it were traditionally painted. I can simply alter what segment of the image I need to.

- Solvents are dangerous and I don't want them near me. I would try oil painting if I could, which is really the effect I'm trying to achieve in digital, but there is no ventilation in this apartment. Experimenting with water-based oils and non-ventilation friendly solvents is going to take time I don't want to commit at current (and again that storage issue).

- Because I can play with color schemes in a fun way that lends itself to discovery (IE. love me some Hue slider!)

- Digital images are great for clients who need their images easily scaled to different products and sizes without having to go through the process of having to scan/photograph a large traditionally painted piece.

- On the occasion I want to animate parts of an image, digital is SOOOooo much easier to do this with!

For me, digital is an extremely useful and versatile tool.  While I understand why someone would find a traditional piece to have more sentimental value because an artist was able to touch it and pour their soul into every stroke, I'm the kind of artist who doesn't paint for the process (at least on most occasions).  

I paint for the final image and the story it tells.  

Digital expands my vocabulary for visual storytelling in unexpected ways that I have learned to love and that have made my journey so much more efficient in many ways!

So I ask you, purely digital artists, what are the challenges you face trying to learn traditional media?  It'd be fascinating to hear from the other side of the learning divide!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Convention Report: SpartanCon 2014

It's been about a year and more since I worked a convention!  To be quite honest with you guys, I was feeling really burnt out by them.  They never seemed to be worth the physical effort and preparation put into them.  Sales were bad, morale was down, and they were absolutely no fun for me anymore.

I wrote a post a long time ago about my thoughts on whether conventions are worthwhile and I have been thinking a lot about how I could improve my convention experience.  

For one, (and this is huge) it helped to have a positive table partner along.  In the past, I've worked with a table buddy who had good intentions, but who was usually bored and focused only on the money-making aspect of the venture, which is an attitude that became quite toxic for me over time.  Unfortunately, you can't expect to become a millionaire at a convention and doing so is the fastest way to burnout.

My new table partner with a more positive attitude aka. my significant other, Kevin, also gave me some great tips on selling learned from his years in retail.  Nobody likes to feel like they're being sold to.  If you can casually chat people up, learn their interests, and find something that would help improve their lives, selling is easy.  Even if they don't have interest aligned with yours, then you still have had a good conversation!

Positivity is key!

Another area of improvement for me this con was my display.  I used to throw everything but the kitchen sink onto my table, from masks to prints, in an effort to appeal to anybody.  My display greatly lacked brand consistency, which I suspect left most folks unable to remember my specialty.  Was it masks? Art Nouveau?  Original fantasy characters?  Who could say?  There wasn't a consistent theme across my products.

Simplifying things helped greatly, especially when describing to customers what exactly it is I do.  It was much easier to say "I work in fantasy art and book covers" than "I work in fantasy, book covers, masks, Art Nouveau, and oh yeah I do this other thing too!".

More is less!  My new simplified display.

As for SpartanCon, it was a great test run for me so that I could try new tactics and a new display with renewed enthusiasm!  It felt wonderful to be less concerned about money and more focused on just having a good conversation with fellow kindred spirits in geekery.  SpartanCon fills a gap within our driving distance for cons that aren't anime-focused, as it features not just anime, but horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, which has a wider cross-section with the kind of art I do.

Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the venue to find that SpartanCon didn't take place at just any public library, but a beautiful three level building with a gallery and a fantastic setting of skylights and books!  The staff were all well organized and setup went very smoothly.  Foot traffic was decent the entire event and we were surprised to sell enough at this one-day, first year event to make back gas, lunch, and more.  Something that rarely happens at first year events!  

Other Lessons Learned:


- I tried out a tip jar, which I thought was a silly idea.  Imagine my surprise when I ended up with a $1.10 tip!  It's not a lot, but something unexpected happened.  As a con-goer mentioned to me, they tipped me because they didn't have a lot of money, but still wanted to support me somehow, thus they tipped what they could afford just to support me in making art.  That gesture of kindness itself was uplifting moreso than the actual tip!

- I also tried out a new tactic for enticing con-goers to sign-up for my mailing list by hosting a giveaway for one of my books.  I came away with half a page of e-mails, so I'd say this was a success!

Final Thoughts


SpartanCon was a promising event that I hope to see more of!  I learned valuable lessons about how to present myself as a professional and met some wonderful enthusiastic authors and fans.  I hope the event will be returning next year.  The atmosphere is friendly and if the first year traffic is any indication, it's only going to get better from here on out!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

FIRST IMPRESSION: Proko's Figure Drawing Fundamentals Course NSFW

I've been a huge fan of ProkoTV's figure drawing videos on YouTube ever since I first watched his amazingly helpful "Draw a Head at Any Angle" tutorial, which I still look back on for reference to this day!

