After last week’s post on Five Benefits of Sharing Your Artwork I got a few people asking what I thought the best places for sharing were so I thought that a new blog post was in order!
When it comes to sharing your artwork, you can take baby steps or jump all in. There is no set rule and it depends on what you are comfortable with. For example you don’t have to show your artwork to art directors or publishers straight away! Although if you feel brave enough to do it, go for it!
- A good place to start is with people that make you feel good about yourself like family and friends whose opinion you value and who are supportive (these guys are so awesome that they will love you no matter what!).
- Why not try to find a group of illustrators or creative people in your area who you can meet with regularly? Note: it is important that you feel comfortable with the people you choose to meet with since you will be talking about things that really matter to you and you want to be able to speak openly and feel supported so you might have to try a few different groups before you find the one that’s right for you. You want to find the right balance between support and constructive criticism, not people that put you down constantly in order to make themselves look better (you are not a punching bag!).
- When you feel confident enough I think that the internet, and especially Instagram and/or a blog, is a good place to be too. If your intention is to become a professional illustrator you will need an online presence anyway so the sooner you start building that online presence the better. Don’t necessarily show absolutely everything and keep in mind that the number of followers that you get – as flattering as it can be – isn’t an indicator of success – or failure (but that’s for another post!).
- If you hear about any events where art directors and/or illustration agents are happy to review and criticise your work, this is also a good thing to try too. It sure is scary because all of a sudden you are talking to people who could potentially hire you, but I find that it helps to realise that they are people too and not deadly mystical creatures. Plus you can see how potential clients react to your work and ask questions like how you could improve your work to make it more interesting to them.
I hope you found this post helpful! Don’t hesitate to get in touch to share your favourite places to show your artwork, we would all love to hear about your experience!
One of my friends who recently graduated and was very shy about showing me her final university project inspired me to write this post. Because I know she is not the only one that feels shy about showing her artwork. Because I’ve been there myself.
Sharing your artwork can be scary for various reasons.
However, instead of keeping your work to yourself I strongly encourage you to be brave and to share your artwork with others.
This is why:
- Sharing your artwork frees you from the fear of what people might (or might not) think of it. It helps with learning how to receive and handle criticism which is a great skill to have, especially if your intention is to be a professional artist. The more you hear people comment on your work and the more you get used to receiving criticism, the easier it gets because it is not such a new thing anymore after a while.
- Sharing your artwork frees you from what YOU might be thinking of your work, good or bad. It helps to put things into perspective and to detach yourself from your work. I’m sure that your artwork is very personal to you but don’t let it become too precious, don’t let it become sacred, don’t let it stress you. Instead let it free you, let it be fun, let it be exciting!
- Sharing your artwork is great for testing ideas. If you wonder how your ideas would be received, whether they would get any attention and interest, and whether they are worth pursuing further show them to people! You can often pick up interesting things from hearing what people have to say and it might lead you onto new ways of treating your subject that you wouldn’t have thought about yourself.
- You may notice that you start producing better work as a result of showing your artwork to people (see point 3).
- Sharing your artwork may lead to new ideas and leave you feeling inspired and excited (see point 3). What’s not to like about that?
Sharing your artwork can also benefit the people around you. Have you ever heard of the ‘butterfly effect’ (the concept that something small in appearance can have a big impact)? Seeing how brave you are might just inspire a friend or a family member to start something that they felt unsure or scared about.
I hope this post helped and I’d love to hear about your experience. Have you become more relaxed as a result of sharing your artwork or do you still struggle? Have you noticed any other benefits than the ones I pointed out?
I had a bit of an exciting day at the London Book Fair today: it started with the LBF Illustrators Session where I showed my portfolio to the lovely Strawberrie Donnelly (who is Art Director for Picture Books and Pre-School at Scholastic). She gave me some very useful feedback which I intend to use to improve my artwork (and hopefully it will help in getting a publishing contract!).
After that I had lunch in the sun (again!) and then I spent the rest of the afternoon attending more interesting seminars and talking to publishing companies.
By the end of day 2 my shoulder is starting to ache though: catalogues and other bochures can get heavy. That being said, it’s a good workout!
Back at the LBF tomorrow for the third and last day of the show.