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Stan: Marshall, are you ready to do the podcast?
Marshall: I'm ready to go.
Let's go Stan. [chuckle] The draftsmen podcast, with you.
Marshall: And me.
Stan: Ma - Why am I -
Marshall: Why am I saying that?
That was -
Stan: Hey, guys
Welcome back to the Draftsmen Podcast where we talk about art stuff and we teach you about
art stuff and you ask us questions about art stuff.
Marshall: All that.
Stan: And we are artists and teachers and, yeah.
Here we are again.
Stan: Yep. This is another episode.
Marshall: Let's do.
Marshall: What do you want to talk about today Stan?
Stan: Well, we are going to talk about making money as an artist.
Marshall: "Making money as an artist".
But first, Marshall...
Stan: Hold on.
Marshall: Okay. I was jumping - Stan: I haven't seen you in a week.
Marshall: Oh, yeah.
Stan: Tell me what you've been up to?
Marshall: That is a hard question.
My mind is so on the present that you are trying to point it back to the past.
Stan: Okay. What are you going to be doing in like two months, because that is what this episode
is going to come out?
Marshall: I've been getting prepared for classes.
You might think, "why would he get prepared for classes when he's teaching classes he's
taught over and over?"
Because, every new group is a new experience and I get my head into the notes and into
the slides and then what we are going to watch.
And so, in fact, I enjoy that part of teaching more than any other part, is preparing the curriculum.
Stan: Really? interesting
Marshall: Because I get to do it alone, it's creative, I get to move the sessions around
to say, "Oh, what if we did this one before that one?"
Marshall: Yeah, that is what I'm doing.
Stan: That is cool.
Marshall: How about you?
Stan: I've been -
Marshall: This is how you make your living too.
Stan: Shit shit, hold on, wwhat I'm I doing? Oh!
I've been getting ready to launch Proko 2.0.
That's it's a new social network/online arts school kind I'll be launching.
Marshall: And this is the big thing you have been preparing for a few years.
Stan: We have been working on it for several years, yeah.
Marshall: Can you give us a brief explanation of how Proko 2.0 is different from the previous version?
There will be a lot more community features.
You will be able to post your assignments directly under the lesson itself, request critiques.
people will be able to critique it, you are going to get points for everything you do
and possibly even maybe buy stuff with those points.
There is going to be a classroom area where you can keep track of what you are working on.
You could see what other people in that class are doing.
There will be a newsfeed.
Eventually, not in the first version, eventually we are going to launch challenges and competitions.
It is just going to be more of an actual art school and less of a library because right
now I think Proko.com is kind of just like a library of videos.
It is not an art school but, yeah.
Marshall: So, this is going to level up the user experience to be more for the user.
Oh! And a big part of this is I am going to be allowing other instructors to start posting their content.
So, it will become a larger marketplace of art education not just my stuff and the stuff
that Proko produces but other instructors can make their own stuff and post it.
They will be approved though, I'm not going to open up to everybody.
I guess if you are an art instructor with a lot of experience and know how to make videos
and you want to participate, email me.
Marshall: Three cheers in advance for Proko 2.0.
Stan: Thank you.
Making money as an artist.
Marshall: Making money as an artist.
Oh, boy! That is a big topic.
Stan: It is huge.
Stan: But I got nothing to say. No, I'm just kidding.
I've got a lot to say.
Marshall: So this is just specifically, how to make money.
So, if we're going to deal with this, I think we pull our view back and get a whole big context.
Marshall: And that is, "how do I actually make money with my art?"
Stan: Most people either freelance or get a job -
Marshall: Those have been the two big categories. Stan: - at a studio or something.
In my time that was all there was.
You got hired by a company to work regularly and you had a paycheck and you got insurance
benefits and you had to go to the work every day or what I did.
I never had a job like that.
I was always a freelancer.
Stan: You teach at a college.
But I've only been a part-time teacher.
Marshall: Then on the online school in 2010 to 2012 or so, I was always a freelancer.
So, the schools are very much like freelancing.
Teach one night a week, two nights a week and you might not be teaching there next semester.
Stan: Oh, really?
So, freelancing was all I knew.
And freelancing was a hassle because every time you do a job, now you have got to go
out and get another job.
And so, the amount of time spent in showing portfolio and marketing, it is very much like
what actors have to do except that actors have it far worse.
Which is, most of their lives are going to auditions and going to auditions and going
to auditions and it is something like nine out of a ten or ninety-nine out of a hundred
that say no to you.
So, you spend all this time going to auditions hoping to get that one job that is going to pay that well.
And that happened with me showing my portfolio to get one job.
