Healthy Social Media Strategies for Artists: Creating Your Rhythm Map | Arleesha Yetzer | Skillshare

Healthy Social Media Strategies for Artists: Creating Your Rhythm Map

Arleesha Yetzer, Watercolor Illustrator & YouTube Artist

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11 Lessons (51m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Rhythm Map - Project Introduction

    • 3. Naming Your Song

    • 4. Purpose of the Platforms

    • 5. Large Projects

    • 6. Medium Projects

    • 7. Small Projects

    • 8. Example 1: The Part Time Artist

    • 9. Example 2: The Full Time Artist

    • 10. Example 3: Arlee's Map

    • 11. Conclusion - What Do You Want to Create?

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About This Class

When an artist is first looking to share their work online, thoughts naturally migrate to social media. We want to build an audience, a community, with which we can grow and hopefully establish ourselves professionally.  

Many artists may quickly find navigating the pressures, algorithms, and responsibilities of a social media presence difficult. In this class, I want to cast away the frustration and anxiety often associated with these platforms and give you the tools to build a thriving, healthy community online.

This class is for:

  • Artists just starting out on platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter
  • Artists struggling to manage their social media presence because of stress, frustration, or anxiety
  • Artists seeking to grow their current audience without overworking and over-stressing


1. Introduction: Hi. My name is Arleesha Yetzer. I'm an artist and YouTube content creator. I've been building an online community as a professional artist for about two years now. I've seen firsthand how overwhelming managing all of the social platforms and algorithms can be. I'm really excited to be sharing in this class with you today; Healthy Social Media Strategies for artists, building your rhythm map. There are so many opportunities and avenues available for artists and creators seeking to establish themselves professionally online. To be honest, it can all be a bit overwhelming. When you're standing at the gates at the very beginning, looking out at everything and trying to figure out what to do first, it really can feel like too many options. Should you open commissions? Seek client work? Start a Patreon page? A YouTube channel? What about Instagram, Twitter and Facebook? This is where we work it out. In this class, we're going to be honing in on your dreams and goals as an artist building an online presence, we're going to brainstorm and build a list of project ideas big and small, and piece them all together into an effective, exciting structure that is unique to you. This class is going to provide a solid foundation for those just getting started in their professional endeavors online. If you've already got that ball rolling, that's great too, let streamline and enhance your workload. Our project focus is going to be on utilizing social media platforms to tell your own story, sing your own songs. We're not going to be picking apart algorithms or devising sneaky get rich quick schemes. This class is about equipping you with the tools to confidently manage and grow your social presence online without being overwhelmed by the stress and the numbers. If you're ready to take back control of your online presence as an artist, let's get started and build your rhythm map. 2. The Rhythm Map - Project Introduction: When you're listening to a great song, it's almost always supported by the foundation of a great rhythm; a beat that carries listener through and keeps them engaged. We're going to be building on that concept today for our class project via the creation of a rhythm map. Your map is going to be a tangible representation of your goals, workload, and social interactions as an artist online, your rhythm should be consistent and reliable, but it should also be exciting. The sound you make online across all platforms should be something that draws your audience in, inspires them, and make them want to dance or even make music of her own. Each math will be unique to its creator, but will consist of the same core elements. Large projects, medium projects, and small projects. Projects in each category will be distinguishable from one another by frequency; how often they occur, and effort; how much work is required. Your projects may be things like commissions, client work, gallery shows or conventions. Or maybe you'll focus more on YouTube videos, shuffle dates for prints and artwork, and regular updates on Twitter or Instagram. We're going to be explaining and exploring each project size and in the end, you'll have a rhythm all your own. I also want to walk you through a few examples of completed rhythm maps. This layout can vary so much depending on how many hours a week you're working and the types of projects you choose to take on. But before we get into all that, let's back up and get to know each other a bit in our next lesson, "naming your song". 3. Naming Your Song: Before we can start building your personalized rhythm map, you've got to have an idea of who you want to be in this great big Art World. Do you want to focus on showing your art in galleries? Are you a comic artist? a YouTuber? One of the most liberating realizations I had early on in my art career was coming to terms with the facts that every artist's journey will look different. Just because I'm not taking commissions or seeking client work, that doesn't mean I'm a failure or less of a professional than some of my favorite artists. Think of naming your song as something along the lines of choosing a job title. Artist is pretty vague. There are just so many different artists these days especially with new titles that didn't even exist 15 years ago, like Instagram artist or YouTube artists. Even freelancing has evolved so much because of social media. When considering how to name your song or choose your title, think about projects you're interested in and how they connect with one another to create a bigger picture, tell a whole story, sing a full song. Let me use myself as an example. Some of the projects in my map include skill share