ART AND FEAR
THE PERFECT BAIT
Another book artists have read and endorse.....THE PERFECT BAIT by Bobby Chiu
Here are some tips from Bobby.. via the Schoolism Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155697064120158&set=a.142597025157.233240.825290157&type=1&theater
Five main points. If you can do all five of these, you're going to have a great career. Before you can strengthen your career with these concepts to follow, though, there’s something that you need first: talent. You don’t have to be born with talent, but you do have to work hard at developing it.
#1 - Have a Career Compass.
A lot of people when asked, will say that they have an idea of what their goal is. Maybe they want to work on a game or a movie, but they don’t have it narrowed down any further than that. Be very specific about your goals. What kind of movie do you want to work on? What kind of game? Get into the details. Once you have enough details, then you can use that goal as your ‘career compass’. Whatever moves you make, make sure that you think about your compass, and think if your next move is going to take you closer to your goal. My goal was to work on a Tim Burton movie so every job and painting I did was not based on how much it paid but instead on whether or not it was complementary to something I could see Tim Burton doing in one of his films.
The choices won’t always be crystal clear, but sometimes they are. If you get asked to work on an independent movie, and that’s your goal, then that’s super clear. But it won’t always play out like that. Just make sure that every move you make brings you closer to your goal, and aligns with your compass.
Look out for instances where you get offered a job that is simple but doesn't align with your goals. Some people will think “It won’t take long, so I’ll do it.” Those jobs are the worst! If you don't desperately need the money, don't take it. Those jobs won’t bring you towards your goal, they are merely a sidestep or even a step backwards because the time you waste on projects that don’t align with your career compass is time you could have spent on improving your art or learning something useful to get you closer to your goal.
#2 - The Art of Conversation.
Learn how to talk with people. Being a good artist will help your career, but will you have to talk to people along the way? Generally, yes! Everyone has to talk to people, artists, musicians, we all have to talk to people! There are very few jobs where you don’t have to talk to anybody.
Don’t just learn your art, but learn the art of conversation as well. The best way to learn that is to constantly consider, “How am I coming across to that person?” Don’t just think about how you sound inside your head. Consider, “If I were that executive, and I am pitching a new toy to that person, how would what I am saying sound to her?” Try to visualize yourself as the other party. That is the way to get really good at speaking to others. As you explain something, if you look at it from the listener’s point of view, you might think, “Oh, this wouldn’t make sense to, say, my grandmother!” So then you’ll change it and change it until you think your grandmother, or whoever you’re talking to will understand it. That’s the art of communication: getting your meaning across.
Your career will simply not be as good if you can’t talk to people.
#3 - Learn When to Say No.
You can’t reach high levels of success without being able to say no to some things. If you just say yes to everything, then you’ll be spread too thin. This advice is more for people beginning to become successful because when you’re not successful yet, you have all the time in the world to take on projects. When your career begins to take off, however, a big part of that is being able to say, “No, I can't right now.” You’re going to come across many great opportunities along your journey, and a lot of the time, they will come all at once. If you take them all, you’re not going to do as well. Aim to show your potential with every job. If you overwhelm yourself with tasks, then you’re going to scar some customers or clients because they will think the rushed work you made for them is the best you can do. And only exceptional quality is truly priceless. It's much easier to put a price tag on cheap or low quality work.
#4 - Spread Out Your Sources of Exposure and Income.
This advice may apply to your sources of income and/or your sources of exposure. You can often trade one for the other. If you only have income coming from one source, it’s good to have multiple exposures. Maybe exposure from your company helping to spread your name, and a magazine you contribute to and yourself through Twitter and Instagram. Multiple incomes such as from making toys, prints, and working freelance, is also important because it gives you stability. If one of those things goes down, you still have all those other sources of income and exposure, so you won't feel it as much.
#5 - The Ability to Wait.
Once you have that stability, then it unlocks this whole new ability. It unlocks the ability to wait* for a great job. A lot of the time, we’re so nervous about when we might get our next job, that we just take whatever comes to us. But if you have the ability to wait, then you can work on more stuff, put it out there, and you can attract the jobs that you really want.
*Waiting doesn’t just mean sitting and looking at a wall. It means working on your own art to have an even better chance to get the jobs you want!
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Words by Bobby Chiu. Written by Flynn Ringrose — with Flynn Ringrose.
