3 Ways Facebook is Making You a Better Artist

by David Finley

Muppet or Man?, A self portrait of me as a Muppet. Done in Adobe Photoshop
I drew this for my profile picture to get attention.

You've read countless smarty-farty articles about the Social Media one-eyed giant and the humongous ball-crushing power it hasl. It makes sense. Facebook is the #2 website in the world second only to Google itself. Yet, I don't intend to talk about Facebook as a marketing tool. Nope.

 You may not realize it, but Facebook is improving your art skills, and I will prove it.

3 Ways Facebook is Making You

(Yes You!)

a Better Artist.

Now before you start mouthing off about this, look at that picture there of me as a Muppet. Do I look like I'm in the mood for your objections? No? Good.

 First off, it's not because Facebook sometimes features links to art tutorials. Those are nice and they might even help, but Facebook isn't exactly the best source to compile that sort of information. No, it's more that Facebook is very public, which brings us to reason one:
1. Accountability

 You fancy yourself a talented artist, and why not? You've been published, and have had a few semi successful shows in a few local galleries. You want others to know what is happening in your career so you set up shop on Facebook. Before long, you not only have a personal profile, but you've taken the initiative to give your followers a fan page specifically dedicated to your work.

 But in this public forum, your work will drown in if you don't keep updating it with new art and material. What's more, if you don't produce your best work, you will look like a total wang in front of Jill, that girl you had a crush on back in high school and worse, Brian, the bully who used to call your drawings gay before punching you in the kidney. (Why did you accept his friend request anyway?) It's a matter of reputation and consistency. Worse, there's something more on the line:

2. Your Ego

 Facebook is like a virtual fridge to put your favorite new drawings on. "Thirsty for milk, Dad? Look at my drawing of a giraffe I made with this vintage civil war fountain pen that you forbade me to touch!" (Mom "likes" this.)

 You don't want to admit it, but as Grand Poobah of this Haven and a self professed artist myself, I know your scofflaw secrets. Deep down in the darkest parts of your artistic soul, there is a craven and self absorbed ego monster that loves attention. If you deny it ask yourself whether you've ever visited Facebook more than four times in one day to see if anyone has commented on your new Ninja Turtle drawing. You get two more scofflaw points if you smugly expected the response comments to number more than ten .

 Just like accountability, your ego will also keep you working at 2 am just so you can post your picture on time for what marketers advise to be the best traffic hours. You will labor tirelessly to better your skills when you discover Scott, the guy who had his easel across from yours in your college Drawing 3 class just signed a five book children's illustration contract. Moreover, your ego wants to be accepted and liked by other artists. Just admit it.

 However, like any wild beast, even ego must sleep from time to time, and for a fortunate group that opens up a third way to better your artistic skills:

3. Creative Collaboration

 Eventually, you realize it is possible to branch beyond the scope of your current group and see Facebook as a vehicle to interact with artists you admire. Remember all those Batman comics you used to read? Well the guy that drew them just accepted your friend request because he saw you were a fellow artist. What's more, he "likes" your fan page, and even commented on some of your art. As Eugene Levey would say, "Your cool points are out the window..."

 Now you have a unique opportunity to create a dialogue, not only about your work, but the art of others. All that talking back and forth can strengthen your week spots and inspire you to take greater risks because you now have champions to encourage and advise you.

Cookie Monster and Me, Cookie Monster and I hang out and smoke cigars.
See the note on the picture above and replace the word "profile" with "timeline cover".
 As you can see, I've proven my point beautifully. If you keep using Facebook, you will see a dramatic increase in your artistic skill. Now if you'll excuse me, there's a picture of Darth Vader getting kicked in his baby maker by Kermit the Frog that needs to be posted to my timeline soon.

Thanks for reading!


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