For those who don't know him, ProkoTV is hosted by artist, Stan Prokopenko, a talented figurative artist who teaches at the Watts Atelier of the Arts.

I enjoy the way Stan's videos appeal to my visually-minded nature with comparative examples and his very lighthearted and entertaining teaching style.  Rather than focus on the science of anatomy, his videos teach how to break the body down into simple shapes and emphasize expression over 'correctness'.  If you've read Michael Hampton's Figure Drawing: Design and Invention, Stan's methods are very similar.

Lately, all of my portfolio reviewers have pointed to the same thing that keeps holding my work back - anatomy.  Sure, I know how to draw a human figure, for the most part.  But my anatomy is missing that special something, that secret ingredient!

I notice that when I start adding detail, some of the energy and life drains right out of my figures.  My rendition of the joints of the figure also lack definition and understanding, leaving my figures feeling too smooth and ultimately unconvincing.

You might be asking why would someone who's not a beginner want to purchase a 'fundamentals' course?  Now, I've read and looked at many an anatomy book in my day in college and for my own study, but I find that I just can't remember anatomy.  No amount of drawing the skeleton and muscles and labeling the parts really helps me retain how to draw the figure.

My brain needs spatial geometric understanding and hands on training (being the kinesthestic learner that I am), which makes the structure of Proko's course appealing with its simplistic approach and many, many extra examples for tactile learners like me.  Also, as an artist, I am never done learning.  There is too much to know about anatomy to ever be done learning!

And so it was I decided to invest in Stan's Figure Drawing Fundamentals course for $79, including two pose photo packs (one male and one female) at $10 a piece (spending a total of $100).  These packs are a great value considering they include 300 poses in each one.  The poses are very well-lit and professionally photographed.  Once purchased, the pose pack download page includes a convenient link for you to download your choice of a .zip containing high res or lower res versions of the photos, for those of us studying with tablets which benefit from smaller file sizes.



Though Stan offers his figure drawing videos for free on YouTube, his course includes the longer premium content versions of his lessons.  For example, his first lesson on gesture is only 9 minutes for the free version, while the premium content version is 27 minutes.

Here's a look at the download page for just ONE of the lessons (of which you an view the full lesson list here).  I am impressed by the sheer amount of demos available to help students wrap their brain around how to apply the technique to various poses.


Also included are critiques of student homework, which is useful for learning not only what is correct, but what is incorrect along with the common mistakes that most people make in their figure drawing techniques.  As icing on the cake, Proko also brings in other experts, such as Marshall Vandruff and Glenn Vilpuu.

Under each video is a download link, allowing you to store the videos for your own reference or carry them with you for study on the go.  This is priceless and encourages me to invest knowing that even if for some terrible reason Stan's site goes down that I will still have access to my lessons.  Once you pay for premium content, you are granted unlimited access to your poses and lessons for the foreseeable future.

I've only just started this course and am looking forward to seeing how this affects my work!  I'll be sharing my progress and studies here with you, as well as a follow-up review of the overall course when I am finished with it.  So far, I am very impressed by the thought and care put into providing such well-priced and detailed learning resources for artists and I expect to learn a lot from this course!

Till then, go watch some ProkoTV and tell me what you think!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Angelic Shades Studio on iStock

After some debate, I've uploaded some of my watercolor angel images to iStock!  You will soon be able to find my Christmas images available on iStock as well.  You can view my iStock portfolio here:


I hope you'll find them useful for your projects!  iStock has a pretty awesome subscription program now which allows you to purchase more stock for a monthly fee instead of paying per single image.

I thought about whether or not to sell my illustrations as stock for a long while, but was hesitant at first.  I've seen a lot of ire from other artists about how allowing people to buy ready made art devalues the Illustration industry as a whole.  If companies can go download art, why would they hire an artist at all?

I decided to go ahead for multiple reasons, the biggest being that I believe a company will know best when it's worth the money to pay an artist to make custom images for their products.  It shows time and care for that product when they hire an artist to create a unique visual representation that cannot be found elsewhere.  There is a demand for this kind of custom work and product representation.  It may be less than it was before the advent of stock illustration, but as they say, evolve or die!  Stock illustration is firmly entrenched in the industry now and there's not much that can be done about it.

Also, offering stock is a nice way for small businesses who don't have huge budgets to still function when they can't afford to hire an artist, an artist who probably wouldn't want to work for a pittance anyways.  Which then feeds back into how artists like myself can make an extra income stream by diversifying the sales of our art.

