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Exposure, Getting Better, Having the Chops

Journal Entry: Tue May 22, 2012, 8:23 PM

I'm only going off of my own personal experiences talking about these few things. (And I'm not specifically talking about ONLY dA here.) So take it with as many grains of salt as you can.

I've recently been asked questions like "How do I get people to see my work?", "Why am I not receiving commission inquiries?", "Why isn't anyone following my work?", "What can I do to get better?". Often, and I answered it before, the answer is as simple as this:


Create, as in, DRAW. PAINT. RENDER. SCULPT. You have to do develop a tolerance (or the obvious definition: LOVE) for creating if you want exposure and to get better. You have to LOVE the drawing or illustration that you HATE how it came out in the end. You have to ask yourself after every piece, what could I have done to do that differently. And you have to do this frequently.

Some folks come on the scene, post once or twice a week, and expect an audience to flock your way. Even if some have been on the site for years and expect it. This is not realistic. You have to develop an audience somewhat. You do that by drawing and posting and being social.


For me, what attracted folks to my work are female pinups and fanart. I don't buy into the "fanart is selling out" because it's not true. I also don't buy into the "you just draw tits to get exposure" which isn't true either. I've seen bad pieces of fanart. I've seen horrible, gratuitous drawings of tits. And they don't get the exposure. So, a big fat NULL on that concept. These are just one or two of the ways of gaining an audience. Those kinda comments come from people I designate HATERZ. Draw what the heck you want.

Once you find your niché audience, then you expand on that by working towards creating different things. But of course, remember to draw what you want to draw, you want to keep it enjoyable for yourself. But again, you have to be regular and try to force yourself to excel harder on each consecutive piece or creation. Even if it's just scribbly sketches, it's something, and it's a regular feed to your audience. The more people see, the more they fave, the more other people will jump in their galleries and see, and they fave/watch, and it's a snowball effect from there on, given that you continue to be regular.

Remember that there will be people who will stop watching you because you've changed tastes in style or genre. You can't please everyone. Not one person have yet to pull this feat off. JUST DRAW.


Sketches aren't meant to be finished pieces of work. Trial and error runs. Sometimes, they end up looking really good. Some of them are meant to be fully finished pieces of work. No matter how they look, POST THEM! If you think a gallery of sketches will change a potential client's perception in your skills, post them to a blog (BUT REMEMBER TO, AGAIN, BE REGULAR) so folks who are interested can see them. Because there will be interested people in a gallery chuck-full of experimental sketches.  


Sure go on ahead. But that doesn't mean you'll get an instant flow of new clients. They're not going to buy what they do not know. And they won't know you. If you DO ask for help, make sure that you hold your weight on your end. Don't come from under the rock, open commissions, ask an artist to help you, do the commissions you get, and get back under the rock. You won't make it past the "come from under the rock" phase anyway.

You have to be pullin' mad weight already and show it. Or else you won't be taken that seriously.


This is where confidence comes in. Confidence is the sum of all the aforementioned things to do: regularity and repetition. When you build up that consistent amount of content, people will then have no doubt that you can pull off what you can pull off. So when they ask to hire you, there'll be no question in their mind that you won't be able to (something I wish someone told me before that I had to realize for myself).

Also, don't become stale. I've unwatched artists who at one point were doing awesome things at the skill level they were once at, but they haven't advanced since. They get too comfortable and don't bother to get better at all. I can't condemn them for that, that's their call. And I can't condemn the people who continue to watch them, that's their call. But settling down is something that I personally feel is "laziness".


You'll never get anywhere being a loner. You will have to meet and develop relationships with different artists and people you meet. That in itself requires effort. Don't be scared to ask other artists for help. Truth be told, some may be very busy. But you're not bothering them at all to shoot a quick note/comment with a question. Either they a) won't get to answer it all, b) too busy to answer it, or c)answer it. You won't be delegated as a weirdo or be the laughing stock of the internet if it happens. (Okay, you will, we'll just make fun of you without you knowing.

I kid.)


Your way is not always the highway. Burger King may let you make your Whopper how you want it, but it can still be a nasty looking Whopper to someone else, or they could probably throw their two-cents on an ingredient that you don't know about that you could try on your Whopper and it may BLOW YOUR MIIIIIND. Jus' saying.

