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ANNOUNCEMENTS Join Outland's Street Team, The Outlanders! Get sneak peeks at new releases, including fiction, games, and comics! Receive exclusive content, and be eligible to receive advance review copies of upcoming releases! If you like to help spread the word about...

THE ALL FATHER PARADOX Releases in October!

THE ALL FATHER PARADOX by Ian Stuart Sharpe Coming in October! What if an ancient god escaped his fate…and history was thrown to the wolves? Churchwarden Michaels thought it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy old man who stood in the graveyard, hellbent on studying the...

HATH NO FURY Has Hit the Shelves and E-Readers!

Mother. Warrior. Caregiver. Wife. Lover. Survivor. Trickster. Heroine. Leader.   This anthology features 21 stories and six essays about women who defy genre stereotypes. Here, it’s not the hero who acts while the heroine waits to be rescued; Hath No Fury’s women are...

Announcement: VIKINGVERSE COVER ILLUSTRATION RELEASED!

ANNOUNCEMENT Official summary of ALL FATHER PARADOX along with color cover illustration! What if an ancient god escaped his fate…and history was thrown to the wolves? Churchwarden Michaels thought it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy old man who stood in the graveyard,...

Announcement: New Comic Coming from Outland Entertainment!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Announcing Riddle of the Loremaster, an all new original comic series written by Melanie R. Meadors, with art by Nicolás Giacondino! Here is a sneak peek at some of the promo art: Riddle of the Loremaster is a comic for mature readers set in a fantasy...

Women in Dark Fantasy Have Changed by Linda Robertson

In doing a bit of research looking for a dark-fantasy-related topic for this article, I sought something that I knew at least a bit about, something I felt strongly about, and something where I could add meaningfully to the conversation. Many things were considered,...

Alethea Kontis on Imposter Syndrome

Earlier this year, I met the only student Katy Kellgren ever had. He told me he just about had to bully her into being his teacher. This amazing, multiple award-winning voice actress with hundreds of audiobooks under her belt truly didn’t believe she knew anything...

Announcements: HATH NO FURY Has Arrived in the US!

Backers of the paperback and hardcover editions of Hath No Fury will be happy to learn that the books have arrived at the printer's headquarters in Chicago! Now, they just need to be sent to our head honcho Jeremy Mohler, and then they will be sent out to backers...

Fairies with Dark Faces by I.L. Cruz

I like fairies—not a difficult admission for a fantasy writer—and I don’t mean the safe Victorian ones with gossamer wings that spread sparkles when they walk. I mean the ones that steal little children and make Faustian bargains. They were ancient and magnificent and...

Announcement: Launching New Transmedia World, VIKINGVERSE

Announcements Introducing the beginning of a new transmedia project with fiction, comics, and games in development! VIKINGVERSE From a concept created by Ian Sharpe, Vikingverse is going to launch this fall with a novel called All Father Paradox. Here is the line art...

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of creative people adopt aliases.

I can see the appeal of using an alias, especially if you’re a young artist. It can offer a certain level of anonymity when starting out. That said, I personally think this is a really bad idea. You should always just keep things simple and use your own name. Here’s why:

You want your work to be associated with you.
Your name is your brand. As you develop as an artist, you start to develop your own style. The way you draw a line, or make a brush mark, is like a fingerprint. You want people to associate your art with your name, not with an alias you thought was cool when you were nineteen.

It’s easier to develop a following.
The longer you work in the field, the more likely it is that people will begin to recognize your work. You’ll build a fan base, which is the best possible thing for you as an artist! It’s these fans that’ll support you and buy your work, whether it’s paintings, comics, whatever.  Don’t complicate your interaction with fans by using a fake name. It’s easier to introduce yourself to people when you use your real name.

You may be stuck with an alias, even after you outgrow it.
Changing your working alias may be confusing for fans and make it that much harder for people to find you.

It’s easier to meet people and clients.
When you’re out at conventions, seminars, or even the grocery store (you never know where you might run into a potential client), you’ll introduce yourself as…well, yourself.  Not as your alias.  It’s much more likely that when remembering you or looking you up, the potential client will look you up by your name.

Keeping and using your own name will help your career tremendously. As soon as you decide you want to be an artist, drop everything and do these three things.

  • Buy a URL using your real name, preferably a dot com.  Keep it simple – www.yourname.com.
  • Set up an e-mail address that’s simple and includes your name – yourname@yourwebsite.com.  Set up your email through your own website so it’s easy for clients or art directors to track you down and recall your e-mail.
  • Stop using dopey handles when you interact with your peers in forums on in online communities. You guessed it: Switch over to ones that include your real name.

All of this will allow you to start being associated with your work and building lasting relationships. You just can’t go wrong using your own name from the start and avoiding an alias entirely!

Thanks for reading, folks. Stay tuned for the next Professional Practices.

JM