For a book full of simple poses you can do at your desk (and even in your car!) to reduce stress -- with lots of illustrated diagrams: http://www.happygoyoga.com/
Many artists are naturally quiet people -- a quality often mis-understood -- especially in the entertainment industries, where so many people are overwhelmingly outgoing. If you are a quiet person who needs to make sense of your needs ... and even more importantly .. if you are a gregarious boss/mentor with Quiet types on your team.. .this book has tips on making space for quiet folks so they can thrive.
UPDATE AUG 22, 2015
Author Susan Cain has started a new website .. The Quiet Revolution. Here are links with more info:
TED talk blog post with summary of book, website, etc.
NY Times article about Susan Cain starting the website
Quiet Revolution website homepage: http://www.quietrev.com/
UPDATE AUG 23, 2015
You are NOT alone...Many folks in the arts suffer in silence with chronic conditions.
Link above from My Modern Met highlights photo gallery of various "silent" conditions. Photos by Allie Cashel and Erica Lupinacci
MORE LINKS AND RESOURCES..
Facing a deadline -- up too long on a project .. just plain stuck??
"How do other artists "make it" ???" It takes learning the art of the sell. See how and why in this great post by Jessica Abel...
I’m a cartoonist and a writer. I do this work because I have something I want to communicate. Communicating that (and continuing to produce it) requires selling it, and so selling it is part of the job. Shakespeare had to sell theater tickets. DaVinci had to sell paintings. Dickens had to sell magazines. Being in the business of selling my work does not suddenly make me a “business person.” It makes me an artist.
Link to post by artist Joe Sutphin from the creative community forum blog, The Rabbit Room. http://www.rabbitroom.com/
In this post called "A Cure for Head and Shoulders Syndrome" Joe offers some tools for his fellow artists who get stuck on a drawing after this point...Isn't it interesting that drawings frequently get blocked at the same area of the body where artists hold and carry so much tension in their bodies....
UPDATE AUG 17, 2015
So wonderful when world's collide! This link from blog for Popular Science magazine showed up on my radar today... with article and wonderful graphic by Maki Naro... all about "What Happens When You Ask a Cartoonist for Free Work." http://www.popsci.com/no-spec-work?cDybgA1uDM8yIPoK.01
This graphic should be on every artist's inspiration board!
Also on my radar August 17th .. this little essay as a Facebook post from artist Nidhi Chanani :
Work below is titled "Bubble Bath" 2012. See more of her art here https://everydayloveart.com/
Nidhi's essay below from Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nidhichananiartist?pnref=story
Art and Depression discussed in this heartfelt post on blog by artist George Pratt...
Interview with doodles artist Emm Roy on Buzzfeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/maggyvaneijk/your-emotions-are-valid#.aqjNqPYYk
UPDATE AUGUST 23, 2015
Esteemed artist Claire Wendling shared this link to "brainpickings" on-line digest.. for this article about artist Louise Bourgeois and the book "Louise Bourgeois: Destruction of the Father, Reconstruction of the Father: Writings and Interviews 1923-1997)"http://www.brainpickings.org/2015/08/17/louise-bourgeois-letters-diaries-art/
Louise distrusted words.. but kept extensive diaries .. with insightful quotes on her struggle with artistic integrity.. finding the truth in art... etc. The article also addresses the value of community for artists.. and the issues with isolation...
See if your local indie bookstore can find you this title: http://www.worldcat.org/title/destruction-of-the-father-reconstruction-of-the-father-writings-and-interviews-1923-1997/oclc/37843769&referer=brief_results
UPDATE AUG 24 -- Your Science Lesson for Today, Chemistry and Art
One way to refresh the well of inspiration is to explore art-related fields. This one just arrived on my radar.
UPDATE AUG 25, 2015 "The Best Drawer"
More about Graham on his website: http://www.grickle.com/
The notion of needing to find balance between work and lifestyle isn't just an artists struggle.. awareness of the link between wellness and productive is rising in business and science fields.
From "The Scientist" Magazine and website... 8.24.15 Opinion story by Susan Fitzpatrick.. "Making Progress by Slowing Down"
Medium Corp 8.20.15 website essay by Dustin Moskovitz "Work Hard, Live Well" https://medium.com/life-learning/work-hard-live-well-ead679cb506d
UPDATE 8.26.15 "The Upsurge in Uncertain Work" by Robert Reich, Huffington Post
The perils of freelance life extend to other fields besides art.. You aren't alone.. even large companies are staffing freelancers.... read this excerpt..
