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Welbie’s Cheatcodes to Monetizing Your Artistic Superpowers

Tips and ways to make money as an illustrator, designer or an artist by Welbie.

Our friends at Pennysmart got Ghanaian comic artist Welbie, to share his thoughts on simple ways artists can keep creating to their heart’s content while still raking in good money.

Welbie, real name Welbeck Mensah is one of the select few artists on Twitter who has established himself from being a hobbyist to a full-fledged business. The heavyweight champion of witty, puntastic (sic) illustrations, doodles and comics dropped powerful hacks on making great art and even greater financial returns.

What follows is a reproduction (with minor tweaks) of that article with permission for your reading pleasure.

1. Create a Portfolio

It's all Write by Welbie
It’s all write by Welbie

Curate a solid portfolio of your works. Be it via social media, creating a website or both, always have a readily shareable portfolio of your works because prospective clients will always ask to see selected works before handing you gigs. 

Never stop sharing new content. You can have a separate Instagram (social media) account for work, one which does not include your lifestyle and social posts. Something exclusive to your work.

2. Create a Self-Hosted Website

W'egg Keeping
W’egg Keeping by Welbie

Like my website, ExcuseMyArt.com, this gives your works a more professional feel. It also acts as a better online portfolio, compared to, say, Twitter posts. This is especially true when the person you’re referring your works to doesn’t have a Twitter account or isn’t familiar with the social network. 

In case a self-hosted website is going to hurt your wallet, there are other great free hosting sites/blogs such as WordPress, Squarespace, Wix and Envato Sites. There are various themes available for you to choose from to suit whatever aesthetic vibe you want your site to have – so get uploading!

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(Ssshhh, you get to legit charge better for gigs you get through your website referrals just because..)

3. Commercialise Your Art With Mock-Ups

What if I told you, you don’t need to necessarily have a product in hand before you can sell it. What if I say, you can sell out an idea of a product/merchandise before even stepping out of your room to have said product/merchandise made.

It’s possible if you’ve built a solid brand/reputation for your work over a time period. This, however, comes with a strong sense of dedication and hard work. 

4. Be Hands On

Robot Charge Wall E (lectronics) II by Welbie.jpg
Wall E(lectronics) II

Say, you want to sell branded tees or even framed copies of your artwork, you’re better off handling each stage of the production yourself. Go get the frames or whatever material you’ll need yourself, have the press handle your printing – only outsource where you don’t have the expertise/means to do it yourself. 

5. Pre-Order or Nah

Breakfast Samurai by Welbie
Breakfast Samurai by Welbie

It is advantageous to make merch on a pre-order basis. That way, what you produce is already meeting a ready market versus producing at bulk before garnering prospective buyers. This is usually stressful and that’s where mock-ups come in.

A mock-up is a digital model of what you want to produce. Search and download a mock-up of the product, usually in a .PSD (Photoshop) format, then put your artwork on it. Voila, you’re ready to sell. 

SEE ALSO:  How Didier Kassai Is Saving Lives With Comic Books in the Central African Republic

Location Hacks for Artists in Accra

Accra doodle by Welbie
Villegio (Villagio + leggo) by Welbie

Okay, now for some joints reveal.

Acilex Art supply store in Osu, Ghana.
Acrilex Art Supply Store

Accra New Town is a haven for shirt prints in the form of screen printing, heat transfer presses and embroidery; banner, mug, pen printing and photo framing among others. 

Circle – Kokomlemle also has cool joints for digital prints. Acrilex in Osu for painting and other DIY craft materials.

After making money off your craft, you need to save towards growth of the business or rent. The product by our friends, Pennysmart is the way to go.
Go to Pennysmartapp.com now to get started.

Check out some rad videos of Welbie’s art and creative process below. Follow Welbie on Instagram and Twitter.

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