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The Internet, Social bubbles,Reach and Other Myths

Journal Entry: Wed May 25, 2016, 1:33 AM


OK, long time no update here and that is because of a couple reasons. Bear with me as I try to get it all organized ;)

First thing is that dA journals were never really a format I enjoyed. The headline character limit is awful. I blog regularly on my site articles, about technology and about psychology. For personal journaling I don´t have the time or better said the value vs. time stands in no serious correlation. Status updates on dA: does anyone read them? So even these small chunks of information are useless when no one is looking at it.

These days I look at what I have accomplished so far and am very happy that I don´t have to start out with doing the art-thing-for-a-living right now. The internet is hilariously full with content so that it seems, the only way to get recognized is to pay for visibility.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-25 um 10.25.25 by fantasio
Nowadays I prefer to set up my booth in "real life" on a convention or fair and talk to people directly. So whenever the topic comes up about internet marketing, patreon or facebook reach and you don't hide under a rock, things have seriously changed in the past couple of years. 

The Myth about Reach

I´m happy that things are like they are, the facebook or G+ bubbles where algorithms only show you what you like. This makes sure that many emerging artists get depressed before they even have the chance to show the world how great they are. It is no secret that facebook limit your reach so that you have to pay if you want more people to see what you are up to. Most businesses do well and know about that matter, but since many artists don´t see themselves as business, their reach is crippled and they blame everyone else and facebook but not themselves. If you think about it, marketers always try to find chances to infiltrate social channels. Capitalism demands it to be perpetuated and word of mouth is still the best channel for advertising.


The Social Bubbles 

There is something I observed on facebook, also other platforms like G+, deviantArt and other communities make use of algorithms. At first sight that is not bad, it would just be better if it would be more transparent and if you could choose. Facebook for example only tends to show you what is interesting for you. A conversation only makes sense when at least 2 people engage. FB knows that and tries to find in realtime the best match possible at that current time, based on your interactions. Orwell would be very pleased. Actually these are all tiny bubbles in which we live and the outside world is even blocked with adblocker or through ignorance.

If you have subscribed to the right people, this might even be a good thing but the problem is that in order to promote your work you feel that you can´t really escape from these bubbles. And worse, the myth about reach is true for facebook profiles and personal profiles as well. Even when you have reached the 4000 friends limit, your reach is limited to around 10% So I would really consider twice putting much time, energy and money on these platforms. Blogging on your own website brings a lot more people on my page than social media could ever do.


The Myth about Prolific Artists

One other myth about social media in which a totally distorted picture of reality is burned into our heads: productivity.

Everyone around us seems to be so very productive and you feel you are not good enough. In reality there are only a few productive people out there and even then they have setbacks such as no spare time, no families or long hours to work, less paying jobs, etc. You never know how it looks on their end. 
Then there are institutions that insists to be single persons such as Ilya Kuvshinov or Sakimichan. these people have built a business around their art, have hired people to do their online marketing and communication, shipping, convention attending and much more that would be impossible to do for one person alone. But on our end, it looks like they do it all alone.


The Myth about Witch-hunts

Today it is Nad4r, Kyle Lambert in 2013, and countless other artists that are unfortunate enough to shape the masses against them. I´m in the process of writing an article about the photo -or hyper realism that causes so many confusion among artists and other people.
Until then, here´s my two cent about that matter:
People always love and see realism as the highest form of a visual artistic skill-set that one can imagine. The problem is that realism does heavily rely on references. If you don´t have a Down-Syndrome or be an autistic prodigy, chances are you need a model. Be it a real model that poses for you or a photograph that serves your need. The work has to be done by yourself. Big names like Dru Blair have done it traditionally and made millions with the technique and no one seems to bother. If you want to learn the technique you learn how to mix colors for 2 days straight. Btw. mixing colors and learn how to trace a picture close to 100% is all you learn in workshops of this kind. And workshops of this kind are the only possibility of making money with hyperrealism today. Ever tried to sell an original realism painting that was not oils? Good luck with that;)

Here is the thing; when it is done digitally, people either want to believe you have done this all from imagination or they just hate you because of the amount of skill, patience and time you are able to channel into one piece. The most hate tends to come from other artists feeling sorry for the photographers that don´t were mentioned. I get that, but I don´t feel sorry for them. Professional photographers can hire a lawyer, send a cease-and-desist letter and earn some extra cash this way. It is part of their business.

But the social internet fosters, yet celebrate this hate. People on facebook click a "like" instead of going on with their lives and over a certain amount of time they will see more of the things they actually dislike. The urge to vomit bottle's up and leads to point your finger towards one guilty person who needs to be the root of all evil in your life that has now to be punished. Witchhunts, do exactly that, they are the new opium for the people. If you are not successful in your life, there must be someone else guilty for that, there you go...

Want my advice?

Curate what you chew. Don´t click like if you don´t like something. Don´t like something from which you can imagine that it will hurt you tomorrow. 
Learn to curate your life! Subscribe to the right people. Surround yourself with inspirational people, not with copycats.


The Branding Myth

What I feel about emerging illustrators and what I get from my students most of the time is, that as long as you build a name for yourself, you will get noticed. Yeah, that was true for about 10 years but sorry, these times are over. Companies that are looking for artists don´t have the limited amount of 150 artists online to browse through portfolios, nowadays they see 150.000 great artists to pick from.
"So branding is a key then, like Ross Tran or Bob Ross ?" Um, yeah exactly, if an art-show on television or Youtube is what you want, then yes. Not only the name similarity is hilarious, the generic imagery makes sure that even in 20 years these icons will be remembered for the way they famously painted trees or strands of hair ;)


The Rip-off Myth

Everything is a remix put it down in a good documentation; you can´t create anything new. Carl Sagan once said:" If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you need to create the universe first."

As artists, we often think we have to invent something new. Some do, some repeat what worked and some rip-off others. The rip-offs are either drastically bad so that you really don´t have to worry. In the best case it is studies and people don´t do damage to you. Putting things online does not mean someone makes a fortune out of it. But it sure can be a reason for you to be upset. If companies rip-off a piece and sell it, this is another topic, but even then; If you can provide details about that matter, you can forward it to your lawyer, he will earn some cash and you as well. And I learned that online rip-offs are far more paying than physical rip-offs. So if you find out something like your art was stolen - do something about it and stop whining. You want to be in this business, that means you need to learn how to play with the rules.


The "Get discovered" Myth

This brings me to a trap I felt need to be addressed; "When you are good enough, you will be discovered".

Forget it.

At least, I tried it, and with a combined visibility of around 4 million pageviews, G+, fb + dA, it did not happen that I got a call from Marvel or Wizards. Not that I tried to get there myself yet ( as I still think I´m not good enough yet), but as a mid-career artist, I figured that all I did so far was for study and if I really want to work for a specific company, I need to apply there, like anyone else. And if I want something I do that - until now, other things were more important.

"But great fanart can get you there too!"

Wrong. Sure, you can get under the radar when you do fanart, but it has to hit a certain mark of interest (Dave Rapoza for example) or infringement, be it in sold unsolicited copies or else, that a company recognizes that it would be good to hire you if they don´t want you to be a competition. So if you have not sold 10k prints yet or made a profit of at least $ 50k a year from patreon, just realize how tiny your effort is compared to the reach you should have in order to change something.


An afterthought

However, evolution always makes sure that we adapt. Further generations will learn how to survive with the internet in ways we can not imagine yet. But since the internet, opposed to a real physical space, will never be full, it will eventually bring us a glimpse of how infinity feels. Not now but maybe in 20 years from now.

General update dA

A little update here to make this thing a bit different from my blog articles:

Right now I´m at a point in freelancing that I don´t do much freelancing but more of my own projects. This bears several new challenges that I have to tackle. On one hand the convention business grows which is good and supportive on the other hand I need to utilize online channels differently, hence the article above.

Other than that things are going well, I´m in the process of publishing some books about composition that will be released first on Patreon and later on Gumroad. The first book is already released. I´m studying composition more than ever and do a kind of unasked overpaints/critiques regularly to learn from "Masterclass blunders". This also serves on my monthly school workshops as well.

Things are really busy, my list for mashup, fanarts to-do, personal projects and exhibitions is huge, that I even don´t have time for regular commission jobs, but I do them if someone inquires. In the next year I will build several new portfolios for a different market, will see where this leads towards. Great times ahead.

How's your life treating you?
Cheers,
fant

Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

Thoughts on patreon

Journal Entry: Mon Jan 11, 2016, 8:53 AM


I´m having lots of content, hi-res, video process and psd-wise. However, right now I do the most for my physical class on digital painting, where I can explain lots of stuff in person. The small group of  my current Patrons benefit from this too. The problem right now is that I would love to do exclusive content.

Everyone loves exclusive content, at least over on Patreon. However, to do that, I´d need to reach a certain goal (look at my page, it is really not much) but I´m still far away from that goal. That means I have to focus on other things, which prevents me from doing the exclusive stuff that I would need to do in order to get more patrons.

That is the part where the snake bites it´s own tail.

As it is now, I´ll do the following: I´m planning on doing some small workshops for Gumroad.
This ensures that I have a nice presentation, well thought out concept, video, voice over, etc. in a neat package. But; it is not exclusive to patrons.
The $10 Tier patrons will get this workshop too, but it is not as exclusive as I would want it to be / or as you could have it.

Depending on how the Gumroad venture will work out, I might leave patreon behind - or maybe I´ll keep my sketching habit and portrait studies up on here... we´ll see. 

The thing is that at the time when I joined patreon, no one used it. Now every artist uses it excessively and people get bored easily and follow fads- not their fault. It is just natural to find out what platform works and which doesn´t. I hope this post will  not go by as unseen as the most other posts and lead to a little conversation about an interesting matter.


Cheers

fant



Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

Being The First Is Not Important

Journal Entry: Tue Jul 7, 2015, 3:01 PM


Long time no journal entry, this time I wanted to share an insight about originality. 



Facebook implemented working animated Gifs by the end of May 2015. Nearly 2 years after G+ and at least 7 years after tumblr.

And it is not important.

Apple has introduced its own maps and direction service 7 years after google.
Tethering was also implemented with the iphone 5 when Android phones had it years before.

And it is not important.

These tech examples showcase on a large scale why it is unimportant to be the first one to invent something. The bliss of being the first to introduce a new technology or feature is only about prestige.

There is no uproar on the internet community that facebook took 7 years to implement animated gifs, because - who cares? A minority.

Theoretically speaking these are unwritten principles on which our world and societies build upon. In the end no one will remember the first person who came up with this. With a little luck a history book will feature your name, but other than that it is only a shallow marketing argument.

An argument that is strong enough to hold others back.

When it comes to artists, creatives, the affinity to originality is so great, it literally holds the artist back.

From success.

I believe we can learn so much from technology, startups and business. It is a shame that many great and talented artist hide and rather sell their souls to corporations which keep them from doing their best work ever, just for the sake of having a regular income.

The nature of any success is for people to see what works and then work in the same direction. Nature does this too. Why on earth are there bugs that can take on the colors of their surroundings?
And why is this mechanism found on Chameleon and also squids? And can one sue the other because of copyright infringement?

I´m getting silly here, but artists are crazy sometimes, right?

You see, if something works, it will be adopted and refined by others. Trends happen to work in the same way. In the end no one asks who was first. It is just the mark of an era. What you do and what surrounds you is a unique set of parameters.

I like to think in parameters.

Only this way I am able to change them.

Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

The 101 Guide To Digital Painting Hardware #1

Journal Entry: Wed Jun 4, 2014, 4:09 AM


An input device for a computer seems to be a no-brainer, mouse, trackpad, keyboard all there but ...err, wait what? A graphic tablet is missing or should I get a pen display?

This guide is based on my personal experience and opinion, I´m in no way affiliated with any of these companies and I try to be as objective as possible.

As instructor but also on conventions, I often get asked what hardware, tablet or other input devices I use and what I´d recommend for someone just starting out.

Until 2013 I´d nearly always have said: "Go get a Wacom", but the competition and the tablet market is developing so fast that there are more products out there than ever and artists can be overwhelmed by the sheer volume and opinions.

