Play the Game

I need to learn how to Play the Game, and I’m learning that that’s the only way to relate to being an artist and marketing your work. It’s a big game. I am thoroughly enjoying listening to the audio book of Seth Godin’s ‘Leap First‘. It’s about marketing your artwork. I just love the way he wraps every point he makes into a story and the the main message is to ‘tell your story’. It’s becoming one of those cliched marketing lines that can stick in your throat, particularly if you don’t feel you’re very good at telling your own stories. Some stuff gets overused and my cynical British mind starts to dismiss it as ‘American blah blah blah.’ But listening to this book, everything he says about being and artist and showing your work makes perfect sense – especially when it’s explained in a story.

A long time ago

Seth Godin describes how a musician got annoyed because only two people turned up at a gig. The musician decided that as they were the two that turned up they deserved an extra special show. Because whatever the size of the audience, they showed up for you so you perform for them. It reminded me of a gig I went to with my boyfriend about 20 years ago. I was pissed off and definitely thought I was too cool for this particular show. We sat in the balcony seats and I leant over with my arms crossed and watched the show with a scowl while my boyfriend really wanted to be in the mosh-pit, but being a nice guy he decided to stick with his sulky girlfriend. And one point the singer stopped and stared at me and crossed his arms in a theatrical sulk move. It made me laugh. It was Iggy Pop, the ultimate showman and there for everyone in the audience.

What’s that got to do with illustration?

That story seems to bare absolutely no relationship to my work now. But it makes me think about how much we worry about the size of our audience. I must get more likes, more follows, more clients. Social media is a valuable tool but it can cripple your creativity if you think of it in those terms. It makes sense to me to think about serving the people who showed up, or reaching out to those that are curious but don’t quite get it. So if you’re here, reading this, Thank You. And if you want to contact me to discuss illustration or a project you’re considering I’m happy to chat.

I’ve been afraid to show my work for as long as I can remember. It’s terrifying and I don’t do it anywhere near as much as I need to. Time to start playing more. Have you seen my silly Insta feed? Here it is! Dive in and follow and if you don’t, that’s ok.

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