Don't be influenced by the social mentality!
Very often (too often!) I see young artists obsessed with the canons demanded by social networks such as Instagram: having to produce a new original drawing EVERY DAY, calling anything that hasn't taken a month of work "a sketch " (as if there is time left for articulated projects having to, for example, meet the crazy parameters imposed by Instagram's algorithm!) and being subjected to prices that are insane to say the least. It was quite shocking a couple of months ago to see a very good painter being insulted because, in a private message asking her how much she wanted for a portrait, she replied $400. This artist paints in oils in a realistic style reminiscent of the Flemish masters, yet recognisable and very original. A portrait of her would not be out of place in any museum, but for this "client" it was not worth more than 20 dollars, because these are the prices people have become accustomed to on social networks. If you ask for a fair price, you will be insulted, pilloried on social media, accused of being greedy and having no talent, shouting "Even the poor have a right to beautiful things!". Absolutely true, so much so that the net is full of free content that EVERYONE can enjoy but, or you can easily buy cheap prints. The point is that when you ask someone for a custom painting or drawing what you are asking for is a luxury. A tailor-made suit definitely costs more than the T-shirt bought on the market stall. People have convinced themselves that everyone is entitled to free or very cheap art (because young people are convinced that this is the case and sell out their work) without realising that often the artists they are insulting have a lower annual income than they do (and in many cases a crazy student loan to pay back). In the past few months a creative collective in my country (Italy) has finally done a survey on the annual income of comic book artists. 95% of them earn LESS than 5000 euros gross per year (on which you have to pay taxes even if in other cases under 5000 euros per year you don't fall into the taxable income bracket). That was my income in 2020, this year was much worse, I think at the end of the year I'll be lucky if I get to 1000 euros (our category is also excluded from state aid, not being recognized as a profession. Exactly, in the country of the great Renaissance masters, creative people are not recognised as workers. But they do pay taxes) In short, when people talk about poor people deserving to have our jobs for 20 dollars they ignore the fact that WE struggle to pay our bills and rent (I'm lucky that my husband, a journalist, has been very busy covering the news of the pandemic, otherwise I couldn't even afford to buy food) Everyone deserves nice things but we deserve to be able to support ourselves with our work, which takes years of study and practice. So please stop devaluing your work and calling sketches what are actually finished drawings that took you hours to complete! On social media they call them sketches just so they can be paid cheaply!
I agree with everything you said, that's why I hate social media, because people there always devalue the artist! (In the last paragraph I felt a hint of indirection by my latest sketches -u-)~
Oh man... Yeah, art along isn't really viable for most of us I think... I'm currently in school and doing some programming on the side, which helps reduce the cost of living and food, but once I'm done with that the situation could become a lot harder :(. I'm probably gonna have an art "job" but I do like making art for myself so there's my justification. Not chasing social media trend has me think more about what kind of things I want to create rather than following a specific trend. Although I would say if not for the trend I could not have know as much art people from the Internet. So I guess there's some upsides. That's also the main problem of the internet trend that is they do not really promote individual viewpoint and variety. It's really hard to find different stuff in the algorithm. There are certainly some, but I believe a lot more are not discovered by people. I'm not sure why people call those "sketches", and at the moment I would think a lot of them are quite accurate by calling sketches, because they really do not cost as much time for them or an artist in a similar fluency to do. Although for us it will take a lot more time simply because we are not as experienced. Some are a bit stretched... I think a lot of people in middle/high school now post art because they really have time to draw and don't need to worry about food etc so it's perfect for them to call a finished drawing "sketch" (especially for those ones that are more towards graphic design), because they don't care about the time cost. I'm mostly over it now because I don't need to get paid, but not every one is in the same position... In Chinese online art community we have a different problem (or not really that different), that is we don't really have many visible original art. We mass produce production artists but no one is original. Alongside those manga girls and stuff, you can also see those beautifully drawn characters, scenes, story boards, mastery skills, but they almost all labelled "Practice". Like literally they don't even bother to make a name for them... After a while I find those pretty vapid. They don't care about their creation, just making a product :( There are nice ones, but take time to find. I think we should use the internet for making better art but not for a show room that doesn't make any meaningful impact on one's life
That's globalisation for you. Competing with the cheapest labour from places where decent conditions and/or pay are a pipe-dream. What the internet has done is (along with making all 'voices' equal) provide a shiny veneer for it all so you don't have to stop and think, or care :/ To your last point, I agree and it can be hard to see your actual customers through the noise, and you don't want to convince yourself that the noise is your customer. If you find cheapskates around a lot, add something to your presence online that makes it clear you're producing quality, which comes with a price that represents that value. I think sellers get seduced by 'Instagram exposure' and feel the need to compete with the trash. I have many, many grievances with online platforms, but sometimes it's worth stepping back to evaluate expectations and reset, rather than getting frustrated with a changed world.