Is networking really worth it?

1 02 2011

I have been thinking for a while what to write about, there are a lot of things in my head but mostly I cannot write about them here. Some of them include ups and downs of my pregnancy, but I really rather to keep this blog non-personal, professional oriented. On the other hand I am working on a bunch of projects but I cannot show them until I get them finished and get the approval of the clients, so expect a shower of new images soon to come! 🙂

What brings me to write today is a question that I have asked myself several times, a question that I have asked to other artists and that has been asked to me too: “Blogging and networking, are they worth it?” From a ‘getting jobs’ point of view that is. My answer to that is “yes, very much”.

I started my online life as an artist about 5 years ago (I can’t believe it’s been so long!) but back then I was sooo green and not a good artist at all. I had a lot of potential and drive, which was good, and I started networking with other artists in sites as Epilogue and a year later Deviantart, as well as some other today dead forums. While DA was a nice place to showcase, Epilogue was the place that gave me a big push to get into studying art on my own and improving greatly. Once I started to feel more confident I started to dream of that time in which I would be an independent artist and do freelance work. It was scary as heck to put myself out there, to expose myself, but after all that is what you need to do, expose yourself to the good and bad, to the possibility of being rejected and of having your art scrutinized.

At the moment I was an international grad student and the terms of my visa and my acceptance into school forbade me of making any money besides the meager stipend I was getting, so I decided to hold back until I was out of grad school and take that time to get better. Once I graduated (and my incredible husband gave me a tablet as a graduation present!) I started to search for small jobs at different art communities. And though the initial jobs were for little pay they allowed me to get a feeling for the field and start amassing a small ‘commissions’ portfolio to show. It was about that time that I started to blog, by late 2008 and somehow, slowly but surely, I started to get hits.

I spent a lot of time going through forums, searching for ‘wanted’ ads. Really, I was putting way more time in searching than in arting, and most of my emails and PMs were never answered, of those that were answered only a few ended up in something good. But one of them would lead to this beautiful tattoo, which brought a lot of attention. Through that tattoo in this blog I got 2 or 3 commissions, one of them would bring a wonderful returning client with a larger commission. Other tattoos in this blog also brought in some clients. I found this year, after May/June, I was actually not spending any time in job forums and all my art time was being put into art itself!

I also got commissions though Facebook because someone that was commissioning a friend of mine saw my art and wanted some custom art for himself. Also, earlier this week I got some inquire from someone that saw my art in EMG‘s Sketchfest. something I hoped for but never really thought it would happen, Sketchfest harboring artists of great caliber.


Sketches for Sketchfest#9 (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus 2011.

So, is it worth it? Absolutely! It won’t come easy, it won’t come fast, it does take time and constancy, but put yourself out there enough and people will see you.

Have a great week!



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