Dear little demon,

Welcome to the edition #8 of the Art Missive! We are now 1 819😈 in this newsletter: thank you sm for reading ❤..

Lately, I’ve been feeling very frustrated. I wanted to start an artwork but I was stuck for days because I just could not draw : I was completely art blocked. Lost 14 hours trying to find ideas for this non- project but I just I gave up. Now, I have to deal with my frustration and find the motivation to start a new week.

In this Art Missive

  1. INTRODUCTION : Today, we have the monthly QaA

  2. Q1 : How to find your art style ?

  3. Q2 : Why are your art Reels not working ?

  4. Q3 : What type of career as an artist ?


The last Monday of every month, we’ll have a QaA like this one.

Throughout the month, you're most welcome to send me all of your questions by mail.

I’ll collect them and identify what are the most frequently asked ones to answer in the coming QaA.

In this edition #8 of the Art Missives, we are going to answer 3 general questions that actually include many of your specific questions.

Please, bear in mind that these QaA sessions do not replace any further research you might want to do on your own. It is never a good thing to rely on only one source!

Q1 : Find your own art style. 

“Léa, how did you get this art style?”

This is a question that I get at least 10 times a week.

And I think you are not going to like my answer…

1. How I did find my art style

Paradoxically, I started to build a consistent art style once I started to learn art fundamentals.

I think that we are so obsessed with finding our style, that we tend to forget how being able to master fundamentals and to draw with accuracy is very important.

And I did it wrong myself : I started to draw in a weird and clumsy style before even learning the fundamentals of drawing. Without knowing that this is what actually will prevent me from finding a consistent and good-looking style. 

2. Why is realism actually your shortcut to find your style ?

When it comes to stylization, being able to master the fundamentals and realism to a high degree will help you make better design choices.

I have an example that I stole from a the amazing SamDoesArt but :

Trying to find your art style before mastering fundamentals of arts and realism is like trying to summarize an article without having read the article itself.

In other words, if you want to build a consistent art style, you have to get a good understanding of the reality of your subject in order to re-design it and represent it your own way.

And basically, if you have a look at amazing artists with a very recognizable style, you’ll see that before that, they are capable of producing very realistic artworks.

Here is an example of one of my fav artists on this planet : Ilya Kuvshinov

Here is a typical artwork of him :

To reach this level of stylisation, being able to make the right design choices and adapt the features of the face in a harmonous and unique way… He had to know the human face this much :

I know, you were not expecting that, didn’t you ?

I know it’s discouraging, but learning realism will really help you get the style you dream of.

3. Tips to find your style

👉 TIP 1 : you got it, my best advice is to work on mastering realism and art fundamentals. You may think it’s such a long way to go and you don’t have the time for that… But according to me, it’s the only way to unlock your potential and find a consistent art style.

👉 TIP 2 : steal like an artist (don’t copy !). While learning your fundamentals, you might wanna take some time to reflect on what kind of style you are aiming for. To do so, you can start doing something artists have been doing forever : look at other artwork, find the work you are massively inspired by, and borrow parts of it. But don’t copy the artwork ! Take what you like in it and try it yourself !

👉 TIP 3 : take some time to play like a kindergarten kid ! Dedicate some time to experimentation and fun practice. Dedicating some time to experimentation will allow you to create a safe space for taking risks and trying out new things without being pressured by your own expectations.

👉 TIP 4 : keep in mind that building your own style is a constant evolving path. The way you create today may be completely different from the next year. Be patient with yourself and don’t be scared to change, evolve and improve!

Q2 : Why are my Art Reels not working ?

Do you struggle with Reels ?

Maybe, you have tried to make some and share it on Instagram… But it never worked.

Your Reels still get low reach and poor engagement.

Or maybe one of them worked better ! And you were so happy, you felt like you finally understood the IG algorithm… But the next ones went back to poor results.

If it is your case, I feel you. And I’ve been in your shoes (and it’s painful, I know).

