Shifting Perspective: from artist to client

“You should think about the value your art brings to the table”. Heard it before?

We all understand the sentence, but what does it actually mean? It’s vague as hell. It is confusing. It doesn’t help and leaves you alone, again, trying to figure out how your drawing can bring any value to anyone. Especially when you think it’s not that good.

Selling means listening to others first

To be fair, we’re not the best people to judge about the quality of our own art as perceived by the world. Imposter syndrome is us telling ourselves we’re not good enough. It doesn’t take reality into account. It’s the same for us. We look forward to selling our drawings and skills but don’t take into consideration our clients.

How do we make the shift from looking inwards into looking outward? Especially if we’re already super introverted and shy?

By now you should already have an idea of what you do and an hypothesis of why people buy from you. It’s time to check it out with… RESEARCH!

Put your assumptions aside. For the time being, be like Jon Snow. You know nuthin. Forget about what does or doesn’t work for artists. Focus on who is your audience. Why did they make the decision to spend a certain amount of money on you or on a similar artwork?

It is all about that shift in your perspective. Try to understand the world through the reality lens of others.  Some ways are less introverted-proof but the gist stays the same: getting out there.

Solution #1: Social media and internet browsing

The most social-proof of all, find where your audience hangs out. Facebook, Subreddits, Linkedin, Redbubble reviews, forums… Everything goes. is pretty good to find community hubs.

Be aware that recruiters often don't make the decision to hire artists on the go. The decision is usually higher in the thought processes.

Sometimes you make the decision to buy a chocolatine right inside the bakery. Sometimes you take your time planning well before thinking about the bakery.

Chocolatine wondering which subreddit to go. r/bakery r/painauchocolat r/gimmefrenchdelicacynow r/howtochoseyourchocolatine

Solution #2: Ask questions on Forums

Ask specific questions on forums to dig a bit deeper. Questions like “What made you commission an artist?” “Why this particular person?” might help.

Solution #3: Ask through DMs and emails

Use emails or DMs, send surveys if you already have some customers.

Make sure to ask for permission first and have in mind the person’s time. 5 questions is an accepted limit. Here are a few ultra basic tips to ask better questions:

  • Avoid questions that can be answered by yes or no.
    i.e: “Did you use the round brush?”
    A better question being: “what brush do you use?”
    Even better: “What made you decide to use that particular set of brushes?”
  • Try to not guide your questions (freaking difficult I must say, but in writing it’s easier).
    I.e : “Why is using the round brush, bad?” It already has the answer within the question.
    Prefer instead: What are the pros and cons or using a round brush?
  • Ask yourself what you want to learn from this person and tailor the question around that.
    I.e: you don’t want to learn what brush that artist used.
    You want to learn how he made that particular effect. The former won’t teach you how to paint like them. The latter will enable you to create your own set of brushes to get to the desired effect.

Solution #4: Ask for 30-45min of their time for a call

Yep. Definitely not social anxiety proof. Sorry.

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. “
Joseph Campbell (more or less)

Well. That’s exactly it…

The clarity it gives, the way it creates new bonds with super interesting people… It’s unmatched. You can dig deep into the topic. Get fascinating answers you never could have anticipated. It’s surprises over surprises.

There’s a reason why live events like THU are so much more valuable than a DM or a comment on Instagram. The connections it creates are the real deal.
But it’s not easy at all.

My 2 cents that makes me feel better -everyone’s different but I hope it can inspire you/comfort you a bit- is :

  • preparing like hell beforehand.
  • Having a couple of bullet points on a cheatsheet,
  • ask to record the conversation over zoom. (So you can focus on the discussion at the beginning of the conversation),
  • beginning with some small talk about the weather or whatever,
  • mentioning that "I am a bit - a lot- nervous and I’m sorry about that". People were always kind.
  • Then have the time of my life,
  • finish the call
  • get to the fridge and take out my favorite speculoos Ice cream, make a super fancy hot chocolate and chill out on a game. Or take some fresh air.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Workshop: Using these informations, get to know your audience!

I told you how. But not the kind of answers you want to know. For this, you’ll have to get to the next bit ;)

Sources : If you're interested in learning from my sources they're all here

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