I haven't had time to work on this for a few days, but to whet your appetite here is an extract from the draft as it now stands. This is addressing the question of WHY - why does an artist need a business plan?
Unless you are content to let your work pile up at the back of your studio or in the attic, you need to sell your work. That puts you in business and the ultimate purpose of any business is selling a service or a product to someone willing to buy it at a price that makes you both happy.
Being in business as an artist is of course different to a degree. Selling art and selling cars may share some characteristics but they aren’t identical. When you sell a painting or a print, you are partly selling something of yourself. Paradoxically though, you don’t lose anything when you sell. Each painting, each print you make takes you one step further towards being a better artist. So, in a strange way, selling your work, by giving you the capacity to make more, can be an integral part of your development as an artist – and let’s be honest - who doesn’t get a buzz when somebody likes your work enough to pay over cold hard cash for it?
If you would be be interested in getting a copy of the e-book (FREE!) when it is finally published, sign up for my newsletter using the form on the right.
I've finally started on this series of four prints that will be the basis of the Print Club offer I have mentioned before. As a teaser here is the first layer (of about 10) of the first print - or at least the digital file used to make the stencil.
Yes, I know it looks like a bar code, but trust me - once printed in a rich red-brown it looks very different. I've done 10 as the basis for an edition of that size.
The other layers have been produced more traditionally with indian ink:
I've started work on a set of prints, likely to be predominantly screen print based, developed out of this Flickr set of digital prints, themselves derived from scans of pastel sketches (I think that's clear...) which are also included in the Flickr set.
So - we started with something like this:
Which became this via Paint Shop Pro:
The first stage of work on the ink jet print is here:
I'm in the process of making the stencil by inking up TruGrain film with indian ink, This layer will more or less cover the blue in the previous image. Others will be for smaller darker areas so that when overprinted the colours deepen.
I think each print will be made up of perhaps 6-7 layers so it wil take me a while to complete the edition.
Also took delivery of my new printer which is a bit of a beast:
If like me you have come to making art as a second (or in my case third!) career it means you are probably trying, if not to reinvent yourself, then at least some sort of renewal.The idea of a creative life seems a popular choice for those of us in that position, with more of our life behind us than we can anticipate in front. It isn't surprising. You make what you want to make, you interest yourself in what you want to be interested in, and you do all of this when you choose to, not at the behest of any boss.
It's a grand dream isn't it?
Unfortunately self interest is fine so far as it goes, but what is missing from this picture is the need for enough people to share your interests, to like what you make of them and in so doing give you enough money to carry on pleasing yourself...
I can't find the source now, but I recall reading recently that the average income of an artist in the UK was less than £10,000. Bearing in mind that this includes people like Damien Hirst, it is clear that for most artists, while they may dream of making a living from their work is that is what it is likely to remain.
That doesn't mean you can't approach your work as an artist as if it were a business. In fact it means just the opposite. Most self-described artists will be supplementing their income in various ways - by teaching or by working in some unrelated activity.However, the more time spent teaching or answering the phone in a call centre the less time you have available for your own art. Somewhere along the line, you need to strike a balance.
Finding that balance is something only you can do. It will mean taking a long hard look at your life in the round - and who you share it with. You will need to look at your financial reserves which may mean thinking about your artistic ambitions and how they mesh with your need to eat. Finally you will need to organise yourself to maximise the return on your investment of time in making your art.
The "Business Planning for Working Artists" e-book I am working on will look at this last question in particular, but a key element will involve thinking about who you are and who you want to be. Only when you have dealt with that issue can you start planning your business. After all, you want your art business to support you, not the other way around.
You can get a free copy of the e-book when it is ready by signing up to my newsletter using the form in the side bar on the right. Don't forget, if you sign up by 20th January you can get a free print too. See this post for more information.