A creative career is only 50% about making art. The other half is business. It’s only half the battle to make great art — the other half is making sure it gets seen by the right people, and that you have the ability to sustain yourself while making more of that art. While there are many resources to teach the techniques of making art, there are very few that teach you how to build a strong career. That is what Make Your Art Work — and it’s parent group Drawn + Drafted — is all about. We provide a platform to bring you Art Business Education from professional artists, writers, producers, art directors, crowdfunders, lawyers, business experts, and mental health professionals. Because the stronger your foundation is, the more art you can make.
Make Your Art Work was founded by art directors who have had the perspective to see how poorly arts schools prepare their students for working in the real world. Whether artists graduate from an established program or are self-taught, there is no one place to learn the business skills you need to promote your work, protect yourself legally, learn how to network, and learn the skills that will last over a long term career. That makes our job as art directors, editors, and producers much harder, because so much time and effort is lost in misunderstandings. Collectively we work with thousands of artists, and most have the same questions. Make Your Art Work’s classes and resources are place where you can find the answers you can trust, and our professional groups are the support team that gives you access to the peer group you need on hand to deal with the real-world issues that come up in your career.
Make Your Art Work and Drawn + Drafted were founded by Lauren Panepinto and Marc Scheff. Together we compiled all the most important information artists need to build a creative career and organized it into the Art Business Bootcamps. We gave these bootcamps for free and in person at conventions and seminars for years and they became so popular that word of mouth turned to many demands for us to offer these courses online so anyone can access them. First we digitized our Art Business Onesheets and made them available to everyone. Then we built this site to house the online Bootcamps. Since then we have opened the platform to other experts in the field to use to make their expertise available to all artists.
Lauren Panepinto is the Creative Director and Vice President of the Orbit Books division of the Hachette Book Group. She has 16 years experience designing and art directing book covers and managing both in-house teams and hundreds of freelance artists. She has also worked in fashion (Perry Ellis), television (MTV) and independent design firms. Lauren is an Adjunct Professor of Design at the NYU Graduate Program in Publishing, and a frequent guest lecturer and teacher at The School of Visual Arts (SVA), Parsons, Syracuse University, the Illustration Master Class, and SmArt School. She has reviewed thousands of portfolios at conventions such as San Diego ComicCon, New York ComicCon, Spectrum Fantastic Art, GenCon, and IlluXcon. Lauren hires many freelance artists every year, and gets hundreds of artists’ promotional emails in her inbox every week. She is also the co-founder of the online gallery Every Day Original.
Lauren brings her experience from the hiring side of the art world to share in the Art Business Bootcamps.
Marc Scheff is a fine artist and illustrator with a degree in Computer Science from Harvard University. His work is available through Rehs Contemporary and Haven Gallery in New York, and Corey Helford in Los Angeles. He is a co-founder of the online gallery Every Day Original. He has worked as a staff artist for Electronic Arts and an art director for a company that produces merchandise and art shows for releases of major video game licenses such as Tomb Raider and Dragon Age. He is a teacher at SmArt School and guest teacher at Illustration Master Class. He has reviewed thousands of portfolios at conventions such as San Diego ComicCon, New York ComicCon, Spectrum Fantastic Art, GenCon, and IlluXcon.
Marc brings his experience of the gallery world and video game industry to share in the Art Business Bootcamps.
Stephanie Law is a fine artist and illustrator as well as a crowdfunding expert. She is the creator of the incredibly popular Shadowscapes Tarot with Llewellyn, as well as illustrating for Wizards of the Coast/Magic the Gathering, White Wolf, Green Ronin, F+W Publishing, and many more. She has recently shown at Haven Gallery in New York and Modern Eden in San Francisco. Stephanie’s Kickstarter campaign for her Descants & Cadences art book raised over $116, 000 and her Mini-Pal-ettes Kickstarter raised over $47,000. She maintains a Patreon with a very active backer fanbase and funds over $3,000 a month.
Stephanie brings her crowdfunding formulas (and incredible spreadsheet templates) as well as her printing & manufacturing experience to Kick Start Art.
Mallory O’Meara is an author, filmmaker, and podcaster. Her nonfiction hardcover The Lady From the Black Lagoon is published by Hanover Square Press. She is a producer and screenwriter for Dark Dunes Productions. Her latest production is the feature film Yamasong—March of the Hollows, in theaters February 2019. She is the co-host of the popular podcast Reading Glasses on the Maximum Fun Podcast Network. As you can tell from the fields she has excelled in, Mallory is a champion networker and creative pitch master.
Mallory brings her pitch writing formulas and her networking expertise to The Art of the Pitch.
Q: Is this course good for (designers, authors, doll makers, contract killers)?
Yes, the Bootcamps & Intensives are totally adaptable to every kind of creative. Everyone needs to do self-promotion and networking. Everyone needs to have a website to show examples of their skills. Everyone needs to understand invoicing, chasing money, contract terms, and legally protecting your work. Crowdfunding is a platform for any kind of project you can think up. And no matter what you make, you need to know how to talk about it and pitch it to collaborators, fans, and potential investors.
Q: Why do you put so much work into helping artists?
We truly believe in the saying “A rising tide lifts all boats” — which means that helping your community helps everyone. We hate to see artists spend years struggling to figure the business out and taking time away from working on their craft. We’ve also seen too many artists and writers flounder and get so frustrated that they give up on their creative careers. Whether you are an amateur or a pro, we believe you deserve to have the best information you can as a foundation to build on.
(And, to be perfectly honest? We just get sick of answering the same questions at every portfolio review and professional event. We thought it would be a lot more time-efficient to put all this information online.)
Q: If you give these classes for free at conventions, why do we have to pay for them online?
Although we would love to provide these video to every artist, writer, illustrator, photographer, makeup artist, and dancer out there, the fact is that running these classes online costs money, and we have to make this site, and it’s resources, sustainable over the long term.
Q: I’m a struggling artist, paying for classes feels like a lot for me to afford.
We get it, and it’s the “struggling artist” that we made the course for! The truth is that any amount of money will make it hard for some people to join. We want you to value and charge for your own work and we can’t do that if we don’t value our own. We’ve priced the course at the minimum we can to cover all the work and costs on our side (video recording and editing, website building and hosting, etc).
And you can offset some of the cost by becoming an affiliate. That means when you sign up (for any of our classes) you get a unique referral link. For every person that signs up, you get money back. And we don’t cap it. So not only can you get your course for free…you can actually make money on top. You’re welcome.
We’re dedicated to getting as much info to as many artists as we can. You can download our original Bootcamp one-sheets for free now, and come back to us when you can afford to take the bootcamps. But before you go, check out the testimonials on this page. These were all struggling artists when they came to us, and now they’re succeeding at making the art they want and getting paid to do it. Can you afford to keep struggling on your own?
Q: What is the difference between doing a course live and doing a recorded version?
There is almost no difference, except it is easier to go at your own pace with the recorded versions. You get the same written material, access to the community groups for each class, and access to the recorded live video sessions no matter when you register. And once you join a class, you are always welcome to re-take the same class anytime it is given again live.
Q: When are the next live sessions?
TBA. Sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of this page to stay in the loop.
Q: Once the course is over, will I still have access to the materials? How long will I have to see the material? Is there a time limit?
You have forever access. The whole point of this project is to get artists the knowledge they need. We’re not going to take it away!
Q: Should I do spec work?