I will just offer some options and add a comment or two that may help you decide.

Let´s stick with the basics:

#1: The Mouse

Artist: khrass

Nothing beats the mouse when it comes to everyday tasks such as clicking, pointing, Office, Internet, scrolling, but it has some downsides; for digital painting it is less usable. For occasional doing 3D work the mousewheel can be really helpful to navigate in a 3d environment.

I currently use a Sharkoon Fireglider, this mouse is actually for gaming and therefore ridiculously cheap but good! If you have money enough, nothing beats the Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer in terms of durability, it costs around $100 but worth it. I had one once and I just had to replace it because the coat weared of after 8 years but technically it was still working.

However, there are some artists that feel very comfortable working with a mouse, one fellow artist I know of brought astounding artworks on the table done with a mouse! Khrass´s deviantArt gallery is empty nowadays, but god bless the wayback archive! Not sure if that piece in particular was painted using a mouse, but the style didn´t change that much from earlier works, which means to me: It can be done, but watch out for Carpal Tunnel!

#2.: The Trackpad

Actually the trackpad used to be an expedient for doing things on the go. Apple has done a lot with their macbook trackpads since iphone and ipad evolved. Since they didn´t offer styluses for their tablets and phones - other brands jumped on that waggon and offer products that even work with a trackpad, believe it or not, see the video for some example. It works with the Bamboo-pen from Wacom too.


#3.: The Graphic Tablet

That´s where most people actually start with and this is totally right, because it allows to work naturally with a pen on a surface but there are some obstacles to keep in mind when considering to get one:

  1. The brand does not matter, don´t settle for the cheapest, if the features are OK and the pen seems durable/ tablet has a warranty, that´s all you need.
  2. Don´t fall for pressure sensitivity, between 1024 and 2048 there is NO significant difference, if it cost you twice, think twice.

It takes years to learn drawing on the tablet AND looking at the monitor. This synchronisation process will never be natural and you will not master it like drawing with pen on a paper. It is a totally different process that has to be learned from scratch like learning a new language.

Currently there are many brands available, but only a few that I would recommend checking for tablets if that is what you want:


Wacom, Hanvon, Aiptek, Monoprice




Wacom: before you even think about getting a Bamboo, think about where you get a cheaper/used Intuos 4 because that is what you want and ever need. The fancy blingbling of the Intuos5 or the Bamboo touch series is plain useless because touch from Wacom will never be as precise as the Trackpad gestures on a Mac and therefore a pain to use big time. AND: any size above a6 is too expensive, too big and unnecessary.

Hanvon and Aiptek: Since I only worked with Wacom I can´t say much about the other manufacturers, what I know from Hanvon is that they don´t care much about measurements, which means a 6" tablet can be 6.2" or a smaller equivalent. Also the features are more targeted at beginner to intermediate levels of artists/users. Keep that in mind, the same goes for Aiptek, havn´t come across a great or raving review yet, if you´ve done so, please feel welcome to share it in a comment below!


Monoprice was a surprise, but fellow artist Ray Frenden´s review looks promising, maybe it´s a secret tip for anyone else to try that one instead of the other ones? Find the raving review here.

This list is by no means complete, as mentioned before I can only pull from my own experience or from other sources that I trust. If you have a review or great experience with a product not listed here, I´d be glad to do some research and link it here.

#4.: The Pen Display

Pen displays are the shortcut for any artist to get the results that you are used to create with traditional media, OK, lets speak of pen and paper or pencil. Assuming you are able to use the programs right, these "Tablets" allow you to save years of learning to work with a tablet, believe me or not, the curve is immense. The main difference between these and a regular graphic tablet is that you draw directly on the screen, similar to working with a tablet, but more precise.

There are currently three brands for Pen display´s recommendable:

Wacom, Yiynova, Hanvon

Wacom Cintiq:




This is a no brainer; The Cintiq is actually the first thing that comes to mind when professionals think of a pen display, but my feelings are a bit mixed, here´s why:

First of Wacom has a really bad marketing strategy, for example they try to sell the larger Cintiq´s as HD, with resolutions that for any other 24" display comes natively with, 1920x1200 is not HD Wacom, sorry any 22", 24" and 26" monitor can do that. So the only thing that really has HD is the 13".

And that would also be my recommendation, it is big enough to work out anything you want its durable enough, lightweight to take it with you and less expensive than the other models.

The SenTip from Hanvon might be a good alternative for artists to get started as they are probably cheaper, but like mentioned before Hanvon is also good for surprises plus drivers can be buggy, read some reviews before you decide to get one.


Yiynova 




My feelings about this one are also mixed, the pricing is very low, but I´ve heard many mixed opinions and they´re not always good. The obvious cons are a battery driven pen, Walltop digitizers which are not as snappy as Wacom´s or the UCLogic ones that work great in OSX.

Ray Frenden has also another great review of the Yiynova MSP19U display. Not so obvious con´s are drivers that can be buggy. Find out more here on their website.

General advice for Pen Display´s:

From my own experience I can´t stretch enough how important it is to get a screen protection. I recommend putting a glass over it, this also saves the glove, because scratches don´t come from the hand but through dust particles under the hard nibs. Learned this the hard way.

Personal Statement and Warning about Wacom´s Customer Service:

Just in case you think I´d recommend Wacom throughout the show, that´s not true and here´s a personal story about the reason why:

When it comes to Wacom, I can say the products and delivery of products is great, however their customer support is really really bad (so is their advertising) for example, when I wanted to get a replacement cable for the Cintiq 13 HD to have one stationary to sit where my Ergotron arm holds it, and one to take with me for mobile use, you´d imagine that ordering such a replacement cable from their site would do the trick right?

Far from wrong: Lesson learned: What you see is what you get from Wacom, always!

I asked the customer support upfront if there is a power adapter included and I took their answer as a yes.

When I got the cable the power adapter was missing, getting in touch with the customer support waits on a reply ever since, the rating for their store was reasonable bad, but that didn´t helped me much. What would have helped would be an advice upfront, that the power adapter is not from Wacom itself. Research showed it is a universal AC power brick from Delta electronics that costs another 70 bucks. I find it ridiculus that this is nowhere stated on their site. Paying just 140 bucks for a second set of cables is insane.

#5.: Tablets and Tablet-PC´s

There are currently a few powerful Tablets and Tablet-PC´s out there that I would consider useful for an art professional. And I´m sorry to say that but the Ipad is none of them, however, I´ll include that as a representation of the IOS and Android niche to have it listed. Just to be objective as possible -yes it is there, it is not a good solution, but that doesn´t mean it´s not useful for others.

Ipad


Artist: Nikolai Lockertson

To start with the non-tablet, the Ipad can be powerful with a pressure sensitive pen and the right application, Procreate has to be proven the best digital painting app by far and the Wacom bluetooth pen is a good 

addition. Nikolai Lockertson is a living example that with the Ipad great art can be created, however, I consider it useful to sketch or paint on the go and prefer the more powerful devices in the studio to get the refined work done, but that is just me.

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

The first Tablet that I´d recommend is the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 here, the first one was promising, the second one has improved with the digitzers again and for the price it sounds like a good Ipad alternative with productivity potential. For more information read the review from fellow artist Thierry Doizon aka Baronthiery.

I currently have a Surface Pro 2 and am very happy with it, rumors have it that the Surface Pro 3 comes soon, but from what I´ve heard it will have another digitizer that is better with multitouch but has only 256 levels of pressure sensitivity. It has to be tested of these are sufficient for artists. In any event it might be useful to wait for the SP 4 to come out in a year or two.

To have the cover include the physical keyboard is a great approach to me as this is what makes this thing usable when you are on the go. 

Modbook Pro


The Modbooks are quite around for a while, they started out with a service to convert original Macbook into convertible tablets, now they produce them on their own using Apple parts. This  means you have Apple hard-and-software plus wacom technology, the counterpart to the Microsoft Surface Pro. However Microsoft also uses Wacom digitizers and both have 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, the pricing, OS and some features may be the key differences here.

Wacom Companion

Wacom has the most levels of pressure sensitivity, but actually that isn´t relevant because you´ll not notice a difference. The problem with the Wacom Cintiq Companion, is that they advertise the touch feature and Windows 8, but it is actually Surface Pro with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.  Similar to the Surface Pro, the HD resolution that comes with 1920y1080 pixels makes the touch function nearly useless in Photoshop and most other applications because all icons are tiny - you´ll need a pen to "touch" them. Except for a swipe here or there to control Windows it will not make a difference. From my point of view, a cheaper "without touch" product would have been genius and a 15" version with touch more sense because more space for a bigger battery, but hey - that is Wacom.

I´ve made the order of the list above in terms of battery power and professional use, from experience I know that working with the Ipad can last around 8-10 hours, the Surface tablet can run quite well, if the modbooks run like the regular Macbooks it can be 6 hours until you have to plugin the cable and the Cintiq with it´s I7 screams for the cable after 3 and a half hour - maybe 4h if you´re lucky.

If you are still interested in getting a Wacom Companion, Mike Daarken Lim has a nice review about it on his youtube channel, check it out.

#6.: Other and Experimental Devices

Leap Motion

Leap motion is a novel idea but I guess it will take years of development until it can hit the consumer market like tablets today.

There is also Kinect and the technique Sony developed for the PS4, which all look good, but I suspect a usability fail, so it might be Okay to use something like that as a replacement for the mouse one day, but nothing can replace the pen-on-paper feeling.

Fluid Paint

Another avantgarde setup that probably takes lightyears to be affordable or usable or both.

Selfmade Cintic

Not the first guy to do that and probably not the last one.

I suspect it is cheaper to get a Yiynova display and you have a warranty, just want to mention it in case you have thought about a DIY solution.

MaKey MaKey

And if you are more into performance art, fine art, whatsover, there is still the possibility to create your own device with MaKey MaKey.


I know, the best stuff is at the bottom, but hey, that´s life:)



Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

Surviving as Freelancer in a Subscription World

Journal Entry: Wed May 14, 2014, 2:14 AM


Complete title: 
How To Survive As Freelancer In A Subscription Based (Virtual) Society

This one is a wake-up call, one to contemplate how we use social media and publishing strategies.

This article don´t refers to sociel media tools and widgets, but wants to explore the heart of how publishing has changed and how to use it.

Actually when Magazines began with subscription models back, somewhere in the last century (please correct me if I´m wrong), some television stations decided to do the same and ultimately I believe that is the reason why we have subscriber-based social media networks now, where every person can get subscribers.

This is a long story short.

Sure, there are differences between a magazine a television station and you.

But how big is the difference if the currency is attention time?

I think we live in times where there is no big difference anymore between a premium TV broadcasting show and your content on facebook. What makes the difference is the added value and experience from a user. When TV is boring (even paid) and a facebook post made your day - the latter won the contest and future decisions will be made upon that realisation. The only thing that could change that fact to a satisfactory degree would be a movie you´d like to see on demand.

Once a freelancer can understand that the knowledge we have available today allows us to benefit from years of experiene and fails of others long before us, this is a huge advantage.

For example, when the first photographers established their medium they´d probably had not as much fans as anyone can have today by posting photos of cute kitten to facebook.

Consider this, how did our landscape looked some 20 years ago? If you are older than 20 years you´ll remember the joy of waiting for the day in the week when your favorite magazine came to the kiosk or that day when you walk into the video rental store to get that new action flick or that bookstore across the street to check for intriguing offers.

Now we don´t do these regular walks anymore, enjoy a book or audiobook on the commute to work and check our updates from friends on fb and twitter.

The landscape has changed and it is not worse or better, it is just different.

A whole society uses the internet for a replacement of television and magazines, book stores and video rentals, so how is it possible to thrive in such a society and to make a living of it?

Tough question, but not unsolvable.

First I want to put the pros and cons in a list, to evaluate the status quo.