Here's link for the entire article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/the-upsurge-in-uncertain-_b_8036690.html
Authors argue against Amazon.. "Is Amazon Creating a Cultural Monopoly" by Vauhini Vara 8.23.15 The New Yorker http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/is-amazon-creating-a-cultural-monopoly?mbid=social_facebook
Authors United’s specific argument—that Amazon’s actions are bad for consumers because they make our world less intellectually active and diverse—is unorthodox in its resort to cultural and artistic grounds.
Why Facebook Can't help you sell books (and art??) case study with some sobering facts...article by Michael Alver for website Digital Book World
"Think Etsy's Dead?.." Article by Arthur Piccio on UCreative/Youthedesigner site. A quick read with a few basic tips from teen who earned her tuition selling items....http://www.ucreative.com/articles/think-etsys-dead-a-19-year-old-proves-otherwise/
This image is Brilliant! Graphic by artist Franchesco. This image arrived on my radar today.. and reminds us how perceived value factors into pricing...
At a con or art show.. remind patrons that for XXX price they can have print they can enjoy for a long time... of an image they really like.. and support the artist who made it.. or they can 2 or 3 fancy coffee drinks they can enjoy for a few moments....
"Comic explains why Depression and Anxiety are so hard to beat" post by Dovas on Bored Panda. Comic Art by Nick Seluk of Awkward Yeti. Written by Sarah Flanigan.http://www.boredpanda.com/anxiety-depression-comics-nick-seluk-sarah-flanigan-awkward-yeti/
Science article on "7 Things you need to STOP doing to be more productive:
Many artists use Kickstarter to get projects off the ground.. but did you know that Kickstater is also a cost-effective way to build your brand and your fan base??
Madeleine Holly-Rosing's book is the prefect "how-to" primer on Kickstarter...
And here is link to an article "The Billion Dollar Kickstarter Tactic No One is Talking About" by Russel Nohelty: http://www.sffworld.com/2015/10/the-billion-dollar-kickstarter-tactic-nobodys-talking-about-by-russel-nohelty/
This video clip making the rounds.... Watch People in Other Industries Reacting to Being Asked to Work for Free...http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/watch-people-other-industries-react-hilariously-being-asked-free-spec-work-167945
This link is a tutorial on Breathing Exercises to Manage Anxiety and Stress
Dec blog post -- 5 insights from study on post traumatic growth...
Science needs artists! and artists.... you're using science and chemistry all the time in your work :)
Essay by Frank Wilczek from Aeon online https://aeon.co/about
Science Magazine article "How Fear Can Limit Your Career Potential" by David Jensen
Post by Arthur Piccio on Ucreative -- great info graphic on advertising
brilliant Tumblr post by indie artist C. Spike Trotman from "Spike Drew This." The post is titled "Everything I Know" and it's a valuable summary of what it takes to make it. Check out the link:
Here are some samples...
2) Best opening is "hello" or "would you like a free ______"
3) Best sales are always in the final hour of the day so don't leave early
4) Ask people what they like to read, let them tell you which of your books they'd be more interested in (what kind of movies do you like can be good too).
5) Have 10 second and 60 second pitches for each book. With the 60 second know which key pages of art to show.
6) Have a cheap entry level thing they can buy to try (or give for free)
7) Have expensive quality items for your hardcore fans
8) Have a variety of things. Some people like to choose.
9) When you leave your table leave a sign saying when you'll be back. I do this and every time someone is waiting for me when I get back (at the time I indicate so don't be late!)
10) Take credit cards. With the square register there is no reason not to. You're missing out on sales when you don't.
11) Hand a person talking to you a book to flip through
13) Make positive comments about their cosplay, kid, t-shirt and follow it up with a question. Where'd you get the shirt?
14) Plan your calories. You need to eat to keep your energy level up
15) Have a clear display with your name, best known property (ies), even a single banner behind you is enough.
16) Have something visible with your social media. I have a "fan card" I give out that has my name and social media on it. Also good to give people who ask for your business card that you don't want having your email or phone #
17) Bring a small water bottle you can refill at the water fountain.
18) If you're getting angry, annoyed or are dead on your feet...take a break. Go walk around a bit. Bring a sheet or something to cover your table and as said earlier put a sign, be back at 3:30 or whatever
19) Try and make people laugh. Try different things. Practice and come up with one liners that will make people smile.
20) Don't be pushy. People come to comic conventions to chill. You can actively sell them without coming across as a used car salesman. And yes you have to "sell" most comic books don't sell themselves
You Tube clip, posted Jan 2106 by craftsman David on his "Make Something" channel. offers great tips on this important topic for self-employed artists: "How to Price Your Work"
Trying to do too much at once? Read this link for story from artist Emily McDowell on how and why she entered a partnership to delegate aspects of her business.