classes, YouTube videos where I review art supplies and share my art journey and online shop for prints and originals and stickers. Social interaction on Instagram and the occasional livestream. What do all of these things put together say about me? Well, I can definitely see a clear social and community-based focus. My connection point with my audience isn't just my art, it's also me as a person. I am a teacher and content creator. I'm an influencer and product reviewer, mostly of watercolors. I am an artist and the pieces that come together to form my song maybe very different or very similar when placed alongside yours. You may be more focused on creating a long-running web comic or attending conventions. Maybe you're a freelancer who wants to be hired by companies and magazines to create art for board games or advertising. Take some time to brainstorm project ideas. Write them down or type them out. In future lessons we'll be dividing those ideas into categories based on project type, large, medium, and small. You'll find that a balance with the map is how this all works. If you have any questions along the way feel free to drop a comment or any thoughts in the community section of this class. Let's take a minute to talk about social platforms and how they work. 4. Purpose of the Platforms: Okay. So we're getting comfy now, let's talk about some important stuff. To be honest, this section right here, this talk, is the heart of why I wanted to create this class. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, they can be amazing resources for the professional artist. They allow us to connect with our audiences, share regular updates, and promote our work. These sites can also be amazing for connecting creators to each other. I have made so many new friends and had so many collaboration opportunities from Instagram alone, but that doesn't mean that these sites were made for us. Far too often I see creators raging against the corporation or the algorithm when their engagement drops. Artists are such a tiny percentage of the entire social media community. Social media platforms prioritize two things, time and quantity. They want you to spend as much time with the App open as possible so they can show you more ads and they want you to post as frequently as you can. This usually doesn't match too well with creators who spend hours and hours on each new post. The answer then shouldn't be lessening the quality of our work by trying to produce faster or overworking ourselves so that we have something new to share every day. The ideal user on Instagram for example, in my mind, is somebody who's snapping a picture of their cat or a selfie, or their vacation, or their food, sticking a filter on it and posting multiple times a day. It only takes a minute or two to put that thing together. What's the answer then? Do artists belong on sites like Instagram? Of course. We'll talk about this more in a future lesson when we define small projects. But the key is to treat social media platforms as a tool, a smaller part of the larger mechanism, that is your business and online presence as an artist. Facebook is a business, Twitter is a business, Instagram is a business. They need to make money so don't expect them to cater to you. Over time, I've shifted how and when I post out of necessity. I've fallen into the pit of obsessing over the numbers, how many followers did I get today? How many likes has my new post gotten in the past 13 seconds? In the long-term, it's just a very unhealthy mindset to cultivate. Social media, in my experience, is much better utilized as a window into your world as a creator. Snapshots of what you're working on, current progress on a new painting or illustration, or announcements about new products or larger projects. You don't have to serve the service. You don't have to try to crack the code on how to get the most likes or the most retweets out of every new post. Work efficiently within your target audience, of course, but let the platform serve you. Step back and treat it like a tool instead of the only way you will succeed, and trust me your audience will thank you for your sincerity. Now we've got our basics covered, we've laid the foundation and it's time to start building your rhythm up. As we begin to define projects of various sizes, you're more than welcome to download and fill out the included project ideas, brainstorming worksheet in the resources section. I'll be filling mine out with you along the way, so go ahead, hop over, grab that, and let's go ahead and get started building you. 5. Large Projects: Large projects, these are the big boys, the long notes. Projects at this tier will be launched or completed the least frequently, anywhere between once a month to a couple of times a year. Within our rhythm analogy, you can think of these as the big cymbal crash or the beat drop. They'll make a dramatic splash every once in a while and then build up in the background until it's time to drop again. They're also going to take a lot of work. I think it's important at this point to explain why we're separating projects like Conventions and Gallery Shows from things like Instagram posts or even YouTube videos. Here's an example of a balanced rhythm map for a full-time artist. The time frame we're looking at here is six months, not too many large projects. That's because in this example, they're only occurring four times a year, that's one every three months. While the finer details of this frequency may vary for you, things that would fit into this category may include, publishing a new Skillshare class, attending a convention, sharing your art in a gallery and publishing a zine, and so on. Large projects are meant to be savored, built up to, and spread out. Trying to cram too many large projects into a short period of time would be like the symbol player in a marching band who's just slamming those things together every other second. The grand effect is ultimately lost, and that symbol player is going to be really tired. Man, I feel sorry for like guy. If you want this as a career, it's going to be a long show. Overworking yourself isn't productivity, it's just burning yourself out before you've given things time to flourish and develop organically. This