What do you want to be when you grow up?
This is usually the question for most— if not all— children while they are in school. They hear these words countless times from their parents, teachers, and other people around them that are curious to know the child’s interests.
Of course, as a child, we would then answer either ‘astronaut’ or ‘princess’ or ‘singer,’ the list goes on. Back then, it all seemed like good ideas; we would be able to look and be like the people we looked up to the most— be it fictional characters or people that we know, personally or not.
But as we grow up, we learn more and we find out that things are not as easy as they seem. Not everyone can be astronauts, princesses, or singers. Our interests also change and evolve over time; a child who wanted to be a teacher may grow up to find that they wanted to be an artist instead. This was the case for me.
It took me a few years to realize that I wanted to create a career out of my drawings; as I exposed myself to the online art community, I had been gaining more knowledge about it than I ever had in school. This, of course, means that I know it’s not that easy at all. Art takes a lot of skill and passion, especially if you would want to do it for a living.
These days, everything that we need for our daily lives can be bought with money. It is usually not an option to be unemployed anymore, with people settling for jobs that they don’t want just because they need the income for their survival. This goes for everyone— artists included.
There are many ways to go about having an art career. The majority of artists would usually look for employments in art or animation studios as animators, art directors, etc. These people work on projects with other animators in the company such as games, television series, and whatnot. In 2008, an estimated number of 79,000 artists were employed as multimedia artists or animators, and a rise of around 90,200 is expected in 2018 (Bradford, 2011).
Some artists, however, prefer to create their own projects or decide they don’t want to work under a company. This is called freelancing— selling their own artworks and products independently (Merriam-Webster, 2016a). This is especially common for artists and illustrators, since they are the ones who get to decide how much money they will be making per piece.
As a freelance artist myself, I can say that it isn’t as easy as anyone thinks. Setting up commission prices and products is already hard enough, and gaining an audience is even more difficult. There are also websites such as Patreon, which uses a monthly subscription basis for your fans in exchange for the artist giving exclusive artworks and the such. A fan can choose to pay any amount that the artist had set monthly, and the rewards for those tiers will be displayed on the site as well. It may take a while for this method to work, and surely it isn’t for everyone, but in the end it pays off just like any other job.
(“Patreon logo,” 2016)
But just because you have a decent audience and proper art doesn’t mean there are no problems. A common issue that most artists have are those people who demand art from them without getting anything in return. Some artists do allow requests, usually for a limited period of time or for selected people only, but other artists do not. This is not because they don’t appreciate their supporters, it’s because they do not have the time or energy to create pieces for free, when they could do it for a cost (that will help them pay off rents and other necessities).
Artists can also use crowdfunding in order to bring an idea for a project into reality. Crowdfunding is defined as gathering a sum of money from various people in order to achieve a target goal (Merriam-Webster, 2016b). This is commonly used in order to create comics, art books, and even games. A popular crowdfunding platform is Kickstarter, which has then earned the same meaning as crowdfunding (Taylor, 2013).
(“Kickstarter logo,” 2015)
As I had said before, there are many ways to go about creating a career out of your art. Whether it be working under a company or working independently, you create your own image. Being an artist is a tough job, but at the end of the day, the feeling of doing what you love as a living is quite priceless.
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