1 year of being a full-time anime artist - how to become a full-time artist in 2022
Updated: Jan 12, 2022
Hello! Sayuui here. I would like to give this a go to maybe help aspiring artists to know what it's like, since I get asked this sometimes. What is it to be a full-time artist? What is the path to becoming one and most importantly, can you make it as an anime artist in the ocidental world?
First and foremost, when talking about art commissions, if you want to start right now and get a considerable volume of work and money to support yourself, it is possible as long as you have absolutely no filters for what you are going to draw. Fettish art of all kinds must be not only in your accepted list, but in your to-do list as well. If you have no problems with that and you're overage, start streaming 18+ content on Picarto. Watch out and avoid paypal for these cases though, since selling adult content is not allowed by their terms of service.
Unfortunately, accepting everything wasn't the case for me -- or for the majority of artists out there-- and I had to spend aproximately a year and a half making ground for this to happen. Why a year and a half? That was enough to build my skills enough to get a constant influx without having to put my finger on anything else. I consider the growth of skills the most important thing when trying to get commissions, along with consistency in working and posting quality content. If you draw every single day while comparing your work to those that have already reached your goal and constanly ask for feedback from professionals, you'll get closer and closer to making it reality.
A very important thing to state here is that having an audience doesn't matter when trying to sell commissions. It's become more and more difficult to get followers as an artist on social media, and inevitably, if you started doing this early, you have advantage over the others . But that doesn't mean that followers are clients. Some of my pieces when viral on twitter, but i didn't get a single cent from my new followers. Also, in most cases, most of the people that show up are going to order once and never come back again, except if they're NSFW, comic, vtuber or commercial clients (clients that are going to make revenue from your art).
A great secret to all of this is: try to make the influx of commissions as automatic as you possibly can. Avoid having to post on multiple websites, offering your work to only one person in a post (example: replying to an offer on a facebook group or the job offer forums on deviantart,). These are proven not to take your work seriously and to be a complete waste of your time, while offering a tiny budget. Also avoid posting on places that are quickly going to be snowed under by other messages, like discord for example.
Another thing I could conclude from this first year is: You are going to get a lot of commissions you don't really care about or that are not public-friendly (don't make sense to anyone but the client). Try to make the ratio even for the ones you like and the ones you dislike, at least for your first years. It's tough, but with the years hopefully you'll be able to grab only the ones you like the most.
Commissions are a very good source of income for an artist, as long as they take them seriously and try to finish as soon as possible. I know pros that have claimed to have stopped working on commissions and became poor right after, since companies take a while until they can send payments. Never stop making commissions, even if you have other sources of income! They're going to make a huge difference in your monthly finances.
stream all the work you do, either on Picarto (18+) or Twitch for safe work. That's a way to keep people in track of your work, and if they really like your work they'll everything they can to commission you, even if it's just to support you.
Get yourself a mentorship of some kind or an advising. It has to be from professionals, and it has to be exactly to the point. Lay people and amateurs are only going to hold you back and make you fell worse.
Good alternatives to automate your commissions are streaming platforms and Etsy. You'll get commissions without having to do much else.
Track down where your commissions are coming from, either if it's using a Google form or a form on Wix. This is going to be important to know where they are coming from and to take action regarding the next commissions.
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