Pro internet market:

  1. Huge audience
  2. Faster ways of finding a target audience (and be found)
  3. growing market
  4. established ways of getting and bind new clients
  5. Arguably better for the environment
  6. opportunity through globalisation

Contra internet market:

  1. much white noise, hard to get noticed
  2. most places are too crowded for new brands, established even have hard times
  3. lots of job losses (regionally through globalisation)
  4. established brands struggle or have to change their business to withstand hard times
  5. more "difficult waste" through higher sales of ebook readers, smartphones and tablets

As a conclusion there are as much pros as cons and it entirely depends on your point of view. For personal use and small businesses the internet market bears many opportunities and little to no risks.

The downside of this recent development are increased sales of ebook-readers and tablets. In my opinion this increase can save some trees if the market keeps on developing at the same pace, but a different material as replacement for plastic is in order. Otherwise the increase in toxic waste and difficult waste from not renewable raw materials will exponentially keep on having a negative impact on our climatic development.

OK, let´s imagine humans are able to learn and use new materials from mushrooms to replace plastic in the future, how am I able to compete with thousands of other artists and freelancers in the already crowded market?

Let´s begin with understanding the subscriber model on facebook. I use fb as an example because right now it is the most popular network and it is easy to understand.

  1. Subscriber or fans (on pages) are just numbers unless they interact with you. This means, these numbers can be 10k or 500k, but due to facebooks algorythms only 1%-2% are able to see your posts. So buying more audience in terms of buying fans or advertising on fb actually does not help, it increases only the numbers, and not magically the level of interaction.
  2. Interaction is the key. You have to write engaging content, share only interesting things and don´t spam.This way it will probably take longer to get a bigger following, but in the end interactions are a lot more authentic and the level of engagement in terms of likes, comments and shares is significant higher.
  3. Bigger is not always better. With great powers comes great responsibility. The pressure big companies have when they´ve made a mistake was easy to play down some 20 years ago. In the age of facebook, any dilemma can become a big companies worst nightmare, for example Greenpeace against Nestle is definitely a priceless example on how much costs could have been cut with the right decisions. The power of the users combined can have a big impact, the smaller the waves, the more secure for smaller businesses in the beginning, where many decisions might be wrong due to a lack of money, self esteem, whatsoever.
  4. Making good decisions will take time and self awareness. Having a tribe or community in your back makes it easier to learn from others and to gain reasonable feedback.
  5. Involving your fans and followers and even your subscribers to your development, or your way on your very personal journey makes others happy as well. No one wants a finished product - we are all heading back towards a do-culture and from a have-it-done- culture, but it takes time.
  6. When making-of´s in Blu Ray´s and DVD Boxes are longer than the actual movie, you know something has changed in the market. Not only in the consumer, but in the makers, because they understood that their consumers want to be part of something - so give them a purpose, give them a reason to live!
  7. That is actually the only valid reason why crowdfunding works today; people want to be special and they want to be involved, they like to spend premium money on something that not everyone can have - and THAT is an opportunity. An opportunity for artists and freelancers to deliver something special. Something that not everyone can have -and not being able to copy.
  8. Regardless if your product is music, a sculpture or a digital file, what you do with your subscriber is important, so treat everyone you meet with respect and an open heart and you should never need to worry about your future.

There is no simple to-do-kind of a list that you can crawl your way through, but only these essential things listed above that require your understanding and inherent passion. If you don´t treat social media with passion - you won´t understand the impact it has and thus will not be able to reap the benefits in the long run.

 That can ruin your business for you before you even took the plunge.






Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

12 Years On deviantArt and How To Get DDs

Journal Entry: Fri May 2, 2014, 2:45 AM


I needed to reflect about that matter when I received my 10th Daily Deviation in February and to be honest,
it is astonishing how time flies. It feels like it was yesterday when I posted my first work on deviantArt in November 2002.

At that time I only regularly posted to Epilogue as well and both were lively communities.


The site was greener in its early days, and flat design was hip as well!

When I signed up on deviantart as user number 305258 way back in 2002 it was already big and no one knew it would be going to be that huge in 2014.
Now user numbers range above the 30 million mark - that´s crazy, for an art-community - I mean.

Current events such as the death of the online CG community CGHUB makes me think of how we spend our online time.
When it comes to opinions about which is the best, I hear many people rave about this and that, but what still is there and will ever be is deviantArt, like it or not.
And deviantart was and still is pioneer when it comes to incorporate "working" avantgarde web-technologies. Heck, it even was a socialmedia website when no one wasted a though about facebook or knew that something like socialmedia would cause newspaper publishing houses to close down their businesses!

When the co-founder Yellow Alien - jark left the boat in 2005 many artists as well left the community and hissed that dA will go under but they were wrong.
One really gifted artist and community friend called khrass was one of the yellow-alien supporters who left for good and never came back, which is still sad -
especially because Jark came back, at least as senior member.

The problem with communities such as CGHUB, GFX-Artist or 900px that were all shut down in the last couple of years, is that they were all great communities,
ambitous and with a great userbase, but in the end people come and people go and if there´s no commercial force behind it, it will not last.

Boy, how many people have I seen come to deviantArt, remained a while... I could fill a book with conversations we had - and then POW, they´re gone. You know what?
That´s life, new friends come as well - some stay longer some not so long.

Below is a very personal piece I did in my early time on devArt as a tribute to all the friendly people who accepted and pushed me as an artist and person.

aTRIBUTEiconographyWALLPAPER by fantasio

Some are still active there, but at least 50% or more are gone. Links are in the description.

It is interesting, that when I have a discussion about deviantArt, many are astounded to hear about how many professionals are showcasing their work and participating in the community.

When it comes to the overal impression of works displayed on the site one can have for sure the opinion it is full of anime/manga and scum, and yes it takes time to find gems and outstanding artists, the list below is by no means complete. But it shows professional artists have their works on dA and when you start to look at their favorites, you´ll have a good day with lots of inspiration.

Just highlighting a few that are big names in various art scenes, (in no particular order) go check them out:


:iconandroid-jones: - Andrew Jones - android-jones.deviantart.com/

:iconkevineastman: - Kevin Eastman - kevineastman.deviantart.com/

:iconjason-felix: - Jason Felix - jason-felix.deviantart.com/

:iconrobotpencil: - Anthony Jones - robotpencil.deviantart.com/

:iconimaginism: - Bobby Chiu - imaginism.deviantart.com/

:iconmichaelkutsche: - Michael Kutsche - michaelkutsche.deviantart.com/

:iconartgerm: - Stanley Lau - artgerm.deviantart.com/

:iconpapaninja: - Serge Birault - papaninja.deviantart.com/

:iconartsammich: Sam Nielson -  artsammich.deviantart.com/

:iconzemotion: - Zhang Jingna - zemotion.deviantart.com/

:iconcyril-helnwein: - Cyril Helnwein - cyril-helnwein.deviantart.com/

:icongottfriedhelnwein: - Gottfried Helnwein - gottfriedhelnwein.deviantart.c…

:icondaverapoza: - David Rapoza - davidrapozaart.deviantart.com/

:icondavepalumbo: - David Palumbo - davepalumbo.deviantart.com/

:iconjanaschi: - Jana Schirmer - janaschi.deviantart.com/

:iconchetzar: - Chet Zar - chetzar.deviantart.com/

:iconadamhughes: - Adam Hughes - adamhughes.deviantart.com/

:iconpascalblanche: - Pascal Blanché - pascalblanche.deviantart.com/

:iconmarcbrunet: - Mark Brunet - bluefley.deviantart.com/

:iconsauco-m: - Max Sauco - sauco-m.deviantart.com/

:iconcryptcrawler: - Brad Rigney - cryptcrawler.deviantart.com/

:iconcharlie-bowater: - Charlie Bowater - charlie-bowater.deviantart.com…

:iconclintcearley: - Clint Cearley clintcearley.deviantart.com/

:iconalexgarner: - Alex Garner - alexgarner.deviantart.com/

:iconpetemohrbacher: - Peter Mohrbacher - petemohrbacher.deviantart.com/

:iconloish: - Lois van Baarle - loish.deviantart.com/

:icondsillustration: - Dan Dos Santos - dsillustration.deviantart.com/

:iconmichael-c-hayes: - Michael C. Hayes - michael-c-hayes.deviantart.com…

:icondonatoarts: - Donato Giancola - donatoarts.deviantart.com/

:iconnamesjames: - James Ryman - namesjames.deviantart.com/

:iconloopydave: - Dave Dunstan - loopydave.deviantart.com/

:iconmattdixon: - Matt Dixon - mattdixon.deviantart.com/

:iconmynameistran: - Tran Nguyen - mynameistran.deviantart.com/

:iconjon-foster: - Jon Foster - jon-foster.deviantart.com/

:iconaaronmiller: - Aaron Miller - aaronmiller.deviantart.com/

:icongorosart: - Goro Fujita - gorosart.deviantart.com/

:iconvelinov: - Svetlin Velinov - velinov.deviantart.com/

:iconjialu: - Jia Lu - jialu.deviantart.com/

:iconnekroxiii: - Nekro - nekroxiii.deviantart.com/

:icondanluvisiart: - Dan Luvisi - danluvisiart.deviantart.com/

:icondahlig: - Marta Dahlig - dahlig.deviantart.com/


Panels on Comic Conventions have also presented Marvel and DC artists who stretch the importance of taking the dA community serious.
And I do recommand this as well.


How to get daily deviations

Now to the interesting guide you came for, how to gain popularity on deviantArt is covered in many journals, even in offsite wikis, such as this one.

The reason I write about how to get daily deviation features was due to the question from Lo-gi, who asked if I´ve got a subscription;)

Unfortunately no, there is no such thing as a subscription, but I can now refer to some information, that I believe, make it easier to understand how to eventually get a DD. All the artists in the list above have at least one DD in their gallery, some could have more if they were more active. I got 10 which brings me in a position to talk about that matter -even though my knowledge is subjective - just sayin.

Some of the hints you´ll read below are so common sense that they are often overlooked, but everything from the list below IS important, I can´t stretch that enough. And here is a Cookie for you: it does not only apply to dA, but everywhere else:

  1. Be kind, be cool and be yourself pretty 100% of the time.
  2. Don´t chase a DD, you either get one or not, you can´t force it, you can just do the other stuff mentioned in this list and try to not think about it too much - let it be
  3. Think about what you really want. Do you want pageviews, do you want to reach out to people, then attach a message to your work that spreads and not just a pretty image
  4. You don´t need to answer every favorite and push your works in the forums as others may suggest. Just label, tag and describe your work correct - anytime, don´t be lazy.
  5. If your work is excellent, it will be seen and be featured, but it can take time
  6. The main criteria for a DD as for any other award is: Originality & Execution 
  7. You don´t always need to add your most polished work, you can sort that with the features in the gallery, a sketch and a polished work just need to be labelled correctly - then everything is fine
  8. Upload regularly, I only do once a week or once a month - could have a lot more pageviews than just these 340.000 but I don´t care. This number is not so important for DD´s as others may think.
  9. The number of your image views that you can find in your stats however, is important, my images were viewed nearly 2 million times, that means a lot of multiplicators and many chances for DD-suggestions as well along the way
  10. Be useful; if you have tutorials, relevant informations or can point to sources that you have used in your works, that is an advantage that puts you and your work into favor
  11. Be an inspiration, for that it means that you need to push yourself as an artist, see where you can get better and do it. Get better and show it, show your progress and keep people involved - they´ll take notice
  12. Get in touch with moderators and staff, engage if possible. You don´t need a position as moderator because that is a lot of work, but you can help with commenting, reporting inappropriate images and so on, just don´t overdo it.
  13. Push the boundaries. Online communities often experiment with tools in beta phase, so it makes sense to give useful feedback and use these features. Be bold and try something new.
  14. Use all parts of the site, be a beta tester, give feedback, get a premium membership, get a powerful looking profile and connect with other artists, engage with polls, journals and the forums.
  15. Don´t devalue your work with watermarks embedded, also don´t use the dA watermarks, show close-ups of your images or hi-res versions
  16. Make wallpapers of your work and submit to popular categories, wallpapers are harvested like mad and if you can stand out - you´re in luck.
  17. In the end it is all about connections and to show up, dress up. Do that often and talk or better listen to what people say about your work and people will take you and your work serious, but again, don´t overdo it, your work is not so important to others as it seems to you.

