• Stay Sketchy
  • Posts
  • How Understanding Your Weaknesses Can Lead to Your Success as an Artist

How Understanding Your Weaknesses Can Lead to Your Success as an Artist

Hannah Webb, AKA The Obanoth, explains how she faced her weaknesses as an artist in order to achieve success.

Morning artrepreneurs! Welcome to another edition of the Stay Sketchy newsletter.

📢Big announcement: We’ve got merch now! Head over to our online store if you’re interested in snagging a t-shirt or beanie. Have ideas on what products we should add? Let us know in the comments below!

This week we’ve got:

Courtesy of Hannah Webb

📸 Instagram: theobanoth

🌐 Website: theobanoth.com

Hannah Webb, better known by her alias The Obanoth, is an acrylic painter based out of Los Angeles.

Originally from Ohio, she felt she’d have to leave the midwest in order to achieve her ambitions of becoming a successful artist. She had the passion, but knew there was a lot she still needed to learn.

She ended up attending art school in California and considered pursuing either animation or graphic design, before ultimately landing in an illustration program which she ended up getting her degree in.

After graduating, Hannah worked in admissions for various art schools, eventually becoming the Director of Admissions for about 8 years.

All this time, Hannah was painting. She’d get home from her 9-5 job, make dinner, paint, and nurture her growing art business she’d been building since college.

She began painting with acrylics early on because she recognized it was unforgiving to artists who didn’t have a good grasp on color theory - like her at the time. Instead of shying away from areas she was weak in, Hannah faced them head-on and forced herself to learn what she didn’t know and improve her skills.

Over time, she developed her signature style - blocky, pixellated, and bright. Her subjects are often broken down by her personal interpretations of light & color, and maintain both mechanical & fluid characteristcs.

Over the years, Hannah has achieved a lot worth being proud of.

  • She’s shown her artwork in galleries all over the world

  • Worked with clients such as Samsung, HP, and Paramount

  • Been featured by publications like LADBible, Bored Panda, Create Magazine, Juxtapoz, & more

  • Produced several large-scale murals across the US

  • Created painting courses with Domestika and Acrylic University

  • Created signature brushes and paint sets with brands like Liquitex

  • Grown a social following of nearly 700K people across all platforms

  • And most importantly, created a life for herself that allows her to paint each day and continue growing as an artist.

To see more of Hannah’s work, visit her website or Instagram account.

Courtesy of Hannah Webb

Courtesy of Hannah Webb

Courtesy of Hannah Webb

Artist Insights

Hannah was kind enough to chat with us for over an hour about her life as an artist, and shared some insights on how it is she’s gotten to where she is today.

Face Weakness Head-On

Regardless of the medium you work in, be honest with yourself and recognize the areas where you’re weakest. After identifying your weak points, put in the time to correct them. You should want to be better at what you do - don’t continue taking the shortcuts you may have learned. They’re bad habits you should try to kick!

When you improve your ability, other people will notice that and pay attention.

It’s like exercise. Set a goal and put the reps in. Buy cheap Masonite panels from the hardware store that you won’t feel precious about and paint that subject you’re struggling with 8 times in a row.

You won’t only improve but you’ll learn how to create more efficiently and develop your own unique style over time.

Be Active and Seek Out Opportunities

You’ll be surprised at the opportunities that present themselves to you once you start taking a more active approach. You don’t need a huge social following to get started either.

Submitting online applications to galleries in your area might lead to one or two “yes’s” even though you’ve yet to sell any art.

Hannah started small, getting her work shown in tiny galleries with walls that were crumbling apart. But this afforded her the opportunity to show her art to the community and network with other artists.

Taking advantage of one opportunity often leads to new ones, and forging relationships with other artists in your area is an important step you can take to help grow as both an artist and a business.

Batch Your Content and Schedule Social Media Posts

What people don’t realize is that being a successful artist often means creating art less than 30% of the time.

What’s the other 70%? Well, it’s marketing your artwork, creating social media content, managing your website & online store, packing & shipping products, and doing countless other things you didn’t realize you’d have to do when you signed up to become an artist.

Creating social media content multiple times per week, or even daily, can be hugely disruptive to your creative process. Instead, try batch editing all of your content and scheduling it out a week or two - all in a single day. This has saved Hannah tons of time and allows her to focus more on what matters most: painting.

