If you know me personally then you probably know that I have a problem with book hoarding. After cleaning out my selection and donating a solid amount of books, I still own 200+. Here’s the catch though: I rarely finish any of them in a timely manner, and sometimes not at all. I just have a hard time getting through them, no matter how in love with the book I am. However, after just a few short days of purchasing Cory Huff’s “How To Sell Your Art Online” I was done with the book and ready to hit the ground running with all my new ideas this lovely book had sparked.
While my background in web design and marketing allowed me to skim through some sections of the book, it still caused me to think of what I already know in a different way and I walked away with a new confidence in my artwork and the business it has become. Here’s the most important lessons I learned from the book (don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything!)
My favorite quote from the book, and maybe my new favorite quote of all time, is from William Grant Turnbull:
“You have a unique and amazing contribution to make to the world. Your job is to find both what it is and who needs it. Otherwise, you just have a really cool hobby and should probably just enjoy it on your own time and go marry into money.”
It’s easy to get discouraged when you realize just how many other artists are out there on Instagram, Facebook, street corners, and galleries trying to do just what you are. You’re not going to reach everyone that would ever possibly be interested in your art, and that’s ok. Some of those people will find their way to you and you can build your own unique following that loves your art regardless of what other artists are doing. If you put the time and passion into making and sharing your work then people will come. You just have to create a way for them to find you!
Another great point Huff makes is, “what is good art if you don’t tell anyone about it?”. Many of the artists that I know are very shy about their works. They have a hard enough time sharing their finished pieces, let alone work in progress pictures, the meaning of the piece, or any other information that some of their viewers are itching to know. When people get to dig a little deeper into the art they’re seeing, it sticks with them. Let people in with what you’re up to because art is so much better when you can share it with someone else.
As Cory Huff puts it simply: “If your creativity goes away, your ability to do your day job will too.” I get it. Not everyone can spend their entire day, every day, on their art. I’m definitely not one of those people, as I work 50 hours a week, and that doesn’t even cover time spent on my own art projects. It may suck, but there is always time for art. Whether that means waking up an hour earlier to paint before work, or putting off going to the movies to save a little bit of cash for supplies, there are ways to make it happen.
It’s a well known trope that artists think differently than the average human. Whether that’s the case or not, people still want to know what’s going on in that head of yours. While writing down your processes, trains of thought, and overall emotions behind a piece, are all valuable parts of your story and brand, it’s important you do it well. Start locating some of your favorite artist’s blogs and see how they do it. Writing is an important skill to have and it’s going to help you convince people to buy your work. You don’t have to be a salesman, just a story teller will do fine.
And for the love of all that is holy, please do not name your piece “Untitled” unless you have a reason to. Even the simplest of titles will help add to the story your art creates, and will help people identify your different pieces. Make it as easy as possible for people to tell others about your work by giving them something to reference it by, even if that name is just No.4.
I would highly recommend the book to any budding artist. Personally, it helped me learn new perspectives and strengthened and built upon knowledge I already had, which is all I could have asked for! You can pick up your own copy from your local book store, or if you must, you can purchase it on Amazon, here. Good luck and happy reading!