But, as time went on, if I did a good job for that client, the client would then hire
me again and hire me again and then it would become references to other art directors where
it was - it started a snowball in a way.
But I will tell you, as difficult as freelancing was, there was some great things about it.
In retrospect, I wouldn't have wanted to do it any other way.
I got to work at home, I got to work on my own hours.
Even though the hours were dictated by the deadline, I was in the comfort of my own home
and I liked that.
I did too.
I mean, I started my own business Proko, I was Proko, and most of the existence of Proko
has been in my house.
Now we have a studio but I really enjoyed being my own boss and or still enjoy it but
I enjoyed just getting up and walking to the next room and starting my day and then going
to the kitchen if I need to get an ice tea.
I like the freedom, personally.
So, if I had to choose between getting a job or being a freelancer, I would choose being
a freelancer all the time.
The hardest thing about freelancing is getting it started.
Getting it so you got enough income to keep it going.
But not everybody feels this way, a number of people like to separate their home life
from their work life.
And so, there is where the issue of jobs comes in.
I know that right now we are not talking about how to make money, but we are pulling the
camera back to look at the categories here.
Freelance is one, where I had about a hundred art directors that I worked for over that
20-some year period.
And getting a job where your company hires you and you are responsible to them is another category.
And the good thing about it is that you don't have to constantly market, you don't have
to seek work, the work is there for you.
You also get benefits typically, instead of having to pay your own health insurance.
Marshall: The downside of it is that there can be an illusion with companies that they
will have any loyalty to you.
Stan: Yeah, job security.
Marshall: One fact of life is that companies have zero loyalty to you.
When it comes down to the point where they have got to let you go, they let you go.
And there is all sorts of stories.
The animation industry is rife with those stories.
But there is other industries too where they let everybody go and it wasn't those people's
fault, it was the company's fault but the people who get the fallout are the employees.
And then the market is saturated with all the people who do that kind of thing and everyone
is scrambling to get jobs again.
So, you can expect nothing out of a company.
In fact, here is the wisdom of - Christian and I had lunch with a man who has been successful
in the game industry and in film and in a number of industries and he said,
"Everybodyis a freelancer now."
When you are working for a company, you are lucky if that company lasts for six years.
And they are going to let you go, so you have to look at this, 'I'm going to get somebody
to hire me' as a temporary situation.
What happens when that ends?
And then, where do I go from there?"
Those are two categories; freelance and a steady job.
Stan: And freelance.
Marshall: And freelance, yeah.
Stan: And freelance and a steady job.
There is a third category now though, which is going directly to your fans.
Stan: Oh, yeah.
Marshall: Which is what you have done.
So, you are starting your own business.
Marshall: You are not really a freelancer and you are not working for someone else but
you have got thousands of fans - million.
I have a more overlap with freelance than I do with my own job, but, um.
Marshall: This is the golden area.
This is the area that I would -
Seth Godin talks about that.
I forgot what book, Linchpin or Tribes, but he talks about how everyone now should be
trying to be their own -
Stan: Their own brand, yeah.
Job security is not a thing.
Marshall: Stan, how did you make money as an artist?
Stan: There were many ways.
Stan: Let us see, one way that I know a lot of artists, you do this, is that they teach.
And I think this is actually a really good way to enter the professional art world is
by teaching first because it gets you better.
We talked about this a lot, you teach in order to learn.
And it also, it is a job.
You get to make money.
You might get stuck in that forever though, right?
Is that the pitfall of teaching?
Marshall: That's the pitfall of teaching.
Marshall: Is that for teaching, as somebody said, has killed more artists careers than cocaine has.
Marshall: Because once you start doing it and then you are becoming a dependent on that
for your income, you are going to find out as life goes on you are hardly going to have
time for the other thing.
Well, I mean, it is an option still.
Teaching and I mean, I got out of it I didn't do that forever.
So, it is possible to teach for a period of time and then when you are done with that
and you are ready to move on you can move on if you are good with controlling your life.
So, I did that for a while.
I think that, yeah, that was my first real job in art was teaching how to draw and paint.
While I was teaching though, I did commissions for people.
I got into a gallery that represented me and I sold paintings through that.
And I was starting a bunch of companies, I don't remember if I ever talked about this
on the Podcast.
Marshall: Starting a bunch of companies?
Stan: I talk about so much I don't remember who I told these stories to.
Stan: But yeah, I started a bunch of various companies that had nothing to do with art
but I was practicing business.
And eventually, I started Proko combining all that stuff.
And now, that's how I do it because I don't want to make money as an artist.
