How do I promote or share my work and take commissions?
And does Alter Sleeves offer services to help?
Under 5 Minute Read.
In this article, we cover how to share your work and promote it on social media as well as some advice on taking commissions.
An important part of making any sort of money from Alter Sleeves is having to show off and share your work with other people. If you are not concerned with that or your motives are different than that, then most of this article does not really concern you. Alter Sleeves does advertise all of its artist’s submitted works, however, due to the scale and volume of works being submitted, we simply can not show off all of the cool pieces that are uploaded. This is where artists have to take initiative and promote their works and, by being adjacent as a host, Alter Sleeves itself, to the benefit of the artist and everyone else. Sharing your work can also help give you a sense of fulfillment and enjoyment from seeing others take joy in the work that you did. Art marketing is a key part of being an artist and especially important for licensing your art to Alter Sleeves. From social media best practices to building a great website, here are our top tips on how to promote your art and alters. One of the social benefits of sharing your artwork online is attracting other like-minded people. Social media is a space to connect with people from all around the world, and it’s a free way to network. We have a large presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, and go out of our ways to help other artists promote their work.
You no longer have to try and hunt down someone’s email and hope that your invitation to grab a cup of coffee doesn’t come across the wrong way. A few positive comments left on a page or a kind direct message have resulted in hundreds of friendships, the same as participating in art shares or contests.
We love it if you share your finished art and work in progress art pieces, both sleeves, and non-alters, in our Discord server. However, that will likely not help you increase sales. For that, to increase sales, it is highly recommended that you, as an artist, pursue showing off and promoting your work across multiple channels, primarily on social media. How and which social media sites you show off your work on can vary depending on your intent and how comfortable you are with those services. We recommend Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as primary focuses for showing off your work. Though place like Reddit, TikTok, Byte, Mastodon, and others can offer an appealing place, it should be noted they are highly against “inorganic” advertising, if you want to show off your work there, you mostly need to not mention in the main post that it is something others can buy.
Use your social media profiles to build your brand, which is you as an artist. People are often curious about the artist behind the screen, and this allows you to introduce yourself to the world. While your profiles will mostly showcase your art, people enjoy learning more about you as an artist as well. This works really well on places like Instagram and Twitter, but not so much on places like Reddit and Facebook (outside of groups). Basically, social media is free marketing for you and by extension, us. Allowing your art to be accessed by the masses on various platforms allows thousands of eyes to view your work for free, to enjoy it, and consider buying it or commissioning you. All you have to do is create an account. Many artists that began to tentatively sell their work on applications like Facebook and Instagram have been able to make a stable income; though it is maybe harder to do so using Alter Sleeves alone, by creating these profiles and using more vendors, it is possible.
By creating renders of your work. What are renders? A render is an image of both your alter and the card it is meant-for overlaid. For example, the posts you see on the Alter Sleeves Instagram are renders. As another example below, from Baerthe, is one of his renders. As you can see it recreates, digitally, the look of how the Alter Sleeve would appear on the card in real life. We will go over creating these below.
You can, if you want, as it will help solidify your expanding art empire and can let you link different vendor sites together, say, for example, you sell art on Alter Sleeves and Etsy. This can help your fans find more of your work and also give you the space to have a portfolio with expanded information about your work to show off to potential clients or employers.
Yes! Any of our artists are fully allowed to make promoted posts, take out Google ads, what have you as long as they are not portraying the ads as official Alter Sleeves posts.
It is also recommended that you, separate from Alter Sleeves, consider participating in networking on social media as well as “art shares” and art contests. For example, say you make a wholly new full art piece for one of your favorite cards, consider sharing it on Twitter in an art share, and participating with it in an art contest on Facebook. Then when and if anyone asks if prints are available, you can link them to your Alter Sleeves or Etsy, etc. to promote the work in an organic manner.
We actually offer a Photoshop template on the Discord and you can ask for support in creating these there as well, but if you are not using Photoshop, the concepts behind it are similar. Basically, you want a square image (or a long rectangle for Twitter) and you want two layers. One layer for the card, one layer for the sleeve. As it varies quite a bit per the program used, your best best is asking in the Discord for direct help setting it up so that your needs are met.
Currently, we do not have a system for commissions on the site. As such we currently offer no support in this manner, but we can make some notes for you to consider. We recommend using Paypal to handle payment processing and invoicing, their invoice system will allow you to collect a record of the commissions, provide payment processing, terms, as well as helping you keep track of it all. Similarly, If someone expresses an interest to buy one of your pieces or to ask you to create new ones, but can’t make a deposit or payment right away, take down their contact info and follow up with them by the end of the week. Most people who buy art don’t “need” it. It’s a luxury item that is often an impulse buy; they fall in love with the art and have to have it. But if you wait too long, the infatuation can fade or even transfer to another item. If the art is intended as a gift, timing is even more important.
Do not be shy about your terms and timelines. It’s always wise to have an artist’s agreement signed by both parties to protect you from unwarranted situations. This can be done by using Paypal to provide terms or by using something like Adobe Sign or DocHub to formalize a contract. Remember to inform your client that if they wish to commission an Alter Sleeve, you can offer to have Alter Sleeves send them a copy or you can have them buy it themselves once it is up; however, they should be aware that you can not offer exclusive sleeves, once it is on the site anyone can buy it. They may think that owning the artwork is the same as owning the license to reproduce it as they see fit, you will have to inform them that is not the case here. Most artists retain their licensing rights for their work even after a sale. But an unaware client may take your commission and innocently reproduce it on T-shirts or publish it for commercial use without informing you first. That will definitely lead to a sticky situation that could be avoided. Freelance artists may also ask for a “kill fee,” a mandatory fee in case the project is canceled midway. Kill fees can be 50% to 100% of the project cost, depending on how soon the project is canceled. I recommend informing clients there is a non-refundable down payment to start the commission, usually about 25% to 50%, and that this “fee” is part of the cost as a whole.