category will play a large role in defining and making visible your long-term goals as an artist, dreams live here. Write down as many possibilities as you'd like, and you may even end up creating several different versions of your rhythm map with varying projects at each tier. When you can lay your options out before you, it becomes much easier to judge where you're at and what you'd most prefer to invest your time into. If you already have a job other than art and you're looking to ease yourself into a career as an artist and maybe take slow step towards working on that full-time, you may find that you don't have any large projects to start. This is completely fine and maybe even a really good idea. Focusing on small projects like Instagram posts or posting regularly on social media is going to help you to build a following, to build an online presence, that you can present larger projects to in the future, while simultaneously not taking up too much of your time. After starting with the foundation of small projects, social media posts and things like that, you may then choose to start working on some medium-sized projects like starting YouTube channel or listening prints on third party starts like a red bubble or in-print or even start to take the first steps towards building an artist shop. Starting small and working your way up to these large projects, these big professional goals can be a really great way to ease yourself into full-time work as an artist while minimizing the amount of stress in the process. Because you're going to need time to learn, especially if this isn't something you've done before, you don't need to put pressure on yourself to be a master right away, you don't need to know how to do everything right away. Take small steps and get really good at those small steps, then take larger steps, get really good at those, and over time, you'll be building a really strong, confident foundation for yourself online. The bigger things will come, dream about them, take steps toward them as the time comes, but don't force them before you're ready. That's why we're laying out this roadmap for you here. Here's a list of more examples of some large projects. You may hone in on a couple of things that are really interesting to you, things you might want to piece together into your rhythm map overall when it's all completed, so take some time to brainstorm. Again, you can write down as many different examples as you want, no reason to limit yourself at this time. This isn't a concrete game plan that you have to follow, you're just working to build something that will work for you. Dreaming, exploring, it's so important. While large projects may individually be the most work and require a lot of prep time, you may find that medium projects in our next lesson are actually the heart of what represents you as a professional. Let's talk about them. 6. Medium Projects: We just talked about how large projects are your big splash items that cymbal crash. If that's the case, then medium projects are the bass drum, the heartbeat of your rhythm. Work at this level will happen right around weekly and will probably be what you're most known for as an artist. For me, that would be my YouTube videos. Everything I do revolves around and supports that work. Via that platform, I build an audience. With that audience I can share a larger projects like skill share classes and chop updates. I can also keep that audience updated and engaged via small projects like social media posts and patria on. Another key example of medium projects is art itself. This may be represented professionally as actually selling your art in various forms. Be that paintings, prints, stickers, t-shirts, etc. Creating new paintings or illustrations takes time. A lot of artists may attempt to squeeze the creation of new art into these small projects category, making new art almost daily so they have that new post ready to go, that may work for some creators, especially if the type of art you're creating doesn't take very long to produce. Within the context of this rhythm map however with a larger projects that require more of our time, that may not work for you. It certainly hasn't worked for me, just stresses me out, when I was trying to create new art as close to daily as possible, I found that I didn't have the time or energy to devote to larger projects that we're actually going to cultivate my business and nurturing my creativity. Painting or drawing or illustrating actually has room to breathe and be productive when given priority as a medium project. New art can still function as the heartbeat of your online presence even if you aren't pumping out a new piece every day. Here's some more examples of things that may fall into the medium projects category for you. Web comic updates, publishing that next chapter, creating new products via online shop, like print, stickers, pens or sketchbooks, fulfilling patria on rewards, or even a live stream. If I say I'm a YouTube artist, my YouTube videos are my primary medium project. If I say I'm a freelancer, then client work or commissions may take that spot. I sometimes have to shuffle medium projects when there's more variety. Maybe I'll make two YouTube videos one week to give myself time to fulfill patria I'm rewards or update my online shop. Medium projects are basically your day to day work. One more important thing to note when talking about artists and medium projects. For me, social media falls into these small projects category. I like to keep them brief, frequent, and easy to produce. Creating content for my larger projects means that I will pretty much always have something I can share, because I can tell people about the other things I'm working on. But what if you want social media to be your bread and butter? What if you want your Instagram account, for example, to be the central hub from which people can find you? That's definitely a reality for a lot of artists, and it can be for you as well. In this case, you may choose to dial down the frequency slightly, maybe two to three posts a week, so that you can produce more fine tuned posts and create a portfolio out of your feed or page. You will find however, that even dedicated social media artists prioritize daily frequent posts as often as possible. This means that they all share updates about new projects, products, and partnerships along the way, alongside the creation of new art. Let's move on and talk about the most prolific and irregularly visible part of your online presence. Small projects. 