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Lesson 6 from: Make Things Make Money: The Business of Illustration and Lettering

Dina Rodriguez

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Lesson Info

6. Q&A

Next Lesson: Choose a Niche

Lesson Info


About Dribble and Behance for new designers? Should they wait until they have a body of work to show? What are the pros and cons between those two? Okay, so Dribble and Behance, I think it's never too soon to get on these platforms, now, Dribble is an invite only platform, so I actually have a couple invites, I got six. Hey-o Hey, so I'm ready to give 'em away, flood my Twitter with your portfolios, people! (laughing) Okay, Behance is great, and also it can immediately digitalize your portfolio. Now, if you are just starting out with work, it's totally fine just to have one really good piece on your portfolio, but you gotta make sure it's good enough. 'Cause, it's gotta be so good, that it actually keeps someone's focus and doesn't be like, "oh, they only have one piece?" (laughing) Right? But, I've heard really good things, especially with Dribble. Now, let's talk about a little more of the differences. Behance, I think you can do better if you're doing more fine art traditional...

, and you're doing a little bit more of digital. But Dribble is very digital heavy. And it's for everyone, not just, people that would call themselves an artist. UY designers, graph designers are also on these platforms. So, I would just definitely, if these both seem new to you, try 'em out, see what they look like, create account, don't even post anything, and then see if you like it. What was your question? Older audience, here I am. (laughing) Can you explain Dribble and Behance, I don't know what that is. Yeah sure thing! And I don't know how that works. Okay, so let's talk about Dribble, 'cause it's my favorite. So you go ahead and it's all, like basketball lingo. So you go ahead and you have a "shot", right? Which is the name of an image, and if you wanna go ahead and create more images in that product it's called a "rebound". So its kinda has there own language that can take a little time, but it's a great place just to post your work while you're working on it. But just like how Instagram used to have that pretty strict square ratio, Dribble has 800x600 ratio. So, if you're not able to resize your images by yourself, then maybe Dribble's just not the place for you because you won't be able to have more control on your visual. But, it's especially a great place to get critiques on your work. Yeah, because people are really friendly, right? 'Cause there professionals just like you, everyone wants to grow, right? And we're all in this together and there is enough work to go around. To be able to someone's work, especially as a lettering artist, for me, like, "hey are all my bowls consistent? "Is this space even around my kerning? "Does it even read properly, did I misspell it?" I've misspelled a few lettering pieces. I always say, "I can draw words, "but I can't spell them." (laughing) Now, Behance is a little bit less simple and straight forward. Where you can actually create essentially a case study around your work. So you can include multiple photos on a post. You can include content. It's almost like it's own CMS platform, like WordPress where you can go ahead and have a page builder and put pictures and columns and texts. And you can actually have a little bit more control on how you're presenting it. Now people don't so much critique on Behance, at least that's not been my experience. But, you will get the genuine, "rad, thumbs up, that looks cool!" Kinda similar to Instagram. It's more of a place where the art directors like to hang out. 'Cause it's like, "hey, what's a good platform "for me to find a designer? "Oh hey, these are filled with designers, "let me use that as a research first." That's a good explanation. Oh, I'm so glad. (laughing) There's nothing worse than me being like, "oh, I'm talking, talking, talking" and then it's not landing. (laughing) Now, a few things I wanna go over on social media, let's talk about engagement for a second. Okay, so! How often should we be posting? Now remember what I said, consistency is key. If you're not posting, how do they remember you? I definitely think something like, every day is the best. Now if you're on something like Twitter, I actually post six times a day. Now this is why buffer, is such an asset. 'Cause I just spend the first 30 minutes of my day, I go on Twitter, I go ahead and I'm looking through the feeds on my favorite blogs to repost. I'm getting inspiration from other people, and always being able to provide a shout out to someone in order to make that connection is always a good idea. No one's ever gonna turn down a compliment or a free follow, okay? And also, you just wanna make sure that, again, you're sticking to your brand So if you're a lettering artist, make sure that you mainly focus on lettering. If you like to do more character design, try to tailor your content to that industry, that niche that you're trying to follow. Just a quick question, about Buffer. Okay, so what is "Buffer"? I don't know what "Buffer" means. Yeah, so Buffer is an application that you can purchase, where you're able to plan ahead your social media strategy. So it's just, or You can download it on your phone or any IOS device. I think there's an Android version too, I'm a Mac person, Apple. And you're just able to plan for