I recently realised that my student loan barely covers my rent next year, and it would be nice to have some money left over, y’know for food and what-not, so I started thinking about how to go about improving my financial standing.
The obvious answer seems to be “get a job”. Yes. Of course. Why didn’t I think of it before? A job would supply me with a steady and secure stream of income, higher than I would get by any other means (legally at least), I should just ‘get a job’. The thing is that (contrary to popular belief) getting a job isn’t that easy. Despite my excellent grades, outgoing personality, and winning smile ;), I’ve never had a paid job before. Employers don’t seem to want to train new workers and are only accepting applicants with prior experience (which you can only get by working, which you can only do with experience … ad infinitum). According to The Telegraph and The Guardian: Liverpool has the worst unemployment rates in the UK, with 7 unemployed for every available job placement (though a recent TV show reported double that figure) and a third of homes completely jobless. I’ve met plenty of people who have just walked into jobs (usually because they’ve had some familial connection or live in an area abundant with jobs) and so they think it’s easy and don’t understand why I’m making such a fuss, that I must just not be putting enough effort in. I have literally spent years constantly applying for any job I could find, going into every shop in shopping centres and on high streets and eventually being turned down. So this is why I’m forced to try other things; I’m not going to give up on applying for jobs, but I need to be realistic.
My next thought was to open commissions over the summer (for those of you who aren’t sure what a commission is: basically, you pay me to draw/paint something for you, eg a portrait of a favourite celebrity or loved one). This seems like a brilliant idea too, making money from doing something you love. Perfect. There’s just one slight hitch. The vast majority of people I know are students who are in a similar predicament and therefore can’t afford luxuries like this. The only set of commissions I’ve ever had any success with was when I was giving all the money to charity. People keep telling me that I can definitely make money from my art, but when I ask them if they’d pay me they soon change the subject. Then comes the problem of pricing my work, it’s hard putting a price on digital art, people often undervalue it because it isn’t a physical entity (even though it’s easy to print out a digital painting) or because they think it’s easier than traditional painting and that using a computer is ‘cheating’, but that’s a rant for a whole other day. I don’t want to undervalue my work, but at the same I don’t want to frighten people away with a massive price tag. I’ll still open commissions, but it’s hardly a sure-fire way to make money.
Another idea I’ve had is to make a series of video tutorials and use the Monetize feature on Youtube. This is sort of a last resort as I’m likely to receive less than a pound from this over the course of the whole year, but in this predicament, every little helps. I consider myself to be quite proficient with GIMP and I’ve not seen many good GIMP tutorials, so hopefully I’ve found a niche to exploit. Exploitation: the fundamental of making money (I should send that to Hallmark).
I recently discovered a pretty cool website called Society6 which allows artists to sell prints of their paintings without giving up their rights to the image. Designs can be printed on canvases. t-shirts, iphone cases, hoodies and even cards. My favourite feature of this website is that it allows the seller to customise the cost of the prints and therefore their profit. I’ll definitely be uploading some original art to this site over summer.
If you have any suggestions, please let me know, my soon-to-be-malnourished-self would much appreciate it. I’d rather not be a starving artist, it’s far too cliché.