The Buddy-Girl blog is our place to talk graphic design, express our opinions, thoughts, new creations, Buddy-Girl Greetings upcoming events, design tips and any personal or random thoughts that we might have. We would love any and all feedback and comments anybody might have for us and I hope you enjoy reading our blog.
We are located in - Kitsap County, 98312

I will try to update my blog as often as I can. Fair warning, I love to write, but I'm a horrible typer and my grammar skills are even worst (worse). So my apologies way in advance, Sorry! Which is actually a very common trait in most graphic designers and artists.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How to Make Money as an Artist/Designer: Part 1 (The Basics)

Most artist and designers have no clue how to put their skills to work for them (or I should say, how to make a living with their skills). I mean in the beginning it can be very hard and disappointing, especially if you don’t have a formal degree or formal training. But, just because you don’t have a degree, doesn’t mean you don’t know your stuff. The highest degree I have is a 2 year Associates. But, I’ve been making a living (albeit a small one) with my design skills since I was 18.

How, you ask? The first thing you need to do is figure out or develop your other skills. Me, I’m good at trouble shooting computers, if your computer needs fixing, more than likely I can fix it. I’m also great with children. My first job was working as a camp counselor for the Girl Scouts, so, for a whole summer I got to work with children and use my creative skills to teach them and entertain them. I know, a far cry from making a living as an artist, but it’s a start. After the summer was over, I went to college and worked part-time as a lab tech in the Multimedia department helping students troubleshoot the computer and with their design project (see, I’m getting closer). That next summer I work at another camp, this time I worked in the arts and crafts department. I then went back to school and did more lab tech work. And, the summer after that I worked at another cam, this time teaching Photoshop and Flash (you see where, I’m heading with this). You don’t have to take a job at BK, just keep an eye out for jobs that are around or can connect you to your dream job. I might not have been getting paid the big bucks, but I was still was able to work doing things I loved and was able to use my creativity. Now, keep in mind that I was still living at home and I wasn’t responsible for anyone other than myself, so taking low paying jobs was an option I could afford. So, if you can afford it, I would, because when you lack the educational background employers' are looking for; experience is key and experience that can relates to your dream job is also good, it shows that your can do more, I can teach and train others and fix equipment if necessary.

This leads me to my next topic, getting and gaining that design/creative experience. I’ve found that taking every design/creative job that come my way, no matter how small or the pay was the best way for me to build my portfolio and network. While going to school, I would hear about all kinds of design opportunities, most of them didn’t pay a cent, but it was a design opportunity that I could get credit for and add to my portfolio. So, I did them, a flyer here, a logo there, brochures and hand outs. Most of them were contest, that in the end, I would be the only one who entered (which is a shame). I got more out of doing them then just credit and something to put in my portfolio. I got a walking ad on the front page of the “I Need a Design Done” Weekly. In other words, it was great networking, doing one job for one person, can lead to doing another job for someone else. And you can’t build up your network, unless your take jobs and met people. And, the other plus of taking on any job is that sometimes you get at tip for all your hard work. I’ve had projects start off for no pay, but by the end of it, I got paid. So, remember sometimes taking that small job can lead to something bigger and if it doesn’t at least you can add it to your portfolio.

The last thing you need to remember and this might be the most important of all to ensure your success in an artistic field, is that you can never give up, as corny as it sounds, it’s true. Art is subjective and not like other creative fields where you can make a living by become or doing what someone else wants and still kept your core style (not sell out). Actors get paid to because someone else, musicians get paid for playing someone else’s music or for staying true to their sound. Writers can write what they want, they’re even protected under the Constitution. But, painter, sculptors, graphic Designs, illustrators, most likely won’t make a living selling art the way they envision. Most artist don’t make it big until after they’re dead, how fair is that? So, we’re stuck with conforming our vision to fit what someone else needs or wants or we don’t even get to conform, we get a job and have to take someone else’s vision or dream and bring it to life. Which we then run into the very common problem of not getting hired or getting fired because our style or vision doesn’t mesh well with that of the clients (your boss, the one who is paying you) or in the end sometimes the finish project is nothing you want to put your name on or something you feel your name shouldn’t be on because it doesn’t reflect you and your style. Being able to keep going is important, it’s the only way. Art like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, some people are going to like your work and some people aren’t. You can’t let the haters keep you from doing what you love. Besides, designing things for other people can be fun and rewarding, to bring someone else’s vision alive, can make a artist feel good and that check for all your hard work can make an artist feel really good.

These are the ways in which I have survived, I always remember I have other skills that can relate or relate me to my dream and being creative. I also, take just about any job that comes my way if I have the time to do it. And, I believe in myself and my talent, I don’t need everyone in the world to like my style of design and I know that just cause someone doesn’t choose me to work with that it’s doesn’t mean they think I suck; sometimes it just means, I’m not the right fit. As an artist you have to keep going and growing, it’s the only way to be a success.

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