Lessons From Artgerm That Every Artist Must Learn

The importance of building a fan base as told by Artgerm
Photo by Jomari Bolaton. Taken last Graphika Manila 2017.

Social media is rapidly becoming a hub for artist and artists-alike. These days, it’s easy to scroll down the feed of your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for some creative inspiration. And these creative finds are all contributed by different artists from around the world.

Stanley ‘Artgerm’ Lau is no different. Since entering the world of DeviantART last 2006, Artgerm’s online gallery has infected the world with his art and received an outstanding number of 500,000 active followers where his page has been viewed for more than 50 million times. He even rose the ranks of online popularity as a co-founder of Imaginary Friends Studios (IFS), a world-class digital art studio that produces high quality artworks for entertainment and gaming industry giants.

Without a doubt, Artgerm is one of the most famous illustrators alive today. Working alongside with his two IFS co-founders, Kendrick Lim and Kai Lim, makes the body of their portfolio a complete package of inspiration. In fact, getting to know his story may influence anyone to follow his works. As a successful creative professional and influential character in the art scene, Artgerm continuously provides practical advice from being a more talented artist to helping illustrators show off their art and build a fan base through participation on forums, livestreams, conventions, interviews, and other marketing tactics.

Building a fan base is equally as important as your artworks.— Artgerm

With so much success under his belt, it is no wonder that artists all over the world want to meet and to learn from him. He led a great turnaround in the modern art movement by illustrating some of the characters in Capcom and DC Comics and turning them into one of the largest and most appreciated and profitable projects in the creative industry. And just like everyone, he didn’t start on a big scale. He started on fewer audience with a goal to mortalize a huge number of followers. He wasn’t even a social media expert, so it’s a hit and miss when it comes to marketing. Still, he has important learnings to share about reaching online audience.

So what made him great? Or should we say, what made his art great? In the words of Stanley Lau: “Stay true to yourself and be authentic. The most important thing in making art—having fun.” Here are some fan base building lessons you can learn from Artgerm as discussed last Graphika Manila 2017.

Is it important to establish a fan base?
Making good art is not enough. You have to grow with your audience. Your fan base is equally important as your artworks.

  • It is not just about making great art
  • Every artist needs his audience
  • Turn your clients into your fans
  • Let your fans grow up with you

How can we build our fan base?
Make good art and create projects that will go viral. On top of it, showcase your works by connecting on social media. Keep yourself engaged in the art community to become a proactive artist. Stay true to yourself and be authentic.

  • Take part in contests and publications
  • Make unique fan art
  • Engage the art community
  • Share and pay it forward

Important points when making fan art
Keep in mind to respect original content, Be distinct in playing with your style and ideas.

  • It takes a fan to make great fan art
  • Respect the original design intent
  • Be unique in styles and ideas
  • Stay current with trends
  • Tap into the nostalgia
  • Have fun

In case you’ve missed why he’s called Artgerm, simply he wants to inspire and influence others to draw like how a virus infects others but in a way of making art.

Photos by  Jomari Bolaton – Doodle Arts AAD

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Martin Cosme is putting the ART in eARTn as an art curator, art director, and art journalist. As an advocate for art education, he joined Doodle Art Enthusiasts in 2015 to indulge his passion for creativity within the Philippines' largest doodle organization. He writes stories from international personalities that brings readers to inspiration with feelings, always informative interviews from those on the frontlines of artmaking.
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