Marshall: Well, elaborate on 'you don't want to make money as an artist', why not?
Stan: Well, because I don't think artists make a lot of money.
Yeah, I know, right?
Marshall: It depends on the artist.
Stan: I know.
Most artists don't make a lot of money and that is okay.
A lot of careers don't make people wealthy.
Marshall: A lot of writers don't make a lot of money.
Stan: Yeah, I think if you are entering the art world to get rich, that is a very bad idea.
Marshall: It is a mistake from the beginning.
You should go do art because you really love it and you can't do anything else because
you just like it so much, it has to be part of your life.
But I decided, when I started Proko, that I want to build a business.
Actually, before that.
That is why I was starting all these businesses is that I wanted to make a business the way
I would get me money so that I don't have to paint for someone else, I don't have to
have a regular job at a studio, I can just do the art that I want to do.
I want freedom in that.
And so, that is what my plan is now with Proko is build it up enough where I'm not worried
about money and then make art.
So, that is my plan, I don't want to make money as an artist.
Marshall: Well, not making money as an artist can be the best decision you make.
Rembrandt did his greatest work as an amateur.
The stuff that he did that he didn't get paid for.
William Blake certainly did his greatest work as an amateur because he did most of his work
as an amateur.
Think about Van Gogh and many others, they just did their work because they had it in them to do
And it wasn't contaminated by somebody calling the shots.
Marshall: Let me mention something about John Singer Sargent that way.
Marshall: And I'm trusting I've got this story accurate, he got sick of doing portraits of
the wealthy because portraits of the wealthy means you have to pander to the wealthy, you
have to make sure they are happy with it, you have to fix it and make him look nicer.
He got sick of it and there was a point where he said, I think the quote was in a letter
to a friend, "No more portraits."
He's going to focus on landscapes or whatever else he was going to focus on.
Stan: How old was he at that point?
Marshall: I don't know.
But I do know that after that point, he did his greatest portraits because they were the
ones he chose to do.
Did that one of Robert Louis Stevenson.
He did that one of that actor guy that was in Bride of Frankenstein.
He did friends and people who he was interested in their personality and their look.
And that is where you see this Rembrandt like quality of he captures a personality that
is just amazing.
Stan: That's exactly why I don't want to make money as an artist because I have had the
My commissioned portraits were always the worst ones.
The ones that I chose were the best ones the ones I like.
I'm inspired to do that portrait so that is why I'm doing it.
Christian: Sargent was 51 by the way.
Stan: 51 when he did that?
Marshall: John Singer Sargent was?
So, did you find the quote?
Marshall: Oh! Really?
So, did I get it accurate?
Christian: Yeah. Yeah, you did.
Marshall: Aa-ah, what a relief!
Stan: [chuckle] Nice.
Marshall: He was 51, that is not young.
How old did he end up being?
Christian: He died in 1925.
He said that in 1907, so another.
Marshall: So he had another 20 years or so, okay.
Marshall: Of doing the portraits he wanted.
Marshall: And if you have a job that pays your bills that does not compete with art,
let me explain that, that if you are working all day in front of a computer doing graphic
design for your living and it is somebody else's graphic design, you are probably not
going to feel like, in your off time, doing digital paintings because it's just going to
be more time in front of the computer.
But I had a student years ago who was a mailman.
And so, he's out walking every day outdoors physically active,
and then, when he is done with that day, he goes into a studio and he feels like huddling
in to the studio because it is counter balancing activity.
Marshall: There's another kind of job, it is the kind of job where you have got a lot
of time just sitting around.
We used to call them fotomat jobs because they used to have these places in parking
lots of grocery stores where you would leave that your film to be processed and would come
back the next day.
And they would pay a minimum wage to sit in that booth for hours a day and all you did
was just take people's film in to send it out.
But, that meant you had hours a day that you were getting paid minimum wage to sit there
and do your art while you're working.
Marshall: So, the point of all of this is to say that there are all sorts of options
for how you are going to arrange this.
And I wanted to get that camera up over there to say freelancer, working for a company,
working for a company as now freelancer, going directly to your fans and getting them to
support you which we will aim at in a moment, working as an amateur and doing your job on
the side, doing your work as an amateur while you are doing your job because you are allowed
to do that and so on.
The whole thing about not making money as an artist, that is just my decision.
I don't think that that is a good decision for most artists.
Stan: I think it is perfectly valid and a really good decision to work for a studio.
Marshall: And it brings up another advantage.
The advantage of doing your best work as an amateur is that you have control over it.
The disadvantage of doing your best work as an amateur is that you have complete control
over and also you have nothing to push up against.
