Hey everybody! Wanted to go over something that I think is very important if you're an aspiring freelance artist. I talk about this all the time during my LiveStreams but I've never really posted this stuff anywhere. To some of you this may seem like common sense but... It must be enforced!
You must always be producing work. Whether it be studies or personal work, you always have to be out there pushing your art around and letting your name be known. Make sure you take part in all the challenges on places like ConceptArt.org, CgHub, etc. These little challenges show that you can meet deadlines and produce quality concepts which is important(and many people follow these challenges, helps bring people back to your sketchbook or wherever you update). Lots of really popular concept artists use this(not just because it gets them popular, they are fun to do :)) and grow a substantial amount. Its always good to work on things outside your comfort zone, each challenge gets you thinking.
Make sure you're always networking. This can be between forum members or just any sort of artist group you can find. Bobby Chiu hosts his LiveStreams and I'm sure plenty of people link up through there. Same thing happens with the Crimson Daggers group. People will share ideas, inspiration, resources, techniques and tutorials. Theres endless benefits to being connected in the community. Always be willing to ask questions even if you think they're stupid, if you don't know what saturation means... Find out as soon as possible! Also make sure to comment and send messages to members of the online forums to hopefully talk outside the boards. Take advantage of every opportunity to meet new people who work in the field you wish to work in.
Many artists I know are very weird about posting their work everywhere on the internet. Some don't use Deviant Art because they believe its only for anime people and 'furries'. This is ridiculous. If you're looking to get work, post absolutely everywhere as much as possible. I've gotten plenty of jobs from Deviant Art and I'm not talking about drawing Ash Catchem kissing Brock. I'm talking real jobs like cover work and interior illustrations. Don't hesitate to sign up for every single forum, website, and social networking website. All of these places can gain attention for your work and further help promote the fact that you're looking for a job.
Here is a list of places off the top of my head where you can post work -
If you're a freelancer and you're upset about not getting work. Just check that list and see if you're on all of these updating consistently. There is always more you can do to get noticed.
Create a Web of Links
After you've signed up for all of these websites and have started to post you're gonna wanna make sure you have a central place for people to head to. Something like a blog is ideal. Basically just any kind of homepage you can update often where you can host process work, tutorials, videos, etc. It doesn't absolutely need all that, but some kind of content that is different from the forums, and social networking sites is ideal. You're going to want to find everywhere you can on the sites above where you can post a link back to your central page. Let that be a signature, a post in the finally finished sections(example - my new stuff, got some process shots on my blog here -link-), or within the actual posts in HTML like in Deviant Art(click for example). All of these websites should relink to your blog in some way shape or form. Once they're on your blog you can focus on making content.
Awesome, I'll Hire you, Wheres your email?
If you have a website, post the email huge at the top of the website. Also put it in all your forum signatures. Make it very very easy to contact you. People are lazy and you have to make sure you compensate for that laziness.
I Love This Image... Who's the artist?
Post your website on the images you produce. Don't wanna leave any mysteries!
Stay Consistent and Don't Dissapear
A lot of people I know that I follow for their work tend to disappear for long periods of time. This is because of course they're way too busy to ever post and most of their work is buried under contracts... But until you're at that point, make sure you're everywhere(if your goal is to get those jobs anyways). I mentioned this before already but I can't stress it enough. I'm not saying you have to produce a personal illustration every day, but at least do some sketches, do some study, or just do anything to keep on moving. The main focus is to become known as a striving force. People follow those who lead vital lives. It gets them excited to follow along and keep watching your work. A vital life vitalizes. Just look at Hannes' work(check back to the beginning and watch the dates of each post and see how daily studies help) on ConceptArt.org. But really you should be studying daily anyways, and I don't mean to get all bootcamp about it until you're just hating art. I mean to just make it a habit to do just something. Anything to learn.
When sending out a portfolio make sure its geared at whatever company you're applying. Don't send paintings of dogs to Wizards of the Coast. Make sure it fits within the universe of whatever brand you want to work within. Also, make sure that when you send the emails to put as little distance as possible between the Art Director and your work. I would suggest the you attach the samples directly to the email. Most AD's are really busy and you want to make sure they don't have to take a lot of time to scout around links for your artwork. There shouldn't be too many to attach anyways, just send around 5 images that are your best. It also doesn't hurt to look at their best artists and try to figure out what qualities it is about them that you enjoy. Figure out what exactly sells for that brand and try to incorporate it into you own work. When I applied to Wizards I was looking at all my favorite WotC artists. I didn't copy them but I wanted to make sure I got the general idea of that world and atmosphere in my own work.
Once you are working, make sure to always give back as much as possible. Provide a blog or whatever else you can think up to create tutorials or give tips to artists(couple times a week or more if possible). If you want to stay relevant and make sure you don't just drop off the map, then you'll have to stay involved. Use whatever name you've made for yourself and start helping other people. You get everything you want out of life by helping others get what they want. And that, to me, is totally true. This will help you in many surprising ways, I can tell you first hand that many awesome things have been happening since I started the Crimson Daggers. Its very beneficial in many ways to keep giving back. I don't hide the fact that it helps in promoting my work. Because it totally does and I know that it works for anyone who does it. Just make sure you're 100% honest about everything and it'll all be totally awesome. Totally promise.
So! That about does it for now... Just wanted to get that out there and off my chest because I always talk about this stuff and people who don't watch the stream just never hear it. Hope it helps!
Also, heres a study I did today!
Metal! Blind Guardian - "Banish from Santuary"