the future, so you can have timed, you can set a schedule, and Buffer can actually read your Twitter or your Facebook and find the best time to post that guarantees the best engagement. So that's kinda nice to have. And they have different tiers, obviously, for personal use, business use, and all that stuff. What's your question? I liked your example about how you took from your introduction, to your question, to your poll, can you tell me how you present that through your social media? Okay, and we'll get into this a little bit later, but I think you guys, any time you start a project, why not end your day by showing off what you worked on? Right? So you have a client project or even inquiry, someone reaches out to you, "hey, I wanna start this process." Now what does your process look like? It probably starts with someone research. What's wrong with posting your Pinterest board that you made? And then you do thumbnails, maybe post your thumbnails. Everything you make is visual, so you can go ahead and use it and post it on a visual platform. So just anyone of those steps. And really try to break it down. And like if you need to set another reminder on your phone, to go ahead and post at the end of your day, that's something you can do. I literally have a little chunk of time where at 4:00 PM, I stop working, and I go ahead and I just kind of, take pictures, scan images, and plan it in to my social media feed on Buffer. Can you speak a little bit to leveraging a blog post? Do you do that? Do you post something really great on your blog and then feed it out to all of your other channels? Yeah, so if we're talking about Twitter, what I like to do is I kind of have this schedule, so if I do a new blog post I will talk about it twice in the first day. And then I'll go ahead and I'll post again once the day after, and then I'll post it once a week after that. Just always talk about it. And this can be copy and paste. Literally, just the title. Because the engagement rate is so low on Twitter. And especially if you're posting six to eight times a day it's gonna get buried anyways. So it's not like it's gonna seem redundant, right? Does that answer the question? Cool. I was just wondering if, for the visual platforms, like Instagram, Pinterest, even Behance and Dribble, is there any amount of posting that's considered too much? What's really annoying I find, is when you go to Instagram and someone just posted everything they saw that day. Or they just introduced you to their entire meal system for the day, it's like, I know girls love to like, list off what they eat, but that's a little ridiculous. (laughing) It's like, I don't need to know what you had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the dessert you chose. That's weird. I think something like Instagram, it's fine if you separate it by at least an hour. And something to keep in mind too is, if you're posting something on Twitter the life of a Tweet is only seven minutes long. Yeah, you'll notice when you post something, the engagement will just drop off. Now that can change if people are replying a lot. 'Cause obviously it gets put back in the feed every time someone replies. So that's why it's so great to get more engagement with your content, asking questions, getting polls, because the more comments you get, the longer the lifespan of that Tweet can last. At what point in your practice would you recommend starting social media? So, let's say, I'm just starting out as an illustrator. How good should I be, or how early should I create an Instagram feed? Immediately, yeah, right away, for sure. Because your audience is gonna grow with you too. And even if you think you suck, you're always gonna be better than somebody else out there, and they're gonna look at you like, "oh wow, you're so good." and you're gonna be like, "but I suck!" "No you really are good". Because they can't even imagine being that good, right? And again, it tells that beautiful story, too. So you get to see where you come from, and you get to inspire more people. Does Patreon fit in any of those? Yes, so Patreon's a huge platform. This also goes along with Kickstarter. So, let's talk about the differences between Patreon and Kickstarter. So Kickstarter is usually a one time campaign, right? You pledge money, they reach a goal, they produce a product. Now, Patreon is an ongoing movement, right? So I can actually have a subscription service for what I'm making. Now how a lot of artists will use this platform, is they'll go ahead and be like, "hey, donations, whatever you wanna donate "I can give you more of an inside scoop "behind my process for one dollar, "you get to support me, thank you. "For five dollars I'll give you access to "maybe my sketches, instead of just the final product. "Or I'll do 15 dollars and then "maybe I'll give you a time lapse video of me making it." Now that's one way to do it. Now I'm using Patreon for educational purposes. And I was lucky enough to hit a thousand dollars a month, within the first week of launching. Why? Because people actually wanted to buy from me. I wasn't just being like,"hey please give me money "so I can make rent." It was more, "hey, do you wanna learn something "really cool about lettering? "you do? "Let's do this together." Right? 