7. Small Projects: If large projects are the big things spaced out and dreamed about throughout the year and medium projects are the heartbeat of things, where do small projects fit in? Small projects, as mentioned previously, are the window into your world. This is the personal most frequent connection point with your audience. This is how people will know that you've got those medium and large projects brewing in the background. Let me show you an actual example using some of my own recent work. Here's a video I recently published on my YouTube channel. It's a review for this really cool gouache set. The video itself is a medium project as I publish one new video to my channel each week. On either side of this video are several small projects that span from it, as well as a few large projects I can point people to. For this one video, I created a total of four Instagram posts, mostly work in progress shots of the peace or a sneak peek clips from the video. I also shared a bunch of little Instagram story post while editing the video. On the large project side, I can direct viewers to Gouache Skillshare class if they want to learn about my techniques and actual painting process, and I can mention my Patreon page where patrons have access to the real-time version of this painting with my commentary. From this one central video, a medium project, I'm able to tie in projects of every size. Having this overlap and connectivity is absolutely essential. If I try to make Instagram post separate from what goes on at YouTube at the medium level or a Skillshare classes at the large level, I'm basically attempting to juggle three full-time jobs at one time. Don't do that. Social media is the easiest bit for small projects. You may choose to use Twitter or Facebook or a combination of a few different platforms. Because I don't want to spend all of my time managing different accounts, I've chosen to focus on just one. There's a really beautiful cycle that happens when you can properly balance and present yourself across projects of every type. I'm diversifying my online outlets, allowing for multiple places from which people can find my content. How did you end up here in my class? Have you taken some of my other classes here? Did you hear about it on Instagram or YouTube? I want my followers on Instagram to know that I have a YouTube channel. I want my YouTube subscribers to be able to find my online shop in Skillshare classes, allowing some to happen more frequently while others aren't as common, adds variety and interests and also cultivates engagement. We've spent a good chunk of time talking about different project types and examples. How about we put everything together and actually start building some rhythm maps. I have a bunch of different examples to show you, as well as a closer look at my own personal map. So here we go. 8. Example 1: The Part Time Artist: For this first scenario, we're going to pretend that I'm an artist looking to ease myself into the professional world while still working another job. I don't have 40 hours a week to dedicate to art and the work related to it right now, but I'd still like to take the first few steps in that direction. For this reason, I'm going to omit large projects completely this early in the game. I want to instead focus on building an audience, and that's going to happen by focusing on small and medium projects. We can build things up as we go, but the primary goal at this point is just to start to build a system that works, is effective and is easy to manage. Audience building is going to be the most important thing at this point. With that in mind, let's go ahead and pick a social media platform. I'm going to go with Instagram. Sharing your work is an easy and casual way to start building an audience without jumping into something that immediately feels like work. I can share progress pictures of a piece I'm working on, pictures of my workspace and supplies, short videos of my process, and I can start to connect with other artists who share my interests, goals or style. Starting with little steps like these may not feel like a lot of progress at first, but it's so important to connect with people as authentically and organically as you can. You don't want to just start pushing products or commissions on everyone. Let people get to know you so you can become someone they want to support as you grow. For small projects, we've got a focus on building our social media following and connecting with other creators. If this map shows a one month time period, then these posts and interactions should be happening as close to daily as possible. That may seem like a lot, but one day it could be as simple as commenting on the posts of a few artists to admire or those who may be at a similar skill level to you, just make connections. These may be people you can get advice from or collaborate with in the future. As this hypothetical part-time artist, I want to keep my medium projects pretty simple to, remember this tier is going to say a lot about you and your goals. Selling prints or art would fit here, so would starting a YouTube channel. The initial setup of things that may eventually become medium projects, like a YouTube channel or managing Patreon, or even just packing up shop orders. Those could technically be medium projects in the future, but the initial setting them up, building your website, listing all of your projects, setting up your YouTube channel those can be counted as large projects. While we're talking about this, a quick tip about selling your art online. When I first started, I did two things. I opened a shop for originals, I used Tictail, but it's gone now. Storenvy and Etsy are good options too. I made products available on Redbubble. Sites like these are awesome because you can simply upload your designs and sell a variety of products without having to invest in a printer or materials. The companies will print and ship the products for you. The