I have also decided that the generic seasonal nature of these images made them perfect for sale as stock.  While I very much enjoyed making them, there isn't a personal narration that is attached to these pieces.  You will never see the pieces which feature my original characters or other specific narratives uploaded as stock.

Finally, I won't deny that making a little bit of money from each download is an incentive for me.  Being able to make extra money from work that would otherwise sit in a folder is a precious thing when your income is the sporadic one of the freelance artist.

Happily, I still own the copyrights to my own images and can still use them for my own purposes, which means I do not believe the public consumption of these images will affect my own sales (not that print sales even make up that significant of an income for me, because they don't).

I trust you guys to know where to find the good stuff direct from the artist and you know where to find me if you want custom work!  I will happily create unique art, if you don't find what you need from my stock illustration selection. Just drop me a line!

Stay thirsty, my friends!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Big Changes at Angelic Shades Studio!

When I started in 2014 after recovering from a less than spectacular 2013, I had it in my mind that I was going to sit back and re-organize my business the way that it has desperately been needing it for a long time, but that I was too scared/lazy/etc. to do.  Fear no more, because change is in the wind!

Separate Identities for My Crafts and Art


This was a tough one. This meant building a brand, website, etc. from the ground up for my artisan crafts.  That brand is Angelic Artisan.

I fought with myself for a long time doing this, but separating Angelic Shades and Angelic Artisan allows me to keep both feeds from both brands relevant to your interests as well as allowing me to share more on each feed, instead of having art and leather crafting topics fighting for attention.

As an example of someone who can pull this off, check out Brenda Lyons, who has splendid birds and fantastical winged beings that echo throughout both sides of her crafting and artistic identity.  It's a kind of continuity I don't have between my art and leather crafts, which makes this separation an even more important one for me.

Have a quick rundown of where you can find Angelic Artisan around the net, for those of you who love my masks and butterfly jewelry and want to keep up:

Main Website - www.angelicartisan.com
On Facebook - www.facebook.com/angelicartisan
On Twitter - www.twitter.com/angelicartisan
On Tumblr - http://angelicartisan.tumblr.com

I've also established a mailing list for photographers interested in borrowing my masks and jewelry for photo shoots.  Sign up if you'd like to work with me on that!

It's been exciting working with the new photographers who have found me since my business reorganization this month.  Some fantastic photos have already been born of this collaboration!

Featuring photographer, Imagery Atelier, and model, Echo Manika!

A NEW YouTube Channel!


As part of my business re-organization this year, I'm planning to make YouTube my main social marketing hub.  I've been meaning to do this for a long time, but there was such a steep learning curve there where I had to figure out how to use my camera and how to edit the files in Camtasia Studio.

The introduction of Patreon this year, which works in tandem with YouTube in so many ways, meant I needed to get my butt in gear!

YouTube has changed so much!  They now allow people to link their channel to a Google+ Page and then add multiple managers to a single channel that way, which will be useful if I ever hire someone to manage some of these things for me (thinking ahead!).

Thanks to these new features, I have now created Google+ Pages and matching YouTube channels for both Angelic Artisan and Angelic Shades! (Those of you who follow my G+ name need to update to watching my Google+ Pages instead, as I will only be updating Pages from here on out).

ALL of my leather crafting videos will be disappearing soon from Angelic Shades' YouTube channel and have been moved to the Angelic Artisan channel, so please update your favorites, subscriptions, and bookmarks!

What does all this mean for you?  You'll be getting more direct interaction from me with narrated tutorials and hosted events, some of which are already up on both of my channels!

I've finally stepped out from behind the camera and easel to start hosting these videos directly, which is nerve-wracking, but also lots of fun and brings us to a whole new level of interaction!


Evolution of an Artist


Another realization I've come to is that even within my identity as an artist, I've noticed two distinct aesthetics showing through, one being my Art Nouveau style illustration and my more serious mature fantasy paintings.

While I'm not going to separate off into yet another brand, I have started to reconsider many things, such as how I'll be presenting myself at conventions.

My Art Nouveau work definitely sells better than my mature fantasy works, which may mean I will start presenting myself more consistently as an Art Nouveau artist as opposed to a Fantasy Illustrator, depending on the event. For example, my traditional work does better at IlluXcon, while my digital work does better at DragonCon.

I'm excited by this prospect, however, since Art Nouveau gives me a chance to work with traditional paints again, something I don't do so often anymore with all the digital painting I've been doing.

The Future is Now!


With all of these positive changes going on, I'm expecting my business to enter a whole new level with my art and with my interaction with all of you!  It's an exciting time and I'm more hyped than ever to share new work with you and test my newfound knowledge.

Hold on to your butts!
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