I have a FAQ right here for all sorts of questions, but I was recently sent an email by a recent grad I met at Niagara Falls ComicCon and I wanted to share some of my responses with you. I know I have a variety of followers from people who love fandoms (YAY!), to art students (go you!), to anyone who just wants to see how the sausage is made. You are all awesome.
I’ve just hit the one year mark where I made my intention known that I was going to paint for a living. I’m approaching the one year mark (in October) where I started to make that happen.
Though I’ve been painting for decades and have several art related diplomas in hand.
So here are the questions, along with my answers. If this inspires someone, then great!
Wondering how you got to where you are now?
That is a really fucking long story. Here’s the condensed version: I went to school for art. Paid for it. All my teachers told me I’d never succeed. I believed them and became a programmer. I even stopped painting, though that didn’t last long.
And then I had a friend who insisted I share my work online. Which I did though it was terrifying. And then I shared some more. People started noticing. Everyone had nice things to say. And it built from there.
I should say that I was already selling my work privately before I ever went online with it. Just sharing in general was a huge step for me.
This time last year, I woke up and looked around and realized the life I had built wasn’t the one I wanted. Some things I could change. Somethings I couldn’t. Changing my career was something I could do and that’s what I am doing right now. Once I made that intention, doors seemed to open for me. From accidentally creating a good sized body of work to suddenly being asked to join a ComicCon without applying. I grabbed each opportunity with both hands and ran.
The selection process with getting a table/booth at any fan convention?
Each one is different. Some are juried, some aren’t. The more popular shows are harder to get into. I had a rep who was shit useless. Now I just do it myself. Find out about shows, send in the applications. If I get in, great. If not, no harm done.
The one show I really wanted was the Creation Supernatural Toronto Convention. Whew! That’s a mouthful. I had to contact Creation and ended up communicating with the owner of the company, a really nice guy, who extended me permission to sell Supernatural art at the shows. This is why you see a lot of Supernatural art in my portfolio.
Do you have any advice or tips?
Always keep painting. Or creating. That is incredibly important. Do it when you’re tired. Do it when you’re sick. Do it when you think you don’t have time. Let it consume you.
And always keep sharing. Some people call this marketing. I like to think of it as a conversation between me and the people who enjoy my work. I love sharing my work and the process/journey of each painting.
How do you keep yourself motivated to keep on creating so that you have enough pieces to sell?
I make paintings first and foremost. When I think about having enough work, I freeze so I don’t do that. Showing up in my studio regularly ensures that I constantly make new and fresh work. Everything else takes care of itself.
I work full-time and it’s so difficult to work on personal projects, wondering do you have a plan or make a schedule for what you create?
I have two businesses. And kids. And animals. And I lift weights several days a week. Sometimes something has to give. For me, it’s sleep and free time. But really, what would I be doing in my free time but painting anyway?
How do you work efficiently on your artwork?
Practice. That’s all there is to it. The more you paint, the better you become. Efficiency follows.
What’s a good amount of pieces to create for a convention?
As many as you have. Every show is different. I always bring a variety of prints and paintings to each show. Sometimes I sell out, sometimes I don’t. If you’re thinking about being a vendor at a show, get to know the show first where possible. I attended cons for years with my spawn before ever vending at one. I actually had no intention of being a vendor at a con. See how that worked out for me! LOL
For selling pieces, do you think it would be a good idea to sell a variety of mediums and styles? For example, traditional artwork and digital artwork? Or is it best to stick with one consistent medium and style?
I am a fairly consistent person in terms of styles/mediums. I think most of my work is recognizably mine at this point. But, I do have a huge fine art background. I can throw pots, create encaustic mixed media work, do photography and more. Having that background makes me a far better painter. Would I bring all that to a show? No. “Jack of all trades, master of none” is a saying for a reason. My only goal, even as a teenage artist, was to be a portrait painter. So, this is what I do.
More answers can be found below: