One way to become a Cryptoartist
Last updated 24/03/21
If you’re here, you probably already know what Cryptoart is or what “NFTs” are. If you don’t, Matt Griffin wrote an excellent thread on twitter introducing it and the cryptoart wiki has got you covered for everything else.
Briefly, it’s the same as being a regular artist with the added benefit of being able to share and sell your art in a way you can control, using cryptocurrency.
The process of getting your art selling via the blockchain is quite opaque for those like myself who are not very blockchain savvy, so I’ve written this tutorial to make it all a bit clearer for artists.
You can join this awesome community and get your art selling tomorrow if you really want. What I’ve written below is just one way to do it.
When I was first starting out in this space, I only found tutorials for trading crytpocurrencies which were just too dense for me, I was interested in the art part, not the trading/investment part.
I’ve tried to write this tutorial as clearly as I can without too much investing/trading waffle or blockchain jargon.
I hope it can help encourage you and other artists to get involved too.
This tutorial will specifically help give you a heads up on how to get started as a cryptoartist via Known Origin.
If you’re new to the market these places are a good place to start.
There are ten steps in this tutorial and if you need any help or you’re unsure at any time, sling me a DM via Twitter and I’ll try and help you out. If I can’t, I’ll try and put you in contact with someone who can =]
All the art you’ll see from now are works I’ve purchased from funds I got from selling my own art, it’s a wonderful cycle of artwork appreciation!
Update March 2021: The Eco impact.
If you’re conscious of the impact you have on the environment, understand that in its current state the blockchain (Proof of Work) economy burns through a lot of energy, regardless of minting NFTs.
A lot of missinformation being spread around this issue as of March 2021 and Eric Elliot debunks most of it in this video. Much like the other industries of the world, the carbon emmission problem is deeply systemic and complex and is more than any individual can deal with.
The Cryptoart community has begun to generate momentum for change and positive (and unjudgemental) discussions like this one are helping everyone be on the same page about our impact on the planet and what we can do to reduce it. If you’re keen on joining the ECO-NFT movement, you can get involved via the discord here.
Known Origin is one of the few NFT platforms that have released a statement of intent regarding CryptoArt and the environmental dilemma.
Step One, Be an artist.
Seems obvious, but I advise not to jump into cryptoart if you have yet to explore and discover your vision of the world, in what forms you want to share it and with whom. Those who may want to buy your art will appreciate the effort. Trevor Jones has a list of good tips related to this.
Or you can totally jump in, hit the game running and see what happens.
Up to you.
DO NOT mint artworks that are not your own or contain art that could be considered not yours. Regardless of your best intentions, you WILL incur the wrath of the Cryptoart community and loose your hard earned reputation if you plaigerise.
Step Two, Get a ‘Wallet’.
A Wallet is a digital ‘address’ for your cryptocurrency, like a bank account that you are in control of.
I think the best option for newbies is Metamask. To use it you’ll need to grab Google chrome and get the metamask extension. Make sure you get it from the metamask website, there are sometimes malicious copycat versions on google’s extension store. I believe it also works with the Brave browser.
Sign up to Metamask and set up your Wallet, they will guide you through this process.
Everyone will remind you of this and I will do the same. Write down your 12 word recovery phrase somewhere IRL. Keep it secret, keep it safe.
If you’re someone who is super keen on being secure, there are hardware wallets available which store your wallet on a physical USB like device. Ledger is a good place to start if you’re up for that.
Step Three, get some cryptocurrency!
Sign up to Coinburp.
Coinburp is a place where you can buy, sell and convert or trade cryptocurrency very easily, they make it super simple to understand the process, it’s great.
Through Coinburp you can buy Cyrptocurrencies with normal money, sometimes referred to as “Fiat” money. What we want is to get some Ethereum or ETH for short.
The ETH you get with Coinburp wont go in your Wallet yet, it will go into your Coinburp account (But Coinburb calls it a wallet).
Coinburp is UK only at the moment. If you’re not living there, the best alternative option is Coinbase, which looks a little scary but is just as easy to use. Alternatively you can also use Moonpay to buy cryptocurrency.
Just a heads up your bank may want you to do some extra security checks and make sure the transfer is legit, fiat folks are still a little jumpy when it comes to cryptocurrency.
Also Coinbase, Moonpay and Ramp are viewed as unreliable by some banks in Europe and so transactions with these services won’t be possible. However if that’s the case for you there’s a service called Banxa which works (for at least those in Belgium).
Cryptoart is very much an international community now so if you are struggling to find a service that works, you can always do a call out on twitter to see if anyone has a service that works for you where you are.
Ethereum is the cryptocurrency that is used for all the transactions on Known Origin and other NFT trading sites. NFT stands for Non Fungible Token.
Step Four, send your Ethereum to your Metamask Wallet.
Once you have ETH in your Coinburp account, you’ll have the option to withdraw it. Click on Withdraw and follow the instructions.
Part of the process will require you to copy the address of your Metamask Wallet. If you want to transfer anything or allow folks to transfer to your wallet, you will need to copy your address.
To copy your address click on the lil’ fox of the Metamask extention so it expands and then hover over your account name. An option to ‘copy to clipboard’ should appear, click and your Metamask Wallet address will be copied to your clipboard.
Paste this in the place Coinburp is asking you to paste it in.
There may be some transfer fees here but nothing major.
Transfers take a few moments more than what we’re used to on the web, so don’t worry if the ETH doesn’t appear in your Metamask Wallet immediately.
Step Five, Find your people.
You can also check out this handy list of Cryptoartists from all over the world!
Join the community!
When you feel ready, checkout the communities of the Tokensmart podcast, Cryptovoxels and the Hivemuse collective too. There are A LOT of different communities and the cryptoart space in general can be a massive rabbit hole, so for starters just dip your toe in here and there.
Step Six, Sign up to Known Origin
To sell your art, you’ll need to apply to be given an artists profile or artist status. To do this on Known Origin, you’ll need to sign up to get a normal profile for starters. You can only do this if you have Metamask installed, so don’t skip that step (Step Two).
Once you have your own profile you can start buying art, if any takes your fancy. Now you’ll also be able to apply for Artist status, this is fairly straight forward and done via a google form.
All you need to fill in is a link to your Known Origin profile page, your name and email and links to your Twitter/Instagram profiles. You’lll also need to upload some examples of the kind of work you’d like to sell, about 3 examples is good.
It can sometimes take a couple of weeks to be given Artist status, so don’t despair if you don’t hear anything for a few days. Makers Place and Super Rare have very similar processes to getting involved as an artist so you could totally apply with them while you wait.
If you do get chosen, you’ll get an email from the KO team and a lovely welcome tweet with many members of the community congratulating and welcoming you to the cohort =]
You’ll also get some extra options on your profile page, including the option to UPLOAD.
Step Seven, Uploading
Uploading is a simplified term for the process of writing your art onto the blockchain, some call it minting, tokenising or editioning…
Minting is a block chain term derived from the whole money making analogy and doesn’t really work for NFT art imo.
I like to say ‘posting my art’ since the process is more similar to posting stuff on social media than smelting coins and seems more appropriate than just calling it after the upload process.
Click the Upload button and fill in all the info fields.
Make sure you have thought about the title of your art and have spelled everything correctly, you can’t edit it once it’s been written on the blockchain. I made that mistake once.
You can decide whether you want want to just sell one edition or many editions (up to 25). Single editions, #ultrarare, tend to sell better atm as the current cryptoart market value rarity. #FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
Upload the file your art, double check everything looks right, read and check all the tick boxes.
So when you’re ready post, click on ‘Create artwork’ and marvel at all the complicated writing to IPFS stuff happens. Just a heads up you can only upload once every 24 hours.
Then, Metamask will pop up with an option to ‘adjust the Gas’ with a small fee.
WAIT, WHAT is GAS?
Step Eight, GAS
I had no idea what Gas was when I got to this step the first time around which is one of the reasons I’m writing this tutorial.
Block chain stuff is not as ‘instantaneous’ like the Internet (LOL). All transactions (or processes) take time and on the Ethereum blockchain you sometimes need to pay a small fee for those transactions to get processed.
Metamask is good because it automatically sets a ‘safe’ Gas for each transaction and usually sets it as enough to allow the transaction to be processed in under 5 mins. One less thing to worry about.
Depending on how busy the network is at the time, processing time will take longer and therefore the Gas fees will be higher if you want to transaction to happen faster. Gas is also affected by the current value of ETH.
When Metamask pops up with it’s recommendation for a safe Gas, Just click OK for now and relax. Just make sure you have a decent float of ETH in your wallet so you’re not caught out when a high Gas fee comes around when you’re spending your last funds on some really dynamite must have art.
Gas prices flucuate quite a lot these days so it will be wise to make sure you have a good buffer of ETH that you can safely eat into when tokenising your artwork. You can also check how much a transaction might cost in Gas by visiting sites like https://ethgasstation.info/ . You can also follow the @EthGasPrice bot on twitter to get the heads up on when Gas prices are low.
MARCH 2021 update on GAS fees
Gas fees as of March 2021 generally fluctuate between 95–145 gwei which is QUITE expensive to mint (£50–£70 per mint). Keep an eye on the gas you spend, don’t be impatient because like I did, you will spend too much ETH trying to get your art minted, only to find it would have been much cheaper a few hours later…
Considering it was just over £2 to mint when I started, the entry bar for artists just starting out has risen significantly and it’s hurting the space a fair bit, so much so that some new artists have start spreading misinformation about how the cryptoart space is a pyrimid scheme. Which are completely unfounded.
Alternative platforms that use a different form of transactions on the blockchain (Proof of Stake) which incur significantly reduced fees have emerged and are getting very popular but they are very new and it’s still quite an obscure process to list artwork on those platforms. If you want to give it a go however, I would recommend jumping in on the Tezos chain and selling/collecting art via Hicetnunc.
Step Nine, Share your art!