I did so many jobs that I had something to push up against and some of the best jobs
came out of impossible deadlines and impossible challenges but it is like there is no choice.
You have shot a hole in the bottom the boat, the client is expecting this and you get an
adrenaline rush that can make you go the extra stretch and find that you can do better than
you thought you were able to do.
Marshall: It can go the other way too but there is the advantage that being a professional
makes you strong in a way that a lot of amateurs - you know that a horse, I'm told, running
on its own with no rider will not run as fast as a horse that is carrying an extra 150 or
200 pounds with a rider, if the rider is goading it.
And that way the horse chooses its pain.
I mean, a little hurt to go faster but it will hurt more to do that so I'm going to
Stan: Which horse is enjoying running more?
Marshall: Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah, there you go.
Oh, if you are going to be a professional, if you are going to rely on your art for your
income, expect a lot of, "I don't know that I made the right decision."
Marshall: The joy will be gone a lot of times out of the pressure.
It is less so if you are doing purely technical stuff.
I had a lot of pressure on those technical illustrations but they are quantifiable.
You know how to get it done by the deadline.
As soon as you are doing something like what people who are writing comedy or doing things
that are supposed to be funny or emotional or scary and it is not working and you have
got a deadline, that is way more draining because you just can't pull out of the well of your
creativity, the feelings that you hope to get into this work.
Stan: I think it is really important for every artist nowadays to get really good at business.
I was lucky enough that I was naturally interested in it.
But even if you are not, I think you should start studying up on it because it's huge in today's time.
You have to be in control of your career and I would suggest just listening to people like
Gary Vee, Seth Godin, you know, Mixergy was a big one for me but that was more for starting
your own company.
Marshall: Gary Vee is the guy who wrote the book "Now is Your Time to Crush it!"?
Stan: I think it is just called Crush It.
Marshall: Crush it, yeah, yeah.
I did read that book years ago.
Should I give the one minute version of it from what reading it when I was in middle age
Marshall: The one-minute version of it, there has never been a time in history that you
can make your living at anything that you are interested in.
If you're interested in worms and you spend all your spare time researching worms and
nobody else seems to care about worms, now that you've got the Internet there are going
to be people who care about worms.
There is a whole industry of fishers that care about worms.
And so, you can be the go-to person if you will put the year or two or three or five
into doing all the forums and saying, "Look, I know about this and I'm the advisor."
And you brand yourself as the expert on whatever your interested in.
And any super niche topic you brand yourself as the expert.
Now is the easiest time to start a business.
It certainly is.
Stan: Marketing yourself is so easy now if you are good at something.
Marshall: Compared to before, it is.
Marshall: You have got your shingle on the World Wide Web that you can put out there
and if you have got a product.
Now, we have given context -
Marshall: Let's get back to the money thing because that is what you asked about.
How do you do it?
I'd say this first, there is this category, you can be a "market chaser".
A market chaser does not think about what I want to do but what does the market need.
And many people have done well as market chasers.
I was primarily a market chaser.
I just wanted to know how can I get paid to do anything.
Ad agencies need someone who can do these kinds of technical illustrations.
Okay, I can do those.
And so, you chase the market.
Another thing is when there is a popular style going on.
Movie posters by Drew Struzan.
"Well, we can't afford Drew Struzan."
"I can do it for a half the amount of money and it will look to the untrained eye like
Drew Struzan did."
"Okay, we will pay you."
And so, when you chase the market you make money.
But there is one problem with chasing the market that I've observed.
Usually, to develop a competent style and skill to fulfill that market can take a year or three.
And often enough, you chase the market and the market was faster than you and as soon
as you are good with this style or this thing they no longer need it.
So, you will be chasing and chasing and chasing until you may wear out.
But market chasing is not a bad thing if your priority is money.
Marshall: Now, my recommendation - Stan: What is the other one?
Marshall: - to students is first get all of your loves out in front
of your face and say, "What do I love enough to where if I never made money with it, I'd would
do it anyway because I want to do it?"
Stan: [chuckle] Yeah.
Marshall: Whatever it is.
And then, you get so good at it that you are potentially creating a new market for it.
And even if you don't make your living with it, you will be happy as an - I decided that
if I have to work as a mailman and on the side do my drawing, I will do that.
And I will do that for however many years, decades that it takes.
And I think that when you do that and commit to that, you may be increasing your likelihood
of rising high enough with your skill to where you will make yourself more marketable.
Marshall: Now, saying that, I have relatives who have said differently and they
say they do the exact opposite.
Choose what nobody else wants to do and what you don't want to do, get good at it and you
will have a niche that nobody wants to do and you can charge a lot for it.