There´s a lot more to it, such as persistence, patience, intrinsic motivation to keep things up and so forth and especially the goal to connect with people should be inherent.

Not to mention the good manners and etiquette that includes not being rude, not starting flame wars and only showcasing your own original creations (or pay credit where it is due) and don´t always return a favorite or a comment just for the sake of it -it will be a fulltime position to do that.

And most important question the reason you do it, read Jon Schindehette´s post about chasing recognition may open your eyes.

Other´s have covered this topic probably more than enough, so these are just my two cents as a senior member with a print subscription until hell freezes over and some Daily Deviation features.

I love deviantArt, and not just for the numbers that allows an artist to develop, but mainly for its community!

Everyone who tells something different, may have their reason and they are probably valid, but they also may have not tried hard enough to make dA the community for them that it could have been.

Before you change the world you have to begin with yourself.




Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

The 101 Guide To Marketing For Artists

Journal Entry: Fri Apr 11, 2014, 12:04 AM


Slowly I get to catch up with deviations on here, now I just need to make use of the journals more often:)

There are some things I would be glad, someone would have told me earlier... 
Marketing is such a thing - since I´m freelancing 5 years now it is save to say that is no accident that I´m happily blessed with the "just right" clients and it all boils down to be due to authentic marketing. Honestly- I embrace everything that has to do with it, below you find my write up to get a better understanding of what it is all about.

I always found interest in psychology and marketing but when I jumped on the freelancing train 5 years ago I especially embraced anything that I could find to help me understand, use and practice marketing as a way to keep myself busy with work that I love to do and to collaborate with people who respect what I do.
In the process I learned much from many different experts and in this post I will forward what I´ve learned.

When starting out with any "Art business", It might be good to get a grasp of what marketing is and what it can do for you. For many artists marketing is something fuzzy or even a monster, I rather like to draw a picture of a cloud, when explaining marketing. Still fuzzy, but you can place it somewhere in your mind.


This cloud is full of different aspects such as psychology, communication, storytelling and research.
Marketing at its core is a combination of all these terms and practiced to achieve two main goals;to sell and to engage public relation.

When determining what we actually want to do, things tend to get a lot easier. This is especially true when breaking down our business and when we find that the business is about us, our personality and not just what we deliver.

Odds are that you learn to understand that Marketing is a steady companion even tho it looks like a monster in the infographic above, learn to embrace what marketing can do for you, and you have a reliable partner.

Begin With Why

Simon Sinek´s approach to communication is invaluable for inspiring communication that works. The key is to start any communication with answering the question "why". People often know whatthe do and how they do it, but most businesses fail to explain "why" they do it.

Know, Like and Trust

These three words are the pillars of any marketing effort. You can´t sell something so someone who doesn´t trust you, in order to gain trust, they have to like you, in order to like you, they have to know about you, simple as that. Online publishing and social media makes it easier than ever to get the word out, so do something with that power that is given to you.

Violence-Free-Communication

The obvious part, communication, is clear in the Message of Marshall B. Rosenbergs method, but I´d even go further and try to implement that way to our thinking. Because thoughts lead to action and if the thought is free from "should", have-to´s", "good" or "bad", we begin to get more liberal and can create a fertile environment for our ideas to spread.

Embrace the Purple Cow

The first thing to note about a purple cow is that it is remarkable, one can make a remark about it.
Once we find the purple cow in or business we have found the essence of what is likely to be spread and shared by others.

Get rid of the Purple Cow

Once the purple cow is established a crowd of purple cows can dim the effect and when everyone has a purple cow, no one stands out anymore. It is invaluable to know when is the right time to go into the opposite direction. This is my personal opinion to the otherwise great concept from Seth Godin.

The Right Relationships

Relationships are valuable connections. It is better to strive for relationships than to harvest for a vast number of customers, because relationships can change a business, the right relationships can even transform a whole business.

Karma is a Bitch
"Be nice to everyone, everyone has a positive side, it just takes time to show. The guy that grabs the last special buy in front of you, for which you ran across the whole city, might be your next boss or a colleague you have to work with, so be cool, you, be cool."

Learning to be Valuable

This is a long-time-goal, a holistic approach. But once accepted it will lead to great results as it will also give potential clients a reason to work with you or buy from you. Seth Godin has written a book about the "Linchpin" who in his book is someone who is invaluable for any company, adapting this technique can make you indispensable and thrive on your own business as well.

Get to Know the Half-life of your (Online) Content

Everything has a half-life, books, music albums and even online content. Tweets live shorter than blog posts, blog posts live shorter than newspaper articles, newspaper articles live shorter than Magazine articles, and so on. What half-life has your content?

Use the CWS-Method (Content Worth Sharing)

Sharing is caring, but most of us don´t have the time to do so every so often. Content that is worth sharing is rare. So be on the a-list in creating content that resonates and that moves people to share, regardless what it is, try out, experiment and learn from that, the information is hidden in the numbers.

Curate Yourself

It is easy to judge a book by its cover, an artist from his body of work. But when was the last time you put a critical eye on your own work?
Curating and judging your work objectively is the key to build a strong portfolio and change value for your customer.

The Art of Storytelling

You are skilled at drawing, you are great at compositions your choice of color is unique, but what about storytelling? I don´t mean narrative illustration, I mean to illustrate a picture in the head of your client first. This can be done by using a visual language, shaping images and emotions instead of plain facts. This way expectations and outcome can be controlled and measured through the excitement of your opposite.

Mission Statement

Shape a mission statement out of your bio and tagline. This can be short as two words or long as five sentences, it should carry the essence of what you do. It is the purpose of a company or a person which reflects its reason for existing.

The Elevator Speech

This is in fact a very helpful technique, learn to get your "why", "how" and "what" of your business including goals, achievements and request down without hassle in under 3 minutes. It can also help to write that down in 160 characters for short biographies like they are used on twitter or facebook.
People tend to skip the long version of your bio either way, so it may be better to focus on the short version.

Turn Drawbacks into Assets

Everyone has drawbacks most of the time, someone isn´t good at doing the accounting stuff, go find someone who can. If you have no fun doing the online marketing regularly ask friends to help you or invite friends to help you, in return you make dinner, etc. And if you are not good at something, think about what else you can do to make it fun, if it is fun you´ve a less hard time to do things regularly.

Using Social Media Right

This seems like a no-brainer, but so many people get it wrong, Social Media, in other words, facebook, twitter and co, are not replacements for your website or blog, they are the shuttle to your content, nothing more and nothing less. If you build a tribe using social media that is OK, but don´t build your business on uncertain ground, especially in times where Terms Of Servicechange like we change underwear.

Define your Budget for Marketing

A common misconception is to have no need for a budget. That´s purely shortsightened. When beginning the year, it makes sense to calculate through and think about a volume that you can put aside every month that goes straight into marketing, website hosting, panels, exhibitions, advertising in magazines, etc.

Market Limitations

Every market has its limits. This might be due to some established costs and budgets for various goods or services, so the only way to charge more is to change the market.

Email Marketing Done Right

There is nothing that beats good old email marketing, if that is your thing. There are great ways to do cheapskates or to run campaigns using services like Mailchimp that is competitive cheap, even free for under 2000 subscriber.

Authentic Wealth

Wealth is something many artist struggle to show as they feel it makes them look anything than "artsy", but that is wrong. Looking at a freelance business as a business like every else, you find yourself having more trust in companies who invest in their appearance, equipment and anything else that matters. So showing some authentic wealth is good for your business as people see that you take yourself and your business serious.

The No-Price-Tactic

No price on your work, either on website or on artfairs, can be labelled as professional The most manufacturer of products have no prices on their websites, yo have to go to a retailer website to get price information. The same tactic works for artists, if someone want a price of an artwork, the have to inquire about this matter directly. You might think that would people turn of, but that is far from the truth, on a website you just have to make it easy to contact you, in live events you just have to be near and recognizable as the artist. If people truly want to buy something from you, they will let you know that. The consequences of bad pricing on your website can more harm than doing you a favor, because pricing constantly changes.

GTD and How to Use Email for Productivity

If you are not too much into email marketing, email may be still important to you. Because in my day complete commissions are processed through the means of email. The first plus-point is that it allows me to track any relevant information, if there is something the client hasn´t listed, it hasn´t have to be done. Gmail helps a great leap in filtering and making it easy to manage a huge email load on a daily basis. There are also add-ons like rapportive and GTD-inbox that makes it even a productivity tool. In fact channeling your business communication to email can also benefit time management.

Have an Opinion

It is a fact that you can´t reach everyone, but when you share an opinion publicly on your blog or in an interview, you definitely attract some and disappoint others. So concentrate on those that you like to attract can make sense if you know that a statement or opinion can resulting in such a consequence. But be careful, having a strong opinion is good if you´ve researched or know your field very good, otherwise a "not-so-thought through" statement can backfire.

Chose Clever Graphic-Design

Even if you are an artist and especially if you are one of those that have no interest in doing the graphical "stuff", please do yourself and the world a favor and ask someone professional to create your broshures, website and blog-design. There is so many that can be done wrong, prospective clients often can´t tell what is bothering them, but the trained graphic designer can spot that. It may be the 25 fonts you used on your homepage or the colors and borders that distract the viewer to concentrate on your blog´s content.

Chose Professional Photographs

If you are a traditional working artist, this is especially important. There is nothing that speaks gainst a smartphone shot from a work in progress on your "W.I.P." page or online sketchbook. But serious collectors can spot the difference of a quality shot from your work, versus a low quality selfmade photograph. If you are not sure, what you are doing, ask someone who knows.

Optimize Your Workflow

Optimizing workflow and regularly contemplating steady changes on your workplace can lead to a more ergonomic and healthy work environment. Sometimes the simple things are those that cost much time when summed up. Embracing change means also embracing a certain kind of openness, that kind of openness that makes us sensible to business opportunities as well.

Work Smart and Harder

Many say "Work smarter, not harder" but if that is true and many are following that statement, you need to work smart and harder than others to compete with the top people in your field. In general it can be said that working harder get´s you better at something, working smarter gets you the more interesting jobs in which working harder than others may result in better paid jobs as well, pretty smart, eh?

Be Memorable

Being memorable is important to define your future. People often change positions and if you treat them well and also be memorable with your own unique kind, people have an easy time to remember you once they are in a position to support you or to claim your services.

The Pareto Principle

Using the pareto principle right, means that 20% of the clients bring in 80% of your income. Concentrating on those 20% is crucial. This is also part of the "Work Smart and Harder" method.

Know your Market

This list does work well if you are after getting jobs as freelance artist, designer, illustrator or else. However, the "fine-art-market" is something different, it is unlikely that a great gallery will approach you, this guide will however help you to sell your work all by yourself without the middle-man, at least that is what it does for me.


Last but not least there are some keywords I want to add to his important list, knowing them means to know how to open the doors.


Resonating - Resonating content is the new purple cow, know how to resonate and you know how to inspire

Authenticity - Authenticity in marketing is like being true to yourself, deliver what you promise

Shipping - Shipping is the most important aspect of any service or product. It has to get to the client on time, otherwise it is worthless

Authority - Authority rules, it is about how you dress and how you show up, if you want people to accept you as an authority wear an uniform and act like expected

Holistic - Life is holistic, traditional Chinese medicine is holistic and so should your marketing approach be, not for today and not for tomorrow, but forever

Tribe - Build a tribe, a group of loyal followers and colleagues that stick together like glue or a family

Empathy - If we have empathy, we neither need "religion" nor "good" or "bad" in our dictionaries

Connections - Having the right connections can be very helpful in establishing a business, although relationships are better than weak ties, the latter has value that shouldn´t be underestimated tho

Affirmation - Having a daily routine such as a positive affirmation is comparable to programming the mind, with the right syntax it is possible to program even the unconsciousness.

