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Author Topic: Future income contemplations  (Read 2194 times)

Shook

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Future income contemplations
« on: October 09, 2012, 05:32:17 pm »

So yeah, hey guys. I've recently begun honestly thinking about how to make a living in the future, and given that i am 20 years old now (still haven't moved out), that's probably about time.

BUT ANYWAYS, here's the thing. My dream since yonks ago is to make a living from art, writing, game development, webcomic'ing (pretty recent addition) and what have you. I know this isn't an easy goal, and i know it isn't likely to bring in a huge dump truck full of gold every month. That's why i'm also taking a degree in geology, so i have something with a reasonable "guarantee" (nothing's really guaranteed anywhere) of both employment, good salary and enjoyment. I have occasionally considered if there were other degrees that might suit me better, but that isn't what i'm here for, because that's something i need to take up with myself.

Nay, i'll just skip straight to the point now: Do you, honestly, think people would pay me for what i can do? Would YOU? As in art, writing, games and what have you, and please do give an honest answer, i won't hate you for it. Would it even be feasible to earn a living this way? I know that some people are actually fully supported by their webcomics, and although i'm well aware that i'm not on the same level as any of them, i like to entertain the thought that it along with various forms of spriting (commissions and freelance work), making indie games and possibly writing stories could pool up for an amount of cash that i could feasibly live from.

I'd very much like to live like that, because i enjoy doing all those things. So, long story short, do i have a chance? I'm optimistic about it myself, but i'd like to hear what others think, since i don't really know all that much about how society works.
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Korbac

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Re: Future income contemplations
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2012, 06:39:58 pm »

If I had a full income myself (i.e. hopefully in 3 years), I imagine I'd pay some good money for good art. :) Or donate £5 a week to your decent webcomic that updates bi - weekly (for example.)

If your webcomic / artstyle becomes a phenomenon, which it might, ;), I'd say you have a decent chance of supporting yourself. :)

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The Fool

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Re: Future income contemplations
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2012, 07:14:37 pm »

Well I'm planning on living from art alone. Mind you it's going to be production art, but still. It isn't an unreasonable goal. If you work hard at it you can improve considerably within a single year. The same goes for programming. Let's see...

Living off commissions will be very hard at first, especially for spriting. If you can do animations it's a step above most. If you really want to live well off commissions you'll probably have to take up several different styles of drawing, including realism, to be more approachable for clients.

Writing should be a free time thing until you hit the point of having something tangible. 100 pages of an incomplete novel should be enough for a publisher to say yay or nay on pre-publishing funding. Just remember that once you accept funds from a company you might be committed to finishing it no matter what, so be ready for it.

I know you want to be an indie developer, but if you want you can try an internship/entry level job at a video game company. Experience in a bigger company would help immensely in writing your own games. If you know a couple different coding languages and ways to optimize memory I'm sure that they'd be happy to have you work there. You never know until you apply yourself and try it. For now I'd count indie games as a free time thing until you know you have something unique in the alpha stages. When applying you'll need a portfolio of recent programming projects.

Webcomics are hit and miss. Most are bad, and others are lost in the crowd. Don't expect a big turn out at first. Unless you get noticed quickly and positively I'd keep it as a side-project. People have lived off webcomics before, so there is a definite possibility.

For all of them you aren't being impossible, but it will be an uphill climb for all but programming. You don't need a degree for most of these (some places might want a comp sci degree), so you can always work at it while getting a degree elsewhere. NEVER write off your back-up plan.
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LordBucket

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Re: Future income contemplations
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2012, 08:20:35 pm »

Do you, honestly, think people would pay me for what i can do?

You haven't shown us what you can do. However, there do exist people who make money in the fields you've described. It can be done.

Quote
Writing should be a free time thing until you hit the point of having something tangible. 100 pages of
an incomplete novel should be enough for a publisher to say yay or nay on pre-publishing funding.

Read this thread. In particular, this post and this post.

Quote
Would YOU? As in art, writing, games and what have you

Me, personally? No, I don't usually pay for these things. Why would I? There's a huge pile of people producing them for free.

Quote
I know that some people are actually fully supported by their webcomics,
and although i'm well aware that i'm not on the same level as any of them

1) Successful webcomics are those that entertain, not those that are well drawn.
2) There's no need to wait until after you've finished your degree. You could start a webcomic now, and that will give you a couple years to determine whether you can make money from it.

