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About Varied / Professional Official Beta Tester Angela R. SasserFemale/United States Groups :iconangelic-shades: Angelic-Shades
The art studio of Angela Sasser
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Angelic Visions


Check out my debut art instruction book today!

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Originally posted at ShadowScript: The Art Blog of Angela R. Sasser

It's been an introspective week for me while I ponder my current re-branding efforts and enjoy a much needed vacation after the convention/Halloween rush.  I've been enjoying the time off to clear my mind and to start reading Greg Spalenka's book, Artist as Brand.  I thought it'd be interesting to write about my journey as I read this book and (hopefully) learn a little more about myself and my art!


I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link 
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!

This book really called to me thanks to recommendations from other artist friends and for the fact Spalenka is also an artist himself.  I've read a fair few marketing books, all which read like dry instruction manuals.  Artists, however, are a different breed of business.  We are in the business of passion and vision.  There's an undefinable element to an artist that can't be quantified by marketing and price tags.

Spalenka has a unique insight having worked in publishing, entertainment, genre art, and fine art.  Artist as Brand compiles Spalenka's advice as given in his workshop meant for artists seeking to define their vision and business and also offers person to person workshops on the matter.  This book is the self-paced version of his workshop.

An example of Greg Spalenka's dreamlike art.

The preface of the book addresses Spalenka's experiences moving between various industries as an illustrator, all which seemed to keep an artist's visions at the whims of a larger machine at work, none of which seemed to satisfy his own creative instincts.  It wasn't until he saw artists selling well for themselves at conventions that he realized the potential of micro-businesses, or artist as self-representing entrepreneurs.

As an Arts Admin MA, I studied the potential of the internet to allow artists to connect directly to their audiences for my thesis and I couldn't agree more with this emerging trend.  Artists are now more able than ever to nurture private collectors through the interconnectivity of the internet and other opportunities outside of the expected ones.

But that means so many of us need to figure out what it is that we can offer when we don't have a business calling the shots.  What is our vision?  What is that special something that we have that no one else does?  This book is all about that discussion.

After Spalenka's bio, the first instructional section deals with defining what your Heart Virtue is.  This doesn't even relate directly to what you like to draw, which I found interesting, but also somewhat confusing.  What core defining value dictates your emotional reactions to the world around you?

I found this offputting, at first.  Wasn't this something only fine artists really needed to think about?  As a genre artist, I'm not too concerned with political or emotional statements in my art (if that was where this book was headed).

But the more I thought about this section, the more I realized just how deep the rabbit hole goes.  It's not just any ol' fantasy art that appeals to me.  Most of what I enjoy and what I'm passionate about creating is fantasy art that makes an emotional statement, that says something beyond the surface prettiness of glamorized and idealized figures that most fantasy art portrays.  Fantasy art and literature, after all, are a mask with which we can tell the spiritual and moral stories that pertain to humanity as a whole.

Spalenka guides this introspection with several questions which help you to figure out what your heart virtue might be. Mine ended up being this, which I suspect will change and be refined as I go along:

I am devoted to unlocking the potential of creativity in myself and in others through self-discovery and acceptance.


How this pertains to my art, I'm not quite sure yet, but I'm looking forward to finding out!  I'm purposefully leaving some of this discussion vague so as to not give all of Spalenka's knowledge away for free.

This book has been an enjoyable revelation thus far and I hope you will go show him your support, if you find my journey with his book interesting and helpful!

Next: My Core Virtue's Emblem



EVENT LINK:
plus.google.com/events/cbeekfv…

Join me for my October Patreon Giveaway! See how my month's been going, ask me anything, and learn which lucky Patreon patron will win one of my art items!

Can't make it? Leave your questions here in comments and I'll answer them at the event, which will be recorded and automatically uploaded afterwards to my YouTube channel, where you can watch the broadcast later.

Sponsor me on Patreon to get in on this chance to win unique items direct from the artist! Only Patrons at the $10 and up level will be eligible for the giveaway, but anyone can ask questions during the chat, even non-Patrons! 

Questions are fielded via the Q&A text chat feature within Hangouts, so do not worry about 'calling in' if you are shy.
The Price of Immortality by AngelaSasser
The Price of Immortality

I'm excited to share an illustration I did for the "It was a Dark and Stormy Night" anthology! Enjoy a collection of creepy tales perfect for this season of mists and spirits while also supporting the Office of Letters and Light (aka. the awesome folks behind NaNoWriMo, Camp Nano, and the Young Writers Program).

