Ashley Lucas (aka Lady Lucas) is an artist whose work features smartly dressed animals and other sweet anthropomorphic characters. She has illustrated numerous children’s books, coloring books, and other cute projects. By placing her characters in the local townscape Ashley has increased the appeal of her work to a specific audience that continues to grow.
In today’s conversation, I talked with Ashley about how she came up with the idea to tap into people’s love of a specific location and how she leverages it for her prints, products, and commissioned work.
We also discuss how she connected with a community even before moving there, how she juggles her life as an artist with that as a mother of a two-year-old, and which social media platform offers the greatest return for her work (it's not Instagram).
Even if you don't "do" cute or illustrations or location-specific art, you'll want to listen to ideas for connecting to new communities.
Ashley Lucas describes the inspiration behind her characters. (2:22)
How COVID-19 and motherhood have affected Ashley’s income streams. (6:22)
Juggling a growing art business and a busy two-year-old. (9:18)
The value that community connections bring to your art business. (13:18)
Distinguishing between prints and commissioned pieces and how to price each. (19:01)
Customizing standard city pieces without redrawing each one. (21:41)
How Ashley connected with her new community before moving there. (25:25)
How the pandemic has made a strong online presence more important than ever. (28:21)
Marketing through TikTok and exploring current culture. (31:20)
Curating email lists for artists and for promoting products. (34:13)
Which social media platform generates the most work for Ashley? (35:25)
Ashley’s strategy for promoting her web stores. (37:14)
The key to making your art appealing to buyers. (40:28)
A look at Ashley’s next project and the future of Lady Lucas. (43:00)
Intro and outro music by Wildermiss
Sema Martin is a full-time artist living in the French Riviera. She currently has a four-month waiting list for her pet portraits, which is due in part to the flawless 8-step system that she has developed that keeps her organized and keeps her customers satisfied.
In our conversation, Sema shares the system that she has in place for her commission-based business. We walk through the eight stages of commissioning work from her, which are clearly outlined on her website. We discuss how she standardized her sizes, how she makes it easy for clients to buy from her by offering multiple currencies, and how social media serves a dual purpose to both promote her work and to share her progress with clients. You’ll hear how she stays organized and at the end of this episode you can find out how to get a copy of her system spreadsheet.
Sema shares the journey that led her to becoming a full-time commissioned artist. (2:11)
Income streams and the percentages of Sema’s income that comes from commissions. (5:50)
Developing the stages of the commission process, starting with sizing the art. (7:32)
What should be included in your pricing? (12:15)
A comparison of Squarespace and MailChimp. (14:18)
Contact forms and how to make sure you have proper communication with clients. (16:03)
The importance of collecting money before you start drawing. (20:46)
Handling a waiting list and details of a payment plan. (22:09)
Guidance for helping customers choose the details of the piece. (26:54)
Sema’s workflow and how she works in the drawing zone. (30:03)
How many social media posts should highlight your current piece? (34:24)
Final approval ensures that the customer is happy before the piece is shipped. (37:00)
Mounting, packing and delivery of the final piece and how each step ensures you will have happy customers. (37:56)
The bonus stage and how many customers take advantage of it. (42:08)
How do people find Sema? She maintains a focus on SEO that really pays off. (43:52)
Staying organized and implementing the systems that will keep you straight. (46:11)
A glimpse inside Sema’s current project. (49:06)
Jeanne paints seascapes and landscapes with pastels and works with the abstract underlying designs beneath the realistic images she paints, seeing just how far she needs to go in order to maintain realism while still leaving something to the imagination. She loves pastel because the rich, pure pigments allow vibrations of color and visual mixing impossible to capture with any other medium.
In our conversation, Jeanne shares the strategies that she has used for the past three years to build a following of more than 37,000 and reach the six-figure mark in sales for each of those three years. She shares how she maintains good relationships with her eight galleries, even while selling on Instagram, and why she doesn’t schedule posts in advance.
Jeanne shares her personal art history and passion for pastels. (2:08)
The instant feedback and fun factor that has made an Instagram strategy the right choice for Jeanne. (5:48)
Steps that will take your Instagram account to the next level. (7:45)
Connecting with collectors starts with sharing your inspiration. (11:56)
The frequency of your posts needs to reflect your growth goals. (14:15)
Which content results in the greatest connection, followers, and sales? (15:49)
Is the ROI worth the effort of maintaining an Instagram account? (20:41)
Maintaining a good relationship with galleries while growing on Instagram. (25:22)
Marketing opportunities that will result in sales. (28:42)
A look inside Jeanne’s personal collection. (33:45)
Do your posts need to be scheduled in advance?? (34:45)
A successful hashtag strategy starts with thinking like a collector. (40:09)
Is there a best time of day to post on Instagram? (44:46)
A peek at what Jeanne is currently working on. (45:51)