Shook

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Re: Future income contemplations
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2012, 06:22:32 am »

Right, thanks for the good comments, guys. A few (actually, a lot of) things i'd like to respond to:

You haven't shown us what you can do. However, there do exist people who make money in the fields you've described. It can be done.
Oops! Once again i manage to forget that telepathy isn't a thing. My deviantART page provides examples of art, writing and comics, while this is the game i'm currently working on (not expecting any profit from that project, because licensing everywhere).

Read this thread. In particular, this post and this post.
Ah, excellent read. I wasn't expecting to sell physical books, but rather e-books as you mentioned, if i even get to that point. Until then, i'll just be writing for my own amusement.

Me, personally? No, I don't usually pay for these things. Why would I? There's a huge pile of people producing them for free.
Fair point, i'd obviously not be charging anything for people to have their eyes burned by my random brain farts, but rather to have me make something that they specify. Truthfully, i'd like to keep it all free, but that'd be naive if i am to pursue this dream. Now to figure out how to get people to pay for commissions instead of going somewhere else for free requests...

1) Successful webcomics are those that entertain, not those that are well drawn.
2) There's no need to wait until after you've finished your degree. You could start a webcomic now, and that will give you a couple years to determine whether you can make money from it.
Lovely to hear that! I'm going to start a mostly-regular webcomic as soon as i can get my grubby hands on a website to host it (already have a domain registered and a friend willing to make the site, but we need to get it off the ground first), so fingers crossed!

Living off commissions will be very hard at first, especially for spriting. If you can do animations it's a step above most. If you really want to live well off commissions you'll probably have to take up several different styles of drawing, including realism, to be more approachable for clients.
Wasn't planning on living off them alone, mostly as a supplement to the other things. I mean, even if i went to the logical extreme, a commission a day for 5€ could tally up to 150€ a month, which could barely support my food consumption alone. I'd hope for freelance work and/or eventual hirings to bring in a smidge more than that, if they ever happen. Fortunately, i CAN do animations, more or less, which as you say might be a slight advantage, and which could probably sell for a bit more.

Writing should be a free time thing until you hit the point of having something tangible. 100 pages of an incomplete novel should be enough for a publisher to say yay or nay on pre-publishing funding. Just remember that once you accept funds from a company you might be committed to finishing it no matter what, so be ready for it.
Well, i already have 7 chapters of this story ready (7th chapter still not published), but it obviously comes with the kink of it being available for free at the moment. But yeah, writing is probably the lowest priority of the "make money off this" list. Takes FAR longer than even a whole sprite sheet, and with me being as unknown a figure as i am, it wouldn't exactly be easy to make any profit on it whatsoever.

I know you want to be an indie developer, but if you want you can try an internship/entry level job at a video game company. Experience in a bigger company would help immensely in writing your own games. If you know a couple different coding languages and ways to optimize memory I'm sure that they'd be happy to have you work there. You never know until you apply yourself and try it. For now I'd count indie games as a free time thing until you know you have something unique in the alpha stages. When applying you'll need a portfolio of recent programming projects.
I have an alpha-stage game already, but it's not necessarily unique, and it certainly isn't made with an actual programming language. I plan to rectify this later, however, by means of making games in proper programming languages (i.e. Java, learning that at the moment). In fact, i wouldn't mind a job at a video game company at all, but there's not really a lot of them stationed here in Denmark that i know of, which is what complicates things significantly. But then again, that's why we have Google, so yeah.

Side question for the knowledgable: Is C++ and the likes supremely different from Java? I reckon the companies have a higher demand for C++ than Java, but depending on the similarity between it and Java (and Lua), learning could take anything from days to months.

Webcomics are hit and miss. Most are bad, and others are lost in the crowd. Don't expect a big turn out at first. Unless you get noticed quickly and positively I'd keep it as a side-project. People have lived off webcomics before, so there is a definite possibility.
Of course, it'd be silly to expect any new webcomic (especially from an unknown chap like me) to gain any notable popularity within a few days or weeks, which is why i'm going to start out while i'm not depending on it. If i against all odds could make a comic every day or two for an extended period of time (and have them be entertaining as well), i hope that people will slowly trickle in, and hopefully stay as well. If one brodude manages to get two others to stick with it, who then get another two brodudes each and so on, that'd be an exponential growth rate right there.