And as much as I don't ascribe to that, they have made tons more money than me.
They've become rich because they exploited exactly that attitude;
take the work no one wants to do, do it, charge top dollar for it.
Stan: I want to challenge that.
Marshall: Go ahead.
Stan: I have a feeling that they just like maybe a challenge and they enjoy a challenge
or they enjoy starting their own business, whatever that could be.
I don't know exactly what they did so but maybe they were still enjoying it.
But that prescription of choose something you don't want to do.
Marshall: And that nobody else wants to.
Choose the most unglamorous and charge a lot for it. Stan: And nobody else wants to do.
I think that could be dangerous.
Marshall: I don't like the idea.
Marshall: And the reason is because you spend most of your life, most of your waking life
And so, you are going to choose something that you are going to do for most of your
life that you don't enjoy and you got all this money from it.
Yeah, the money is great.
I think I would, if I had the choice of being rich and never being allowed to create versus
having my bills paid and doing what I love, it wouldn't take me two seconds to make that decision.
Yeah, same here.
I don't see a point of doing what you hate every day.
Marshall: Okay, well then.
Stan: Are we done?
Marshall: No. Let me look at my notes here.
Stan: We didn't really tell people how to make money as an artist.
I mean, it is hard to talk about this without mentioning that you have to just be really
good at drawing or painting or whatever type of art you do.
You have to be really good at it because it is so freakin competitive.
Stan: Everybody wants this job.
It is part of like human nature to create.
Christian: It is not black and white though. Stan: What do you mean?
Christian: You know, there are plenty of people that go to studios that stay there for five
years and get really good training under other artists and then they go off and do their own thing.
Stan: That is true. Yeah.
Christian: So, it is a place to be paid to be creative to get better.
Stan: But how do you get that job in the first place though?
How do you get just a studio job?
That's hard in itself.
Marshall: Getting the studio job is hard.
Marshall: Getting any job that will pay anything is not that hard.
If you say, "Look, I am really cheap.
I will do this kind of work for a fraction of what someone else do."
I know that some people don't like that and I know even some of my peers would say, "Marshall,
don't tell people to do that it drives down the value of artists."
And it doesn't really solve the problem of making enough money to do the thing on the
side and get good.
You are still going to - like if you're just working for really cheap, you are still probably
have to get another job.
Marshall: Just but to start out.
Marshall: It is how I did it.
And I don't know really that - I have seen people who do not care about making money
until their portfolio is full-blown,
and then they go out and their portfolio is so impressive that they become sought-after quickly.
I have seen that happen a couple times.
I guess I agree.
I mean, when I was really young I was charging like 50 bucks for a commission for it, that is insane.
But like I was young.
I was a teenager.
I couldn't charge more than that.
My drawings were not good.
So yeah, that makes sense.
If you are not ready to charge professional rates because you are not a pro then, yeah,
then it is okay to not charge professional rates.
Let us take a break for an ad and then we'll come back for the voicemail.
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Voicemail: Hello, it's Sean calling from Massachusetts.
And I have struggled lately with a question, when is it acceptable to start offering commission?
Judging from the skill level of peers that I have offered commissions, I feel in my level
where I can make some money off of it but I'm not sure if it is a good idea to focus
less in learning the fundamentals.
I have been drawing about six to eight hours a day for a couple months and I have been
happy with results but I am still not quite where I want to be.
Would you guys recommend starting that now considering it has the time or would it be
more beneficial to wait until I feel the desire to improve is lessened?
If so, how should a young artists charge for a rate?
Stan: Yes, start now.
If someone is offering you a commission do it, absolutely.
Marshall: That is going to be my answer.
You have got two different temperature gauges there.
One is the temperature gauge of my own home, my own family, my own self that I'm not good
enough or whatever.
Then you got the more important one if you want to make money which is the outside temperature
gauge of people say "no, I wouldn't hire you because that is not good enough for what I want".
"Oh, yeah. You are good enough for what I want" and they will give you money.
That is the whole thing that this is about.
Marshall: As soon as you are hireable by anyone who needs it, then you take that.
I think it is - even if it is a low rate like you are saying, I think it's good practice.
If you are a student, almost any job I think is good practice because it introduces you
to the real world and you get a taste of what it is like and how to navigate it early on.
The earlier the better I think.
Even if you are 12 and someone is paying you to do a commissioned portraits, do it.
Marshall: Do it!
Stan: Do it!.
What are you going to lose?
Marshall: I worked in the Disneyland Hotel Art Department for a few years.
And one of the things we had to do back before computers is you used a rapido graft pen to
make straight lines and you had to measure angles and get stuff ready for print.
