INTERVIEW FRIDAY: Portrait Artist Mike Theuer


The best way to introduce our Artist is by letting you see this video of him in action!

Interview Questions:

Q.  Please tell us about yourself and what people, influences, events or desires led you to your profession.
A couple of things propelled me into being a portrait artist online.  The first was ability.  Although I never majored in art, I've always had a strong ability.  Not the greatest though.  When I started this business in 2007 my portraits were a little sloppy.  Luckily I have improved with practice since then!  Second thing that got me into an online art job was time.  I'm the stay-at-home parent for our three boys.  Now all three are in school, the oldest in middle school.  So I had time during the day.  I didn't want to go out of the home to work.  So, I found something I could do at home!

Read the rest of Mike's interview by clicking READ MORE below...

Q.  How would you describe the job of an artist?  
Typical day goes like this.  Morning, answer emails from people inquiring about portraits.  This means reviewing photos emailed to me, arranging photos into rough layouts so inquirers can see how a potential portrait might look, quoting prices and sending invoices to people ready to buy.  Late morning, start drawing!  Could be one to three drawings per day, 5 days a week.  I finish what I can around other household-work and child care-work.  Late at night I work on my website, SEO and other internet junk needed to make my online presence strong.  How would I describe this job of an online portrait artist?  Creative!

Q.  What are the most enjoyable and least enjoyable aspects of your work?  Why? 
Most enjoyable aspect is the drawing.  I like it when the drawing begins to look like a real person and I smile at the portrait as though the person were actually in front of me.  Least enjoyable is the record keeping.  I actually keep records of what it is I am to draw, for whom, of what in triplicate.  Otherwise I would forget!!

Q.  What is the most common misconception that people have about your line of work? 
I don't get misconceptions from my customers about the art.  They all think that art is pretty hard to do for them.  I guess that’s why all of them want and appreciate a portrait!  I do however get misconceptions from budding artists about the business.  Budding artists who contact me for advice, or who ask to start a partnership, or who start "Google" ads for their own start-up business online think that the job of being an online artist should be pretty easy.  But the "Google" ads soon disappear and the emails start coming, "is my business slow like theirs", or "should I get another job?"  They don't realize that they are in business online just like they would be in a brick-and-mortar store on the street.  They have to create a great online presence (SEO and web design).  They have to find the right location (audience).  They have to find the right niche (fit between their competition).  And they have to be able to make a profit (balance what it takes for them to create against their selling price).  Then, they have a chance to succeed . . . if their art is appealing.  I speak from experience having founded and sold a couple businesses of my own, 
Q.   How would a young person with aspirations to become an artist best prepare himself/herself?
Probably like anything from sports to singing, I say you have to have the ability.  You have to practice.  And you have to learn about the basics.  Art basics are shading, composition and perspective.  These concepts improve your drawing a lot when you can apply them or "bend" them in your artwork.  I know this for a fact from teaching art for the last 16 years.  I teach at the Center for Arts and Crafts in the evening at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park.  Finally when a young artist has enough ability so that their family and friends say, "Your artwork is so good you should try to sell it!" then that artist has to know about business.  My business advice?  See my answer above.

Q.  What is the most important or significant thing that you have accomplished in your work to date?  What do you hope to accomplish?
My most important accomplishment in business is that from reading customer feedback, 100% of my customers are happy with their portraits.  My most important accomplishment in art is having moved beyond capturing a likeness to capturing a personality.  An example of this is the pencil drawing of a girl in braids in my "people" gallery.   What I hope to accomplish is a bigger business! 


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