Getting your work out there as an artist (without social media)

I’m not intending to make this a rant post about social media but I’d still like to share my experience through the years with those sort of platforms, what my conclusion and decisions are after everything that I’ve learned so far and of course maybe it could be helpful for some of you to avoid burnout or getting consumed by social media!

After 5 years of full time freelancing (and being online and active on almost every platform since 2004) I’ve finally gave up on social media, meaning such as Instagram, Twitter/X, Bluesky and also webcomic platforms like Tapas and Webtoon. Internet is incredibly saturated with content and people shouting to get noticed and these places are nearly impossible to use for reaching new people.

I know there can be things to do about it like interacting a lot, following trends and posting a million stories and reels and stuff, but eh… I’m not gonna do that anymore. I did for over a decade and it only lead me to complete burnout and no results. Not to mention drawing quicker than ever to get posts out and forgetting how to work calmly on a decent illustration or comic page. I nearly forgot the joy of just sitting and creating what I loved, not whatever the algorithms of these sites wanted.

So I stopped to think… how did artists do things before these platforms? My biggest worry was, if I’m not on social media where everyone is… how am I going to reach people? How will they see my work? I think that’s one of the reasons that scare us the most, we stay on social media because they made us think if we’re not there we’re not connected to the world. But… is that true? No, it’s not. There are other ways.

My conclusion would be: communities, connections and ads (to the right places!). Like in my case would be Furaffinity, RPRepository, any other place where people gather together to share a common interest. Of course I would only join communities that I’m interested in. Final Fantasy XIV also works for me as it’s a game I actively play. Like RPR is a place where I roleplay a lot, and FA is the website where I post most of my work more than anywhere else. Just think about your own favourite things and if people might be interested in your art, characters designs, illustrations or comics there!

Another fun way is exchanging banners with other private websites that host comics. Their readers are interested in comic specifically after all, so big chances they might visit mine. Also, art trades, fanart of other comics, collaborations… I finally realized they’re all a much more healthier approach and also a much better way to meet other artists and connect with people.

Newsletters are also a great way to stay connect with people. Those who are interested in your work will gladly give you their email to get news from you directly in their email box. It’s a much healthier way to follow your favourite artists and for artists to contact their fans. I personally subscribe to these as much as I can and this way I build my own feed of content as I know I’ll only receive updates from people I care about and not the random content that social media forces on my feed.

Another thing that should be considered is creating evergreen content! This could be youtube videos, blogs, podcasts, comics, tutorials, any sort of content that offer some value and people will still find it in the future even years after creating it. Unlike what we do for social media, fleeting quick content that people consume in 2 seconds and move on, forgetting it forever.

We have to look deep into what we want to do and what works for us. And I absolutely know it’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s not impossible either.

Anyway! This is not meant to give any magical formula and I could write a really long post talking about my whole journey, the difficulties I’ve been through and all the problems I encountered but maybe I’ll do that some other time if I see interest in knowing more. Again, it’s not because I want to rant about these things but because I really believe that knowing what others went through and how they got out of it might be incredibly helpful. I know this mainly because that’s how I found my way out, by listening to many podcasts, reading blogs and newsletters of other artists in similar situation as me, struggling with the same.

With love,
Roxy