It was purely technical work.
Used an exacto knife a lot too.
And I did that for so many hours that I got so precise with an exacto blade and they paid me to do that.
Then when I became an airbrush illustrator, I had to cut masks with an exacto blade.
And I' had hundreds of hours of experience that nobody - I didn't have to pay for that,
somebody else paid me to get that experience.
So, I really am big on that.
I am imbalanced that way.
Marshall: I think that the best way to make a career is to get anybody to pay you as quickly as you can.
But here is the imbalance, you can get in over your head and you are not ready for it.
So, one of the ethical challenges is don't make any promises you can't keep.
I think if you are young though, people will forgive you if you get in over your head.
It is almost like it is their fault that they hired a 16 year old if he mess up.
So, if you are 16 and you are getting in over your head, do it anyway, Right?
Marshall: We had a family friend who ran a roofing business and he hired me when I think
it was 18 years old to paint some signs for him of a guy pointing his finger at you saying
"be careful but hurry" or something like that.
[chuckle] And I painted with what I knew which was acrylic paints on metal and they started
to peel off.
Stan: Nice. Nice.
Marshall: So, I spray mounted, you know, got a spray varnish to try to stick it down to that.
[chuckle] And it didn't last long because these were things for outdoors.
Marshall: It didn't last long.
But he was a family friend and he paid me like 80 bucks for those.
Marshall: And it was completely forgivable.
Stan: Yeah, exactly.
Marshall: So, I got to learn.
Stan: And you probably learned a valuable lesson.
Marshall: I learned that you use enamel when you are doing at that time, that is what you
put on metal.
Stan: Not just that but do your research.
If you are going to do a professional job, take it a little more seriously.
You probably were more careful after that.
Stan: That is a good lesson.
Marshall: It happened a few other times where I had to learn on the job.
Stan: Oh, really? So you didn't learn?
Marshall: No. Not from the enamel thing but from other things.
You kept doing it.
You kept painting on metal.
Marshall: No. No. I just kept taking any job that anybody would pay me.
So, the downside to this and there is another argument which is get your training first.
And you are best off if you are getting your training in an environment that is preparing
you for the professional world.
The unglamorous professional world where you learn the industry standards and the industry
demands and the expectations in that industry.
It is called industry for a reason.
Marshall: Because they are concerned with the manufacture of product that has a deadline
that has to get out.
And doing the stuff for ad agencies especially some of these campaigns where they work for
trade shows or for a campaign that was going out into magazines, if you fail to meet your
deadline, it could cost them tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
They may be paying you just a few thousand dollars but that few thousand dollars is insurance
that you are going to get it done on time so that they don't have that whole pipeline shutdown.
So those are the things that happen when you have proven yourself a pro.
And somebody asked in the comments about, "how do you prove that you can do it by deadline fast?"
Stan: In your portfolio, how do you prove in your portfolio that you can meet deadlines?
Marshall: You can't prove it.
But you can put the art director at ease by showing that you did a series for a client
that may have been printed or published on the web or whatever else and the will say,
"Well, you did seven of these and they look like they came out serially."
Marshall: You say, "Well, how do you get that job in the first place?"
It is hard to answer that.
It is the catch-22 of starting a career.
People don't want to hire you until you have proven you have already done it.
Stan: Networking is a big part of that.
Marshall: That's - okay, that's the thing, once you have got the skill, who is going
to know about the skill if everybody around you knows about your skill?
Marshall: Then, the word gets out that someone has a genuine need.
We need an artist who can meet this deadline and has this style whom we can trust.
Someone is likely to say, "Well, I know someone in my network who can do that."
Then the connections could be made and that is where the money starts to happen.
Stan: And we mentioned it before that, networking starts in the classroom.
Stan: So, if you are in school right now, don't think that you are - you are networking already.
Stan: You've begun creating your network.
Let's go to Neil Gaiman's speech that he did at that commencement.
Stan: Which one?
Make Good Art?
Marshall: Make Good Art is the only one I know, has he done more than one?
I just wanted to make sure we are thinking the same thing.
Marshall: Well, Make Good Art, he talked about that you may be trying to get to a mountain
and at one time, you would take a job that would move you in that direction but you may
get beyond that point and then you would not take that job because it's not going to take
you where you want to go.
It's that business of saying 'no' to say 'yes'.
But he also mentioned in that speech something that - it's the first time I had ever got
into the culture at large but I heard it all the time in the comics industry.
Stan: It is about the three out of two of three things?
Marshall: The two of three things.