Don't be stand-offish when someone brings up a valuable error that you could learn from. You can still give your reasoning to appear like you know it all (or just state a reason why you did it that way if you had one from the outset) but be courteous and remember that you're imperfect... as it's impossible to draw perfect things. That's like having a lion draw a dog, but a lion can't draw in the first place. Itth doesn'th maketh senseth.

Of course, I don't know it all. I hope I didn't come across that way in this post. But I'm only sharing the things I know that works or have worked for me.

So if there's anything to remember from this lengthy post:

:bulletred: DON'T BE A HERMIT!
:bulletred: DON'T HAVE A POPSICLE STICK UP YOUR *woo-hoo*!

Happy arting, folks.

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  • Playing: Metal Gear Solid 1
  • Drinking: Lipton Half & Half
Add a Comment:
cinnamoonk Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2015   Digital Artist
I was definitely needing to read something like this. Thank you so much for posting it! <3
MakenMeister Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015   Traditional Artist
Thank you SO much for this! It's definately helped me become clear in how I could go about things now; I might even begin posting at least a photo, sketch, drawing or something else I do everyday here for instance (Yeah, I'm varied in my output) :)

Thanks again :D
Robaato Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
No problem! Glad that it helped put some fire under your seat! ^^
MakenMeister Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2015   Traditional Artist
:D Also a great expression :)
seadogz Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thank for posting this, it has brought me a new focus!
superhermit Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So... I can't be a hermit?
Magatzu Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
True words spoken by a very true artist. I wish I would've said them myself. :p
Jiekobu Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2012  Student Digital Artist
This was a really Good Nournal Lost of informations That could help out a poor Shmoe Like me
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Good points all around. It's starting to get to me that I'm not really gaining any ground with my work as far as regular commissions, popularity, fanfare, feedback, etc. I have some theories as to why that is, and I'm open to suggestions at the same time, but meanwhile I'm just trying to make myself create and create and push myself a lot harder and do a lot more. That, and looking beyond dA as well.
coolstacey101 Featured By Owner May 26, 2012  Student Digital Artist
great advice rob but sometimes i kinda hesitate to post my work when it not up to my liking if it wasn't for that i would post more art you know in fact i think ill just post some sketches for a while to get better at my anatomy for both mobian style and anime style mainly anime style since im already good at mobian style X)
a-nyul Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I fail at all points. :( Well, OK, i think I'm humble, but I even made negative record with the others: I haven't put any of my drawings on dA. (Only one, but that doesn't count)
TheInkedWolf Featured By Owner May 24, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I'm working on that socializing and practicing more. Just uploaded a bunch of stories, and going to be doing art once I can improve my scanner skills.
ManiacMcGee01 Featured By Owner May 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Dude Thanks!
LAVirrey Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Student Filmographer
This journal is so inspiring thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us. I need to be more active here if I want to go somewhere with my talent. Thanks again for sharing, your journals are always so moving.
LGMbarbie Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Student General Artist
My last account was not very active and I realized that while I was faveing and watching people I didn't participate very much as in talking or commenting. Now that I interact with people I actually found I get a lot more views even if I'm just really trying to get better at my art XD
KenjiRyori Featured By Owner May 23, 2012
Inspiring stuff, dude. I like it.
KEY-LOCK5593 Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Student General Artist
INSPIRED!!!! THANKS!!!!!!!! ;3;
Blueharbinger Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Well said. I agree.
Chialupa Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you for this!
dodgyrommer Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Student Digital Artist
:D This is awesome. Socializing is the hardest part for me! :P
Danny-Haymond-Jr Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Good advice here!
glitchxhavoc Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
May i add something to the social advice, get involved with groups on da. There are groups of every interest so there is always something for someone.
r0-nin Featured By Owner May 23, 2012
Ive always personally enjoyed sketches. possibly more than their finished counterparts. They let me see exactly how the artist went about creating their illustration. I can learn more from that. How to reproduce a technique or look i'm interested in, or add a little bit of a diff style to my own art.

sooo, ya know, i'm sure u have looooooooooads of sketches layin' around the house.

jus' sayin. :D
Madmangamer364 Featured By Owner May 23, 2012
Just an all-out very 'real' journal entry. Can't really say much after reading something like this. :thumbsup:
YoukoMJ Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
It's always nice to see some advice being given by the big boys and girls in the arty business. This shows I have alot to work on myself. XD Thank you for sharing, I know what to improve on and focus on now.
ale-xander Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Great post. Its always nice to get thoughts from different points of view.
REFLEX76 Featured By Owner May 23, 2012
Good shit.
ryan1147 Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Chops can be purchased at the butcher with many dollars of money.
arvalis Featured By Owner May 23, 2012
I like these advice posts youve been putting up.
setsuna22 Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
As far as being social, I have found two things have worked really well for me.