Consistency - Consistency is the thing that works against creativity, but is important to get you jobs

Repetition - Business is all about repetition. But it is important to know when to break the mold and when sticking to the rule

Goals - It is crucial to have goals. Some easy to achieve goals, some medium-difficult ones and some that seem impossible to reach. The impossible goals are the most important ones, because through these you can grow into that person who is able to achieve them

Timeless - Timeless content wins in the long run, ask yourself if your work can compete with time

Opportunity - If opportunity doesn´t knock, build a door. (Milton Berle)

Revolution - Every now and then we need a revolution either within our tiny little ecosystem or one that shakes the whole world until its core

Pricing - The more people know of your work, the higher the price, don´t work for people who don´t even know your work close enough

Time-management - Time is money, wasting time means wasting money, but it isn´t that easy, for artists, time used for chilling can be useful for reenergize creative spirits and therefore be healthy. But using several methods to manage tasks that usually are time consuming (changing from phone to email for example) can help.

Measurement - Today everything can be measured. Learn to measure, how to read statistics and which numbers are important and you are one step ahead of your competition.

*Update*
I just went through my list of related websites and thought it might be useful to add some of the great links here, that helped me through this marketing endeavours:


calnewport.com/blog/2007/10/10…


Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

Digital Art Show

Journal Entry: Mon Mar 24, 2014, 4:06 AM


Long time no talk, sorry for that.
The year started as busy as it ended in terms of commissions, lectureships and art-shows/conventions. This week is the first in months that I have a little time off.

I also have so much artworks that needed to be uploaded here, it´s almost ridiculous - trying to catch up with comments and faves, I try to get there one-by-one - I really appreciate your patience.

I rarely use this place for promotion, but I also too rarely use it as a simple journal. In regard to the former I just want to promote a small event which will be held for the first time in Europe/Germany, it´s the Digital Art Show, featuring HansPeterKolb, BBarends, wwwDarKarTbiz, AnKer-Illustrationdojoerch, Jacklionheart, MurdockMcMackin,  Dominique-Mirjam Kaul, MarcoHayek, DreamingDeerAerografi-k & yours truly ;)

I´ll be there and looking forward to some demonstration, speedpaintings, Q&A´s, whatsoever -it´s nice company and I look at this as a family meeting with some chance to bring digital art culture to the people.

Digitalartshow ad by fantasio

There is a German press release available here:
www.openpr.de/news/784757/Digi…

Hope you are doing fine,

cheers,
fant

Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

  • Listening to: Professor Kliq

2013: A Year In Review

Journal Entry: Fri Dec 6, 2013, 2:36 AM


It´s been a while since I updated my journal. This time I won´t use it as an outlet of my blog, but for what it was actually invented: to jot down things that moved me along the way.
2013 was a good year in many regards, so a "year in review" can´t hurt;)

Since today marks December the 6th, this card may be appropriate to someone:
Seasons greetings part 1 by fantasio

Lectureship

In December 2012/January 2013 I started my lectureship at the IBKK Institute in Bochum / Germany. What can I say, it feels pretty good to pass along some knowledge, to be qite honest, I never thought I´d make a good lecturer, but it feels good and it is fun, lot´s of work - but fun. I really look forward to the next year with a new course.

Conventions

Attended some new conventions such as the FaRK (Fantasy & Roleplay Konvent) and the Comic Convention in San Diego as also the Weekend of Horrors - all events were a big success and new to me.
Untitled by fantasio  Untitled by fantasio
I met some really great people, such as my favorite author Howard W. Lewis and KOSARTeffects personally!

Will definitely participate more in art shows and conventions if time allows. For the time being I have abandoned the idea of single art exhibitions, the main reason is that on exhibition you have just the reception to make contacts or be part of the event, on a fair or convention the artist is always present and I really enjoy making contects.

Awards

I won the Bronze Award and 3 artworks made it into the book on the Infected By Art Competition 2012. I´ve participated in round 2 as well, so if you can spare a vote: www.infectedbyart.com/contestg… I vote back!
Iba-v1-soft by fantasio  Iba-v1-bg by fantasio

Layerpaint features two of my artwork now with an excellence award! www.layerpaint.com/index_galle…
Layerpaint by fantasio   Layerpaint Excellence Award by fantasio

My Sci-Fi themed work for Howard W. Lewis Novel was featured on the Wacom Gallery in October:
Wacom-feature by fantasio

And I´m really in awe about the raving response to one of my recent artworks:
Corpus Delicti - Disquisition II by fantasio
This work has reached nearly 28.000 views, I know of friends works whose daily deviation features didn´t nearly got that many views, so this means very much to me. I´m so glad when something which has a deep meaning to me get´s received in exactly that desired manner = more worth than any award! Thanks dA!

Blogging

Well, I can´t believe it, my blog fantasiox.blogspot.com passed the 100.000 visitors mark and I´m still putting up content for at least 2 times a month, I honestly didn´t expect to keep it going but the positive feedback and the use of the written word (aka learning) means so much, it outweighs the time it costs tenfold.
Blog by fantasio
Here are some of the most popular posts, maybe you don´t know about it yet, this should get you started with useful stuff:

Photoshop brush tutorial part 1fantasiox.blogspot.de/2010/05/…
Photoshop brush tutorial part 2fantasiox.blogspot.de/2011/05/…
Setting up the Cintiq 13HD with an Ergotron arm - fantasiox.blogspot.de/2013/05/…
5 principles for outstanding book cover artfantasiox.blogspot.de/2011/09/…
Some posts in the pipeline will cover "Hardware" for digital artists, covering topics like graphic tablets, computers, screens and graphic cards.

Interviews:

This year I didn´t had much interviews done, but still some, so if you want to find out more about me, go check the following sites:
DarK - darkorg.altervista.org/fantasi…
Digital Pinup Magazine: www.digitalpinupmagazine.com/t…
FaRK / Saar Scene (German) www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-6mDQ…

Tutorials:

I had the pleasure to collaborate with some awesome folks to produce some interesting tutorials for you, find them here:
Step7.2.2 by fantasio   ITS ART MAgazine
www.itsartmag.com/features/lea…
052 Avp 111 by fantasio Advanced Photoshop Cyborg tutorial: 
blog.advancedphotoshop.co.uk/m…

Other things:

Besides the blogging and lecturing, I´m learning a lot besides my freelance duty, my main focus is on psychology and marketing. I really love that stuff, in fact I love it so much I want to do a training course covering topics like "how to stay motivated" and "how to avoid burnout and artists block". Not the 5 minutes version that Noah Bradley and Chris Oatley spent in their podcasts (without any explanation btw.), but probaly a 3-5 hours version covering all the mental  issues ending up with rewriting the syntax for our unconsciousness. I know I´m not that popular and all that jazz, but honestly - I don´t care, this stuff helped me along the way and if others can ask 50 bucks for a beginner coaching session, I could charge the same for a really useful training. But as mentioned I don´t care I don´t have to do this, if I do, then just because I want to boil down what I know about this huge topic to learn something new along the way.
There´s a blog post about my story and more information: fantasiox.blogspot.de/2013/11/…

Community:

This year I have been updated my gallery but not as frequently as I wanted. The past weeks I was able to catch up with some comments and contacts here and on facebook.
I update my sketchbook on tumblr often, so here are a few links to other communities or pages that I frequent. Feel free to add me there:

tumblr sketchblog: fantasio.tumblr.com ;
CGSociety: fantasio.cgsociety.org/
CGHUB: fantasio.cghub.com

That´s it for now, I wish you a nice and relaxing festive season, drive safe and chive on.
fant




Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

  • Listening to: Dubmood

Meet Fantasio at SDCC!

Journal Entry: Mon Jul 8, 2013, 2:45 PM


Fantabulous visions...


Heck, time flies and it´s true next week the plane takes off and I´ll be in San Diego for the first time to attend the Comic Convention!
I will share a booth with Sci-Fi author Howard W. Lewis - authorhwlewis.com who has invited me to this awesome opportunity, 
really excited about this.

You can find us at booth 1019.

As you probably noticed, the Skull:z & Idols series has taken a spin of it´s own, the Batman piece below is always a piece that sparks a discussion.
Find out more about the Skull:z & Idols series here: skullz-n-idols.artworkfolio.co…

Batman - Skullified by fantasio

I´ll have a special and limited amount of books available, first come first serve -basis.
The new book of Skull:z & Idols will be released officially on the Comic Convention.
The project makes effective use of the selfpublishing channel because every time 2 new pieces of the series are 
finished, the book will be updated and the prior available books / collected books will naturally become rare items. 

And the price for the new editions will raise with new edition too, so it´s on you to pick your copy at the right time.
Support your independent artists, buy a book! 

Check the links below for previews and more info.


A pop art tribute Iconography
By Oliver Wetter c/o Fantabulous Visions*

For signed editions of the very first printrun I recommend you to come to SDCC and claim your copy as they are pretty rare!

Other books that I will have in limited stock are the Fantasio Girls and Fantabulous Visions:
Fantasio girls
The Pin-up Art Of Fantasio
By Oliver Wetter c/o Fantabulous Visions*
Also available in a new edition!

3101466-e91f010483fa1accf0fcca9e1c1d5826.jpg

The Art Of Fantasio
By Oliver Wetter c/o Fantabulous Visions*

Looking forward to meet you!
Have a great time,
fant




Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

How To Price Your Art

Journal Entry: Thu Apr 18, 2013, 12:48 PM



There is a saying from Paul Scriven about pricing that targets freelancers & designers:

"Work either for full price or for free, but never for cheap."

I think there is much truth in it, because even a cheap price has it┤s price. Sometimes cheap can be good to get you some reward as a beginner, but the hardest part is then to climb up the ladder.

The illustration below pretty much sums it up:




Thats specifically the way I work and what I suggest to students.

The question always is how to raise a price with a client, once you are good enough to actually charge more?

There is not one universal key answer to that question, but first off, it is important to know what keeps you in the game of freelancing in the first place?

See an interesting chart of that pie below:




Neil Gaiman has put it right in a speech once and someone else made a nice interesection sketch about the essence of that particular part of the speech which can be found here: vimeo.com/42372767

You either get work because you are good, easy to get along with or because you always deliver on time. The key is that you only need to fullfil 2 of these 3 criteria to stay in the game.

However, if you are keen on raising your prices you do better to concentrate on doing all three.

When I have to discuss pricing with a new client it all depends on the communication and wavelength. And actually one key criteria for me to either give a discount or charge more, is the factor time.

And time is the only factor I use to raise or lower a price. But it is crucial to know exactly how long you need to finish your work otherwise you can miserably fail.

One solution is to get faster. Optimizing your workflow and productivity gets you further but sadly only to a certain degree, that degree that is the agreed upon fee, which will not get magically more just because you need only 2 hours to finish the job instead of 10 hours.

So the only way to increase the sum is to charge more for less time.

If you can give a discount to someone who has time and don┤t need an illlustration or artwork the next day, you can definitely do the opposite with clients who want an illustration yesterday.

If in a negotiation you present yourself as expert and show that your usual turnaround time is one week at that price, this always will look professional. If your prospective clients hesitate because of the higher price you can always give a discount for two weeks, three weeks turnaround time, but people learn that you know exactly that your value is time and that you exactly know what your time is worth.

If all else fails you can ask yourself if the client or target audience is right, every market has their own roster, editorial illustration for magazines have turnaround time of 2 days and less hence pay more than your average book publisher.


Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

An Unexpected Journey ...To San Diego Comic Con

Journal Entry: Tue Jan 15, 2013, 7:20 AM



New series: skullz: & Idols

Instead of writing an unnecessary review of the latest Peter Jackson Movie, I will have an unexpected journey myself.

Out of the rabbit-hole, I will carve my way towards San Diego in July 2013 to be more precise: to THE Comic Convention!

I have to thank Howard W. Lewis for this opportunity, our longtime collaboration over the past 4-5 years have led to this happening, but it wouldn´t be possible without his patience and trust in my work.

And to be perfectly honest, I can´t say what I expect, except that I really look forward, showcasing our work and last but not least, with that I promote my service and abilities in another dimension than ever possible before.

There is a nice quote by Milton Berle : "If opportunity doesn't knockbuild a door."

