How to Sell Your Work: First Things First

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Art is about the passion. But it’s undeniable that the more we earn from it, the more we can focus on building it not only as a craft, but as a business. There are so many of us ramping up our artwork, we’re starting to reach out to turn it into commissions and other paid work.

Most potential clients work with me on comics or illustration projects, but recently I was approached about an animation project. My excitement over jumping into something I haven’t done in a while set me up for a sloppy client interaction. I was hungry for work and didn’t prepare myself for the best interaction. This mentality isn’t uncommon.

In the end, the project didn’t come through, and there were numerous issues that led to ends not meeting. So what am I doing wrong? And what did my potential client do wrong? To get to the bottom of awkward client interactions, I sat down with three other artists to determine our best professional practices.

I didn’t focus solely on local talent. I was grateful to get to speak to Denver, Colorado’s, Jeffrey Kristian Morris (digital painter & character designer), Sioux Falls’ Travis Bentley (illustrator & designer), and Sioux Falls’ Galacia Barton (digital painter & fantasy designer). We have varied skills, tastes, work climates, and goals, but I was blown away to see us mostly thinking alike.

"Bravery", by Galacia Barton
“Bravery” by Galacia Barton

Okay, so let’s break things down. Over the next three weeks, we’ll take a glance at rejection and landing a client, client interaction, and the ever-daunting contract. But first, how in the world do we get clients? I’ll give you our best advice to get started right now, but we’ll get more in-depth with it next week.

Most of us, Travis, Galacia, and myself don’t seek out clients that frequently. Jeffrey, on the other hand, spends countless hours reaching out to potentials, wading through rejections in order to find ideal clients. It can be a tough situation, but he encourages to, “keep workin’.”

Some of Jeffrey Morris' work.
“Elf” by Jeffrey Morris

And that’s true. We keep generating work that builds an audience that could be filled with potential clients. It never hurts to reach out, if someone might dig your work, start a dialogue. Always be talking. So, keep making your art, and come back next week as we face both rejection and the ever-glorious landing of a client.

Stay tuned for next’s week’s article, “Rejection. Or, the Journey of Landing a Client”


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