If you want to be an artist, be authentic, love your art and don’t be too self-critical. There will be people who don’t like your art, so do yourself a favour: love what you do. Creators Kit Buss and Nigel Sade share their pearls of wisdom with fans at MCM Comic Con London 2021.
Two important creators in story universe, Kit Buss and Nigel Sade, shared useful tips on how to market your creations to the right audience at the Marketing Your Art panel at the MCM Comic Con London 2021.
Buss is a comic artist and the official character creator for Critical Role’s Vox Machina. Sade is an artist and founder of Studio de Sade Fine Art.
Tips on honing the right portfolio for the industry
1. Networking is important
Buss spent a lot of time attending conventions and networking events to break into the industry. It also helped her to know contacts with good work ethics. Most of Buss’s contacts are women creators who became mentors in shaping her career trajectory.
2. Have a social media presence
Social media is a marketing game changer. Find out the right time and day of the week to post on Instagram or other social media. It does work and could bring surprisingly productive results.
3. Well-curated portfolio
Sade recommended choosing 10-20 good art pieces to showcase. And a healthy dose of self-confidence. It’s good to be critical of your own work but not too critical. He said: “There’ll be plenty of people who’ll hate your art. Do not be one of them. Don’t be too self-critical.”
What about older work? Should they be featured on our portfolio. Buss thought that artist should embrace their older work. “Don’t have phobias of [your] old work. It shows that you’ve improved.” Sade recommended putting older work into a sub-section.
Remember to update your portfolio website regularly too.
“There’ll be plenty of people who’ll hate your art. Do not be one of them. Don’t be too self-critical.”
4. Be more confident
Insecurity is a career killer, so having a creator’s confidence is pretty important. Buss said: “Have confidence in yourself. Improvement comes naturally with drawing the artworks a lot. Don’t let your lack of confidence take the lead.”
Sade observed that imposter syndrome is rampant within the arts community. He said: “If you don’t place value in your what you’re doing, nobody will.”
5. Be your own authentic self
There are so many ways of to work as an artist. Eventually you should find your own style. “Be yourself,” said Sade. “My strongest influence is Dali, but I’m not trying to be Dali.”
Buss recommended reading books and exposing yourself to a wide range of subjects, even the ones that you don’t like. She believes creators should be authentic in term of pure aesthetics. Her work in Vox Machina is the result of what she likes to present. It isn’t influenced by what the audience wants.
6. Love what you do
It sounds like a cliché but yes, you have to be a big fan of your chosen artistic path.
According to Sade: “Art is a compulsion, not a choice. If you grow tired of 80-hours amount of work, don’t be an artist.”
A professional career in art requires strong commitment. “Figure out a way to be professional or just keep it as a hobby. You don’t want to hate it.”
Buss agreed with Sade’s view. She went to art school to be trained as an animator but discovered that it was definitely not her cup of tea. She chose to be a comic artist and hasn’t looked back since.
“Improvement comes naturally with drawing the artworks a lot. Don’t let your lack of confidence take the lead.”
7. Go to art school, or get yourself trained
Art school is a perfect place to find mentors, develop skills and test out tried-an-tested workflows for artists. You could also attend live-drawing schools or follow online tutorials.
8. Do the boring thing… learn to use SEO
You need technology to cast your net wider.
“It’s boring but it really pays to do SEO to market your worth,” said Buss. Keeping up with the latest technology could really benefit creators.
Her checklist includes having a nice website, having a good range of work selections and learning the algorithm for social media.
About Kit Buss
About Nigel Sade