Not saying that I´ve built that door, but probably I was working unconsciously on it, the way I did. Prioritizing self-publishing authors equal to publishers in our digital millenium, eventually led to a mutual effort that made it happen.

And you know how it feels? It feels like doing the right thing!

To begin with the story I have to tell that I havn´t known Howard before he approached me a few years ago to acquire the rights to use the following image as a cover for his Sci-Fi novel.



Stillife Resurrection

Nothing uncommon, but still, I had a good feeling about him as he not only sent a copy of the final book with a personal note, he also came back for more work, to be precise 3 cover illustrations, cover -layout-designs and around 70 black-and- white illustrations for chapter art as also promotional art and design overhaul.

Current revised layout for book 2 of the Daedalus Rimes Saga by Howard W. Lewis

I thought the i-tip was the foreword in my first art book called Fantabulous Visions, which is so on a personal yet professional level that it is better than any recommendation letter.

But that he manages to get me over to the States to exhibit some of my work and meet him personally is something special for me, beyond my imagination, to be true...and that rarely happens!

Over the years we became friends with great respect for each other and even with the distances away and not one word personally spoken yet, we find ourselves on a precious journey. This exploration will not be about one or the other, but about combined powers to deliver a great show and to take the chance to meet for the first time, trivial - eh?

I write about that matter this early, because there are many preparations to be done. Even if we share a booth together, I can have my own little place to sell cookies and be prepared, I will have them with me, but due to travel-restrictions, they are limited, "first-come - first-serve "kind of thing, ya know...

To be more precise; I currently work on my second book with a collection of all Fantasio Girls, featuring at least 10 previously unpublished works and a limited mini-art catalog about a new series I am working on to which you have seen an image on top of this post, it´s called "Skullz & Idols". (The password for this page has to do with bones)

Production for this will cost time and money, thus promotion for this event can´t be early enough, so if you happen to be there, want to be there or know someone who will, be sure to swing by and say hello at booth 1019 / Daedalus Rimes Saga.

Unfortunately not the Illustrators section, not even close to the Artist alley, but that can be an asset, it might be easier to stand out by showing artwork in a bookstore than it is to showcase at a gallery or art-show where you expect that. At least I have gathered some experience with that circumstance, as digital painter in art shows about custom cars and physical airbrushing I´m used to stand out, and I like that.

It is that what people remember, not the 45 airbrushing artists, but the one who paints fancy things on his iPad... yepp, that´s me.




Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

The Fear of Failure

Journal Entry: Wed Sep 12, 2012, 5:25 AM


*


"Know or listen to those who know."
Baltasar Gracian


This quote is so important that we forget about the meaning from time to time, I´m glad someone mentioned on twitter the link to a Milton Glaser speech about the fear of failure.

In this Video below he describes the process of failure which seems to be contradictory to professionalism as an important asset for creative people.

He encourages to embrace failure and that by transgression an artist can develop a unique style that leads to a unique selling proposition.

In a world where everyone guesses that everything is already invented, the only way to find a niche is to allow, even embrace - failure.


Milton Glaser – on the fear of failure. from Berghs' Exhibition '11 on Vimeo.

In my opinion its important to be careful with the experimentation and failure part and its something that needs to be kept like a secret behind a curtain sometimes. The reason is simply that the public or target audience want to see results and repeated success stories. And its important striving to see how other artists have become a success through failure to find inspiration, but if it comes to the unique selling proposition - this should never be the main topic of any conversation.

I have written about the many disciplines an artist has to master and like a big company like Coca Cola or Sony or Google have laboratories and special departments to find new ways of making things, any artist should spend some time in the lab.

I highly recommend to read "Ten things I learned" from Milton Glaser´s page as part of AIGA talk from November 2001, very good insights about the industry and creative professionalism.

---

*Milton Glaser is a graphic designer, best known for the I Love New York logo,
his "Bob Dylan" poster, the "DC bullet"  logo used by DC Comics from 
 and the "Brooklyn Brewery" logo.  


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Why Copyright Law is a Matter of Perception

Journal Entry: Wed Sep 5, 2012, 8:38 AM


Why Copyright Law is a Matter of Perception

Most people will argue that copyright is a law to protect artists and has nothing to do with perception, but this is just half the truth. This post will shed some light about common misconceptions*.

First off, this topic came up in a conversation about copyright, artwork licensing and a debate on how to solve issues with a client. Actually the essence of my thoughts are packed into the following post.

To begin with, I´d like to state that I´m an artist and have a sincere interest to protect my work as much as anyone else, but I don´t trust copyright or Creative Commons for that matter, the lines are too blurry and the jurisdiction is often very incomprehensible.

There is a German law that states:"The freedom of any person is untouchable", I´m sure every federation, regardless if Europe or rest of the world have something similar in their book of laws. But what does this mean besides the right of free expression? For one person freedom means to fly with a paraglider, for someone else this means to drive the highway on a motorcycle with 300 kilometers per hour, the guy next door will argue that traveling through the whole world means freedom, while someone else is just happy to have a flat and a job.

You see, we are talking about law AND perception.

When it comes to copyright there is no real difference, people used a cassette recorder and tapes to record songs from the radio in the early 80´s and are used to share albums as mp3 to their mediaplayer of choice now. Did anyone felt guilty by pressing the tape recorder onto the speaker, back in the days? Hell no, that was actually hard work!

This is all a matter of perception, if the education in schools would make kids aware that downloading copyrighted content is one of the mortal sins, it might have an impact, but maybe even not.
The general public perception of what copyright is, does look for the majority of people like there is something to protect the artists work. So far, so good. But in reality no one knows how this should work. Try to ask random people in your town about Creative Commons, funny times guaranteed.

Here´s one example of how fuzzy CC (Creative Commons) still is. 

It might make sense to dive into Fair Use, but before you rely on that, learn from Andy Bajo´s case because there are monsters out there...

The majority of lawyer specialized in copyright are working in legal departments of entertainment and media companies, making a living by making the life of corporate competitors harder every day.

Are they protecting artists work? No, I don´t think so, they are protecting corporate interests.

If you come to the conclusion that copyright law can´t help you in some very complex situation, you are not alone, here some examples I´ve encountered and heard from other artists which also led to this post:
  1. Artists work got ripped from the internet, painted from chinese traditional painters and sold by eBay
  2. Many artists work got ripped from deviantArt and sold under the artist name Chad Love Lieberman
  3. Artists work appeared on the web, other artist made airbrush on car with the image from the web, car won prize on show and was featured on a flyer for a custom car convention in another country
The problem with above mentioned posts is, that the works are "recreated" not redistributed as a copy, "Copyright law only protects reproductions, not recreations." (Special thanks to Dan Dos Santos for pointing this out!)

These incidents have something in common, copyright law can help you if your name is famous and if you can afford a specialized attorney. If that is something you can´t financially afford, there´s a rare chance to get something out of it, other than experience.

Another objection I have with copyright is that it can also be a chain for artists, especially when dealing with publishers (ie.: total buy-out). The most important thing is to make clear what your values are and add points to a contract that gives you all the rights you need without giving up too much. Negotiation is the key. Make your values clear upfront, not afterwards. An exclusive copyright license is not a total buyout! It is important to be clear about these definitions. Educate your client if necessary!

There is always a fine line between what you can do and what you can´t do when signing a contract where copyright is transferred to someone else. More often than not, artists walk on this thin line inbetween, without even knowing it.

I only work with two specific components when licensing artwork; exclusive or nonexclusive, but never a buyout. Even exclusive means I can submit my work to call-for-art competitions and online portfolio sites, while non-exclusive allows me to even sell prints of my own work.

Artists can walk on a very thin line...

You post your work on facebook, deviantart or any other site powered by ads? Think about the following: These websites/services make money through advertising and displaying your artwork which is eventually licensed to someone else. Are you infringing on copyright? Yes and No, Yes, because the company is profiting from your artwork, but No, you don´t get any money out of it...tricky situation.

Same goes for fundraising platforms such as kickstarter or other proposals where you have to pay a fee for promoting your work (annual Art Books, fairs, etc.where other people benefit from your work)...

What can I do when my image was used without permission?

When it comes to a use without given permission, the answer is simple: Write an invoice!
This is the first thing that should come to mind. It´s quite and doesn´t hurt. Professional businesses reply with a cheque. It is common practice to take-and-wait-for-the-invoice in many industries, especially magazines.
If that doesn´t work there is not a simple solution at all and it requires strategy to get something out of a case, but at least you know you are not dealing with a professional if that happens.

Here some first aid:
Communication is the first step, finding a specialized lawyer is another.
There are some important questions everyone should ask themselves:
  1. Are you member of any association that can help or provide information?
  2. Can a DMCA report help?
  3. Can the act be described as Fair Use?
  4. Is it possible to settle for a Win/Win situation?
  5. Is it rightful to get monetary compensation, or is it just your ego?
  6. Do you really get hurt if you don´t resolve the issue? 
  7. Does it hurt anyone else? 
  8. Do you rather bark at other people but can´t stand when someone does to you?
Don´t worry, questions 5 to 8 are ironically meant to bother you, more often than not it is just our ego that wants a compensation feed when something `in our book´unrightful happened. The internet is known for drama queens and trolls who feed their ego spreading messages of artists being ripped or spotting rippers wherever they can. Some people practice this as part of what they call life, while in reality it is just a compensation for "no luck at all". The effect of it is a mass of artists following them for more feeds about where and when their work got ripped, its a machinery that works like malware, once you are infected, you´re vulnerable and open to even more. 
This is not just unhealthy, it is plain time consuming.

Below are some examples and a great documentation about copy / copyright that can inspire ideas and show that nothing is really new and that even nature does infringe copyrights. More information and the other three parts on this site: www.allremix.ru/watch-the-seri…

 

My personal experience is that it is always easier to ask in advance, I once had a nice commission that turned into a nightmare because the initial concept was screwed and the agency presented a comp that was just resembling my character photoshopped together with a painting from another artist. I really did not had a good feeling and asked the agency to settle with the original artist prior releasing the book and they did. Actually I´m glad how it turned out, the artist is Gerhard Haderer a wonderful German cartoonist and he replied that the illustration was great and that everything is fine.
Here´s the image in question(left), and the inspiration work from Gerhard Haderer (right):


Actually you know, if it doesn´t feel right, it probably isn´t right and it is time to do something about it.

Other than that, no one is perfect. It can happen that we forget to mention someone, credit wrong or forget to ask for permission in advance, all these things happen, day in and day out, because we are humans! This is not the problem, trying to understand why something happened making clear where we come from in order to settle for a win/win situation is something also humans can do.

My personal conclusion is that all things have karma, everything comes back to you.
I also have to admit that I have recorded songs on tape from the radio in my teenager years, but I paid my dues and I do so daily, by writing useful blog posts, sharing my artwork and knowledge with the world.

*Note: This post is no replacement for any existing law, only a lawyer, court or judge can decide whether your case is a matter of copyright infringement or not. Based on contracts, terms of use or verbal agreements or even the lack theirof might be a help  or indicator for any legal action to be taken. My information here is just a summary expression of my personal thoughts about copyright and creative commons and is meant to show that communication, trust and negotiation is far more important than a written agreement.


Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

Social Media For Artists

Journal Entry: Mon Jul 23, 2012, 7:22 AM



"You can create art in a vacuum, but you´ll never generate any great ideas from there."

The mind is a muscle and it has to be trained regularly as much as any other muscle in your body.

What does this have to do with social media, you might ask?

A lot.

In times where many are forced to work alone or as freelancers, social media replaces the work space attitude you find in a usual work environment. Social media is the "global" opportunity to "show-up" and "dress up".

Working in a dull environment or in a work space that is full of people who are waiting for "Friday" to come, you know there is not a real chance to grow on your projects or in general, that is just a place to make a living, but possibly just not for long and if you´d be honest, it is not a worthwhile station in your life too.

Whenever I talk to people, I´m astounded to get asked how I manage to keep up on par with so many social networks, the answer is simple: I consider them different departments of a big office or mall and whenever I have time I check in to get the latest news on interesting topics.
The pleasant part of this, you don´t have to deal very much with people you don´t want to talk to.