Start Growing Your Email List

Hannah has nearly 700,000 people that follow her across her social platforms but only 1,400 that subscribe to her monthly-ish newsletter.

After launching new limited edition apparel and marketing it across all social media platforms, she still received a significantly higher number of orders from those that received word of the launch through her newsletter.

Selling art and other products through email is dramatically easier than selling through social media. While social media often allows for wider reach, the ROI on email marketing can be 20x greater than that of social media.

If you want to start sending your own newsletter, get started on Beehiiv for free today.

Be Genuine

Authenticity goes a long way. Share content that’s unique and shows your followers that you actually care about what you’re creating.

  • Show them behind the scenes footage

  • Reveal mistakes you’ve made

  • Talk about why you use certain materials

Being open with your audience about what you do and how you do it can even lead to brand deals with the companies whose products you love. Liquitex partnered with Hannah after she spent years talking about their paint and answering questions from her followers about the materials she uses.

When you’re asking questions to other artists you admire, put some real thought into it. Demonstrate that you actually care and they’ll be more likely to respond. Being genuine is key!

Courtesy of Hannah Webb

Hannah’s Tech Stack
Why Email Beats Social Media ✉️

Imagine a scenario where the social media account you spent years growing gets hacked.

Maybe it gets suspended on accident, or Instagram changes their algorithm and begins suppressing your content.

In many cases, completely losing access to a social following can be devastating for artists and creators.

Letting the success of your art business be determined exclusively by the whims of social media companies implies huge risk.

The best way to counter this risk, is to create a mailing list of your followers’ email addresses, and to reach out to them occasionally in an email newsletter.

Email newsletters are a professional means of mass communication to your most loyal customers and fans.

Better yet, there is no way for someone to take your mailing list away from you. No algorithm changes will prevent you from communicating directly with these followers of yours.

In this sense you truly own your audience’s attention, whereas on social media, you’re only borrowing their attention (which can be lost at any time).

Email marketing can also drive sales far more effectively than social media can. It’s way easier to sell new art by letting your mailing list know about a new product drop than it is to announce it somewhere on Instagram and hope people rush to your link in bio to buy.

Fortunately, you can start your own mailing list & make your own newsletter on Beehiiv for free - and not for a limited amount of time, but free forever.

If you DO, however, want to take advantage of one of their payed tiers that offer more features, the button below will give you 20% off your first 3 months with Beehiiv after a complimentary 30-day free trial.

Whether you want to send your newsletter weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even just a couple times per year, adding this one feature to your business might be the lowest-effort, highest-return change you ever make!

Creating Free Mockups in Canva

via Canva

In last week’s edition of the newsletter, we talked about how to generate quick and beautiful product mockups that showcase your art using a new feature in Adobe Illustrator.

But did you know you could make similar mockups for free with Canva?

While the mockups may not match Adobe’s quality, they can still come out looking great and only take seconds to create.

Learn more about exactly how to use this tool here.

Art Business News (that’s not gonna put you to sleep 😴)
  • Awards, trophies, & prestige 🏆 - Are you a designer looking for some recognition? Well, registration for the A’ Design Award & Competition is now open for the 2024-2025 period. This competition is described as being “born out of the desire to underline the best designs and well-designed products.” There are over 100 different categories in the competition and the winners get so many prizes that we won’t even try to include the whole list here. Check out the linked article for details.

  • Olympic skateboarding art🛹 - What do you get when artists and architects combine forces in Paris? A colorful skateable sculpture just in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics, of course. Both pros and amateurs are free to shred on this polychromatic masterpiece until the site is renovated in 2030.

  • Canva vs. Adobe?🎨 - Canva, the popular web-based design platform that’s cheaper and easier to use than more professsional packages like Adobe’s Creative Cloud, is starting to push into the enterprise space with its sights set on Adobe’s market share. Check out the interview with Canva’s CEO, Melanie Perkins, for the full scoop.

Thanks for checking out another edition of Stay Sketchy. Catch you next week! ✌️

If you have any comments or suggestions on how to improve this newsletter, please let us know by commenting below.

As an Amazon Associate and affiliate of various partnership programs, the owner of this publication may receive commissions to linked products or services in this newsletter at no additional expense to the reader.

Join the conversation

or to participate.