Finding your footing in your art career can be as simple as figuring out what, in particular, you do well. Artists sometimes try to over-reach by attempting to do everything instead of focusing on what they most enjoy and excel at. Fletcher Crossman made the decision to target his talent by focusing on and promoting his strengths, and found that doing so led to more and better-quality assignments.
Targeting Your Talent by Fletcher Crossman
When I first began my freelance career, I sent occasional and half-hearted mailings to a number of different companies – publishers, businesses, celebrities, anyone who I thought might have an interest in my work. It resulted in a couple of publications, but it didn’t seem to be leading anywhere. As a result, I felt myself to be wandering in a creative wilderness.
For Christmas one year, a friend gave me the Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market, and I was hooked. I read every article and started to plough through the listings, making notes and formulating a campaign. I created a sample sheet and a logo that adorned the samples, business card, letter and envelope. The result was a very professional-looking package that I mailed off to 100 publishers, advertisers, agents and magazines.
Two days after the mailing, I got my first response – an e-mail from Gold Rush Games in California commissioning me to do a cover for them. In the weeks following the mailing, I had a string of positive responses, with two more commissions, requests for my portfolio, and several complimentary replies asking for more samples in the future. It feels like a complete turn around, both in my attitude and my prospects.
There was one fundamental shift that took place to change my fortune: I stopped trying to be an all-around artist and started to target one skill only. I re-examined my work to find one strength, and in my case that’s realistic faces. And that’s what’s behind the phrase “Vivid Realism” on my logo. Once I focused, it became easy to pick from the listings. I look for key words: “realism,” “characters,” “expressions.” It helped my communications with busy art directors. Now I can say, “I do photo-realism, particularly of people.”
That one shift made all the difference.