For all of them you aren't being impossible, but it will be an uphill climb for all but programming. You don't need a degree for most of these (some places might want a comp sci degree), so you can always work at it while getting a degree elsewhere. NEVER write off your back-up plan.
I was expecting as much. Fortunately, i still have at least 2 years to go before i get my bachelor, and another 2 for a masters degree, provided that i stick with geology (otherwise smack on at least one additional year). 4 years to get SOMETHING up and running doesn't sound too ridiculous, does it?

If I had a full income myself (i.e. hopefully in 3 years), I imagine I'd pay some good money for good art. :) Or donate £5 a week to your decent webcomic that updates bi - weekly (for example.)

If your webcomic / artstyle becomes a phenomenon, which it might, ;), I'd say you have a decent chance of supporting yourself. :)
Glad to hear that! You bring me more hope for the future. c:
Now to get the silly stickmen to become a phenomenon...........
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Reudh

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Re: Future income contemplations
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2012, 06:34:55 am »

Your webcomic simply MUST be linked with other webcomics. Questionable Content has a comicroll with Oglaf and XKCD, among others.

Here's an example of a great comic that died an early death because it didn't get linkage love.

My cousin ran this comic from 2007 onwards with a friend; he last updated it in 2010. Sadly.

TransStellar

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Re: Future income contemplations
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2012, 08:29:57 am »

I know you want to be an indie developer, but if you want you can try an internship/entry level job at a video game company. Experience in a bigger company would help immensely in writing your own games. If you know a couple different coding languages and ways to optimize memory I'm sure that they'd be happy to have you work there. You never know until you apply yourself and try it. For now I'd count indie games as a free time thing until you know you have something unique in the alpha stages. When applying you'll need a portfolio of recent programming projects.
I have an alpha-stage game already, but it's not necessarily unique, and it certainly isn't made with an actual programming language. I plan to rectify this later, however, by means of making games in proper programming languages (i.e. Java, learning that at the moment). In fact, i wouldn't mind a job at a video game company at all, but there's not really a lot of them stationed here in Denmark that i know of, which is what complicates things significantly. But then again, that's why we have Google, so yeah.

Side question for the knowledgable: Is C++ and the likes supremely different from Java? I reckon the companies have a higher demand for C++ than Java, but depending on the similarity between it and Java (and Lua), learning could take anything from days to months.

1: We currently have someone working remotely from GDansk, but we are only hiring people with experience, sorry.
2: If you want to get deep into games development you *will* need to learn C++
3: C++ is superficially similar to Java (Java is based on C++ syntax) but there are a lot of technical differences. If you want to learn C++ then don't go via Java.
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The Fool

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Re: Future income contemplations
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2012, 10:09:34 am »

It's also not enough to just 'learn' a programming language. Some companies will use C#, some C++, some Java, etc. All coding languages have a logic behind them. If you can figure that out all you need is the keywords and the syntax to start writing. Just keep in mind that not all languages handle things like memory the same way.

If I'm horribly wrong don't mind me. I took a couple comp sci courses before I left university, but that was a year ago already.
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Shook

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Re: Future income contemplations
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2012, 10:47:13 am »

1: ... but we are only hiring people with experience, sorry.
Not singling you out in particular, though that mentality is common enough that i fear it's going to be the end of the world. :c
People want experienced workers, which i can see the reasoning behind, but us new folks can't get experience without work. Programming might be one of the very few exceptions to that, though.

2: If you want to get deep into games development you *will* need to learn C++
3: C++ is superficially similar to Java (Java is based on C++ syntax) but there are a lot of technical differences. If you want to learn C++ then don't go via Java.
Cripe. Better get to it, then. :U
Thanks for the info!

Your webcomic simply MUST be linked with other webcomics. Questionable Content has a comicroll with Oglaf and XKCD, among others.

Here's an example of a great comic that died an early death because it didn't get linkage love.

My cousin ran this comic from 2007 onwards with a friend; he last updated it in 2010. Sadly.

TransStellar
Ouch, that's harsh! A damn shame it died out, looks promising from what i can see (didn't read it all, but even the first strips have both humor and good art). I'm hoping i can avoid the same fate, somehow.

