Social Media, Blogging, and Licensing Art Advice

A fellow artist (who has done work for Blizzard) had emailed me, asking me about a few things us artists all want to know, so I thought I’d share our conversation along with you as I answer his questions. And by the way I’m totally addicted to World of Warcraft, so it was an honor to talk to the artist who has rendered some of my favorite work for my favorite game:

If you don’t mind, I’d like to pick your brain about  Licensing & fine art.  I really enjoy finding another artists who actually see a bigger picture and understands the value in diversifying your talents across industries.  I’d like to hear your thoughts on the differences, problems, and benefits with the different fields.
I have no idea how profitable those fields can be.

Have blogs helped you?   Why do you prefer WordPress over blogger, facebook etc? …. Best, Sean”

Thanks Sean! My advice:

ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
I’m still working on finding the best options in the business. Selling online has it’s pros and cons, so promoting is almost like an experiment.I’ve found that testing out all the options has helped me find out what works best for my business and my art audience. It may differ depending on your audience and art style as well. Some people find Facebook is a lovely tool for promoting art. I haven’t found it work for me, but yet I do get lots of networking opportunities as well as new fans through Myspace or through Twitter.

It probably took me about two years of working with all the available free online programs and communities to find my audience and know who want to see what I had to offer. Social media has given us really great opportunities to promote and expose our art to people worldwide. You learn alot by being able to connect with your fans too. I love that part of social media.

ON LICENSING ART:
With licensing, I think it’s important to make it a regular routine to contact companies yourself.

Thought I’ve recieved most of my licensing deals by being contacted by the companies themselves, I have found that they are responsive to inquiries by artists. In the web, it’s hard to find artists that are really good, are talented, and marketable, so I think they like to be approached. It helps cut out their hard work to find you.

You may find a future opportunity you wouldn’t have had, had you not contacted them yourself. I’ve had several opportunities because I scouted out connections and people who’s company would benefit from my art.

ON SELF-PUBLISHING:
When it comes to self-publishing, I have told artists to definitely seek that out. Seek out companies that offer self publishing like Imagekind.com. I was with Art.com since 2004 and because of them, I had achieved many opportunities, including spots on television, movies, and commission deals that I wouldn’t have been offered before. Unfortunately there are cons to that as well.

Art.com was a company that had changed it’s structure, closed it’s connection to emerging artists, and in doing so cut royalty opportunities significantly for artists. I also lost a significant deal with them that had been discontinued because their business’s plans had totally changed. I’m still waiting to see my art be part of their site again, instead of just being in the Emerging Artists category. They really reduced my possible sales (and their own profit) by having done that.

But in saying that, I’m not saying it’s bad to have your art in these places. Any exposure is good exposure and the people that want art like yours are out there, searching the net for it. Putting it in places where they are looking for art gives you the chance to find new collectors and fans! Finding a publisher may not be as good as publishing yourself. It all depends on the deal you are offered, or what you can negotiate.

ON BLOGGING:
It does take time to really understand the value of blogs. I have been blogging since 2004, when I started to offer my art online. I’ve used Livejournal, Blogger, Vox, and others until I found one that worked for me. I learned about HTML, blogging etiquette, design, and networking. Be sure to connect with other artists that blog. Comment on their blogs, read them every week. SUBSCRIBE! Which really makes it easier to read. I have mine come to my email. Also, try to blog every week at least 1-3 times. Even if it’s just about you. I think people like to be able to see your personal side as much as what you are doing. They want to know what you are about. But, like I said before, it’s about experimenting, testing, figuring out what works for you, what’s right for you, and what people respond to that will determine what you blog, how you blog, and what you do on the net.

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  1. #1 by blanca on October 1, 2008 - 10:59 pm

    Hi,
    Really usefull post. I am trying to license my work also, but I don´t have fine art, I have a cartoon character. Hope you can post something about having a licensing agent vs doing it yourself

    http://www.chico-chihuahua.com

  2. #2 by blanca on October 1, 2008 - 11:02 pm

    Just to add something to your comment.

    I self published a book a couple of years ago and it may seem very easy (of course there aremore oportunities now than 5 years ago) If I had to do it again, I would have a publisher. Although it is not always easy to find one that will publish your work, publishing takes a lot of time and effort and you enter in a very competitive market.
    There is this association in the US : PMA for independent publishers in many areas, and they have pretty good resources for their members.

    http://www.chico-chihuahua.com

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