You'll have to read the anthology to find out what this image is all about.;)

The book's online release party is going on RIGHT NOW, so go give it a look and win some cool swag (including a print of this piece)!:

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Originally posted at ShadowScript: The Art Blog of Angela R. Sasser

So, you like drawing, but also painting, writing, candle-making, and beading?  I know how you feel!  Being multipassionate seems to be a habit of most of the creative people I know.   Our minds like to wander and play and that's part of how we keep ourselves creative!

However, this characteristic usually leaves most of us with a huge problem - an unclear sense of artistic identity and, therefore, an unclear brand.

I've had this problem for years and it's only been until recently I've sat down and put a magnifying glass to my brand.  For example, just look at the mess that was my website last year.  I had masks, Art Nouveau, surreal work, miniature work, sculpture, anything and everything all thrown together on my site:

My Angelic Shades site back in 2013.

After discussing my fractured identity with fellow artists and a friendly Art Director, I realize that this Anything and Everything approach was really killing my sales and my presentation.

What an AD might think:

"She has so many styles!  She must still be a student and probably isn't very reliable.  She hasn't quite mastered anything."

What an average person might think:

"Wow, this is all really cool!  But later on, I probably won't remember what it is exactly she's selling." 

Echo this sentiment for selling at conventions, too.  After seeing all the masks, art, etc. at my table, most people aren't sure what I'm selling or if it's all by one person, since the themes differ so vastly.  This also made my sales pitches extremely complicated, as I wasn't sure how to address all of the products on the table.

Or my other favorite.

"Wow, this is cool!  I'm going to ask this person for a commission that she's not necessarily interested in doing because she's obviously interested in doing everything and is very versatile." 

In truth, I'd actually prefer it if people ask me for work that I specialize in, rather than work that I don't specialize in.  Most of the time, the work I don't specialize in doesn't go into my portfolio and is never seen again.

The Tough Questions


I had to start asking myself some important questions and coming up with answers that faced my fears as an artist.  These burning questions have been on my mind for a long time now:


What am I passionate about and what is just fun to do?


A lot of people think 'hey it'd be fun to make my hobby a job!' but what they don't realize is that once you make your hobby your job, it's not fun anymore.  If you turned to that hobby for recharging and relaxation, chances are that being forced to do it for monetary purposes is going to destroy that sense of fun and play you had with it.  You'll most likely have to get another hobby now that the last hobby has become the job.

My Answer:  I realized over the past few years that Art Nouveau and soft watercolor work is my 'fun' art.  So is mask-making.  I turn to these modes of expression to refresh my creative well.  Making them my job meant I had less time in my life for the mature fantasy work I am passionate about.  Admittedly, the money is nice and that also swayed me towards these other forms of expression.  This choice of splitting focus resulted in much burnout over the past couple of years.


My art as a body of work has so many facets.  What should stay and what should go?


Think about what target audience there is for your work.  Does your work actually target the same people?  Did you do something for random fun but it just doesn't fit in with your other work?

Sometimes it's just better to leave things off of your professional face for storage on something more casual, like tumblr.  Keeping unrelated work can make you look like a student or unreliable in your ability to finish consistent work.  Stop thinking of what is your 'best overall work' and starting thinking 'what is your best work for what specific audience'.

My Answer:  For me, I ended up dumping the ACEO and Surreal sections from my site.  These works were all older and I'm not exactly interested in being hired to work in that vein anymore.  On the other hand, I still wanted to share my artisan crafts and Art Nouveau, as I've put many years into them and still find them as viable professional faces to share.

And thus my brands Angelic Artisan and Angela Sasser were born!  Angelic Shades is my original studio name, which will now be purely for the work I created for my book, Angelic Visions, and for my Art Nouveau work.

My mature fantasy work is going to be housed on a new site that I'm currently working on (sneak peek here!).  Angelic Artisan has also been moved off to its own cozy website dedicated solely to my artisan crafts (a move which happened last year, actually).

I chose my real name as a studio identity because I feel like this brand is finally me.  I have found MY voice and what I feel is going to be the artistic identity I want to become known for.  Another perk to deciding what my 'main' identity/studio is going to be is that I now realize where the majority of my time needs to be spent.