commission you make on each sale is pretty low with stuff like this, usually around 20 percent, but it's a great way to dip your toes into online sales without being overwhelmed by all of the information and startup costs. In this scenario, I may have just one medium project for the first month as I set up my shop, add products and promote and launch to my audience. You might even call it a large project. In the next month, I can plan for two medium projects, adding new products over the course of a couple of weeks, and then researching how to make the best of my chosen platform as a secondary goal, research can and should be calculated into your workload, especially when you're first getting started. You need to be allowed to take time to learn without feeling like you're wasting time because you're not making any money. It'll make your foundation so much stronger if you competently and comfortably allocate time for learning. That's true all the way up to full-time professionals as well, back to our example map. Let's say that after a few months of establishing your shop, you've got a nice momentum built on social media and you're looking to expand that a bit. When I was actually at this stage, this is when I started to think more seriously about those big projects. I was about a year into my small and medium project work here, just sharing and learning. This pace could vary for you of course, my first large project came about via the creation on my very first skill share class. Shortly, after I started out my YouTube channel. Once I started easing into these large projects, I wanted to create more and saw that my audience was responding positively and engaging with the things I created. After some time, I quit my full-time job and became a full-time artist / teacher / content creator. The part-time level, especially when you're first getting started, it's perfectly reasonable to start with audience building. This can help to dispel some of the frustration you may feel if you launch your shop very early and you don't see a lot of engagement there. The larger projects you choose to take on as you start to grow an audience may vary depending on each individual person and the small projects of social media interactions and engagements are going to remain a core part of the workload for online artists. It helps to keep you present in the community and also helps to keep you in the minds of your followers. Pick a social media platform and start sharing. Remember, what you share doesn't necessarily have to be a new piece every time. Keep in mind those short little videos, sketchbook spreads, work in progress, photos and everything in between. It doesn't have to be super stressful, especially not at this point and once you've got some medium projects going, and the idea of earning an income is starting to feel more real and more tangible. We can start to move on to regularly producing medium and large projects, which brings us more into the full-time artists category. Let's look at some different examples of that. 9. Example 2: The Full Time Artist: Let's look at what a rhythm map looks like for a full-time artist. Because I'm going to be showing you my map next and in a different format, we'll focus on some projects other than the ones I'm pursuing for this lesson. While we always want audience building to be important, it's not our primary focus anymore. It's going to be more of a background thing and we'll have an even greater focus on simply reflecting the larger projects that we're working on. Speaking of our larger projects are large and sometimes medium projects should reflect our dreams at this point, both short-term and long-term. It's probably a good idea at this point to reiterate a fundamental purpose behind even building a rhythm map in the first place. Remember why you're doing this. Why it is that you want to even get a grasp on your overall online presence? As artists, oftentimes, especially in this online age, self-employed, we want to be able to reach our goals. It's important to ask yourself, why do you want to be an artist? Where do you want your art to take you, and who's your ideal client base? Do you want to have hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers who will support the growth of your online shop, as well as professional collaborations with other companies? Do you want to have a successful YouTube channel? Are you looking to get hired by your favorite company or animation studio? Do you want to have a successful web comic? Or do you really just want your online shop and the selling of your art, whether that be physical sales through gallery shows and conventions, or online sales through a shop? Do you want that to be your focus? Make sure you're taking time to reflect on these questions. I'm going to be giving you a bunch of examples here, but they are not the only way to go. The entire purpose of this class is to equip you with the tools to take control of your online presence and work toward your goals, without just going through flow or being overwhelmed by what you think you should be doing based on what other artists are doing. That's what your large projects should reflect. Do you want to make an art book? Do you want to be hired by a company? Do you want to attend conventions? These are the things that you are going to be tackling throughout the year as a full-time artist. These are going to be big projects that'll happen once a month to a couple of times a year, and they're things that you'll be able to look back on at the end of the year and see how they've really progressed your career. They're going to be built on the foundation of your social media and those smaller projects, that are going to provide the audience you need to make these larger things successful. Speaking of those smaller fundamental projects, we talked a bit about the things that you can share when first getting started, and I wanted to share a bit with you the things that I share now on my Instagram account. We have about 20,000 followers and then working on larger projects more often, I use my social media at this point to show off new merchandise, whether that's a new print or new sticker pack, I also share behind the scenes stuff. I share videos about pieces