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Building a following as an artist, advice and guidance?


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So, I noticed that @Corsair posted a wonderful topic about whether or not it was worthwhile to start a Patreon account, and got some great advice, and it got me thinking that I would love to hear what our artists think are the best tips and advice, and general guidance they could give any artist starting out in regards to building a following, and hopefully a base in which to earn from.

So, what advice or guidance would you share to someone just starting or even an established artist looking to build a following online for their art?

@kami, @Pepper-Head, @runeowl, @atomicdrawls, @jakdacrowe


This is @Corsair's topic for those interested:


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I think it's important to post quality content frequently. Fan art can usually get more attention, because it's interest related.

But honestly, this is something I'm still trying to figure out for myself. I know in many cases it's a lot about marketing yourself rather than just skill (though you do need to have content that is appealing).

Is there any resource (blog, video, etc) that someone found helpful in teaching about marketing?


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Understand the social media platform you're using. Every single one is different and caters differently for different audiences. What works on Twitter won't work on Facebook, for example. Doing the research on what platform is right for you (as you'll want to be actively using it and engaging others on it, so if you hate the social media page, don't use it!) is important, as is looking up other people's tips and advice on marketing on that platform.

As an example, I'm extremely familiar with Deviantart, I am fairly comfortable with the ins and outs, and you'll see that easily as that's where I have my biggest following. I wrote up a blog post about how I did it a while back that's still relevant: http://ringoyan.deviantart.com/journal/How-I-Market-Myself-541789004

Though for other social sites, I tend to be weaker in my knowledge. I'm still working those out, but for what I've gathered thus far:

Facebook: join groups. Be sure to read the rules, make sure you follow them, and ideally give back a little and comment or like other people's posts.

YouTube: it's all about interaction. Actively comment on other related people's channels. If you're doing time lapse videos, like what I do, find other channels that do time lapse videos.

What can help across platforms as well is cross promotion or collaborations. Find someone of a similar size following and interest, see if they're up to collaborating or maybe doing a trade of some kind, and follow through. You can help give each other a boost that way.

Be active AND interactive. RESPOND to people. (So often I see artists NOT doing this and I DON'T KNOW WHY.) Followers LOVE to get replied to. If you get loads of messages a day, just reply when and where you can. It really makes a difference and helps your followers feel closer to you and more engaged. They're more likely to have a positive opinion and be active in your community.

In general, being active in the art community and not just self-posting everywhere helps a lot, plus it spreads some smiles around as I would think most everyone loves getting positive comments. :) 

Hope that's helpful.

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  • 5 weeks later...

find a niche and saturate it. 
draw the same thing over and over and upload consistently. 
also comment on people's profiles, reply, and participate in the community.

Furry is the easiest one to do.
Do some research and find out who's popular at the time and make them gift art that you upload in your gallery.
typically they fave it and it appears on their front page. which gets you free publicity. 

another thing, go to convention and do art trades, or purchase a table and sell buttons/prints. (go to walmart and get small prints made. they're 19cents and sell them for $3 or give them away as promotionals)

*cough* porn *cough* 
*cough* fetish art *cough*

and most importantly.. dont use deviantart. 
you can get more followers on instagram, facebook, and furaffinity than you ever will on DA. 
typically if you dont already have a following, getting *anything* on DA is near impossible. 

also as an example... you dont need to be good. at all. just participate in the community and comment ON EVERYTHING.

just remember. on EVERY social media platform, each comment you make is a promotion for yourself. and each friend you make is a connection to more people. 

fyi, what I would do is choose a platform that has heavy traffic and comment on everything that's been posted in the past 1-3 hours absolutely dilligently for about a few days. like just comment on everything that moves. (I mean within reason. if its a piece you really dont like, dont say you like it. just say something like "wow you did a great job!" etc.) and reply to /everything/. just put your all into it, and later on you can pick through which ones you like and which ones can be valuable customers etc. then you can tone down the media frenzy.

I usually go with quantity first and quality later. 

also TAG TAG TAG TAG spam the HECK out of tags. put as many as possible. If you draw a dog sitting and howling at the moon and upload it to furaffinity tag it as "dog" "canine" "canid" "wolf" "sitting" "howling" "moon" "at" "the" "3" "yourusername" "date" "media type" "background type" "colors involved" etc.

if you're on instagram tag it as "art" "artwork" "wolves" "wolf" "dog" "dogs" "3 wolf moon" "moon" "moody" "edgy" etc

remember, tumblr only uses the first 6 tags, so use the first 6 to be searchable, and the rest to be blog specific to find.

Edited by Zrcalo
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15 minutes ago, Zrcalo said:

and most importantly.. dont use deviantart. 
you can get more followers on instagram, facebook, and furaffinity than you ever will on DA. 
typically if you dont already have a following, getting *anything* on DA is near impossible. 

DA is the only place I've found to get followers. XD

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18 minutes ago, kami said:

DA is the only place I've found to get followers. XD

lol! I could be wrong though. I just didnt find the site active enough to get followers. 
I dont draw fanart (because I cant sell it), and my old account which had a bunch of followers got banned in 2006, so the google search index goes to that account and not my current one. DA's also not mobile friendly, so a lot of people I know who used DA no longer do. 
FA's my go-to because typically as an unknown I can pull $50 commissions depending on content. 
I also dont draw humans typically. 

whats your DA? 
edit: I found you!!!

also hey! I see you do vid tutorials. I have a TON of art supplies I'm not using. what kind of art supplies are you looking for?

Edited by Zrcalo
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It's definitely not like it was in its hay day, and I'd surely be sitting in the 400s still if I hadn't figured out the strategies I did.

That's awesome that FA works so well for you :) 

Ah thanks for the offer! I've purchased some of what I've needed already, it's mostly just some Copic inks I need now. Though if you're ever up to just getting rid of stuff, I'll happily go through what you don't want. :) 

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