This surely means there has to be a specific self-discipline to not waste too much time online, alright, that is the nitpick, it might not be for anyone. However, I found this working for me.

The following list includes networks I regularly visit and foster, in order of priority:
deviantArt, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Shadowness, Pinterest, behánce & Google+

Someone might ask why using three, four or more networking sites when the most people are on facebook, because most people tend to share different things on different networks.

One thing people tend to forget is the algorithm of many social media sites, which causes to decide for you what information you´ll see, depending on your connections and your data. Data-mining software and algorithm works always in the back and sorts relevant data for you, not quite the nice English kind of dealing with your information, but this is how it works.The only way to avoid that is to manually crawl through different sources to see relevant information.

If you just rely on facebook for example, you are missing one heap of input from your friends, instead you receive many unwanted and useless bits of information gathered from a software. If the software get´s better and learns it might be possible to get information you really want to receive someday, depending on what you prioritize, but this also means we can be far better manipulated, another reason to keep this habit of manual information harvesting, because it is not possible for the software to render accurate profiles of your online habits.

I usually use online social media platforms to read news about topics I share an interest with someone, or to find inspiration. deviantArt is by far the biggest network right behind facebook when it comes to art and the ability to connect with new and established talent, so it is equally important to show recent works there, to keep in touch or follow up on topics or contacts, facebook is the more adequate option. Google+ is not really the place to be, something I sadly have found out, but I guess it is still not unimportant for search rankings and profiling.

LinkedIn has more value for a polished display of professional engagement and allows to share and gather a vast range of information from twitter to behánce as also other networks, like this blog for example.

Something really great I found and nurture, is the possibility of generating ideas through networking. Sometimes it is a nice evening with friends (yes in real life!), another times it is a small post from a friend on facebook that makes you think, it is always the unparalleled input from various sources that have an impact on us and the time to think about it in the back-burner of our brain.

In fact, being connected more with people I like to be connected with, is healthy to cultivate a creative environment, since working from home for about 4 years now.
I did not felt one day to have a creative block, thanks to the valuable input and positive affirmations I read online, its really that small notes you read here and there that are shared with thousands of people at a time, that makes you smile and keeps you going. Compare this with real life work environments, when was the last time, a colleague showed you something motivating or engaging (except for the chain-mails of powerpoint presentation of lovely sunsets or kittens...)?



Pinterest is an even better source for positive sparks of inspiration, motivation and beauty, that can cheer you up in a downtime.

Sharing is caring, even if you don´t know who will benefit from your insights and outputs, karma will find a way, and it will come back to you in one or the other way, think about it.


Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

Color Inspiration, A Technical Guide For Artists

Journal Entry: Sat Jun 9, 2012, 2:22 PM



 
"Sam Dead" from "The League of Elder"
Currently I find myself in a phase of making advanced use of colors in my work to enhance depth, mood and to underline certain values.

While doing so, I found a necessity to share this knowledge and insights in some kind of a reference. There are practical tips for everyday use, this post is useful for traditional artists as well.

When working in a professional environment there is rarely the time to go out and do plein-air paintings or studies, this is something artists have to do in their spare time, to form the foundations and understanding of perception of our environment. On the other hand it is extremely important to see processed works as well, to see the differences and to learn from these observations.

Basically, all knowledge artists have, is built upon passion and is acquired through personal experience, museum-visits, observation and anatomical studies have to be done volunteering for the arts.

Today I want to explore possibilities on how to find working color schemes.
There are several options to use colors and to prevent a misconception here: I just want to explore ways on how to technically utilize colors, not on how to apply them, because the color as inspiration is a universal approach followed by every artist on earth, regardless of the application or final use.

For this it is inevitable to have a decent knowledge on color theory, which is required to get the most out of this post, so if you get stuck on the term "tertiary color scheme" you should get into basic color theory first.

Below there is a list of different ways to get color inspiration, maybe I´ll do a post on how to apply a specific color scheme on a work later.

Like everything from brushes to reference images even colors should find a place in the artists library, lets go:

 
Inspiration from nature
The first and most basic palette everyone recognizes, even if broken down to just two(!) colors.
Advanced color palettes can be found too but require a keen eye and understanding of secondary and tertiary colors.

 
Inspiration from other artists work
The most common practice used by artists from all around the world. For artist, this still requires understanding of colors, but gives a potential idea of what is possible, what works and what not. Analyzing combinations from masters and successful predecessors is now easier than ever. (Image of Mona Lisa)


 
 
Inspiration from Movies
Movies shape and change our perception without us even knowing it, sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse. But since art has the freedom to be exaggerated, movies can be a valuable inspiration if used with care. (Image courtesy Walt Disney pictures)

The best example for experimental and truly masterful use of colors are Disney´s works, find the powerful examples below from the movie "Lion King". For more screens / stills and movies make your own screenshots, or search Screenmusings.org for moods. 

One great option is to make use of the mosaic-filter in Photoshop to get a palette out of a screenshot.
For a concrete use in paintings I´d suggest to pick up just the important colors with the Eyedropper-tool to create a swatch from there, or...

Inspiration through tools
It is easy to convert these to a swatch in photoshop via Kuler, opposed to the limited possibilities of the mosaic-filter technique, Kuler picks colors depending on complementary colors, various harmonies and moods.
A practical tool is the online page of Kuler where you can create schemes from an image directly and share them with others. Find my profile on Kuler for more swatches. 

 

Kuler from Adobe 

Another great resource to create instant color schemes is the free color scheme designer tool: 

 
Free web tool for color schemes 

Inspiration from photography
Photography is always processed and it is an advantage to know the traditional processing workflow, how toning and cross-processing works. Not that it is a requirement, but it helps to understand how Photoshop works. With the tools listed above, Kuler and the color scheme designer it is easy to pick color schemes from photography as well. 

 

 

There is a wide variety of tools out there that can be a timesaver for a professional environment, the list above shows just some free-options.

Regardless if you drape Lego´s from your kid together and make a shot with your handy to get a working palette, or if you watched a movie or if dabbling with oils inspired you to get an idea on how to do this or that digitally...
The important part is to keep on developing a sense for inspiration, where to find it, to keep it and then how to apply that to your work.
It is vital to study how filmmakers, artists and photographer use colors, how nature´s color reflect in different lighting situations and even more important; how we perceive them.

Colors are truly powerful for those who know how to use them, because they can "make" or "break" an artwork. 


Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

Value Based Communication

Journal Entry: Wed Apr 11, 2012, 7:30 AM


Value Based Communication



Wouldn´t it be nice if everyone has their priorities pinned on their forehead, or better in the shape of shiny sliders floating over their head?

Yes, silly idea, but it would make life so much easier.

During the last year I have deepened my understanding of psychology, marketing and social phenomena to find the most intriguing topics theoutcome based thinking and personal values.

Everyone has values or priorities, in doing freelance business I found that it is vital to learn your clients values, this makes it easier to satisfy a customer and it brings the fun back into work at the same time.

Basically everyone has a set of sliders, just the settings develop and adjust as we grow older, through experiences, through persuasion, belief and through advertising. In fact: media and advertising have a great impact to our slider settings and how we perceive the world.

When does this affect you?

Everyday.

If you learn to see the sliders besides or in relation to everyone you have -or want to deal with, be it your parents, your boss or your best friend, this will help you gain an even better understanding of their values.

And let´s be honest, to please somebody you want to convince is easy if you know what exactly they want.

The big question is how to get this information, or the "slider-parameter", especially if someone is not specific about an inquiry?

Well this is something you have to ask for. It is professional to ask questions. It is not unethical if it serves to deliver a better service or product. And it shows sincere interest in the clients needs. I can just speak about freelancing business and therefore services, but this applies to so many other businesses as well.

It just hurts to see people bothering about their colleagues or bosses or even clients, this isn´t just a problem, this shows that at some point they havn´t asked the right questions.

Value based communication is the key here.

If you know what your opposite´s values are you can´t seem to fail - theoretically, at least if you don´t intend it.

And it is definitely communication that is causing such issues.

Wrong communication methods are the first instance of a problem in most cases.
This is the reason I mostly insist of communicating through e-mail, if I have a question that might be answered beforehand, I can go back and review it, if I send a reply, its nearly a commitment, a promise to "get-things-done"! While a phone call just steals time in many cases, it is unpleasant to find yourself later with an unanswered question, and more often than not we didn´t want to bother with a follow-up call, but a follow-up e-mail isn´t such a bother, it shows interest and is proof of active listening.

So many problems could be avoided if we learn to communicate effectively. In my opinion this should be a school-subject of its own. On the other hand it takes time to find your best communication method.

I found out that I´m not really good at talking on the phone (for a first contact), my personal or direct contacts still need to get better as also the ability to speak in public, I feel most comfortable by writing, because this way I don´t forget anything that might be important.

Another noteworthy thought about that matter perfectly illustrated in the picture above, is to find out if a prospect is acquiring something from you because he wants to, or because he has to.
The latter is more promising, because time might be short, or a company is behind him but it also tells me that less creative freedom is in a project. If someone is asking because he is self-publishing and is directing the art all by themselves - less money might be an involved, but more freedom and the chance to create something really outstanding are a deal for me.

Outcome based thinking is in my opinion something that artists invented, it is being told that Michelangelo started to work on his famous sculpture of David after a year of just imagining it from the rough block of stone. This is outcome based thinking in its purest form, visualization and the feeling that it will be good in the end are the main ingredients for a great result.

Very often we effectively make use of this techniques but don´t even know it.

We also create and live in our very own reality, we feel most comfortable with people whose reality seems to be very close to ours. In terms of business this is an opportunity as also the key to rejection. Any application letter and CV will be judged to see if you fit into their corporation keyholes, if your data doesn´t fit, you will most likely not fit.

Easy as pie.

Doing freelancing business appears to be even more complex, but after 3 years of doing this successful, I can say it is not. Because no data is required to gain rapport with your clients need. Sure, data is helpful, but what is most important is the rapport and personal values.

However, there is a chance of a mismatch here and there, we all went into this trap at least one time, but what helps in a case of doubt is the simple rule: "Win/Win, or no deal at all". If there´s nothing in for everyone involved, it is better to walk away and not accept to do work continuously.

I don´t talk about money here, collaborations seem to be always a Win/Win situation if you learn something out of it. Many businesses require that you do an intern at your own cost, the only thing you can earn is to learn something.

Make the world a better place and be aware of your values and take care of others.

It is just not worth putting your face into the sand because of  failure in communication...

 





Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

10 Ways You Can Transform Drawbacks Into Assets

Journal Entry: Wed Apr 4, 2012, 5:33 AM



Gaga by fantasio
 


Everyone has Drawbacks or disadvantages due to different circumstances in our lives, but it´s on us to change our view about them, or better said: turning them into assets.

The image shows an explanatory example of this topic, it is told that Lady Gaga was a roadie for Iron Maiden, once upon a time. Things that would make everyone else look like a complete dork somehow complimenting her appearance.

This post should be a motivator to carry on with whatever you do. If you have two healthy hands, a rough vision, some kind of talent, this post should help you push the envelope by unleashing potential that might hold you back now.