I'm working on even if they're not complete, I can still share work in progress pictures and tiny little video snippets like this one. Staying up to date within your community can also be really helpful for generating new posts. Sometimes there will be a hashtag that's going around and a lot of people are sharing their own work in conjunction with that hashtag, which is what does other images. I just took images of a bunch of different hands that I had painted, put them all together and made a post. I didn't have to create any new art to do it. Those are some of my examples, but it's important to remember how you named your song. You have to hold on to your goals. Your map is going to be unique. Like I said, I'll be giving you a lot of examples and you may find a couple of things that you're really excited about and you really want to hold onto and incorporate into your own work. That's great. Keep your goals in mind and don't invest time in things that will just drain you. I've been approached over the past couple of years for a couple of different projects, reviewing products that may not go along with the things I do in my YouTube channel, or creating merchandise that may allow me to reach a larger audience base, but at the same time, it would have taken a lot of time away from the things I wanted to do and ultimately would have steered me in a different direction. Sometimes those things can be nice and can take you to places you never imagined you would go. But for me, I've had to make decisions not to write that book or to review that product because it took me away from my big goals, my large projects, my long-term dreams. Remember that the goal is success. We create a rhythm maps so we can see our goals before us, tangibly view the things we want to create, we can balance them and we can make it happen. When you can see your workload in front of you, it becomes so much more real and so much more doable. You can tackle one piece at a time, check it off the list, and get that ball rolling, build a machine that works. We talked a little bit before about the difference between third party sites and creating your own merchandise. I want to talk a little bit more about the pros and cons, especially at a professional level. I talked about third party sites before, things like red bubble or store envy where they will print your merchandise for you, as being a great way to get started in creating merchandise. But there are a lot of professional artists who prioritize this type of online shop because they have larger projects that take up a lot of their time. Maybe you don't have time to spend a day a week or multiple days a week packing up shop orders. That can make a third party site really valuable. You also have little to no initial costs. On some sites you don't have to pay to upload your design. As you grow, you may be able to partner with other printing companies that will offer premium versions of your art. Again, you don't have to pack and ship all of those items. Creating your own merchandise can be so rewarding and so fulfilling, especially if you're online shop is a primary focus for you in becoming a professional artist. You can customize and personalize your orders. Making it something that when people receive it, they'll know it's from you and they'll have a little piece of you to enjoy. You can also print on demand. Instead of ordering prints from a company and then having large stock, you can just print what you need when you need it and fine tune it to be exactly what you want. You're also in complete control of what you charge for your items. You can calculate prices based on the time invested, the price of all of your materials like paper, printer ink, packing materials, all of that stuff. You can factor and you can have complete control over how much money you're going to make from the sale of each item. I want to spend the rest of this video looking at some examples of full-time rhythm maps for artists with barriers focal points. Let's start with a social media artist. This is someone whose primary presence is on Instagram, and through Instagram, they are able to sell merchandise or become affiliates with different companies and programs. For the social media artists, a large project example might be commissions. They can be delivered digitally, especially if you had digital artists, or they can be delivered physically packed up and shipped out via traditional media. At the medium tier on a day-to-day basis, this artists may prioritize packing up shop orders, getting those sent out, while making time for creative endeavors, creating new art and maintaining inspiration. You don't just get burned out with all of the admin work. Oftentimes popular Instagram artists, we'll end up spending more time collaborating with companies. There'll be invited to create a class or a product, or an art book and that will take up a lot of their time at the large and medium level. But you can better that there's still going to have almost daily posts on their social media site of choice. Whether that be Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or a combination of multiple platforms. The convention artist, you may notice that there could be a lot of overlap here. Maybe you want to grow a large social media following and attend conventions and have a YouTube channel, that's totally tangible and totally up to you. But chances are from a month to month basis, each month is going to have a different focus. Whether that's over the span of just two weeks or just one month, a full-time artist may have different maps for different months which you'll see more of when I show you my map. In this example, and artists with this focus may be looking to prioritize going to conventions to sell their ads throughout the year. That means that prep work is going to be a big part of your large projects. You're going to have to make sure your inventory as well stocked and do some research about how to apply for a table, what products sell best, all of the different behind the scenes and extra things you're going to need to take with you. The action will convention days are a tiny part of the work it takes to actually make something like this successful. Medium projects may focus on creative