Getting work as an artist can seem like a nebulous endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be.
Many art schools also fail to pass down this important facet to aid us in our creative lives. I’ve taken a couple minutes to record some methods that I’ve found very effective for acquiring paying work, and thus making a living.
It’s scheduled out because as an artist without work, we need to maintain a regimen in order to keep ourselves focused, otherwise our free and creative spirits tend to end up painting or drawing all day…which would be fine if there wasn’t bread to win.
If you stick with this method for 30 days, have a decent portfolio (a website, 6+ of your best pieces, etc…) then you’ll more than likely be able to find work. If you fail, don’t be discouraged, simply use it to build your ever-growing tenacity. Let the rejections fuel that roaring creative flame within, and press on.
Nothing was ever won by giving in. You don’t get better by giving up. If you have to “fail forward” then do so.
Now let me lay it out for you. I recommend altering the days to fit your needs.
Simple Artist Marketing Plan:
Monday: post that you’re available for work at every board or site you can, and in the following weeks bump former topics with new work(s). Monday should be dedicated to unearthing new, relevant, trafficked sites that will enable you to post your work in some fashion and let people know you’re available for hire.
Tuesday: Tuesday is direct email day. This is where you collect and email as many companies as you can using good form. If your art isn’t a complete match to their style/IP, then offer to do an art test in your email. Otherwise schedule them in for the following weeks after you can complete portfolio work that’s more targeted. Sometimes you can go to company websites and they have a specific process as to how they hire. Be sure to play by their rules, otherwise you’ll likely get skipped over.
Wednesday: Wednesday is local day. Find as many local studios as you can and email/cold call them. More often than not, I’ve found that informational interviews are the best way to get your foot in the door. Then you can ask pertinent questions about the workplace, how they handle projects inhouse, etc…Simple and vested conversation may lead to an ACTUAL interview.
Thursday: Thursday is Mailer day. This is where you collect the addresses of companies you wish to work for that aren’t local. Once you’ve got a couple, make custom postcards and have a local printing shop run about 25 – 50 of them. The next step is to take those postcards and write addresses on them the old fashion way. If there’s an art director at the property you wish to do work for (usually there is) then make sure that you address it to them by name.
Boom! You’ve just spent 4 days of the week hustling to provide service. Friday – Sunday is where you burn the midnight oil working on your art so that you become more and more attractive to potential clients. Sometimes you spend it all developing one piece, and other times it’s for studying anatomy, light, painting, drawing, etc…
The point is to ensure you’re taking part in activities that actually MATTER. Playing games for an hour is fine, or watching a movie while you sketch, but it’s very important to spend more time doing the MAJOR things rather then the minor things.
Hope this little guide was helpful! I’ve used just just three of these methods to make a living as an artist, but now that I’m ready to step my game up I’ll be using all 4.
Remember, Power Painters…Fortune favors the well-prepared.