Marshall: I heard that for the first time back in the early '80s. Stan: One of those three things.
Marshall: That if you want a career in the industry, you need at least two of three things;
one, is to do killer work.
The second is to come in on time, you are reliable.
And the third, is to be great company.
A person who is a joy to work with.
If you have got two of those three things, you will have a career.
And I can think of examples of people who had the first two but they didn't have the
last and they still had great careers.
Marshall: And I can think of people who are just always on time and everybody liked them.
They didn't do that great at work.
Marshall: So, there is all the combinations of this.
And my suggestion if I were your teacher, say why not do all three of those things?
[chuckle] That brings you up to another special level.
Oh, I remember watching - when I was in the art department of Disneyland Hotel for a few
years, even though I was not an illustrator there, I did get hired to do some illustration
jobs that they could not afford a real illustrator.
Stan: What Disney?
Marshall: Disneyland Hotel.
They didn't have the money for a real illustrator who would charge them five, six, seven, eight
thousand dollars for this.
Stan: You mean, they didn't have the budget for it.
Marshall: They didn't have the budget.
Stan: Yeah. Marshall: Right. The budget, right.
Stan: They had the money.
Marshall: Yeah. They had the money.
And they paid me seven, eight dollars an hour to do a job that I might have made three hundred bucks on.
So, they saved many thousand dollars but I got to do the Disneyland Hotel jam and jelly labels.
What was that?
Jam and jelly?
Marshall: Disneyland Hotel had their own line of jam and jelly.
I got to do the illustrations for that.
Stan: Jam and jelly, I thought you said jamin jelly.
Marshall: Jam and jelly labels.
Stan: Got it.
Marshall: And they were professional jobs.
I did them for a real - They got printed on the label.
They can go into the store.
Stan: For Disney?
And those were a part of my portfolio even though I made no money on that job for how
much time I put into it.
Marshall: But they were an established thing.
"Oh, you did a series of jam and jelly labels for Disneyland Hotel.
You're a professional."
Those are the kinds of things that you pay your dues to prove yourself.
Now, there was another thing I wanted to mention about the Disneyland Hotel Art Department...
While I was there at the lowest rung of the ladder doing paste up for the brochures etcetera,
I was watching professionals get hired.
I watched a photography team of a father and son, Summer Gen Photography in LA.
They got hired to do photo shoots and they got paid great money.
And they were so pleasant to work with that the art director there just every time he
worked with them, "how great they are to work with".
They were great company, they did knockout work, and they were completely professional
in that if you had them - they had to do helicopter shots and that kind of thing.
Really demanding work.
And they just had their act together so that anytime this art director had a chance to
get the money to hire Summer Gen, he was pitching for us.
So, you end up with clients who are just dying to have you work for them.
That is what happens when you have got all three going.
Christian: I do have a question.
Stan: You have a question Christian.
Christian: I do have question.
Do you think it is harder now to be a professional artist than it was when you were coming up, Marshall?
Marshall: I do have an opinion about that.
Is it harder to be a freelance artist now than when you were coming up?
It is harder to make a living as a freelance artist now because there are so many people.
The resources for freelance artists are so huge.
The competition is higher.
Marshall: Competition is higher.
It is easier now to get freelance work than it ever was.
That is not saying you will make a living with it.
It is a thousand times easier to get freelance work.
Let me tell another story about going to the fans.
Marshall: I have at least three students who liked to do fan art.
Marshall: And two of them would have to miss my Saturday classes because "we are going
to Anime Expo this weekend."
And I said, "I'll give you credit for that if you will come back and report further."
They went to Anime Expo and they had a booth.
Marshall: And they would sell, "what do you want me to draw?
I want you draw this character."
And they come back and tell us about it.
"And how did you do?"
"Oh, we broke even.
That is good enough.
It means it pays for the show."
And these were these 19, 20, 21 year old girls that they are business people.
Marshall: They are learning how to go out and actually meet a market.
Now another one, one of them by the way, makes her living now doing that completely.
This was 10, 15 years ago.
Stan: She travels the world doing conventions?
Marshall: Goes to conventions and actually makes a living with it.
Marshall: I have another student who did his own characters and also did fan art and he
makes his living on the Internet by doing fan art.
And I have read some blog posts by teachers and professionals who trashed doing fan art
and it is not really art.
But the question here is, are you trying to make money?
And if you love these characters...
Stan: I don't get that argument, why isn't it art?
Marshall: I don't pay that much attention to that argument -
Marshall: Because I love some of my students.
Stan: Some of them.
Marshall: And if they can make their living doing what they want to do even if it is other
people's characters and somebody pays me 80 bucks to do this character.
