Tips and Tricks

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Q16: Jane Goodsir – Is it possible to earn a reasonable living working exclusively in comics and the visual arts?

It is possible to make a wage, but unless you are incredibly lucky, you will have to work very hard at taking initiatives, and spotting  opportunities.

Perhaps the single most important thing is to make sure that you can make your work relevant to lots of different people and organisations who are prepared to pay for your services.  Very few people – even leading artists- can  survive from book commissions alone.  Showing that you have skills in running art workshops,  designing environments, and helping other people deliver important messages using comic characters will mean that you are much more likely to earn a living wage using your artistic skills.

During the past few years we have met many published artists who  earn their  livings by having   portfolios of art related  work  that clients find useful.  Openings  for artists include:

Running comics and art workshops for adults and young people –  in prisons, schools, arts organisations, libraries, theatres, youth organisations and charities – so far – maybe there are organisations in other areas who might be interested!

Designing comic characters  to  get messages across in publications for public health agencies and charities – mental health, addiction, and a whole range of other areas.

Designing for games and mobile apps.

Creating and enhancing environments in museums, galleries and historic houses

Designing pages and characters for websites.

Collaborating with publishers on book series that use comic content to enhance non comic information.

Advertising design, and design for PR events and environments.

Wrapping, stationery and card design.

Getting work in these areas means that when you make contact, you have to understand  where clients are coming from, why they are working on a project, what their needs and time-scales are, and how you  can contribute. To get work, you need to be realistic about budgets.  And while your skills will be useful, creatively you won’t be flying solo, and you’ll have to work as part of a team.