Angelic Artisan and Angelic Shades will both now be downgraded to side projects that I only do for fun.  This is a huge weight off me and one that I feel will allow me to focus my time on my passions instead of being torn between too many tasks.  It's going to be hard saying no to the commissions that come in for artisan and Art Nouveau work, but decreasing my stress levels and focusing on my long-term goals is what needs to happen for me right now to stop feeling so overwhelmed by the tasks ahead of me.

Bonus perk - my sites just look sooo much more beautiful and professional now that they have 'themes'!


Since I am re-branding mid-career, how do I mitigate changing my identity in the face of collectors and AD's?


This one is my toughest question right now.  How do I change what I'm doing so that people won't be upset by my switch of direction?  Most of the other multifaceted artists I've talked to worked to become known for one thing and earned the respect of AD's and their market before they branched out.  They were stabilized by the fact their fans would follow them and that they still have the respect of AD's whom they have proven their reliability to in the past.

My problem is I got good at one thing I realized later on is not the thing I want to be known for.  I'm not sure if I'll be burning bridges doing this.  It's quite intimidating!

My Answer:  Right now, my plan is to completely break my art styles up into Angelic Shades and Angela Sasser with their own corresponding sites and outlets so that when I hand a business card out to an AD or anybody else, the linked site on each unique card will present a consistent body of work with a clear theme.

As for AD trust, I will probably only be showing AD's my Angela Sasser brand, unless their projects specifically call for soft watercolors and/or Art Nouveau stylings.  They shall never know my secret identity as a soft flowy watercolorist and mask-maker!

I have no idea what this means for my social media faces, however!  I'm so entrenched in the Angelic Shades username that I'm not sure if people will actually follow me to a new name, if I start one.  Brand consistency for 'Angela Sasser' demands a new Twitter, Facebook page, blog, etc.  I'm not sure I'm going to do this yet, but you will be the first to know!


STOP!  Do you really want to do this?  Are you just messing up a good thing?


If you're doing well as you are and enjoy what you're doing, maybe you should just leave well enough alone?

My Answer:  It's taken me many years of struggling and burnout to realize I've invested my time in the wrong places because I was more focused on making money than taking the risky path and following my passions in illustration and concept art.  I was afraid and didn't trust myself.  I let bad advice and pressure from loved ones dissuade me from focusing on what I really wanted to do.  I also didn't really have an idea of where I wanted to go back then, so I did what was fun and acceptable.

Just because you might be capable of creating something that someone enjoys and will pay money for doesn't necessarily mean that's what you're meant to do, especially if your heart lies elsewhere.

Knowing all this, I feel my mistakes have helped me to refine a laser focus I'm looking forward to implementing now that I've identified where my heart truly lies.  It's only through experiencing these early struggles that I know myself better and can look forward to the future with more confidence!


Reader Questions:


Do you have multiple creative businesses?  How do you  handle running them all at once? Share your tips in comments!

Next Up: Part 2 - Brand Design
Originally posted at ShadowScript: The Art Blog of Angela R. Sasser

It's been an introspective week for me while I ponder my current re-branding efforts and enjoy a much needed vacation after the convention/Halloween rush.  I've been enjoying the time off to clear my mind and to start reading Greg Spalenka's book, Artist as Brand.  I thought it'd be interesting to write about my journey as I read this book and (hopefully) learn a little more about myself and my art!


I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link 
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!

This book really called to me thanks to recommendations from other artist friends and for the fact Spalenka is also an artist himself.  I've read a fair few marketing books, all which read like dry instruction manuals.  Artists, however, are a different breed of business.  We are in the business of passion and vision.  There's an undefinable element to an artist that can't be quantified by marketing and price tags.

Spalenka has a unique insight having worked in publishing, entertainment, genre art, and fine art.  Artist as Brand compiles Spalenka's advice as given in his workshop meant for artists seeking to define their vision and business and also offers person to person workshops on the matter.  This book is the self-paced version of his workshop.

An example of Greg Spalenka's dreamlike art.

The preface of the book addresses Spalenka's experiences moving between various industries as an illustrator, all which seemed to keep an artist's visions at the whims of a larger machine at work, none of which seemed to satisfy his own creative instincts.  It wasn't until he saw artists selling well for themselves at conventions that he realized the potential of micro-businesses, or artist as self-representing entrepreneurs.

