Kaitlin Moon asked me: “Do you ever experience artist block and what is your cure that you use to overcome it?”
That happens when I get bored of a subject, technique, process… because I did it too often or because I’m not in this mood anymore (that’s why my style has changed a lot after years, and it still changes).
If I really want to draw or paint right now, but I’m blocked because I don’t see any idea/feeling coming up, I can start the process differently, or use other materials, for example:
- instead of starting with the face of a character, I’m gonna start with his feet / the enviro before the characteres / the ouline before the abstract shapes of a painting / use oil instead of water-colour, etc…
- look for subjects I’ve never tried before,
- try collaborations with other artists,
- find a mentor who can drive you,
- ask friends (artists or not) to comment your work, or to share their opinions, ideas,
- try new styles (realistic, cartoon, naïve, …), deform my “graphic codes”,
- try new softwares,
- practice and learn new techniques,
- impose to myself a short deadline,
- look for another place to work, to change my mind,
- make some research about what inspires me,
- have a break and try again later… :)
If I’m still not convinced by what I’m doing, I stop for real, for a while, and I start doing something else (usually hanging out with my friends :p). Sometimes I stop drawing for a week, 3 months… And then the inspiration comes back naturally (and that can affect my style in a good way).
If this is for work, this is not really the same process / context: there is a client behind who pays me for a result and I have a deadline. My brain is not in free wheel: I have to think about design, setting up elements in action, choose or practice the requested style, follow the references, be (almost) sure about the process I’m gonna use, to be efficient and respond to a brief.
Sometimes it’s hard, especially when I didn’t practice a specific style for a long time, or when this is totally new. In both cases, the exciting part is the challenge. I need to practice during some hours, even a day or 2, to feel more confident, because the technique and the idea of workflow are finally coming back.
"Where do you draw inspiration from when creating your more indept digital art pieces like the second from the right piece featured above?"
From my head mostly :) I started to grow and practice this style around 2006. I had and still have graphic patterns, recurrent codes, such as my intuition for colors, organic shapes, face expressions, mood… However the context of this image was contradictorily a commission, but the client gave me “carte blanche”. They were just specific by choosing this style I used to do years ago, and they asked me to follow the subject: the Delilah character from the game Dishonored (Arkane Studios / Bethesda).
Amélie Hutt asked me “Do you have any advice about marketing and to find clients?”
Here is some advice, this is just my opinion, my ways to market my work (I apologize if my english writing sounds not perfect ;)
It’s a lot of work if you want to do it seriously; I read in a book that it should be 70% of your time to be really efficient (but it sounds crazy, you’re not really working on your stuff anymore). Or you can find an art representative, who is gonna help you for that job.
++ Internet is one of the best platforms to start ++
You need to be seen and let the audience recognizes your work:
- Post your work (pro, personal, sketch, collaborations…) on the social networks (Facebook, tweeter, tumblr …),
- have a website,
- have a LinkedIn page, behance, artstation…
All those platforms are usefull, “pro-connected” and viral, to get more exposure. If you are (really) productive, one post every 1-3 days is good (especially on FB), more would be too much for your audience, I think. One post every two days sounds good to me even if it’s still a lot, and that depends on your philosophy (such as “quality is better than quantity”…) and your public. Considering Facebook limits the visibility of your post (otherwise you have to pay), you have better chance to be seen if you post more regularly and quite often (so every 1-2 days). It’s a lot of commitment, but significantly helpful to extend your visibility.
+ If your work can fit into galleries, make a list of the ones which might be interesting and interested by your work. In any doubt, try anyway to contact them, visit them to ask questions.
+ Look into artistic events, send your application to participate,
+ Organize collaborations with other artists,
+ Make announcements about your future events (exhibition, sale of artworks, new website, books, collaborations, …),
++ Have an efficient portfolio ++
This is never easy, especially when you do a lot of difference things, clients can be lost. Try to be organized and separate your artworks by sections, or different portfolios according to your targets. In my case, I have 2 main sections in my homepage, like 2 websites: one related to games, RPJ, commercial illustrations, and another one more personal.
The simplistic presentation is often the most efficient. Just keep in mind that clients are busy and that they want to go straight to the point.
For video game artists: ArtStation is free, easy, connected to a large platform of professionals, and allows you to publish a webpage. Also: Behance, CargoCollective (illustration, photo, design…), carbonmade, indexhibit,…
++ It is good to thank your followers for their support ++
» Because they share their feelings, talk, defends and respect your work. Sometimes it’s hard to respond to everyone because you’re busy, but try as much as you can, even if it’ll be a short answer; they will understand :)
» Sometimes I like to launch a contest, to celebrate the season greetings, or because a social page has reached a special amount of followers… The randomly picked participant can win a print, a drawing (it’s an example)… I’m happy for them (and also super happy when that happens to me :D)
» Thank also your previous clients when you can, with greeting cards, email with an update of your portfolio…
» It is also good to support the others artists in any ways. I realize that I can’t do it for all those I admire and respect, but I’m glad when I can do it, when I can help.
++ Contact the clients directly ++
That can be for an available job/contract or for a speculative application. The way to do it depends on the artistic field and what you want to reach, but usually there is the same base (imo):
- a cover letter, with the reasons why you contact them (they need to feel this is not a copy-pasted application),
- a link to your website/pdf & CV,
- what you can offer (your skills),
- what you’d love to do with them,
- what you have done…
- What commitments you’re ready for to get that job (such as: open to learn new softwares, relocation, training if you start in this field…).
- Don’t lie, try to be yourself.
- Don’t be negative.
Don’t write a too long letter
Try to give the most important informations at the top of the e-mail to be sure they won’t skip it; you’re not the only one applying, they are busy. Start with the reason why you contact them (the related job/position, and the short version of the reason “why them” in particular), links of your website+CV and then, a deeper explanation of your background, skills, expectations, etc…
If there is no answer for several weeks, several months, or even not at all: don’t be offended, that happens all the time. Companies (small or big) are busy, and/or don’t need anybody at the moment, or have already found somebody else, or your portfolio doesn’t fit enough = keep working.
Sometimes, you can wait a really long time before a client gets back to you; so be patient.
Wait at least 6months before sending an application again to the same company, and I would hardly recommend to update your portfolio at the same time.
+ Also to find new clients, make a lot of research about what you’re looking for, the related companies, projects, learn and practice the softwares you might use in those companies…
Hoping that can help!