BCM114, Media Blog

Breaking Down my DA – Contextual Essay

My Digital Artefact is Artworks that are posted on Instagram (@amelysart) and Twitter (@AmelysArt). Prior to starting this subject, I already had the Instagram account for three years as a recreational use of my time. My aim is to produce drawings that help people to feel inspired. Building a community of like-minded artists is also an important part of the process.  I aim for one drawing a week at the least. My inspiration to start this Digital Artefact came from other artists on Instagram, and thinking “I want to be like them”. Based on the likes from my audience, I decided to start drawing mostly animals.

My audience Starterpack. Very quiet but lovely to talk to when they comment

When I started I was drawing whatever I wanted, but now I have more of focus on animals, and feel happier for it. Towards the end I was nearly posting one artwork a day for a week, due to Inktober and the Zines that I completed for Chae Magazine and PineZine.

At first, I thought that I should use likes to judge how well my DA is doing, but on the internet, that’s a flawed system. However, when I give gifts to other artists, or people comment “This is great!”, I realised that building friends online is more important. Likes can only give you so much satisfaction, and human interaction is more rewarding than a faceless tap. I realised this after I gave an art gift to @Xintoii on Instagram, and she responded by liking and responding. I was happy that I had made another person’s day with my artwork. The audience response was positive, and I got a bit more likes because she shared it on her story.

Another important learning moment was about monetization. This first came up in the second week of term, where @TheUnicornDispatch and me got into a discussion about monetization and the baseline followers you could have before you could sell items. I argued that you needed 5,000 or more followers (on Instagram) while UnicornDispatch argued even a couple hundred can be enough to sell items. Even so, for artists in particular, it’s hard to sell merchandise and monetization has scared me, and thinking that I’m ‘not good enough’ as an artist because I don’t have enough followers to monetize my work, which isn’t true.

Getting eyes on your work can include luck from the ‘algorithm’. There hasn’t really been a solution to this, and I’ve seen artists wait until they have a large following before opening commissions, which is the safest path. I’ve noticed that artists grow on platforms when their art is on a professional level, or they tap into a meme subculture to base their works off. An example is @nakanodrawing on Twitter. She creates a drawing variation of a meme and turns it into animals or other humorous topics.

Out of all the weekly readings, I found MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to be the most useful, as not every drawing has to be completely polished for people to enjoy it, and people enjoy sketches too. From these issues, I learned that I enjoy giving drawings to other people and am happy when they respond to my gift. I also learned that sometimes there is nothing you can do about monetization, and I have to try to gain more followers before attempting to monetize and cover costs.

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