When you decide to become a commission artist, you are still technically starting a business. People are paying you for a service, or you are creating art that you enjoy and then hope to sell at a later time. In order to do this successfully, you will need to have at least some basic business acumen, some basic marketing, and social media know how. If you only want to do your art or do not have that know how, then definitely hire someone who does. There are also programs that can be used to automate and streamline processes. As you become more successful, keeping up on business and marketing will become more difficult. Take it from someone who knows and has done this a long time in different industries. Some of the info that will be shared here can be a bit overwhelming since there are so many options and companies that do so much. You do not have to do everything listed here. There are recommendations based on your audience, industry, and content type. There will be a lot of trial and error and you just need to find what works for you. Also some of the companies that are named are only some of the well known ones. There are a lot more including small/ independent businesses, if you can, definitely support small businesses. Also be sure to research business laws, tax laws, and requirements based on your country, city, and state of origin. This will help you verify what you can claim as tax deductible of what is discussed below.
First things to look at:
-Who are you?
-What is your brand?
-Do you have a name for your studio? -When creating a studio name, you want it to be a name that describes you and what you do. Make sure to use that name across all promo, business, and social platforms.
-Do you have a logo? (FYI: You can hire someone to help you create a logo and pay for the rights to the art work.)
- Decide how far do you want to go with this? Do you want this to be just a “side gig” or do you want this to be a career? - If you want this to become a way to make substantial income, then you will have to spend money to make money and be patient. There is a cost to do business.
-Advertising and Merch - There are on demand print services such as redbubble.com and teespring.com where you can upload artwork and people can order shirts and other items one at a time. As a bonus, you can make a small profit. It is a good way to make a little passive income.
Click the photo below to see our merch store example:
Here are some other places to get good promo items:
•Marco Promos-Good Advertising Promo items
•Business Cards- Either way, are a must!
•Con badge ribbons
-Website/ Webstore- build your own or have someone build it for you.
•Wix- This is what we have for the Metalhead Minis (MhM) site and it is super user friendly!
- SEO - Search Engine Optimization - This refers to optimizing your chances of being ranked and quickly found via Google and other search engines. There are ways of doing this such as Google Ad Words. There is a wealth of information about this in places such as YouTube. This topic can be an article on it's own.
- The ones you use the most will most likely depend on your audience and content.
•YouTube - once you have 1000 subs, you can also make posts. You can have a custom url at 100 subs. There are requirements in order to get your channel monetized.
•Twitch - You become an affiliate at 50 followers and can earn money via tips/ donations and subscribers. Twitch periodically does a payout at $100 and over. This can be done via direct deposit to your bank account.
•Deviant Art and Art Station
•TikTok - once you have 1000 followers you can do live videos.
•Never underestimate the power of "Stories"- Posts via FB, Twitter, and Instagram that stay for about 24 hours. Post behind the scenes, small updates, wips, news (i.e. - new youtube video!) and completed works.
Patreon - this is where people can subscribe to your content and you can also share info and promote.
ALWAYS engage with your followers!
Remember that if you want to “make it big” then know that you will be looked at as one of the people to set the example and represent the hobby.
You will be one of the people looked to in order to help keep the hobby alive.
-Collaborating is also a great way to promote and grow. This is a win win that help promote all who partake in the collaboration. Collaborating can be done in places such as YouTube videos, live streams, guest blogging, and events.
-Join groups on and off the internet that pertain to the hobby and what you like to paint or get commissions for.
-You want to post at least a few times a week or once a day if you can. Don’t post constantly and all day long.
-Things to post- WIPs, completed work, tips/tricks, cool finds, Behind the scenes, etc.
-Social media platform algorithms - Research what is current regarding that. There might be some trial and error involved.
- There are sites and searches that you can use for hashtag generating and find the current popular hashtags.
-Post scheduling for social media management–They are total time savers!
**note- Currently Instagram posts cannot be scheduled for the most part, BUT reminders can be set through post schedulers.
•Facebook lets you schedule posts
•YouTube- lets you schedule videos up to months ahead of time!
•Twitch- lets you schedule uploads.
•Some social media platforms such as Instagram let’s you tie together other social media accounts so that they can post at the same time. This also saves a lot of time!
Great for talking about same topic interests, networking, etc. It is also good promo to part take in the online forum competitions. That way people see your work.
•Bell of Lost Souls
•Chest of Colors
•Wyrd Miniatures - Make your website and/or most popular social media part of your Email signature and forum signatures. It brings in more traffic and possibly more followers/ clients.
- Always take good photos of your minis, or find someone else who can.
There are many resources for learning about taking photos of miniatures.
- Enter in competitions- when you are comfortable of course.
Open format competitions are good starting points.
•Helps build followers
•Don’t do them too much
•You can give away products from your sponsors (with their permission)
•Maybe even items that you don’t want from a swag bag you purchased, etc.
•Things that are in new condition that you purchased but never used. Never do used items for giveaways- that’s super tacky and people will remember that. There are very few exceptions regarding this. Affiliate Programs and Discount Codes:
- There are companies that do affiliate programs (such as Amazon). This is where you post referral links in places such as your social media posts, blog articles, and youtube descriptions. The companies then periodically give you a small portion of the sale for leading sales to their website. There is no additional cost to the consumer for this.
- Discount Codes: When you start getting sponsors, they might give you a discount code to give to your followers and clients so that you can lead people to their website. Some of the discount codes might be occasional or for events and some are permanent. There are some companies that give you the discount percent as a commission, and some that do not. Be mindful that there are some companies who cannot afford to give a discount code, but still give support and promote them. Do not automatically assume that you are going to be given a discount code.
Conventions and Events: If you are asked by a convention/event to be a special guest or teach or even apply to be an instructor, always be sure to ask what is included and what is your part. Do not automatically assume that the event will pay for your travel, food, and accommodations. Remember that there is a cost to do business and also be mindful that not every company that holds an event can afford to pay for everyone that they invite and no one owes you anything. People who have the attitude of entitlement is not someone that companies will want to do business with.
Hope that this info will give you a good foundation to start off with. Don't be overwhelmed. Take things a step at a time as you are comfortable. Quality over quantity is what you want to go for in the grand scheme of things. Have fun and enjoying your art is also the important thing.
Till next time,
Stay crispy in milk and keep on painting,