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For money reasons it looks like I'm going to have to start aiming for commission-type work a lot sooner than I intended. I was always hoping to but I'd intended to build up something of a portfolio which I'm now going to need to do fairly quickly.
I'm a little unsure what type of work I'd be best creating. I basically have two questions that I would greatly appreciate a response to.
1 - My strongest point are figures/characters - not so good at things like environments, industrial designs, animals. Bearing in mind that I need to have a good collection of work together within a couple of weeks; would my time be better spent focusing on character type work to ensure the best quality, or trying to bring other subjects up a notch to keep my work a little more versatile? Obviously the latter is a goal in the long run, but would not having them now cause a problem?
2 - My work tends to be a little dark and twisted much of the time, something I don't really do on purpose but am vaguely aware of by the time a piece is finished - would it be a good idea to stick to this to keep my own style, or aim to make some lighter, more 'accessible' work too?
I have looked at the threads in the 'artists seeking work' section already but people seem to go either way with it and it's hard to tell which is a more successful method - I guess I'm more unsure as to what would work best for me specifically. The most recent work in my sketchbook is a good indication of my style - not meaning to sound like I'm plugging, but having seen my latest stuff might help form an answer on what I should be focusing or improving on.
Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
If you need money soon, then spend those couple of weeks looking for a regular day job.
No matter what kind of art you do, even if you are a top talent with amazing and versatile skills, if you haven't spent time getting your work and name out there, you aren't very likely to get paying work fast. You just don't get jobs on demand. It's more of a gradual building of exposure, and making contacts. The more limited your skills and abilities, the harder it will be and longer it will take. Again, even a top talent will be hard pressed to find work on demand if they haven't already been spending time making contacts and gaining exposure.
Like he said ^
If you're trying to get an art job "for money reasons" ... aim for a day job (or night job your preference, lavhoes says night security is a sweet gig).
Dark and twisted isn't that uncommon, but being original with it is RARE... everyone's seen everything and there's already 100's of people doing what you do daily, so it might be a while before you can find "work" doing dark and twisted.
Are you selling art now at all? Maybe try to score a local gallery gig, or even easier, ebay and craigslist... there may be 100's doing dark and twisted but there's millions of emos out there who need something to put over their couch and show off to their party friends.
I have spent time looking for a real job but it isn't really too easy. I have few qualifications and no proper work experience; coupled with climbing unemployment rates and companies collapsing left and right - basically, a lot of people are in the same boat as me and most of them have a much better chance at getting the job vacancies than I do.
I'm aware the same theory applies to the art field but that is basically my only skill so I intend to focus on it. I should point out I don't expect a sudden avalanche of potential clients wanting me to make stuff for them - I'm just looking for advice on what to put into a portfolio so I can at least show I'm available for that kind of work.
Well firstly I would suggest to show only your best work. So if this is your characters, than I would start there.
Make a thread in the "Looking for Work" section here on CA.
Use all the available resources: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.
Start going out and looking for places locally that might be needing artists. Take your sketchbook EVERYWHERE you go and draw anytime you get free time while out and about. I have gotten alot of offers from all sorts of folks just by sitting there while waiting for my food at restaurants. All I'm doing there is sitting there scribbling in my sketchbook.
These are just a couple of things to keep in mind. I'll post back if I think of more.
Even with unemployment the way it is, your chances are still probably much much better of getting a day job. Look at it this way, if you are looking to get a job that is essentially unskilled labor, you may not have any skills, but you are at least not at much of a disadvantage. Trying to compete in art, even if that is where most of your talents are, means competing with other VERY talented artists. This is a field where being really good, is still essentially entry level. It's a tough field to make money in, and it's hard to do quickly, especially if your work is still developing.
If you aren't relying on art to support you, and have the ability to wait on seeing money then my suggestion would be focus on doing what you do well. Exploit your natural style and try to find a niche within that type of art. I wouldn't ever suggest denying what interests you in the interests of being more 'accessible.'
The more you are capable of doing, the better your chances of employment. However, that doesn't mean spend two weeks making samples of things you aren't good at, because no one wants to pay for things you aren't good at. Unless you think you can bring those up to a similar skill level in that time... but it really isn't enough time. Focus on what you do well, and make some truelly exceptional examples of that. Spread out to other things once you have a solid portfolio of your main strengths, but realize you'll need to spend a lot of time getting up to speed before you can even think of showing them to anyone.
Thank you for all the replies, I've got a bit more of an idea of what sort of direction to go now.
I'm not relying on art as a complete income support; I don't need it to pay bills or anything that drastic (yet, heh) - sorry if that was how it sounded in my first post. It's more a case of wanting to know how to at least show that I'm available for it, what kind of work to be presenting and such, because if I don't start at least trying now then I will probably end up putting it off for a long time in which case I'd have ended up making a thread like this when money was becoming a much more serious need.
I'll stick to characters for now and try to get some practice in of other subjects when there is time. For exposure - it's somewhat difficult locally as most art opportunities are taken by the local art school, but I do have a chance of getting a show in a small gallery that a friend of a friend owns so I'm going to try to make some work for that too. I'll stick to my own style since it is the most natural way and it does seem to appeal to some - could always try making brighter things but they won't be the main focus.
Anyway, details that probably don't interest anyone haha - just wanted to show I have listened to what is being said here. Thanks again folks.