It’s sometimes hard to shout about your art but it’s important if you want to get it out there. Often the kind of folk who are really into your stuff will discover it via social media or discord. One of the folks who I admire because they really make it known that their stuff is available is SpacePainter.
It’s partly SpacedPainter and GiantSwan who got me into the Cryptoartist space. I saw them shouting about their VR art and it was just super inspiring.
But you know, don’t be a scallywag and post it everywhere all the time. Thats why I recommended earlier for you to find your people and find those places and channels where you and your art will be at home.
Here’s some excellent advice in video form from Noealz about How to Sell your NFTs after minting and from CECHK about marketing your cryptoart in twitter thread form: https://twitter.com/cechk_art/status/1286651767372107776
Step Ten, Not worrying if stuff doesn’t sell,
The Cryptoart space is still growing and changing, it’s not a closed or gated market like the IRL art world, it’s an open, flexible and supportive community of artists and collectors making, sharing and loving art alike.
So keep posting art, change up your style a bit, see what people like, ask for feedback, conduct polls on sm, ask for advice on the KO telegram or reach out to someone more established, the community is really welcoming and keen to get more people involved.
Odd bits of advice, information and links…
This won’t apply to everyone, I find that as an artist it’s best not to worry about the currency part of cryptocurrency. It can get complicated quite fast and although there’s a lot of rich lore in the space, it is DENSE and can spoil the fun of earning money from your digital art, wade in at you’re own risk.
Some artists and collectors in the space are Obsessed, possessed even by the money side of it all, I call them Hollows & Hourders. Hollow overpriced and prolific artists and vapid Hourders who try to snap up everything but only offering the lesser price.
Start with a series, 3–6 similar works of a theme and similar price. Collectors like having a set.
Price your artwork responsibly. Considering the influx of new artists to the space in recent months, it is unlikely you’ll attract big spending collectors immediately. 0.075 to 0.085ETH is a very good start, that will cover a high mint cost and is generally what most collectors can afford as most collectors are also artists! I advise you not to price your first few artworks at 1 ETH or even 0.5 ETH, it’s tempting I know but unles you already have a large following eager to snap up your artworks, you’ll need to start small scale like most of us =]
The more confident in your art you get and if you’ve spent a lot of time on it, you can start asking for whatever you think it’s worth. It’s sometimes hard to put a value on you’re own work though, we all know that feeling, best advice I can give is to experiment with it.
1 ETH, as of Mar 2021 is worth over £1300 ($1800). It was around £215 when I began to write this tutorial!
I mentioned this above but will repeat because it’s important. You need to advertise your art. Better still is to be active in the community and I’m not talking about posting your art in Discord chats, I mean talking to other artists and collectors, giving feedback or admiring others art. Remember, it’s particularly courteous in this community to praise publicly and to criticise privately.
Say thank you to your purchaseers and actively chat to your counterparts, we’re all in this together.
A note about Metamask and ETH transactions
Your metamask account/wallet thing isn’t an ‘account’ in the way we’re used to on the internet, instead think of it as a ‘transaction enabler’ for anything on the ETH blockchain. So whenever you do something, on the the ETH blockchain, it’s a ‘transaction’ instead of just a computer process and it sometimes metamask requires you to allow/approve it.
Your Wallet address becomes a sort of universal pass that can allow you to sign in as the same identifer to all dApps (decentralised apps) on the ethereum chain.
There are other ways to become a cryptoartist without needing to apply to be an Artist. You can jump straight into the wilds of NFT lands and sell your art via Rarible or Mintbase! (Mintbase will soon be PoS via NEAR too!)
That’s it! All done, thanks for following this tutorial and I hope it was helpful =]
Links to Artists featured in the tutorial
Some links from the tutorial and other resources
A more indepth tutorial I found immediatly after publishing this one https://cryptoartschool.github.io/IntroCapsule/IntroToTheIntro
Cryptoart wiki https://www.teleportart.gq/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page
Cryptocurrency “for beginners” https://cryptocurrencyfacts.com/how-to-trade-cryptocurrency-for-beginners/
Known Origin https://knownorigin.io/
Makers Place https://makersplace.com/
Super Rare https://www.superrare.co/
Artists’ checklist for success https://www.trevorjonesart.com/blog/artist-checklist-for-success
ECO-NFT discussion https://twitter.com/909kishore/status/1360349978636374016?s=19
ECO-NFT discord https://discord.gg/My7WPpFc
Wallet hardware https://www.ledger.com/
Chrome browser https://www.google.com/chrome/
Brave broswer https://brave.com/
Temple (Wallet for Tezos) https://templewallet.com/
‘Non-fungible token’ Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-fungible_token
Growing list of Cryptoartists from Flux Research https://www.cryptoartnet.com/
Binance ETH value tracker https://www.binance.com/en/trade/ETH_USDT
ETH Gas FAQ https://ethgasstation.info/FAQpage.php
Noealz and their NFT advice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8RzNYPEM8c&list=PLtaTxX6hQacMlD6ewJdr9Nf5DeJDnQv28
Big list of Cryptoart resources https://blockchainlifestyle.org/crypto-art-resources/