time, especially because there's going to be so much admin work and prep work related with attending and tabling at a convention. Remember, creative time, research time, while these things may not actively be generating income, they're very important if you want to create a system that is sustainable, something you can actually continue to do without just burning the candle at both ends. Not everything has to turn into $ signs at the end of the day. All of those things that convention artist is hoping to sell, it's going to take time to pack them up, get them nice, and ready to go. For small projects, as an online artists were pretty much always going to be focusing on social media. You can decide if you want to do one post a day on Twitter and Instagram, maybe you have your Instagram account linked up to Facebook, so they posed to both at the same time. If you want to build an audience online, you have to constantly be playing your song, letting people know that you're there, have them engaged in your rhythm, and let that music be playing so that new people can hear it and come check out what's going on. The freelance artist. Now, I'm specifically talking here about artists who are hired by clients to do work. Taking time to reach out and connect with clients is going to be a big part of the work for a freelance artist. You're also going to spend a lot of time making yourself findable. Whether you have a website portfolio that is going to show potential clients the work that you do, some artists will even make small postcards or business cards to send out to local companies that they may be interested in working with. Updating your portfolio with the collection of New Art is going to be really important. Again, there's going to be a lot of admin work. Take time to create new things and cool down. Maybe you're already hired by a company or two, you can plan things out, say, "I'm going to work on this the third week of the month," or if there's a deadline, you can space things out to our work on this a couple of days a week and make time for some things on different days. Building a rhythm map is like filling in a calendar. It differs because we're focusing on creating something rhythmic and engaging. Something that people will enjoy listening to for an extended period of time, because across each platform and every project level, we're doing something exciting that we want our audiences to enjoy seeing. This last example is a little bit close to what I do but not quite exactly the same, and I wanted to show you a variation on the standard with a map model, a YouTube artist. If you're making videos on YouTube related to art, I think that the ideal publishing schedule is at least once a week, maybe even up to three times a week. I focus on once a week because I have other projects going on as well. Let's say this YouTube artists makes one new video a week, but that's not the only thing they do because this artist also wants to be able to lead viewers and subscribers from there channel to their online shop. We don't have to have a ton of different things going on like teaching classes or having pitrion, let's just focus on good YouTube videos. You've got your channel and you've got your shop. While this map may look a little bit simpler, it can still be a full-time job. You can spend time promoting and creating a sale on your shop, which may create an influx of orders, and you want to schedule time for packing all of that stuff. Maybe you'll occasionally launched a new print as well. If it seems like a bit of a barren map, that just means that some projects can get even more love, even more attention and be better for it. This artist who may not have bigger, larger projects going on can really focus on making the best YouTube videos possible. How can I get more natural light? How can I film at a better quality? How can I get better angles and create new content that's engaging? What types of videos to I want to make? By eliminating large projects and bigger things going on, you can answer all of these questions at your own pace. While of course, still letting everybody know what's going on with the small projects and being a social media, we've started to ask some questions that are really similar to the type of work I do. For my own rhythm map, we're going to step away from this digital format here, and I'm going to show you an example of what you may be doing, which is just drawing your rhythm map on a piece of paper. Let's get into that. 10. Example 3: Arlee's Map: So far we've looked at a bunch of hypothetical examples. Let's sit down at the table together and actually draw out my rhythm map for the next month. You're welcome to grab some paper, grab some pencils, grab your project idea sheet if you've been working on that. Reminder that yours will look a little bit different than mine, I was using an earlier version of the sheet. Let's go ahead and build the projects. I'm going to be building the projects I want to be working on in the next month and you're welcome to write out some ideas as we go. We're looking at my sheet here, my role, my song. I'm a content creator and a teacher, so while I do make new art and they do sell my art, it's not my primary day to day focus. I make content on YouTube and here on Skillshare. For my large projects for the next month, teaching class, well, I'm doing that right now. I'm not going to be focusing on that next month, but I do want to update my paint making video series on YouTube. I want to make a new sticker pack. I'm going to add those to the list for next month's map. Medium projects, I definitely want to add a couple new prints to my shop, and weekly YouTube videos are something I always do. Let's focus on those two for now. It really is a good idea to focus on creating some new paintings. I could really use some relaxed painting done. First of all projects, I'm going to be using pretty much all of these. Some of them take five minutes to do like replying to emails. Some of them take 30 seconds, like Instagram stories or YouTube stories. It's the thing that I can definitely manage into 10 to 30 minutes each day. I'm literally just going to mark off every single one of them. We've got multiple projects at each size here. Something that