2017 recap and 2018 Plans
This is a business post so really only relevant to artists interested in how the career is going. I like to keep things pretty transparent so upcoming artists know what to expect. Feel free to ask questions in the comments and I'll do my best to answer.
- Created a lot of artwork for Magic the Gathering. Unfortunately was not able to share it in 2017. Also found that proofs and prints sales should end up being at least equal to the commission rate. For instance on Ramunap Excavator I was paid $1500 since it was a special promo card and then I have probably sold about $1260 more in prints,proofs, and cards. That's without an online store and with only one convention appearance. So I'm hoping that with more conventions and the store I can raise my total earnings per card to something like $3.5k-4k.
- Worked on improving convention skills. Sales at GenCon were an improvement over the past despite some flubs.
- Worked on being more active on sites like Instagram and the FB page. Instagram seems near impossible to get organic growth from and FB seems to absolutely strangle any sort of exposure. Very discouraging but others have shown me the rewards of making breakthroughs there.
- Spent some money on further education through the One Fantastic Workshop. Taught me a lot about the potential of Twitch, Youtube, FB,Instagram, Patreon, Kickstarter,etc.
- Launched this website! First investment in online sales.
- Started the newsletter!
- Expenses were through the roof and NDAs kept me from having much to offer as far as new prints.
THE FINAL TALLY: To be totally transparent this year's income isn't remotely feasible for any human being doing this on their own. My income may have been better than minimum wage but my expenses were so high that if I were on my own I wouldn't have been left with enough money to survive on. So I'm really grateful to the wife for supporting this and actually encouraging some of these expenses like the workshop. The good news is that the workshop and talking to other artists it has made it clear that it's possible to do MUCH better at these conventions and appearances. So I'm real hopeful.
- Limited Edition Prints! Starting to offer a more archival limited edition run of prints.
- GOP tax plan. :( . I still have to consult with the accountant but I suspect some aspects of the business will have to change. Information is conflicting right now whether I'm royally screwed or coming out slightly ahead.
- Signed up for 5 conventions with another 2 or 3 possible plus I'll be setting up at several local Magic tournaments. Bigger booths at conventions. That will be the most conventions for me in a single year. All of these conventions mean it will be another year of insane expenses which has me real nervous. It's a risky year.
- Youtube! I've started recording my process on some Magic cards and plan to release some videos. They are super sped up walkthroughs that are...more comedic than helpful. The goal is to keep each at about 2 minutes long.
- I'll be launching a Patreon page for a collaboration project in mid-March with three or so entries posted at the start. It will be short stories accompanied by a piece or two of art. The Patreon page will mostly serve as a way to encourage us to increase production rather than to serve as any sort of pay wall. I'll be promoting this as much as possible at all convention appearances,etc. I really want to build something larger than what my individual prints were and am excited to work on this IP.
- I have to wrap up some freelance work but I'm hoping to narrow freelance down to Magic the Gathering and book covers. That will leave me with some dead schedule time which I can spend on the Patreon project. Hopefully conventions can help fill the gap in income but if not, I've found that artist proofs are a pretty good way to make money. Obviously those proofs do not help build prints or portfolio but I can do them nearly any time and any place which is nice.
- Should be able to show a LOT more Magic cards so that will be exciting!
- This is a weird one...but I tend to get into something I can get a bit obsessive. So when I decided to start reading more books in 2017 I think I went a bit overboard having read between 45-60 books. Books take time...so yeah I'm hoping to cut down to just 30 in 2018.