Somebody is paid me 250 bucks and then you know, it's got a picture of caricature of them in there.
And I have got several others who do it and make part-time money with it.
Marshall: But it is kind of like being a cover band.
You might say it is not like producing your own compositions but it's not a bad way to
make a living to play your favorite music if you play it well and people will pay you for it.
I'm happy for them.
It is easier than ever to be able to get to do that.
I don't know how you work it out on the forums if there - there aren't even forums anymore,
but where you have your communities online where I draw characters like this and people
say, "Yeah, I'd like to commission one of those for 100 bucks."
And you do 15, 20 of those in a week and you are paying your bills.
Stan: Another way to make money as an artist, when Proko 2.0 comes out [chuckle] and you
are a good artist and a good teacher, you can post on there and you can sell your stuff
on the Proko marketplace.
Or, once we have this feature for students will be able to pay for critiques and if you
are good at critiquing, you could be approved as an approved critiquer and that is money on the side.
Marshall: That's right.
Stan: And it is going to help you critique.
Marshall: You are creating a forum for people to have an opportunity to prove themselves.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Marshall: So, that is a win-win.
Stan: And it is a network. You would be able to network with people.
Proko 2.0 baby... [chuckle]
Marshall: Where does that bring us?
Stan: It brings us to your thing Marshall.
Marshall: Well, I think I am going to make an advertisement.
Marshall: I am preparing to do a workshop with a very few people in January called Artistic Development.
The first one is called Temperaments and Achievement and it is about how your personality or your
niche, your temperament can be matched to your career choice.
For example, if you are an extrovert and you love being around people, you may not want
to be a painter by trade but you may want to be a creative director or someone who is
working constantly with people and vice versa.
That is one full session on temperament and how there is all these different temperaments,
matching your temperament to your task.
The second session is on the creative process.
And that is how it has to be divided into two separate disciplines; the divergent and
the convergent that we have talked about.
And then the third session is called How to Get Hired in the Arts and it is true to its name.
I'm going to spend three to four hours telling you stories and showing you examples, showing
you slides of students work and how it progressed up to the point where they could become professionals.
This will be in January at Cura Studios, Cura OC.
It will be in January and probably the first or second week of January.
Stan: January 2020.
Marshall: Yeah, 2020.
And it will all be within a week's time.
We could probably do a Monday, Wednesday and Friday and then have a little workshop on
Tuesday and Thursdays in between.
So, if you want to make the pilgrimage to spend time with me about this, that is what
that is going to be about.
How about you?
Stan: My thing is this drawing that Kim Jung Gi did of me.
Marshall: He sure did.
Stan: And to the listeners, there's going to be a link in the show notes you just click
on it and see it.
Stan: He drew this while I was interviewing him.
While he is answering questions, he is drawing me.
And it is a drawing of me putting my hand in my own mouth for some reason.
Marshall: He has drawn you as an infant.
I don't want to look too far into what this means.
Marshall: He drew me as a rotting corpse.
Stan: Also appropriate.
Marshall: I think he is playing with us.
Stan: There is meanings behind what he does.
Marshall: I think there is, I think that he intends.
Stan: I don't want to look into it because every possible reason he might have done this
But he just having fun.
He said, I asked him why he did it, but he said, originally, he was going to draw my
entire arm going through my body and coming out in the, you know...
Marshall: Another region.
Stan: Another bottom.
Stan: Another sphincter.
Marshall: Either way, he is going to have some fun here.
And so the reason he didn't do that is because one of my questions I was asking about perspective
and he started drawing these cups and people inside the cups.
And that kind of got in the way of his original drawing and you know how he draws, he just
kind of lets things flow though.
Stan: He doesn't really care.
And so he had to adjust my hand.
Marshall: But that is an interesting approach though that is really instructive.
You draw Cup that you are looking down in and then right at you and then tip it, tip
it, tip it and each one of those ellipses gives you a guide for how to move things around in space.
This interview will be out probably there in 12 days of Proko I think.
Maybe not, don't quote me on that.
But yeah, yeah, I thought this was really funny.
It either means that I need to shut up and he was just waiting for the interview to be
over or that I am like so consumed in myself I am eating myself.
Maybe that is what it means?
It could be malicious and it could be affectionate, it just depends on how you are going to take it.
And I think, he will let you deal with the ambiguity.
Stan: But I also heard that he draws a lot of people with their arms going through their
mouths and out of their other sphincter.
Marshall: Okay. Yeah. Yeah.
Stan: So, maybe it is not just me.
Marshall: He drew one of my students and just did a really beautiful flattering picture of her.