Income & Art

*Header art by me.

When I ended up telling my uncle, a successful and established businessman, that I was finally deciding to pursue my passion for art and study animation his first response was to lighten the discussion with a joke.

“What did the Science major say to the Arts major? ‘I’ll have fries with that.’”

I laughed at first, of course, but looking back it was a little disheartening. As artists, we can expect an income that is no less than sporadic, especially those that go on to freelance and rely on commission-based pay. Being a full-time freelancer is no easy task; but I can draw more than a few comparisons to starting a small business.

The road to preserving artistic freedom is more complicated than a simple freelancing job. Although few can achieve being entirely successful through their own content, it’s a goal that we can aim for. In my own case, I was hoping to create my own graphic novels or online comics. It’s not guaranteed to be a success, but in the meantime, I can have it as a side project (likely a free-to-view web comic), perhaps until it becomes popular or well-known enough to generate interest as a graphic novel series (which is where crowd-funding may also be an option!). It’s likely that since I primarily do my work digitally that I may be eligible for international employment (which has already been the case with some of my commission work thus far).

I have considered alternates to Patreon such as Ko-Fi, as the site allows for a ‘button’ that links to a donation page; easily accessible through substitute social media sites, rather than been restricted to an account on that particular domain. Whilst I may primarily be reliant on a part-time or full-time job to maintain a continual salary, my personal art may still be able to help me stay afloat. It is a long-term goal of mine to transition into a freelance artist which could be an option in the future if I gather enough of a following surrounding my own content.

However difficult the transition may be, the creative industry is malleable – and so are our skills as artists. Collaborative projects require a variety of talents and are rarely restricted to a singular discipline. As desire for entertainment grows, so do our job possibilities.

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