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
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
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!
(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.
RELATED: The Whimsical Art of Welbie
4. Be Hands On
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
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.
Location Hacks for Artists in Accra
Okay, now for some joints reveal.
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.