It's been a little over a month since I made the jump from my safe retail job into the world as a working artist. Here are some of the things I've been up to and what I've learned. Hopefully it will be useful to some of you wanting to do the same thing. The purpose of this blog is to keep myself motivated and on track.
1. BEING THANKFUL
My first month has been slow with clients but I have managed to make some money with a few graphic design and illustration jobs. Even when I am a little stressed because my computer is acting up or I have a deadline shortly approaching, I have been able to sit back and be thankful that I have this opportunity at all. I'm thankful that my wife is so supportive, and that I am on the right path. I am not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. I am enjoying the moment.
One of my biggest strengths has always been in promotion. I have done a lot of research over the years and understand what it takes to promote what I love. I'm always looking for new ways to put myself out there. In December I sent out press releases to Newspapers and Sci-Fi blogs about the trailer for my new short film. This led to an interview in The Chico News & Review expected to be out later this month.
I also had the opportunity to present my short film Wormholes at the 1078 Gallery along with props, puppets, and sets from my movies. At the show I handed out 50 business cards and spoke to a lot of great people. This led to a couple potential animation jobs and a screening of Wormholes at a Freak Show in February.
I created artist mailers to promote my illustration to newspapers, publishers, and editors and ordered new business cards that include animation in the title. This month I plan to compile addresses and mail them out.
At the moment I am making most of my money on Graphic Design jobs but have also done a couple illustration commissions. My favorite project in December was a portrait of a man holding his cat that was supposed to look like an oil painting and be kind of funny. It turned out better than expected and I also learned some cool tricks in Photoshop that I've never needed before.
I've been experimenting in how to make the best use of my day so that I can be as productive as possible without going insane. To do this, I really had to learn how I ticked. I learned that I am more productive in the morning and if I start the day creating, the rest of my day can stay productive. I now check my email between 9am and 7pm unless I am expecting something. This allows me time to create or get a head start on projects without distractions or negativity hitting my brain. At my former retail job we used to have morning huddles that would always put me in a bad mood. I never understood why until this month.
I am nearing the end of a short film that was funded through Kickstarter. Though I'd love to focus all of my attention on this project, I had to separate my time so I could draw in new clients. Until this film is finished, I am spending the second half of the day and weekends on the film but the first half of my day is towards illustration and graphic design. My film The Spaceman will be released in February and I am financial stable enough to give it a little extra attention for a couple of months. Though this movie is a labor of love it is important towards demonstrating what I'm capable of.
That was my December. I look forward to starting the new year off right. I'd be interested to hear how some of you keep productive and happy while working from home or as artists.