'Cause I like to teach, again, to better understand what I'm currently working on. And as a lettering artist, I started to see people kinda staying to one style. They get really good at that varied weight brush script, or they just do circus lettering, or they just do that vintage, kind of, really swirly, swoopy kind of style. But, what if a client wants a different style? Then maybe they're not gonna hire you because they don't see the style that they're looking for. So I know a lot of lettering artists struggle with combining styles together, and then how to even draw those styles. 'Cause there's guessing, right? They're looking at all these different materials online trying to be like, "Okay, I think this is how you draw that serif." So I saw this missing gap in the industry, so I created a Zeen series on Patreon. So I definitely love Patreon, but I think it's better if you use a product or a service, so if you guys are making things like calendars, post cards, prints, then maybe Patreon might be a good way to do that. And, you get a subscription, so you're always gonna get a few people that pay for it and their just excited to get something in their mailbox every month. I think everyone likes to, 'cause you forget you ordered it and you're like, "oh, present, it's Christmas!" Which is always a really nice feeling. But yeah, so I think being able to utilize it in a way that people wanna actually buy something, is the best way to utilize pretty much either of those platforms. But if you wanna go ahead and fit Patreon in to this kind of system, I think it would work well, especially if you're on Twitch. Most streamers that do livestream on Twitch usually have a Patreon. So it's just another sales funnel for you to be able to make income off of. "Is Buffer similar to Hootsuite?" Somebody asked. Yeah, so it's really similar. So I spent a few years as a marketing person, I specialized in social media strategy for a long time, I got AdWord certified, all that boring stuff. I can make sense of all the numbers now. But, Hootsuite and Buffer pretty much do the same thing, but I actually preferred Buffer. I'm really sorry Hootsuite. (laughing) I actually started with Hootsuite. That was the first ever management system I ever saw for social media, and it was kinda cool but I kinda found it a little complicated. And I also would sometimes get errors. When I would post something and it wouldn't do the link. Or it wouldn't show the image or the image was blurry. I got kinda fed up and then I went to a marketing conference and there was a Buffer booth, and I got to learn more about that platform. And I just liked it 'cause it was really easy. And it comes with an extension for Chrome. So instead of you having to manually do a Tweet, what if you see a really good article, you'll get a little Buffer icon, that'll pop up above every image, you just hit that button, it'll post it for you, and add it to your schedule. So social media doesn't have to be this big, daunting, process that takes up all your time. I only spend 30 minutes on it a day. And I'm still posting consistently with it. I was just wondering if you've heard of the platform called "Blog Lovin'" or -- I don't remember what it's called but, "Blog Lovin'"? It's a very simple logo, it's black and the letter's are white. Okay, sure let's assume I do. (laughing) For everyone that's watching, what is it? I think it's just kind of like a platform to share articles that are on blogs, so would you recommend sharing on platforms like that? If you wanna start a blog? I think if you're gonna start a blog you should have it on your own presence, because then it's one less click to hire you, right? 'Cause if you're using things like Medium is also a really popular blogging platform LinkedIn is great, but the same time you can't do duplicate content. So it's not like you can post something on Linked in and on your presence 'cause you'll get dinged on Google. And whoever's the first person to publish it gets all the authority, so let's say you do decide to publish something on LinkedIn first, and then you post it on your blog, Google's gonna put authority over the first one you posted. So people actually won't be going to your blog. And what's better they're looking at your work, they see that you're an authority on what you're talking about. "Oh look there's a side bar that says 'hire me'" Click! (laughing) Right, you normally can't do that on sites like Medium. You have to create a text cult action. Where I think a beautiful button or image is way more engaging, right?

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Make Things Make Money Keynote
Make Things Money Money Resource Guide

Ratings and Reviews


Wow! This class was fantastic! Dina did a great job at providing relevant information that I can use right away. I was particularly impressed at how she was able to explain licensing and royalties, she really broke it down into easy to understand pieces. I think this course would be a great foundation for any artist/freelancer but I liked the focus on lettering and illustration. Creative Live must convince Dina to provide more classes!

Elizabeth Matzen

This class is full of excellent information, and Dina did a great job covering everything from building a webpage to working with clients. She has a engaging delivery style, presented the information in a succinct and well-organized manner, and the pace of the course was perfect - not too slow! I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to start or boost their creative business - great info!

Sharnika Blacker

Awesome class! Inspired and excited to improve my business with the processes and knowledge gained. Thank you Dina!!

Student Work