It's also not enough to just 'learn' a programming language. Some companies will use C#, some C++, some Java, etc. All coding languages have a logic behind them. If you can figure that out all you need is the keywords and the syntax to start writing. Just keep in mind that not all languages handle things like memory the same way.

If I'm horribly wrong don't mind me. I took a couple comp sci courses before I left university, but that was a year ago already.
I'm fortunately decently versed in the general logic behind coding (quick story time: tried Python back when i was 10, failed horribly, suddenly Cortex Command got Lua so i learned it out of necessity, then i did a smidge of programming for PIC microcontrollers, and now i've gotten to Java which took a day or two to learn), so i'm fairly confident that i can wrap my head around it eventually. Not necessarily all of them at once, since i still need room for other things in my head. :U

Once again, thanks for your comments, guys! It really is quite helpful, especially for preparing myself mentally (which i reckon is the hardest part for me, since i'm a perpetual procrastinator).
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LordBucket

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Re: Future income contemplations
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2012, 12:40:49 pm »

even if i went to the logical extreme, a commission a day for 5€ could tally up to 150€ a month

I would think a commission a month for 150€ would be more likely.

Quote
Now to figure out how to get people to pay for commissions
instead of going somewhere else for free requests...

That's actually relatively simple.

Step 1) Stop drawing dragons and start making stuff like this

Step 2) Create an art portfolio with samples of various brochures, flyers and marketing copy you've created. Have a bunch of them printed, with business cards, and a link to your website with your "full" portfolio. Include a rate sheet and charge enough that people take you seriously. I recommend you do some research to find out how much that is. In my part of the world, $50-$100/hr for a graphic designer is fairly typical.

Step 3) Go to all your local printshops. Give them copies of your portfolio, let them know you're available for freelance work and do your best to sell yourself.

Step 4) While you're doing step 3, ask them also for a copy of their rate sheet and try to find a printer who will print 4x6 full color on black postcards for a reasonable price and is willing to white label their services. Then you approach local businesses and rave and concert organizers and offer to produce flyers for them. You design the artwork, then send it to the printer, markup their costs by 10-20% and keep the difference.

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If you want to get deep into games development you *will* need to learn C++

Or flash.

Shook

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Re: Future income contemplations
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2012, 01:49:22 pm »

I would think a commission a month for 150€ would be more likely.
That would work too, if it happened.

That's actually relatively simple.

Step 1) Stop drawing dragons and start making stuff like this

Step 2) Create an art portfolio with samples of various brochures, flyers and marketing copy you've created. Have a bunch of them printed, with business cards, and a link to your website with your "full" portfolio. Include a rate sheet and charge enough that people take you seriously. I recommend you do some research to find out how much that is. In my part of the world, $50-$100/hr for a graphic designer is fairly typical.

Step 3) Go to all your local printshops. Give them copies of your portfolio, let them know you're available for freelance work and do your best to sell yourself.

Step 4) While you're doing step 3, ask them also for a copy of their rate sheet and try to find a printer who will print 4x6 full color on black postcards for a reasonable price and is willing to white label their services. Then you approach local businesses and rave and concert organizers and offer to produce flyers for them. You design the artwork, then send it to the printer, markup their costs by 10-20% and keep the difference.
... Gosh. Only now do i truly realize how horribly inexperienced i am at Life™ (also i might need a dictionary very soon). So, just to make sure i've gotten it right, bottom line of what you're saying is, do work as a graphics designer for flyers and brochures? I s'pose that could work too, though i really need to up the ante for my design skills then, they're not commercial-quality yet.

also i draw far more dinosaurs than dragons

Anyways, i'm glad i decided to post this now rather than later (as in when done with uni) though, because as it stands i still have time to both mull over things, prepare for them and set them in motion. I'd be lying if i said i haven't already been surprised about how things work. And once again, thanks for the info! :D
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LordBucket

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Re: Future income contemplations
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2012, 07:11:25 pm »

bottom line of what you're saying is, do work as a graphics designer for flyers and brochures?

...well, do you want and what will make you happy. But if your goal is to make money drawing...there are probably more people willing to pay for nicely drawn flyers and brochures than there are people willing to pay for pictures of nicely drawn dinosaurs.

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thanks for the info

You're welcome. Feel free to ask if you have more questions.