This extract comes directly from the introduction section where I discuss why someone would want to earn money from their printmaking skills… enjoy!
Why Should you Earn from Printmaking?
There could be many reasons why you selected this book and decided to generate an income from your printmaking skills. I touched on several of these reasons in the very first few paragraphs of the book, but I wish to go a little deeper to find out why you wish to earn or profit. By profit I don’t just mean income and money. Profit can also mean fulfilment, enjoyment and happiness. For many people their lives are enriched by simply doing what they love doing and, for many of us, the thing we love is printmaking or maybe one particular printmaking technique! I can wholeheartedly vouch for this. When I am working creatively in whatever form that takes (writing, drawing, cutting a lino block) I feel content and time just flies past as I get in my flow. We can all appreciate that creative flow when time almost stands still and you get in your zone with your creative activity and there is a sense of peace as you work. It would be truly rewarding to be doing this whenever you want rather then just when you have a free spare moment.
By monetising your work or teaching your skills you generate an income from it, which enables you to have the freedom to work on printmaking whenever you want to.
There are many reasons why someone might want to pursue their printmaking more:
- Being able to work from home – When you choose to take your printmaking and make it into a small business this gives you the freedom to work from home. Depending on the technique that you choose, sometimes we only need a very small space to work and a small space on a dining room table or in a spare room works perfectly. This type of lifestyle is perfect for those who, for example, have young children and need to be at home or already run a business from a laptop and want to add a creative string to their bow.
- Having the freedom to work whenever and wherever you want – With all types of creative pursuits (printmaking is no exception), when you start to think about creating profit you can also create the type of lifestyle that you want. Maybe you just want to work for three days a week? Maybe you want to work late at night because you are a night owl? Maybe you love getting up early in the morning to work because you are always super-fresh then? Maybe you love travelling and want to go away a lot? Well all of this is possible with a printmaking business.
- You want to see people actually buying the artwork that you produce – It is a great feeling to see someone look at your work and give praise, but it is even more rewarding to see people spend their hard earned money on something you have handmade. Some of us have simply made so much work that we do really need to sell it to clear space in the house or studio!
- Have a life where being a printmaker actually pays the bills (or at least your materials bill!) – If you are anything like me, you may have a nasty habit of continually buying new art materials and we all know how that bill can add up! Many artists sell their work purely to fund their printmaking and that is a perfectly good reason to be reading this book. You may never actually want to make a monetary profit from your work but simply pay for your materials so that you can do more printmaking. In fact, some people find that this takes away the pressure of having to sell too much or work too hard at printmaking. On the other hand many of you may love the thought of working more on your prints or printed products, of selling more, getting out at events, setting up a website and tackling this in a really enthusiastic and positive way.
- Having time and money to develop your own artwork further – By putting more time into your printmaking work and treating it like a part-time or full-time job then you can really dedicate serious time to developing and progressing your work. The more you print, the better you get. The more your ideas will flow, the quicker you get into your creative zone and the more professional you become as a printmaker. For many of us putting in two or three days per week into printmaking rather than two or three hours will make a huge change in the body of work produced but also the quality as we hone our skills and explore ideas deeper and further.
- Having the money to create your own home studio – If you are printmaking more then you may want to create a studio in your own home or even hire a space to have a studio. Some professional printmakers will even team up with others to hire or create an open access studio – there are so many possibilities.
- Teaching your printmaking skills to others and getting paid to do it – For some people, teaching comes naturally and is something they love doing. As much as I denied my inbuilt teaching capacity (my mother and sister both teach), teaching has been a consistent thing I have done now for over fifteen years in some form or other. If you are someone who likes sharing their knowledge with others, then teaching printmaking is definitely something you should be doing. As a niche art subject there is a lack of printmaking teaching around the UK and printmaking courses are often very popular. There are so many techniques that can be taught that you could teach for years and years and still find new things to do. For me, giving a group of adults a piece of lino, a ten-minute explanation and one hour to carve their designs can produce some really amazing results. Watching someone in one of my workshops reveal their first print and seeing the wonderment in their eyes that they made this little print still lights me up inside today. That is my true profit, not the money they pay me to learn how to do it. When you do what you love and share this with others in a true and meaningful way, then the money will follow.
- Feeling confident with running a small business of your own and being a self-employed printmaker – Many artists and printmakers are great at what they do – making art. As creative thinkers that have minds that explore, have fun and make a mess, the thought of ‘running a business’ or ‘doing the accounts’ makes them shake with terror.
Thank you for reading this blog article and to find our more about generating an income from your printmaking skills, take a look at the full book Learn to Earn from Printmaking, which is available in the online shop (signed by the author!) or on Amazon.co.uk or on Kindle.