Today we interview Mina Petrovic who's an artist and teacher from Serbia. I got to know of her when she contacted me regarding her upcoming book Manga Crash Course. I found out she had a Youtube channel of more than 40,000 subscribers. I thought it would be interesting to find out how she promotes herself online so that we can all learn from her.
Alright, here's the interview.
Qn: Can you tell our readers what you do for a living?
I have specialized my hobbies into my own job - I have built a complete system of lessons and organized a facility with colleagues, to build a pop-culture center called Sakurabana, where I work as a manga (Japanese comic book) teacher. My community also has a Youtube channel of their own, while my channel is my secondary job is Mistiqarts on Youtube.
All our work is situated in Serbia, Eastern Europe. I also work as an illustrator, and organize anime/comic conventions in my country. Mostly, after classes I do illustrations for book covers and commissioners. A combination of these intertwined jobs is my collective way of living and paying the bills.
Qn: What websites are you publishing your work on?
I publish my works mainly on my DeviantArt page , but the latest trends dictate that I need to be active on social networks like Facebook, Google+ , Twitter , and Instagram, and since I am specialized for manga art, Pixiv is my next step. Also Youtube has shown to be a good platform for publishing, but only if you are willing to invest an insane amount of time and money for equipment.
Qn: Do you see a different level of engagement from the different websites you have? Such as the type of audience you get, the responses, etc?
Yes, the audience is most active on Deviantart, then Youtube, and I hear that Tumblr is soon overthrowing the both, with the system that states that Tumblr users are constantly active and present on the social network.
Type of audience also varies:
- Youtube audience are mostly really young kids, and some negatively oriented internet users.
- DeviantArt has a more mature audience, with almost everyone acting highly civilized, since the website demands their personal information, and prevents them from abusing the website that way.
- As for Tumblr, the audience is mostly young teens, with a lot of opinions and freedom to be as constructive or destructive. It is a very powerful platform, with the biggest number of active users, so it is good to promote artists works.
Most responses are via Youtube because people instantly leave comments below the works aka videos, then you have Facebook, and DeviantArt, and lastly Twitter, which is mostly based on reblogging, and the comments are actually hidden in form of tags.
Qn: You have a large following of over 40,000 subscribers on your YouTube channel. How did you promote your channel?
It took me 2 years to obtain this number, by firstly, being active.
The best promotion is constancy, because the audience does not like to wait, even for their favorite artists. Also, doing popular themes, answering audience questions regarding the tools and equipment, and of course sharing your knowledge. People like to be included, to communicate, to feel appreciated, and as a teacher it is my duty to give my experience, tips and tricks to the audience. Promotion wise, constantly sharing every piece of content through every social network is the first step, since I never had any money to invest in payed advertisements.
Qn: Which was your most popular video on your Youtube? Did you expect that?
My most popular video was a video about drawing manga eyes. It was expected to be popular because it is one of the most important and first lessons to learn when you want to draw in this style. I always remember what I wanted to learn as a beginner, and try to make it into a lesson for the younger generations. I listened to my audience, asking for the video, delivered, and they responded positively, by liking it, learning from it, and recommending it further. One of the reasons for the success of the video is also my personal teaching method, where I try to explain things as simply and as productively as possible. Few minutes on my channel, can replace days of self learned lessons.
Qn: What tips do you have for those who want to start their own art related YouTube channel?
Be constant in your video schedules, get good equipment (microphone, camera, lighting,soft boxes, good art supplies, strong pc for rendering, good editing software, tilted work surface, tripods), choose your own approach to the theme, and communicate with the audience, listen to what they need, so that you can deliver it. equipment wise, lots of artist share information about their equipment online, and you can combine their knowledge with useful reviews on tools and equipment, before buying your own.
Qn: Were there any leads that came directly as a result because of the work you show on your websites? Like commissioned work? What about the book you published with publisher Impact?
One of many rewards I got, was good collaborations with a lot of talented artists like here and here, many new friends, partnerships with art stores, and of course, the crown of my career: the book contract with Impact Books, whose admins spotted my lessons on YouTube and decided to hire me.
My book Manga Crash Course features all my lessons, in one place, and is a direct product of all my work as a manga teacher and Youtuber. This only shows that when you work hard, and show it to the world, the results are hard to miss, and rewards are plenty.
Qn: What are some other art related YouTube channels do you subscribe to?
I love researching young artists and the way how they see the world ,so I highly recommend the channel of my friends Whyt manga and Lemia Crescent, also Enforcer Channel, who deals in one of my dearest hobbies - cosplay!
Qn: Are you able to make a living, either directly or indirectly, from your websites?
Yes, it is a job, and can get tedious from time to time, but it can provide for a humble living (when all of my jobs collect together, which is a full time, whole day job 24/7 work kind of living).
Youtube Partner Program has enabled me to do my work and cover some of my expenses, so I don't need to work overtime on some other job.
Being an artist enabled me to communicate and make friends in more civilized countries, so I am grateful for having them, since they are helping out as contributors to my living and tools expenses as well. Artists rarely get payed luxury fees, and it is not a job with easy living, but has its own rewards, and when enough work and strategy is placed within the work, can make for good results and living conditions.
All of these jobs: commissions, Youtube, teaching and selling merchandise, add up. and it is if you are lucky enough to be a popular artist. To have a decent amount of profit, your website has to have at least several thousand fans and supporters, so that few of them are constant commissioners and regular customers, and a channel has to have over 20.000 subscribers at least, with a decent view time on your videos, which must be interactive and engaging, to have enough basic profit.
Everything else you want in life like traveling, or having your own place, will have to come out of some other type of job, unless you really hit it big with a company or idea for a big brand item of some sort.