When I first started making Reels, I thought that was it : I just had to make some cool Reels and this will be my key to supercharged growth on Instagram.

But it was not. I spent several months making Reels with so little views…

But today, I can clearly tell you that Reels are your TOP1 solution if your goal is to grow an art community on Instagram.

So what are you doing wrong with your Reels?

1. What you need to understand NOW to change your results

There is a real misconception about Reels : people think you just have to make some to get famous.

But the truth is (and careful it hurts)...

Making Reels has never been enough.

Especially in a competitive niche like art.

To start growing your community, you need to learn how to make GOOD Reels. Not just Reels.

And a good Reel may be very different from what you think it is.

I am going to be straight with you : having the best image quality won’t help you… learning fancy transition won’t help you…

What is going to help you is to make what I call “strategic Reels”.

By strategic Reels, I mean Reels that are made to grab the attention of the viewer, keep it and turn it into following and engagement.

Because if you don’t make your Reels with the intent of captivating your audience, you’ll keep having bad results.

2. Why do my Reels get low views ?

Successful strategic Reels are designed to grab the attention of the viewer and turn them into followers.

So I highly suggest you to go back to your unsuccessful Reels and ask yourself these questions :

👉 Q1 : Did I work hard to make the first seconds of my Reel so captivating that people wanna stay until the end and, most importantly, did I start my Reels with an appealing hook ?

👉 Q2 : Do I add value to my audience ? What kind of value do I share with them ? What is the reason I give them to stay and follow me ? (Spoiler Alert, except if you’re a Grand Master, your art is not a sufficient reason for people to stay)

👉 Q3 : About the audio I used : is it a trend ? If it is, is it STILL trendy when I posted it ?

👉 Q4 : Did I write a captivating caption ? Does my caption give a reason for the viewers to follow me ?

👉 Q5 : Did I post at the right time ? When my audience is using Instagram ?

There are also other things that you might consider that are not components of the Reel itself but that still can have an impact on it :

👉 Q6 : Have I been engaging with my community and other content on Instagram ? Because being social on this social media App the number 1 requirement to grow.

👉 Q7 : Have I posted consistently the past few weeks (or even months) ?

👉 Q8 : Did I stick to a niche within the bigger niche of art so that Instagram understand what people would like to enjoy my content ?

3. Questions you don’t need to waste time on :

❌ Is my art so bad that people don’t watch my Reels ?

❌ Am I good enough as an artist (keep in mind that Instagram growth tells nothing about the quality of your artwork)

❌ Is my editing fancy enough ? Or do I need to learn fancy transitions ?

❌ Is the image quality of my video high enough ? (Look at my past Reels, the quality of the image is shitty but I could still get thousands, even million, views)

❌ Am I shadowbanned ? (except if you’re a spammer or you have inappropriate behavior, you’re not).

❌ Are my Reels original enough ? (before trying to be original, start learning how to be effective)

4. Final tips :

1️⃣ Making successful and strategic Reels is something you need to LEARN, you’re not born with it and you won’t know how to do this except if you learn about it. So actively research on this topic and let yourself some time to become better and better at it. Once you get the recipe, you’ll start to grow.

2️⃣ Consistency and time are keys : don’t give up because your first 10 Reels did not get any results. If good Reels were so easy to make, everyone would have +1M followers by now!

3️⃣ Understand that Instagram can be your friend : Instagram wants people to stay as long as possible on their app. If you make content that makes people stay, Instagram will reward you by showing it to more people.

4️⃣ Copy successful Reels to learn faster (copy the Reel, not the actual artwork showcased 😅). You can copy mine if you want too!

Q3 : What careers for artists ?

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I decided to give myself 12 months to become a full-time artist.

I am currently running another business (has nothing to do with art) that I created a few years ago when I was still a law student.

This year, I am learning to become a professional artist and build a thriving career. And as I am working on this, I wanted to share with you some research that I made for that purpose.

What type of career can you choose as an artist ?

