When I started my career as a freelance artist 10+ years ago, I was under the impression that I could do it all. What I couldn’t do I would go ahead and research it, however after spending so much time behind a computer working on my dream and the dreams of others. I have come to the painful realization that there will be some things I cannot do, or I should not be doing. This blog post is about that. About how there are limits to doing everything by yourself.
Loneliness of Freelancing
Inherently there are times where you might feel that working alone is the best possible solution. That perhaps it’s better to have no co-workers than to have bad co-workers and whilst you are right in that. I personally think that when only one person is present in the creation of a project, the inherent vision of that creative endeavor, will become very narrow. If you only create from yourself, from what you think, from what you now. You will only create work that is for you, and while some people might resonate with it, the reality is that this work is personal to you, and you alone. However when you start putting yourself in a more connected space you will find that not only the works speaks to you, but it will speak more loudly to others around you.
Collaboration does not have to be a one way street
Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that because no one is reaching out to us, that means that no one appreciates our work, or that no one wants to work with us. However the opposite is far more likely. When you reach out to other artists and begin connecting with them, you are letting them know that they can connect with you as well. One of the easiest ways to spark up a collaboration with another artists is to of course message them. Whether through social media platforms like twitter, instagram, facebook or through more old school ways like snail mail or a phone conversation. Reaching out will let them know that you are there, and are willing to have fun with them.
Collaboration is a great way to stop thinking of yourself as an individual and start thinking of yourself as part of a group. One extra nice tip for collaborating with other artists, is to send them fan-art. Usually of their original characters or IP. Most online creators will have a showcase of their art and characters on instagram or on their media tabs in twitter. Do a little research and next time you want to collaborate with one of your favorite artists, try starting the conversation with a little fan art for them. Not only do artists love receiving fan-art but it’s also a great way to show them what skills you are bringing to the table.
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?
This age old question fits quite nicely when it comes to hermit freelancing. Freelancers are very close to hermits. We spend most of our days holed up in a studio usually away from other people. We rarely talk to other individuals unless it’s clients and usually that happens through some sort of messaging or email environment, and we spend most of our years trying to improve a technique that is usually only relevant to us. However when it comes to our art, we can’t be full hermits otherwise we would die, and whilst the idea of making a million paintings isolated from the world sounds interesting, is not realistic. Once we paint a new work, we feel proud and happy, yet if this is truly our career, pride and happiness are not the only things we need. We need financial stability, good marketing practices and a healthy prospect/client base. The only way to achieve this in the current market is through the internet. Social media can be a huge help in establishing and growing the connection we have with outside work. With it, we can get new eyes on our art, new fans and new people that are willing to pay us for it.
The world is out there for the taking, we just need to well… Go out there and take it.