Emily is famous for her straight talk empathy cards..
article "This 'Muscle of the Soul may be triggering your fear and anxiety".. by Dylan from website The Earth Child. http://theearthchild.co.za/this-muscle-of-the-soul-may-be-triggering-your-fear-anxiety/
Info on this important muscle deep in the body.. that gets chronic stress from long-term sitting..
Excellent primer on Burnout.. symptoms and suggestions.. in this blogpost from
Prescription Pixel http://blog.prescriptionpixel.com/2016/04/18/a-productive-look-at-burnout-in-the-games-industry-and-everywhere-else/
This resource from ReachOut Australia provides detailed information about burnout and stress. In summary, the key features to look out for in recognizing burnout include:
Feeling physically or emotionally exhausted. This can make you feel tired, weak, drained, or detached.
Difficulty concentrating, and forgetfulness.
Getting sick more than usual, for example with the cold, flu, etc. Unexplained physical symptoms like headaches, dizziness, stomach ache (make sure to get these checked out by a doctor).
Loss of appetite/weight loss.
Anxiety. This is not just feeling nervous, but can also present with a sense of dread, tension, irritability, and racing thoughts interfering with concentration.
Depression. This is not just feeling sad, but can also present with feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts.
Loss of enjoyment. This doesn’t have to just be at work but eventually may spread to areas of social and family life. Please note this is also a symptom of depression.
Pessimism. If you feel detached and ineffective, you may feel disillusioned with your career. Isolation. Social interaction is important for mental health and wellbeing. When employees are experiencing depersonalisation they may not feel like talking to their colleagues, clients or customers. Apathy. “What’s the point in trying?” this attitude further decreases one’s sense of self-worth and purpose.
Lack of productivity and poor performance.
This is particularly relevant to those readers who are indie game developers, as studies have shown that prevalence of burnout is increased in people who are self-employed (14).
Article from Entrepreneur magazine website
"When Clients Ask for a Discount.. Ask Them Why" by Jurgen Appelo.
"Notice that I don't say "no" to people who ask me for a discount. I merely ask them "Why?" because it's quite possible that they have a very good reason! It all comes down to customizing the value exchange."
"What Retailers Won't Tell You When They Reject Your Line" blog post by Emily Blistein on Oh So Beautiful Paper.com lifestyle and design blog by Nole Garey (and contributors).
This post is about greeting card lines... but has on-point feedback applicable to any visual artist looking to break into retail outlets.
Emily Blistein owns brick and mortar store "Clementine" in Vermont
Article by Arthur Piccio on UCreative website:
"12 Things Every Newbie Freelance Designer Should Know"
I especially recommend numbers 1,2,9 and 11. Number 9 is "don't overwork yourself"
"Learning the Lessons of Networking" by Peter M. Grace, Science Magazine.
Yes.. it's an article for science researchers... and it applies to artists as well
UK grocery chain Sainsbury ran an ad asking for free art.. here's link with the story...
and here's preview of reply from artists..
"22 Things People With Anxiety Want Their Friends to Know" article online at iheartintelligence.com website
"15 things you should give up to be happy" by Luminita D. Saviuc on Upliftconnect.com
Art below "Follow Your Path" by Moonbeams Kiss the Sea mixed media artist https://www.facebook.com/moonbeamskissthesea/
"What it's like to live with High Functioning Anxiety"... 6.27.16 article by Sarah Schuster on TheMighty.com
Bored Panda featured this post by Rokas L .. an update of original version in French website Grapheine.com .... Explores the frustration of client "improvements" ...
Be a Ninja -- Here are some secret Yoga stretches to try.. in your chair.. No one will know. Be the Ninja! https://yogainternational.com/article/view/secret-yoga-asana-you-can-do-from-a-chair-anywhere
Buzzfeed post with tips from Freelancers in various fields. Indie artist life can feel isolated. Tips here show your issues are shared by others. You aren't alone...
Anxiety art post on The Mighty... art by Sow Ay on Tumblr
If your anxiety is due to unauthorized use of an image you posted online --
you have A LOT of company. I have a blog post devoted to resources on this topic.. and I update it frequently as this is a constant problem. Here is the link: http://stuartngbooks.blogspot.com/2014/07/copyright-info-for-artists_15.html
And for laughs .. I highly recommend Allie Brosh ... she knows the dark side of the creative life.. and shines a bright light on that .. and the humor of living with dogs :)