As an Arts Admin MA, I studied the potential of the internet to allow artists to connect directly to their audiences for my thesis and I couldn't agree more with this emerging trend.  Artists are now more able than ever to nurture private collectors through the interconnectivity of the internet and other opportunities outside of the expected ones.

But that means so many of us need to figure out what it is that we can offer when we don't have a business calling the shots.  What is our vision?  What is that special something that we have that no one else does?  This book is all about that discussion.

After Spalenka's bio, the first instructional section deals with defining what your Heart Virtue is.  This doesn't even relate directly to what you like to draw, which I found interesting, but also somewhat confusing.  What core defining value dictates your emotional reactions to the world around you?

I found this offputting, at first.  Wasn't this something only fine artists really needed to think about?  As a genre artist, I'm not too concerned with political or emotional statements in my art (if that was where this book was headed).

But the more I thought about this section, the more I realized just how deep the rabbit hole goes.  It's not just any ol' fantasy art that appeals to me.  Most of what I enjoy and what I'm passionate about creating is fantasy art that makes an emotional statement, that says something beyond the surface prettiness of glamorized and idealized figures that most fantasy art portrays.  Fantasy art and literature, after all, are a mask with which we can tell the spiritual and moral stories that pertain to humanity as a whole.

Spalenka guides this introspection with several questions which help you to figure out what your heart virtue might be. Mine ended up being this, which I suspect will change and be refined as I go along:

I am devoted to unlocking the potential of creativity in myself and in others through self-discovery and acceptance.


How this pertains to my art, I'm not quite sure yet, but I'm looking forward to finding out!  I'm purposefully leaving some of this discussion vague so as to not give all of Spalenka's knowledge away for free.

This book has been an enjoyable revelation thus far and I hope you will go show him your support, if you find my journey with his book interesting and helpful!

Next: My Core Virtue's Emblem

deviantID

AngelaSasser
Angela R. Sasser
Artist | Professional | Varied
United States
Currently based out of Atlanta, I grew up in a multicultural family and spent much of my life traveling as a military brat. It was overseas in Germany at a young age that I fell in love with my first taste of fantasy in the collected stories of the Grimms Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen.

I grew up with the dream that one day I might be able to follow in their footsteps and tell stories to awe and terrify future generations, to capture that sense of danger, triumph, and hidden magic.

I’ve earned three degrees, a BA in English, a BA in Studio Art, and an MA in Arts Administration. I could never choose between my love of writing, of illustration, and for helping other artists.

Nowadays, my art instruction book, Angelic Visions, is out on the shelves of a bookstore near you!
Interests

Commissions

Red Line and Critique
Red-line-example by AngelaSasser
View the full example image plus its detailed critique here.

I will use an image provided by the client to create a detailed critique in the form of a red lined image meant to aid in improving the work with the concerns of the client in mind. A detailed image and descriptive text critique will be provided.

You will receive:

- A .psd file featuring a layer with your original image plus a redline with suggested corrections using corrective line drawing.

- A full write-up detailing each element which was critiqued and suggestions for improvement.

* Note: If you intend to include a red line I have done in your paintings as a direct base, I request that you credit me in the description of your work. This is optional, but appreciated!
Detailed Paint Over and Critique
Paint-over by AngelaSasser
View the full image with its detailed critique here.

I will use an image provided by the client to create a detailed critique in the form of a paint over meant to aid in improving the image with the concerns of the client in mind. A detailed image and descriptive text critique will be provided.

You will receive:

- A .psd file featuring a layer with your paint over plus any layer masks, adjustment layers, etc. which were used in your critique.

- A full write-up detailing each element which was critiqued and suggestions for improvement plus links to resources which I believe might aid your future work.

* Note: If you intend to include a paint over I have done in your paintings as a direct base, I request that you credit me in the description of your work. This is optional, but appreciated!

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Comments


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:icononnirica:
onnirica Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2014   Digital Artist
Hey fellow Painting Drama artist! LOL Just kidding. Your gallery is truly lovely Angela! I've been following you in the painting drama group, and now I finally found you here :) 
Reply
:iconangelasasser:
AngelaSasser Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2014  Professional General Artist
Hey there! Always nice to find another OA student around these parts.  Good to see you here and lovely work on your end, as well!
Reply
:icont-razz:
T-razz Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
nice gallery!
Reply
:iconmorkadion:
Morkadion Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I simply love your gallery :)
Reply
:iconangelasasser:
AngelaSasser Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you!
Reply
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