Tyler Smith is an artist and content creator based in Seattle, Washington. While he initially started school studying illustration, he soon became inspired to pursue a career as a game environment artist after being blown away by how much he could create in his digital 3D courses. Now with over 6 years of experience, he currently works at Sucker Punch Production on Ghost of Tsushima.
Over the past year, he has started running a side hustle selling tutorials and assets on the ArtStation Marketplace. While he didn’t have much selling experience and it wasn’t all easygoing to start, his journey shows how well you can do by persevering and learning from feedback. These days, he is a regular on the Trending Products page and earns a steady stream of passive income.
As Smith started to develop his environment work in UE4 over the past 4 years, he would often get questions on his process and techniques so he started sharing them.
” I decided to start sharing my techniques with people in part because I am passionate about how powerful UE4 can be. Not just as a game engine, but also as an art creation tool.”
Even though creating tutorials has become a passion, he’s been mindful and smart with his time budgeting to avoid burnout while still working his full-time job. He says, “I love my job at Sucker Punch a want to bring that same energy to my tutorials and personal work.”
His sales were slow-going at first but he viewed every release as a valuable lesson to help him grow and create a better release for the next time. Now, he has a solid pipeline for his tutorial creation based on learning from his mistakes and feedback from the community.
“I was excited to see the ArtStation Marketplace because ArtStation had already given me a platform to house my personal work and build a huge portfolio. With the easy to use interface and analytics, it seemed like a great way to channel the exposure I already had into a business venture. “
In his journey to becoming a successful seller, he now has a better idea of what works and what doesn’t and has been able to build based on what he learned. Smith shared that when it comes to creating a product, you need to focus on originality.
“Always keep in mind that the products that seem to do well explain the projects where people look at the end result and they say, “How did they do that?” I’ve found keeping the pricing about the same as a cup of nice coffee or a sandwich helps with the psychology of what people are willing to spend on a digital product.”
Right now, he’s working on creating lessons on getting acquainted with VFX in UE4. He started with a tutorial on water and plans to go further into other elements such as smoke, fire, etc.
An important part of understanding which products will perform best is having a knowing where your target audience is and how to connect with them.
” ArtStation is a great outlet outside the noise of a lot of other social media. It’s the website I visit most for inspiration by how much amazing art is being made around the world.”
Smith says that in addition to ArtStation, he and his partner are venturing into Instagram to see what kind of audience variety they can reach and he has also recently joined Patreon to start creating a continuous storyline with original art. He admits that he doesn’t go on Facebook much but has a YouTube channel to display his videos and plans to try to expand his presence there as well.
Ultimately, his advice to other sellers is to be present, use platforms that make sense for you and your followers and focus on your art.
“I would say use the platforms where you feel the most connected to your followers and feels natural to share your products. Don’t force your productivity to keep up with trends and focus more on how you want to represent your art. Interact with your followers and always leave a plenty of links to pages you want people to see whenever you post.”
Follow Tyler Smith on ArtStation for updates on his upcoming projects, products and more.
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