we didn't see a ton of in our examples, but it's definitely a potential reality, especially for me. Let's look at how that actually works when designing our map. I love how even being a full time artist, there's absolutely nothing to guarantee the fact that I can successfully draw straight lines. We've got a really basic format here. This is really all you need. We just want to be able to visualize our goals for the month, to be able to see them as a whole and make them happen. I've got two large projects running simultaneously here. That was my paint making series, and the creation and launch of a new sticker pack. I'll show you in a moment how I'm going to actually subdivide these things and lay out what that all entails. My YouTube videos happen weekly. That's something consistent that I don't want to break. Alongside my videos, a couple of weeks out of this month, I want to take some time for other medium projects. Maybe I would get two YouTube videos done in one week, so that I could focus on these other projects as well. That would be a sharp update for art that I've already created, which is not quite the same as making a new sticker pack. I want to complete a new painting, to be honest, I currently have a couple of paintings that I've started and haven't finished. It'd be nice to get one of those done. I haven't put a lot of work into defining my small projects. Those are things that are naturally going to result from getting these larger projects done. While I'm working on my paint making video series, I may share pictures on Instagram of individual half paints or ask questions about the colors people would like to see. I can also share little videos of printing out new stickers, designing the art for them, getting everything cut out, and tiny little paint making videos along the way. Creating these larger projects is going to generate content for my small projects. The same thing is going to be happening from the medium tier. I can announce on social media when my shop update goes live, and let everybody know as these videos are published and while they're being created. Again, each of these small projects should be a tiny little window into what's going on up here. Let's take a look first at breaking down our large projects, and I'm not even going to try to make straight lines this time. For this month I'm going to say that I would like to make two separate YouTube videos to go along with the series that I've already started creating on my YouTube channel. That may seem like something that could fit into this category, and it may bleed into here two of these videos, maybe paint making videos, let those larger work in refining the series. I need to decide what colors I want to make next, update all of the materials for paint making and get all of that stuff done behind the scenes. I don't want that to be a part of creating the weekly videos. As an artist who also runs a Patreon page, I'm going to be looking for ways to take snippets out of these and make exclusive content for my patreons. It's something I want to make note of. In designing my new sticker pack, I'm going to think about how I can turn this large project into medium and small projects as well. I can make individual Instagram posts about pieces I create along the way. I can create polls on Patreon, or YouTube, or Instagram asking my audiences what type of themes they would like to see for sticker packs. I'm also brainstorming how I want this pack to be different from my other ones. I want to have various size stickers, so some that are smaller and some that are larger. For my medium projects, I like to plan out what types of videos I'm going to make. For this next month, I'd actually like to leave a bit of wiggle room and room for creativity, so I'm not going to be filling in all of these right now. I just want to make note of the videos I really want to make. On the other side of my medium projects, I'm just making notes of which paintings I want to turn into prints or other merchandise. One of those just happens to be the painting I want to finish in here, so maybe these would happen in the other order. I know we've been looking at some fancy slides and big theoretical ideas so far, but this is what it actually looks like on paper. It doesn't have to be that intimidating. It doesn't have to be that big of a deal. I just want to be able to look at my month and also at this point, I can make decisions and make assessments. Would I be happy looking back on a month in which I did these things? If this was all I accomplished, would I be satisfied? Would I feel like I was making progress towards my overall goals as a professional? That's why we create this map, so that we can look at it and go, what were my goals? Did I achieve them? The math is helpful before in laying out what we want to do and after in reflecting and looking back and seeing if we got there. You just keep doing this maybe it's a one a week at a time. Maybe it's three months at a time, depending on the different projects you're working on. I might completely obliterate medium projects if I want to focus on something really big, like creating an art book, or traveling to do some meet up. There's so much variance in here. But having things be in the category where they can flourish and thrive without being too stressful, and at the same time making it feasible to actually get it done. That's why this is so important. 11. Conclusion - What Do You Want to Create?: Congratulations, you have done it. You've completed every single lesson in this class. I hope you are feeling empowered and ready to take control of your online presence as an artist. Whether you're managing online platforms like your shop, or YouTube channel, or patriarch page, or just trying to juggle social media, I hope you're ready to go, I hope you're feeling excited. I cannot wait to see your class projects. Please do share your project ideas worksheet and/or your actual rhythm map with me. I cannot wait to see what it is that you dream to create. Thank you so much for joining me in this class. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to let me know over in the discussion section or add it to part of your class projects. I can't wait to hear from you. See you later guys.