Bullet post alert:
  1. Attitude and perception: Be remarkable when it is least expected!
    There are many times in our lives when we meet others and very often transactions go smooth, we know how people behave when everything is well, but this is not how people remember you. People, especially clients remember you when in a situation of stress or helplessness, you were the one that put a mood of calmness and outcome-orientation in a project where others would have given up.
    This counts for business relationships as also friendship. Like in a friendship, no one can give a guarantee that you stay friends forever, but in business this attitude can come back to you in a positive way. For me it did, several times now.
  2. Boundaries of a home-office freelancer
    Regardless if you have a flat, a house or just a cellar to work, there is still household to do, even more if you have kids. People think it is great to be able working from home but it requires a lot of discipline to dress for work and use social-media to show up, especially when no one else is around. I changed all my communication to email and social media (not chat). If you think freelancing, working from home as parent is difficult, AS a parent, I can say it all depends on organisation and communication, I reduced phone calls to a minimum, which means twice a week for important calls. Everything else goes through email.
  3. Make yourself interesting
    The most challenging thing is to find something people might find interesting about you, in fact so interesting that they keep telling others about it - but it havn´t has to be something obvious. If you apply for a job position (and I talk about a job you really, really want) it will not going to help you to show up in that expensive dress, give the job interviewer something he really wants. If you are starting out as artist and want to apply for an internship by a reknown arist of your genre give him something, an opportunity that he can´t pass up, like managing all phone calls for learning something in return. There is a wide variety of things that are interesting about us, it is vital to find these and turn them out so others can see their benefits when dealing with you.
  4. Different styles are good for you
    You think you have a burden, because you work in different styles and hence look like a generalist to others? Think twice: It might take you longer to hone your different skills, but opposed to someone who does paint all the same things their entire live for a living, you have the benefit of a variety of work. Concentrate on two or three strong styles at a time and keep up portfolios of them. When the demand for one style grows you can keep producing more of this or to relax you can do something totally different and add it to your other portfolio. If you start out this way, people will not be surprised to see something fresh from you, they expect it. If you start out just with an ink-comic style and after years of just posting that, people might wonder when you start showing watercolor paintings.
  5. Get rid of passive mode, turn active mode on
    If your drawback is an addiction to video-games or television, I really can´t help you but to say that you have to make a decision. Anything that makes you passive can get into your way of creating things, creative things, or things people talk about. Get rid of the passive mode and turn your active mode on, it isn´t necessary to make sports or exercises for this, but make it a habit to find out which artists are responsible for the concept-art of this game, that movie, and so on... this can be a start. Watch making off´s instead of just the movies, try to visit museums instead of the football game, do more of things that make you feel good. And don´t try to tell me that watching T.V. makes you feel good.
  6. Persistence is more powerful than talent (to some extent)
    Don´t misunderstand this sentence, talent is important, it separates you from the crowd, but not being able to market and communicate your skills will make you a paperboy or assembly worker. Persistence in communication, marketing and learning are necessary to survive in the long run. There are a lot artists out there who do mediocre stuff but make a good living from just doing so, I dare to say that they are strong in the communication and marketing aspect and show a necessary persistence.
  7. The burden of part-time freelancing
    Do you think you have a hard time because you have a day-job to pay the bills and do freelance work in your spare time? I know you, but what seems as double life is maybe a preparation for the real case. I worked a day job, studied part time and did freelance work besides, so I know what I´m speaking of, this experience helped me to make the right decisions when I stepped into the full-time freelancing business, because I knew what I wanted and what not.I learned what methods work and which had to be replaced by better techniques.
  8. You are not good enough
    This is the most overrated thought, and worse; self-affirmation ever. To be not good enough can be changed, but it takes dedication, time and passion, if these three components are inherent you have good chances to GET BETTER! If you are not good enough, but have to make a living as artist somehow, connect with artists that are better than you, learn from them, work FOR them, get to know their methods, help them improve their business. You might have a good idea how to market something, have made experience with a medium, that can SAVE THEM TIME, and so on. you see, being not good enough is an excuse and a bad one.
  9. Lack of self-awareness 
    Be it due to education or your nature, a lack of self-awareness is equally bad for your health and relationships, than an exaggerated self-assurance. If you´re suffering from the former, there is a help, not an easy, but there is help: surround yourself with people who are naturally strong in self-awareness. Be it friends, mates, in a relationship or friendship doesn´t matter, it will take time, if they care for you, you´ll learn to take more responsibility over time, try out new things you´ve never done before, doing this with self-aware friends is a great way to get better at this, plus you have great things to share and eventually a story to tell. Relationships are vital, a good friendship is a benchmark where you can often get feedback from peers, accept hard but constructive critique and seek people who are willing to push you, if no one cares what you do, that is a very bad place to be. But also it helps to be no Sissy when it comes to receive critique.
  10. The money issue
    Freelancing as also doing art for a living is not necessarily a story about starving artists. The typical thing the public assumes is that the art is a luxury good and either you make it, or die trying. Fact is that art is more present than ever; from video games, movies, label designs to clothes, cars, and as therapy, etc. Art is more used in our society than ever before to communicate and to transport messages and feelings. With the internet there are more chances than ever for artist to succeed. The only thing is to know what you want. You can´t believe that just making your art will make you rich, you have to create a following first, however you make this, it is your choice, offering solutions as illustrator is a great option, from there it is possible to generate great contacts to publishers and authors. If you are in the situation of plunging into the freelance business, it might be a good advice to have some savings to cover at least a year without income or better have a spouse with a fixed income. The money you will make with your art is depending on how much you do, how good you market yourself and how you are perceived by others. If you are authentic, creative and original ,chances are good that after 3 years you can make a good living from the arts as it was in my case.
I hope these ways and tips are encouraging and helpful. IF there are any additional drawbacks that I have forgotten, let me know them in a comment and I´d like to provide a helpful answer.



Visit my blog for more:: fantasiox.blogspot.com

Winter update

Journal Entry: Sat Apr 16, 2011, 7:07 AM

Get inspired!




Word

Busy times and a lot has happened, and while I get only once in a few month to check my deviant-watch it is nice to see deviantart changes, such as the easy-to-switch journal skins. Not sure about the "Journal=deviation" thingie, but maybe I need to get used to it.




Artbook

I am currently in the process of preparing an Artbook, yay!
It is nearly finished, I have to check the proof print and once it is ready to go it can be purchased for iphone/ipad or in print via blurb.




Publications update space

Featured in Advanced Photoshop Magazine #91
Featured in Erotic Art Now - vol. 2 / Ilex Press
Featured in Exposé #9 from Ballistic Publishing.
Featured in SciFi Art Now edited by John Freeman
Featured in Exotique #6 from Ballistic Publishing.
Featured in ImagineFX issue December 2010
Featured in Twisted Vixen by Sumographica
Featured on Cover on french - Advanced Creation Magazine
Featured in Inside #14 Magazine features the call of cthulhu
Portfolio in Heavy Metal Magazine - September 2010 issue
Featured with fullpage spot with Call of Cthulhu in Exposé 8
Featured in Inspirations Vis-aVis edited by Sara G Umemoto
Featured with 3 works in artsquared digitalpainters 2 artbook
Featured in the Obscene-seduction artbook with the great dA-guys!
To be continued...




The Fantasio Policy

Status of availability ->
For commissions status, please visit this page: fantasio.info/Commission/
Sharing is caring
If you like to share my works i´m glad, feel free to do so, a link or name credit is very appreciated.
Private Commissions ->
Please understand that for every private commission i have to do individual pricing due to the efforts and desired outcome, use the form to make this easier: archive.fantasio.info/website/…
Commercial Commissions ->
You can send me an email directly with the budget and project details and even a standard -contract -for new clients first time payment 50/50 upfront / paypal only.
Tubing and tagging ->
Tubes and tags - licencing -> If you like to use my art thats fine, please support me by doing this over here at MTA ( please suggest works, if you like to have a specific one for tubing, etc)  www.mistakenart.com/catalog.ph…
Written content ->  
Blog posts, articles and online mags, youtube videos, ebooks -> You can use my art with a link back either to http : // fantasio . info or to my dA account without asking first.
Tutorials ->
Tutorials or use for cover / magazines -> For personal use or very small issues i´m open to negotiate, also depending on the piece (some depend on permission of third parties -which should be of no problem) Tutorials are a lot of work and do cost therefore, if you like me to do a tutorial, i´m open to negotiate with your budget.
Collaborations ->
I do them if time permits, but don´t ask me as its totally depending on mood, time and motivation.




Tutorial space

Wacom scratches quick -fix guide:
fav.me/d27ywuo
No Angels step by step:
fantasio.deviantart.com/art/No…
A photoshop brush-tutorial (part I)- The basic foundations:
fantasiox.blogspot.com/2010/05…
A photoshop brush-tutorial (part II) -Digital Painter´s Toolbox:
fantasiox.blogspot.com/2011/05…
Painting Helaya - A digital painting video tutorial   
painting.dtuts.com/tutorials/m…
Making of Gambit (X-Men character)
painting.dtuts.com/tutorials/m…



  • Listening to: Spotify
  • Reading: Bobby Chiu - The Perfect Bait
  • Drinking: coffee

Thank you!

Journal Entry: Tue Mar 22, 2011, 1:52 AM







Thank you!


...for the birthday wishes
which are appreciated, I feel a litlte guilty to not answer back in a more personal manner, did so unconsciously on facebook by blocking comments on my wall (don´t ask me how I did that, I don´t know)
and so messages were in a manageable number.

However, It made my day to find all these comments and well wishes on my page!


Portfolio, ready,... go!.


The New Portfolio website is officially live, feel free to have a look at the new fantasio- experience: fantasio.info
If you like, feel free to show it on my facebook page here: facebook.com/fantasiofinearts


Publications update space


:bulletgreen: featured in SciFi Art Now edited by John Freeman
:bulletgreen: featured in Exotique #6 from Ballistic Publishing.
:bulletgreen: featured in ImagineFX issue December 2010
:bulletgreen: Twisted Vixen by Sumographica
:bulletgreen: Cover on french - Advanced Creation Magazine
:bulletgreen: Inside #14 Magazine features the call of cthulhu
:bulletgreen: Portfolio in Heavy Metal Magazine - September 2010 issue
:bulletgreen: Fullpage spot with Call of Cthulhu in Exposé 8
:bulletgreen: 1 work included in Inspirations Vis-aVis edited by Sara G Umemoto
:bulletgreen: 3 Works in artsquared digitalpainters 2 artbook, where I have 3 works.
:bulletgreen: Still proud to be in the Obscene-seduction artbook with the great dA-guys!

To be continued...


The Fantasio Policy


:bulletblack: First of all If you like to share my works i´m glad, feel free to do so, a link or name credit is very appreciated.
:bulletblack: Private Commissions -> Please understand that for every private commission i have to do individual pricing due to the efforts and desired outcome, use the form to make this easier: www.fantasio.info/website/Comm…
:bulletblack: Commercial Commissions -> You can send me an email directly with the budget and project details and even a standard -contract -for new clients first time payment 50/50 upfront / paypal only.
:bulletblack: Tubes and tags - licencing -> If you like to use my art thats fine, please support me by doing this over here at MTA ( please suggest works, if you like to have a specific one for tubing, etc)  www.mistakenart.com/catalog.ph…
:bulletblack: Blog posts, articles and online mags, youtube videos, ebooks -> You can use my art with a link back either to http : // fantasio . info or to my dA account without asking first.
:bulletblack: Tutorials or use for cover / magazines -> For personal use or very small issues i´m open to negotiate, also depending on the piece (some depend on permission of third parties -which should be of no problem) Tutorials are a lot of work and do cost therefore, if you like me to do a tutorial, i´m open to negotiate with your budget.
:bulletblack: Collaborations -> I do them if time permits, but don´t ask me as its totally depending on mood, time and motivation.



Tutorial space:


:bulletred:Wacom scratches quick -fix guide:
fav.me/d27ywuo

:bulletred:No Angels step by step:
fantasio.deviantart.com/art/No…

:bulletred:A photoshop brush-tutorial - The basic foundations:
fantasiox.blogspot.com/2010/05…

:bulletred:Painting Helaya - A digital painting video tutorial   
painting.dtuts.com/tutorials/m…

:bulletred: Making of Gambit (X-Men character)
painting.dtuts.com/tutorials/m…




Copyright notice



Copyright Notice:
© Oliver Wetter / Fantasio Fine Arts 2010
All rights of this gallery are reserved to fantasio aka Twelve Rioter/Oliver Wetter and may not be used without my permission for commercial work and projects. It's not forbidden to use one or more of my work on websites, blogs, etc, BUT its not permitted to submit it anywhere and show it to others claiming as YOUR work, please link back!
Thanks for your appreciation.
  • Listening to: Spotify
  • Reading: between the lines
  • Watching: the lines making gaps...
  • Playing: the game with the lines that make sense...
  • Drinking: too less