Preparation for Dragon Con

I decided to go to Dragon Con around December 2007, 9 months before the convention. At the time I was seriously working on my illustration portfolio and I thought Dragon Con would be a good starting point to show it around. I learned a lot in preparation for Dragon Con.

Deciding to be an illustrator at its core is like starting any new business. You have to provide a quality service, but more importantly you have to market yourself. Back in December I only sort of understood this.

I received an article from my mother, who’s always trying to help me find my way as an artist, about art licensing. The article was from a website called Changing Course by Dr. Valerie Young, a great resource for anyone trying to make it as an entrepreneur.

After following the link I was eventually led to a book called Unleashing the Artist Within, by Bob Baker. The book promises to help fledgling creative types save time and money by avoiding common mistakes, and to help break the myth of the starving artist. Well I have to say that the book really delivers.

The book has great tips on low budget marketing and branding, but my favorite chapters were on the “starving artist” mentality. Which basically boils down to this: You must accept that as an artist that your talents are worth money. If art has value than it is impossible to “sell out” because art and artistic talents are intended for sale.

WOW!

I know that might seem like a small thing to some, but as an artist it really hit me. No one expects a mathematician to go around solving math problems for free. No one expects a bricklayer, who’s spent years laying bricks, to give away all the walls he makes for free. Yet for some reason people often expect artistic talents to be freely given, and a lot of artists view commercial art as “selling out.”

Well no more of that for me. From the moment I read Bob Baker’s book I decided to start looking for ways I could sell my art and make money doing what I love, and stop worrying about whether or not I was selling out.

Between reading Unleashing the Artist Within and preparing my portfolio I soon found myself with only 2 months to go until Dragon Con. Where did all the time go?

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