Well, the first obstacle to answer this question is the definition of “artist”. Being an artist means so many things : we could be talking about tattoo artists, photographers, painters…

All these types of artists can lead to different opportunities but for the purpose of this Missive, I’ll stay very broad.

1. The 3 big paths I have identified

My research have highlighted 3 main different paths that you can take as an artist :

1️⃣ The old way

This first kind of career you can choose is the general idea we have of artists : you create artworks that you sell to individuals, companies or art galleries.

Most of the time, you create a limited number of works but their price is worth thousands of euros.

This path is very elitist and mainly accessible to artists who have a huge academic background.

This type of career requires you to be highly skilled, develop your own art style and build an extended network within art buyers and art galleries.

It is the most difficult path to access.

2️⃣ The employed artist

Often, we think that being an artist is an unstable path. But actually there are many career opportunities within companies.

In this career path, you are employed to create art for a specific company, most of the time gaming or movie studios.

Or you can teach art in schools.

This is a highly competitive field but the number of opportunities is constantly growing.

Once you enter a company, you have all the benefits of being an employee : stable income, insurance etc.

This type of career requires you to have a solid portfolio that fits the companies you are targeting.

This path is more accessible but you still have to be skilled, be able to work under pressure and you need to be good at finding a job to be recruited.

3️⃣ The social media artist

This is the path I have chosen to follow.

As a social media artist, you are an entrepreneur.

You have to build an audience that will bring you many business opportunities like sponsorship, commissions and product sales.

This type of career as exploded the past years, and even though it is the most unsafe path, it’s the one with high potential incomes.

Also, you are your own boss.

This type of career requires you to build an audience and to have an extended sense of entrepreneurship and business.

This path is easy to access because social media are free and anyone can start building their art community.

👉 Now, these 3 paths are not completely separated. Many artists pick the best of both worlds. But if you are thinking about being an artist, you need to start by picking one of them as your main strategy.

👉 For the 2 first categories, you don’t need to grow an audience on social media.

2. 10 artist careers

Within these 3 categories, there are so many careers that you can choose.

Some career paths can even enter two of these three categories.

Here is a list of 10 artist jobs that you can get, if you want to start doing your own research :

1️⃣Illustrator (freelance or employed)

2️⃣Concept artist (freelance or employed)

3️⃣Artist in 2D and 3D animation (freelance or employed)

4️⃣Storyboarding artist (freelance or employed)

5️⃣Visual development (employed)

6️⃣Graphic Novel Author (freelancing)

7️⃣Business owner (having a shop and selling products or services related to your art : etsy shops, tattoo artist shops, wedding photographers ex.)

8️⃣Print designer (for fashion companies for example)

9️⃣Graphic design (freelance or employed)

🔟Artist influencer (freelancing)

🎁 Bonus : there are many other career paths that you could identify like being an art teacher (for a school or selling your own courses), creating for an art gallery, B2B artists creating for events, public organisations and companies or even becoming an art director…

3. General thoughts about becoming an professional artist

What I like about choosing an art career is that you have a pretty good range of motion if you change your mind. You could start choosing a career in a company for example… and then decide to change to become a teacher or to launch your own business.

The other advantage is that, depending on your personality, you have the opportunity to work inhouse or to be your own boss.

So becoming an artist has never been more accessible than today, I guess. Especially because art related industries like fashion, game industry, movies, social media are clearly expanding industries that offer more and more opportunities for artists to find their place.

Something to keep in mind tho… - and you probably already have heard of it - is IA.

IA is developing very fast in all parts of our societies and art is not an exception.

We know today that IA will drastically change the career opportunities I just presented to you.

Don’t freak out, IA will not eradicate artists from the world. But bear in mind that today’s typology of artist careers is to be drastically modified by IA in the coming years, with some disappearing opportunities but also with some new opportunities that we are now aware of yet.

What did you think of this Art Missive ?

Too long? Useful enough? Easy/hard to read?

👉 Give me your feedback by answering this email.

(I read ALL the emails)

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