Today's guest post is by Greg Gillespie, founding editor of Learn To Draw.org
and world renown artist and illustrator of over 25 years. Enjoy! ~Brad
One of the things that is most difficult to achieve as a full-time artist is “consistent income”. If you are anything like me, and have spent a good number of years creating artwork for advertising or art galleries you will be familiar with this problem.
I remember when I was a young artist back in the early 1980’s, a seasoned veteran tried to give me some advice that at the time, I didn’t quite latch on to.
Murry Van was his name and he was a cartoonist who was famous for creating “Yahoo and the Gang”, cartoon characters who were based on Australia native animals. He told me I needed to create a way to earn money long after the paint
had dried by selling the same drawings over and over again.
A lot has transpired since those early days and finally I have a proven way that can help any struggling artist or an established one for that matter, to make on-going income from a particular niche of art.
Ok so how do I do this, you are probably wondering?
Well being on the subject of cartoon characters we are now shifting focus slightly to the “Caricature” and we are going to focus on two main areas or niches in this very lucrative market, namely “celebrity” and “political” caricatures.
The reason why we are focusing on these two areas should be rather obvious, as the modern world is obsessed with celebrity and politics. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, this market is where the money is at with caricatures.
Here is the process in a step by step guide:
- Research your markets first before launching into any caricatures, as who you fancy may not be the most popular celebrity or politician of the day
- Draw some caricatures with lots of exaggeration, the more the better, but make it your own style
- Get a dozen high quality full color head and shoulders caricatures done of either politicians or celebrities ready to sell
- Create a dedicated caricature website that is tightly focused on your chosen subjects, keeping it “hip and to the beat”
- Promote your drawings your own website
Now this sounds like a simple plan but there are right ways and wrong ways to go about it.
Research Who’s A Hot Topic Right Now
1. Research is best conducted via Google to find out the latest gossip on who’s dating/marrying/divorcing who, for the celebs and the natural easy target for the political arena is the new president Barrack Obama and friends.
This site http://www.celebrity-gossip.net/ is the top spot on Google and there is plenty of material to choose from to create the latest most in demand celebrity caricatures.
Master The Art Of Caricaturing
2.Ok so how do I learn to draw caricatures first off? The answer here is simple, find others who are doing it and copy them. You know the deal as an artist, copy someone else until you can do it blind folded and then your own style will emerge.
Some places to do this are Youtube where you will find lots of artists demonstrating their abilities, who you can learn a lot from.
Doing a Google image search is also a cool way to quickly see different styles of caricatures and what is popular.
Another way is to find artists who have websites that are dedicated to teaching caricaturing. One such person is Artist Graeme Biddle, a veteran of the game of more than 20+ years who has and excellent caricature home study course available that can be downloaded online. More on Graeme later in our lesson.
Do A Dozen High Quality Full Color Caricatures To Start Off
3. Have a look at the different style around and pick one you are comfortable with, your research on the same should turn up something you can emulate. Here is a great example from
http://www.tomrichmond.com Twelve is a good number to start off with, you will be adding to these on a daily basis and you should be able to do 2 a day, or 12 in week, time permitting of course.
Build And Publish Your Caricature Website
So how am I going to get a website that doesn't cost and arm and a leg?
Well the answer to that is described in more detail in lesson two. Read on for more info, as I will show you how to create not only your website but much more importantly highly targeted website traffic that is looking to buy what you have for sale, or will have for sale as the case may be.
Selling Your Art Online
5. The best way to sell your art online is to create your own website, not on someone else's website but your own. I know some of you may be thinking that the stock libraries may be a good place to sell your images, as people are constantly looking for low cost, royalty free images to use on their own websites and advertising campaigns. Only problem is the image libraries do not allow you to publish a recognizable caricature of a celeb, as they have strict guidelines about having a model release signed even for "drawings" of the famous it is not possible. Does that mean you cannot sell images of famous faces yourself without breaching copyright or some other law? Now I am no attorney but I see a lot of other artists doing this on their own websites, selling pictures of "celebrities and me" and there is no end to the number of places you can find these, just not on the image library sites.
So take a look at some of the caricature websites that feature when you do a Google search for "celebrity caricatures".
Here is a list of some of the better ones:
Notice the number of times the image have been viewed, on last count the U2 caricature had been viewed 30,000+ times. Now that is a lot of interest and when you consider the rest getting in the high 10's and 20 thousands it shows you just how popular this can be. Here are some others to check as well.
So how are you going to make money from this? Just by creating another one of these sites? No way!
Here’s the part you have all been waiting for. Who do you think is the ideal target audience for caricature art?
Is it magazine publishers? No.
Is it newspaper editors? Nope.
It is Teenagers of course!
They love to show off their latest acquisitions on the perhaps the most valuable item they possess, their mobile phones.
So we are going to be selling celebrity caricatures to teens to put on their phones as wallpaper or screensavers.
Now don’t be fooled by the list of sites offering “Free Celebrity Wallpapers” when you do a Google search. Just about every single one is a trap to get kids to buy ringtones for their phones. If you try you will see that if you click on a celebrity image to “download now for free” you go straight to a “enter your mobile number to download a ringtone” now site.
There are various ways to promote your caricature site that bypass Google in the first place and go straight to the kids where they hang out. With a constant stream of fresh celebrity caricatures that you can easily create each week, you are going to build a valuable resource very quickly. And with the methods I will show you, you are going to get a ton of traffic and lots of sales of your caricatures. Images you are going to be able to sell over and over and over again. For these tips and other info on how to make money selling caricatures over and over please visit my site for part 2 of this lesson by clicking here.
Author of this article Greg Gillespie, founding editor of Learn To Draw.org and world renown artist and illustrator of over 25 years.