Going through crazy Comicfestathon made me re-evaluate what I was trying to achieve with my art. Are the expenses associated with fests “worth it”? Thinking about it, I only started doing festivals because people told me that’s how I should promote my work. But if I examine my own behavior, the primary way I discover new artists is through the internet. If I don’t have a table at a festival, then I don’t go at all. I mean, props to the people that enjoy going to festivals, but I’m a very shy person who is terrible at small talk so I’m very nervous about approaching artists’ tables. Also I hate crowds. But getting back to my original point, I don’t think festivals are the be-all end-all of artist promotion. Moreover, because I spend money on festivals I become very VERY preoccupied about recouping said money.
Now I know I’ve talked a lot about money and I must sound like a greedy person. Ideally I’d like to sustain my life through my artwork, but I am a VERY long way from getting there.The costs involved in making my books coupled with the costs of attending festivals, makes my “art-business” actually a losing enterprise. It’s okay because my primary motivation for doing art isn’t to make money, although I don’t want it to put me in the poor house either. What I want is to share my point of view / vision with as many people as possible. It doesn’t make sense for me to create work in a medium that has obvious costs attached to it. Silkscreening costs alone are $1200-$2000 a year. That and the end product is a finite object which only thirty-some people can own. Doing work digitally is much cheaper and easier to distribute. I started doing digital fanart pieces last year, posting them on my Tumblr and DeviantArt. The response was phenomenal. One fanart piece in particular has been liked/ shared over 2000 times. Granted, there is no monetary gain from being liked 2000 times, but on the flipside, it didn’t cost me any money to get that kind of exposure.
So reflecting on all of this, my new year’s resolution is to focus on creating digital work. Specifically, I want to make youtube videos. I don’t know if I’ll be any good at it, in fact I’ll probably suck at it for a while. I’m starting small: my first youtube project is going to be about ants. I’m writing the script right now. At the very least, I’ll use that project as a portfolio piece for my presentation design work.
This doesn’t mean I’ll completely stop making books or attending festivals. I still need to finish my series of books about the Paleozoic. I’m currently working (very slowly)on the fourth book, the Carboniferous. And I’ve been wanting to do a flipbook for years. As for festivals, I applied to CAKE and plan to apply to SPX as well. I’ll have to wait and see if I actually get accepted…