First, going to conventions. Even if you arent selling, you can meet artists you enjoy there. Thats how you and I met, officially :D

Then, I always found that drawing fanart for an artist you enjoy can open up conversation. I met Alex Ahad by drawing skullgirls art years and years ago (then met him officially at Fanime) and I met Crybringer by lining and coloring sketches of his that I enjoyed. I'm not saying to brown nose by drawing fanart but I really do think its a great way to introduce yourself to someone. Because really, art is the one interest that we all have in common :)
joshuaotero Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Well said. Art is a passion as well as for most artists a way of life. I had to learn all these things the hard way. But now that I have, I value it. Even after art school I now yearn for critiques. By the way... MGS1. Awesome.
Ben-Keen Featured By Owner May 23, 2012   Digital Artist
Great words, Rob. I needed this...
G-Chris Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah too.thanks!
fedde Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Professional General Artist
well put!, happy arting to you too!
/fedde the hermit
woodlu Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Always enjoy your insight man. Keep it coming :)
Coatl510 Featured By Owner May 22, 2012
this is defianately something I want to repost on tumblr and on Void.
Atlas0 Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
That was all really good advice.
benscott81 Featured By Owner May 22, 2012
Good advice. There, I made a comment, that makes me social. Now I just need to draw something. :D
SeemosYantra Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Student General Artist
Great advice indeed, master. You made it simple, didactical and, more than anything, sincere. Thank you very much. Inspiring!
ScottyArtz Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Student Digital Artist
The Popular thing has actually been irking me lately. Even though I post 3x-4x as much than a lot of users on this site, even though I feel I have improved a lot in the past 3 years, I'm baffled to see those with less than half the page views I have and have 4x-5x as much feedback than I have lol. Even those who don't even draw in the first place and are at over 1 mil views.

Granted, I will never stop drawing, and I guess you're right about the social status. I feel that I do communicate with my favorite artists a lot, but maybe not enough? The thing I always fear is ever come off as annoying, too anxious, or how I like to simplifying it; "thirsty", :XD:

I've talked about it before in a previous journal of mine but maybe artists like me probably need to change it up a bit to make ourselves different from the average good artist. Either that, or popularity is just catching up really slow with me LOL.

Another good Journal of Good Advice anyway :iconbadassplz:
College-Dropout Featured By Owner May 22, 2012
This actually helped me out a bit. I never thought to just post a sketch or an unfinished work. I feel unhappy about my own finished works, but, I assume that it is all in showing your improvement as well as your mistakes.

And why not? Most of the time, I'm actually more interested in seeing an artist's sketchbook instead of their finished pieces.
DanHowardArt Featured By Owner May 22, 2012
you should be an art coach. make more money!
Oderaa Featured By Owner May 22, 2012
Ha! Nice.
MizDawesome Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Student Filmographer
Gotta say
1. being social really does help, it's hard to keep it up but it really does.
2. Other artists will notice and respect you for trying out different things
3. Fan art does get a lot of attention (even when it's ugly, lol from experience) but if you don't keep it up you just become invisible again.

Also, I've found that joining various groups and posting your art there can help a whole lot too!

And if you take your time to create something very nice and you are very proud of it, chances are, the favs will keep on coming. At least they did for me, I'm still quite surprised that they still get favorited after the first 5 mins of getting posted XD
GnAc Featured By Owner May 22, 2012
And I agree, at least you have to draw/post often and talk to other deviants if you want to move forward :>
RetroDash Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Horrible advice! Just, terrible!

Nah, just kidding. Speak the truth, brotha.
MagickDream Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Truth!! Love it!
ScruffyScribbler Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Wall of text attacks for 206 damage!
fightingleaf Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, being famous is hard! ... Gonna do it! ... MUST TRY!!! Gonna be famous!! ... every day?
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May 22, 2012


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