How to make art your job | Going from hobbiest to pro with LavenderTowne

December 10, 2018

Popular YouTuber and comic artist Haley Newsome, aka LavenderTowne, gives us some tips that she’s learned from her personal experiences and journey to becoming a professional.

People make art for all different reasons and making money with it is never a requirement. If you are interested in taking your artistic talents from hobbyist to pro, don´t be scared, Haley has a great video that discusses how to make yourself into a professional artist just by changing a few small habits.

Don’t apologize for your art. Be a cheerleader for it.

Many artists are really hard on themselves and openly criticize their art. Haley admits that she herself was guilty of this habit in art school. “When I brought up my piece to be looked at, I would start by telling everyone what I didn’t like about it and I would apologize for it and joke because I wanted everyone to know that I could see the mistakes and I wasn’t conceited. I got really good advice from one of my teachers, however, that if I want people to buy my work I don’t want to tell them all the reasons why they shouldn’t.”
Be positive about your own art even if you feel like deep inside that you hate it and you see mistakes everywhere. Don’t give the impression that you don’t like your own creations, or people may start to believe you and focus on the flaws that you’ve pointed out. Be a cheerleader for your own work instead, and people will first see your passion and your excitement, and that will change the way they see your piece.
Being positive doesn’t mean you’re conceited or arrogant, it just means that you can see what’s good about your work. “Obviously there are benefits to knowing where your mistakes are, but a lot of the time you can feel really demotivated if that’s all you’re noticing about your work. You need to see what’s good about it too so that you can continue good habits and keep making work that you’re happy with. If you force yourself to find things that you like about your art, it will make it easier to work on the next piece, and it will give you more energy to keep improving.”

Look at your inspirations with a critical eye

When you’re trying to improve on your art, look at things that inspire you, but analyze why you like them and be a bit nitpicky. Try to figure out why you think it’s beautiful and what kinds of things you want to emulate. Go deep and you analyze what you love about it and what you don’t.

Good organization is key

Jobs have deadlines and deliverables, and if you miss those things you can ruin your reputation super fast and you may not get future chances with a client. Many successful artists have an organization system in place like a calendar, planner, or online project tracker. For your own sanity, stay organized so you are not constantly worried about forgetting something.

Don’t beat yourself up

Dealing with self-doubt is a fact of life for many artists. Being good at art is not something that’s easily quantifiable. People have become professional artists with stick figure art. But there are also artists who do amazing stylized and realistic art that takes hours and hours who aren’t getting a steady fan base. Outside of your prowess at art, your ability to not give up often determines your success.
“It doesn’t help that we live in a culture where if you aren’t immediately successful out of college (especially if you’re in a creative career), society tells you that you’re not good enough and you made a mistake in even trying this.” If you’re really feeling beaten down out of your dream remember that almost everyone you’ve ever looked up to or idolized has had that moment where they felt like they’d made a terrible mistake.
Haley said before her YouTube channel took off she thought she herself had made a mistake. “I was so angry and upset with myself because I had just been rejected from tons of internships and I heard that the only way that you can be successful is straight out of college. You get an internship in the summer of your third year and then you go on to be a professional in your fourth year. There were even students who were professionals before they even got out of college and I really felt the pressure of time sort of sinking on to me. When I got all the rejection letters from all the different internships I really felt like I was going to be a failure.”
Haley could have stopped trying and begun looking into other opportunities outside of art, but she decided that art was super important to her and she loved it more than anything. She decided to launch a YouTube channel and a webcomic at the same time and that’s when things really started to work out right. “There are so many avenues for creative people to become professionals these days so there’s no reason to feel like your dreams are not possible.”

About Haley Newsome

lavender profile
Haley Newsome (LavenderTowne) writes and draws two comics, Unfamiliar (a story about some wee witches) and Disasterpiece (a comedy comic about her life at art school.) Haley uses a Wacom Intuos 4 and a Cintiq Companion 2 to create her art. She also has a popular Youtube channel called LavenderTowne and does lots of random art on the side. Haley says she loves making things and spends almost all of her free time working on her comics and Youtube.

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