Art Business, Journal

Art Tips Learned At Gen Con 2017!

If you follow my Boards & Crafts blog, you might have seen that I got the honor of going to Gen Con’s 50th anniversary! Since I went into detail about the convention’s atmosphere on that post, I’ll skip over it here. Though I will quickly note that Gen Con is known as the best four days of gaming, and that’s a statement I completely agree with.

While planning for my trip up there, I had found a collection of fantastic seminars to help explain some tips & tricks in the business of becoming a better blogger and a better freelance artist. Bonus, they were all free! However, after I got there, I kept skipping them (mostly by accident) because I got so caught up in exploring the Dealer’s Hall and demoing new games.

(Above is two sides of a miniature layout created for Wild West Exodus. The left picture is what the inside of mountain looks like if you walked through the doors in the right picture.)

I’ll admit that as I was signing up for these events I had the idea of putting together a blog post of my favorite tips I learned from them. And though I didn’t go to any, I did hear a lot of tips repeatedly mentioned to me in different conversations throughout the con. A lot of these tips I need to start applying to my own career, but I wanted to still pass along this thoughts to hopefully help anyone else out there apply them to their own careers.

Get Your Work Out There.

This one might seem obvious. Of course you should get your art out in the world. But think about it. If you’re wanting to work on commission, or for a certain group, it looks better if you share examples of what you can offer to catch people’s eye. It can be used like a portfolio. There are many examples of artists who do this by posting their work on social medias. But if you’re at a level where you want to create a career out of it, go a step beyond social media. Start going to art fairs and conventions. Not only is it a chance to sell your work but you also can start interacting with the community and start understanding the secret tips to make a successful career out of it.

Practice Completing Art Pieces With A Due Date.

This one also makes sense once said out loud. If you get a commission, more than likely the person is going to want it in by a certain time. By learning your limits, you can better estimate whether or not you can take on the project.

So for example, start by planning to draw two Fan Art Friday pieces each month. Once you’ve achieved this, shorten the time until you know for certain how much time you need to complete a project. Doing this hard work now instead of during a job will help the work go by smoother (at least on this front).

You Are Your Brand And Your Brand Is You.

Sometimes people are not going to like the work you create. It happens. It’s a beautiful and somewhat annoying thing. On the one hand, it’s great that there is so much diversity in interests that you can find something that you love somewhere out there in the world. On the other hand, it means as a creator there are going to be moments that you find someone who dislikes your style. When you find those people, the best thing to do is be polite. Try to stay engaged with them, and acknowledge their thoughts while standing by your opinion. Just because you don’t agree on one subject does not mean they’re out to get you. You know? But know your limits on what you’ll tolerate. When they push that limit, react the way you feel is right. (However, it’s amazing how quickly a negative comment can disappear if it doesn’t get attention.)

Practice Your Work Everyday.

This one is probably the biggest tip I heard. Though it’s usually talked about with artistic careers (even my example below is art related) it applies to all career paths. Practicing everyday on your passion will help you improve dramatically. Even if it’s a few minutes each day, it amazing what you can achieve!

I guess the reason art is always the example is because it’s the most visually obvious. For example, below are two of my art projects that were sketched out in pencil and finished in Clip Manga Studio. They are not my most recent, or oldest, but they are both created with the same process and have a similar stance so I thought it would be the most interesting to compare.

(The difference of about two years for me. 2015 vs late 2016 )

Overall, Gen Con was fantastic! I got to meet so many internet friends and play a huge collection of games. So many people were so sweet encouraging me with the new career path I have picked for myself. It was a very motivating and inspiring experience. It just goes to show how great the board gaming community can be.

I even learn about the BEST secret of the convention, which was on the second floor. They have a whole area just dedicated to painting miniatures and crafting. I wish I had found it earlier, but it was still awesome getting to explore the area on the last day of the con. There was even a moment that I got to play with some gel pins they had in their craft supply, and created the doodle below.

I hope these tips I learned over the convention inspire you on your work. I know they make me want to just work till I drop! (Like work all day until I’m too exhausted to move.)

Sending Good Vibes,



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