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SPECIAL: Top Insights From Previously Featured Artists

In this special edition of the Stay Sketchy newsletter, we revisit some of the best art business insights given to us from the artists we’ve spoken to thus far.

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Morning artrepreneurs! Welcome to the 10th edition of the Stay Sketchy newsletter.

This one’s special because every 10th edition of the newsletter will feature fresh summaries of the best insights we learned from the previous 9 artists! So if you’re new here - or just need a recap - this week’s newsletter will be especially valuable to you!

This week we’ve got:

  • ⭐️ Top insights from previously featured artists

  • ✉️ A message from our sponsors

  • 🎨 A new social media app for artists?

Tap Into Niches With “Cult” Followings To Grow Your Audience

Many artists choose generic subjects like landscapes and flowers, which don't often have passionate fans.

In the early stages of growing his social media following, Erikas Chesonis drew popular characters from Pokémon and Star Wars in his unique style.

This strategy allowed him to attract both general art enthusiasts and niche audiences, significantly expanding his reach.

Remove As Much Friction From the Buying Process As Possible

As an artist selling your work, you should make purchasing as simple as possible.

Pablo Azócar’s Instagram account is a great example—it takes just three clicks to buy his art: opening his website, selecting a piece, and adding it to the cart.

If your process takes longer, evaluate whether the extra steps add value for your customers. If not, consider simplifying your process.

Design With Intent

When asked how her designing process has changed over the years Megan Roy said this:

I’m more intentional about the end use of what I’m designing. In the beginning, I would just draw to draw. I wasn’t thinking about where that drawing might end up later. Now, I start with the end in mind. Do I want to make a greeting card? Do I want to make a pattern that can be licensed? Do I want to make a sticker or t-shirt design? That gives me an idea of the format and style and I can build it out from there, and have a ready-made piece to pitch to brands or sell myself later on.

Megan Roy
Tips for Selling at Art Markets

Renata Paton offers the following advice when considering selling at an art market or fair:

  • Split the table cost with another artist to save on entry fees.

  • Make a list of everything you need to bring to avoid forgetting important items.

  • Do a test setup of your table at home and take a photo to replicate it easily at the market.

  • Charge all electronics and card readers fully, and bring spare battery packs.

  • Adopt a "please touch" policy to encourage customers to handle and connect with her artwork, increasing the likelihood of sales.

Take Advantage of Giveaways

After weeks of low engagement on Instagram, Aaron Long tried something that transformed his business: a free giveaway that generated $7,000 in sales in one day.

He began by choosing one of his more popular $350 canvas prints for the giveaway. He posted a reel showing the artwork and the hook “FREE ART,” explaining the rules in the caption: comment, follow, and DM “pick me.”

Aaron replied to each DM, thanking participants and directing them to his shop, driving some initial sales. He announced the winner on a livestream that drew 600 viewers, but before revealing the winner, he offered a 25% discount on all items in his shop for 48 hours. This encouraged purchases from those who didn’t win and felt like they missed out.

The strategy led to significant engagement, boosting the reel to over 600,000 views and gaining him 4,000 new followers. Those that didn’t win flocked to his shop to take advantage of the brief sale and ended up generating Aaron over $7,000 overnight.

This successful giveaway showcases Aaron’s savvy engagement tactics and offers a blueprint for other artists to replicate, particularly those with 1,000+ followers. By tweaking elements like the number of winners, waiting period, and discount, artists can tailor this strategy to their own needs.

Obtain Client Testimonials

After completing a commissioned piece for a customer, Helenya Apostolou will often ask for feedback or a testimonial. These statements can then be displayed on sales pages for similar products.

Positive endorsements can be extremely helpful when it comes to driving more sales. Customers that read these when considering a purchase are much more likely to click “buy” because a good testimonial will provide social proof that the artist produces high-quality work.

This is widely known as one of the most effective strategies in sales conversion rate optimization.

Use Product Mockups to Showcase Your Work

Creating and sharing work that looks like it’s for a paid job can attract the types of clients you want.

For example, Daphna Sebbane designed beer can labels, made mockups, and shared them on Instagram. This led to a beverage company hiring her for a job.

She also creates gig posters and merch designs for bands, which she shares online, signaling to potential clients that they can hire her for similar work.

By using mockups and showcasing your art as it may be applied to products, you help potential clients visualize its use and see the value in hiring you.

Deeply Familiarize Yourself with Your Materials

A deep familiarity with materials and mediums empowers artists to create better work, manage their practice more efficiently, and maintain a high standard of quality in their creative process.

Look at muralists for example.

Muralists can't always choose their preferred canvas, as each wall requires special treatment.

Proper preparation, like cleaning and sealing, is essential to avoid poorly done murals that peel or fade. Using exterior paints and sometimes mildew-resistant paints, along with a UV-protective coating, helps ensure durability.

The mural's longevity reflects on the artist's professionalism, influencing future commissions.

Christian Stanley builds trust by sharing his process on Instagram, demonstrating his expertise to potential clients.

Don’t Make Products with Low Price Ceilings

When choosing which products to create and sell, it's important to consider the price ceiling - the maximum amount people are willing to pay for something.

This is especially try for those that create physical or functional works of art.

Hannah Simpson intentionally focuses on creating just a few types of ceramic products with higher price ceilings, like lamps, rather than equally time consuming pieces that can’t sell for the same amount.

An example of this is creating a lamp versus a flower pot. Both have take a similar amount of time to produce, but a lamo can be sold for much more than a flower pot.

Starting with a broad range of products is fine, but eventually, it's best to narrow down offerings to those that are enjoyable to make and can be sold at prices the artist is satisfied with.

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What is Cara?

If you’ve been on Instagram lately, you may have seen some (or a lot) of the artists you follow posting screenshots of a new app they want you to follow them on.

It’s got a sleek minimalistic design that does look just a bit like Instagram did before it got so video focused.

Its name? Cara.

So what is it? Why’s it special? Who’s it for and why now?

Founded by artist Jingna Zhang, Cara takes a strong stance against AI-generated artwork in its present form, and seeks to protect artists’ work and ability to reach actual clients.

The following is taken from Cara’s About Page:

Cara aims to be a creators-first social media platform that connects artists with clients, fans, and industry peers.

We are committed to providing not only AI content filtering, but also tools that emphasize simplicity and ease of use while supporting artists with features they need to connect with communities and clients for their work.

via Cara website

With the advent of AI art, many artists have felt a certain level of alarm and frustration which Cara seeks to remedy.

As hundreds of thousands of artists have begun flocking to the platform, some have asked “what will happen to Instagram?”

The answer? Likely nothing.

Many art platforms have risen and fallen, or even stuck around for a while (see DeviantArt), but what many fail to achieve is to establish the artist-client relationship that Cara’s currently hoping to create for its users.

Sure, there are plenty of artists joining the platform but are everyday average people joining? Probably not. Artists that sell directly to consumers may have a hard time appearing in front of them in Cara.

Many people still buy art on impulse after the Instagram algorithm shows them a talented artist they never knew existed.

Can Cara solve this dilemma? Only time will tell.

At least for now, it seems Cara holds a lot of promise. Perhaps if the app continues to grow and become more mainstream, it will truly become a marketplace for artists and clients to gather, safe from unethical AI practices and inauthentic computer-generated images.

The app is currently in Beta, but you can find it on the web and in the App Store, so check it out if you’re curious!

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