XP-Pen: Going Viral with Digital Art
Recently, XP-PEN invited the artist, Alex Slater, to share his stories on going viral with digital art. Read on to learn about Alex’s valuable tips for aspiring artists.
Alex Slater is an animator, designer and advertising-person from London. When he’s not pumping out ads for the man, he can be found writing, drawing or making silly cartoons on TikTok and Instagram under his alias, AlexRabbit.
When I created my first YouTube channel in 2007, you couldn’t make money on YouTube back then (in the UK at least) and the term “content creator” had yet to be coined. I was an illustrator who had just discovered digital art and I uploaded speed drawings on my channel to a humble audience of 1000 subscribers. Trust me, that was a lot in those days. I deleted my channel a year later to focus on school.
But social media has become a much better place to showcase aspiring artists’ work, find clients and build an audience. A reality I became all too aware of, as after a decade long hiatus I began making videos again and now find myself racing towards 3 million followers. Technology is much better too; it’s never been easier to produce high quality videos and publish them to an audience of millions!
With that, I wanted to share some valuable lessons and tips I’ve learnt along the way as a video creator and a creative industry professional to all aspiring digital artists who want to make a go of it.
Bespoke software and hardware are a digital artist’s bread and butter no matter which creative field you’re in. Having high quality equipment is a must and fortunately, we live in a time where industry standard technology is more easily accessible than it ever has been.
My current set up is my XP-Pen Innovator 16 which I’m using to illustrate a series of children’s books and produce my videos. I also have a high spec iMac to run everything smoothly. I’ve been using drawing tablets for over ten years but a graphics display tablet like XP brings the digital drawing experience intimately closer. Having my illustration software literally at my fingertips coupled with an array of digital brushes makes it tough to go back to anything else. They’re a great place to start, too – if you can draw on paper, you can draw on a display tablet.
Chase Passion, Not Views
Video is still king and making video content out of your art can be an amazing way to gain an audience. But in general, if you’re getting into content creating because you fancy the successes you’ve seen others achieve, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. It’s a foolhardy motive and will inevitably set yourself up for disappointment down the bitter path of comparing yourself to others.
Do it for the joy of just doing it.
I had a 10 year long break from social media and making videos, only returning when I felt creatively suffocated in my advertising career. The frustration of not creating anything without any passion led me to experiment with animation and chucking my little cartoons online. Fast forward a year later, one of my characters has been turned into a successful line of plush toys, a venture I’d have been mad to imagine possible in the beginning.
Going viral is nice but it’s not a means to an end. Ignore the views and likes, make work you’re truly passionate about that you just so happen to share online. You never know where that passion might take you.
Managers and Agents
With the rise of influencers, there too was a rise of talent agencies to manage their business exploits. They find work, manage paid sponsorships and save the influencer the hassle of dealing with it themselves.
Unlike traditional influencers, artists generally aren’t the face of their brand, their work is (though sometimes they are) so there are fewer social media managers out there who specialize in artistic video creators. Having one isn’t necessarily required; it’s a business relationship that needs careful consideration on your part, but if you’re sharp enough and know what you want, you can handle business just fine.
Literary agents on the other hand are a little more compulsory should you wish to enter publishing.
Take Care of Yourself
Introduce a little regular exercise into your routine. This is a very sedentary working experience and there will be many hours of the day where you won’t move, glued to your drawing tablet, editing or dealing with emails. Lift some weights, do a bit of cardio. Ironically, you’ll be surprised how fast sitting still at a desk catches up with you.
Social media is ever evolving and new platforms are rising all the time to rival the juggernauts that already dominate our devices. Self-confessed social gurus will sell you methods to “beat the algorithm” or “maximize your reach” or some other nonsensical jargon.
My advice: just have fun with it.
With the new year coming up, you may be thinking of the next steps to your digital artist journey. If you want to get that ball rolling, XP-Pen is having an up to 30% off sale and are launching a Holiday Edition Artist 13.3 Pro. Share your process on Instagram stories or make a TikTok art page your New Year’s resolution. Let’s see where your passion takes you.
Treat Yourself to a Creative Present:
reDot Prize winner, all features you need for professional creating.
Artist 13.3 Pro Holiday Edition
Professional features with portable size, lots of amazing gift goodies included.
9 mm, the slimmest display, innovative design with excellent performance.
Artist 24 Pro
23.8" 2K QHD professional graphics display, ideal choice for detailed work.
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