Photo: @mrthetrain / Art: @MerlinMakes / Edits by Me
Fortunately, the world of Anthro art is very captive. Your audience is there, waiting for you, and they often come looking for exactly what you produce. It's a niche market and this can either be your greatest advantage, or your biggest challenge. For the artists out there that already have 10k followers or more, this article will probably feel like common knowledge; but for those who are just starting out, I hope the words below offer at least some insight into what it takes to market yourself in today's world.
Think about someone on a daily commute. They see the same billboard every single day for a restaurant, it never turns off. They never eat there, but that billboard is on the exit that they take to go to work. One night, a crew comes in and changes the billboard to advertise for a law firm. As a result, that person actually misses the exit the following morning! The billboard was different, their roadmap was changed without their knowledge, and it threw off their entire routine.
Consistency is something that helps us form habits and it's also something that is used in marketing to bring a specific feeling to an audience; often through messages with a similar theme. In this case, it's Anthro art created by you! Your style is unique to you and it's also what will basically serve as your brand in the anthro community. Creating consistency in your art habits will build momentum, help to grow your audience, and keep potential commissioners from missing exits because someone changed your billboard.
As a creator, it is important that you establish this consistency early on, and in a healthy way. You will read all over that you should draw every single day to hone your skills and don't ever give up, no matter how you feel about your work. Some days, you will love those sketches! Other days, you will feel like that full illustration with soft shading that got 500+ likes on Twitter was absolute garbage. Art is an emotional lottery, but the consistency, or frequency, of your work should stay roughly the same.
One of the best ways to establish this consistency is by posting your creations to a gallery and social media. FurAffinity and Twitter are excellent resources in the Anthro community for both networking and sharing your work; no matter what your skill level. Even if you are just starting out; I'm talking basic shapes with ears, post it! Share absolutely everything you do, even if you hate it. It's a great way to get your name out there and begin networking with all of the other artists in the industry who started exactly where you are now. Yes, there will be critics. And yes, you will have to push through. But as long as you stay consistent, you will improve. Try to post something every day if you can! Keeping your art in the feed and on the front page is a great thing to do when you are just starting out.
Now for the demon part.
The first thing I want to say about being consistent is this: It's hard. Unless you are in a position where you can make a living and dedicate a good portion of your time to your artwork, chances are you're going to be busy with other things. Maybe you have a full time job, or you have children that need your attention, or you are pursuing a degree in particle physics. That's totally okay! You can adjust the frequency of your consistency and find the balance that works best for you. Just try to keep at it in a healthy way.
Secondly, being consistent is demanding. There will be nights when you don't want to draw. There will be nights when you have an art block. There will also be nights when you are so frustrated and angry with your work that just looking at your tablet makes you sick. When this happens, you have some options, and no, quitting isn't one of them. Your mental health should always come first, no matter how much you have on your plate. When you can't draw without extreme stress, don't. It's time to do something else for a bit. Take a week away from your current content and do other things you enjoy. Just don't give up. It's going to be hard, but you can do it. Start small when you get back to it. Draw some boxes, sketch some lewd stuff, smile for a bit. Then dive back in.
Sketch by @Coonkun on Twitter
In the end, consistency is something that can be used to great effect when deployed correctly. It is up to you to find the balance that works best in your life between your passion for Anthro art and what we often refer to as "real life." I truly believe that sharing a passion for this community is a wonderful thing and that all of us, both artist and art-consumer? Art-viewer? Commissioner?? Furry. We're all furries. All of us contribute to it in a unique and positive way.
To the well established artists out there: Let's keep it going! Lending a hand and sharing your methods with those who are learning is a great gift. Just sharing your time with me to answer my questions is beyond appreciated. To quote an actual artist:
As a beginner, it's very important to consistently and meaningfully practice and evaluate your progress. If you're just starting out from nothing, you have two aspects to tackle: the "artistic" side, think composition, form, space, and color; and the "technical" side, which are things like art programs, brush techniques, and rendering. Consistently studying both aspects can lead to overall improvement in your work. -@Wetchop