Make over $100,000 Per Year As An Artist- Interview with Mark Simon

Mark Simon leading the charge against the ‘Starving Artist’ syndrome.

Episode 03 of the Drawn By Success Podcast features my interview with director/producer Mark Simon.  An Artrepreneurial straight shooter who dishes out the tough love for freelancers in need of a reality check. In this 1 hour interview we discuss How to Earn 25% More Money – Without Doing More Work, Career Mistakes Most Artists Make, Fighting the Starving Artist Myth, The Truth of How Freelancers Are Hired and a whole lot more.

Mark has worked in the entertainment industry for over 20 years and has been a professional artist for over 30 years. His background includes live action and animation production, print, writing and teaching.

Mark currently owns three companies located in Orlando, Florida,  Sell Your TV Concept Now, Inc.Animatics & Storyboards, Inc. and A&S Animation, Inc.[/private_premium]



He’s also the author of ten entertainment industry texts.

Each month readers may also see Mr. Simon’s articles in Animation Magazine and on Animation World Network (

He currently lectures around the world at major conferences, conventions and schools. To learn more about Mark Simon Thriving Artist Online and Sell Your TV Concept.

* Intro music: ‘Moms on a Mission’ by Ralph Schuckett

After the interview Mark informed me that all of his pets were named after cartoon characters. His latest family pooch is named Gracie. Gracie, as in Baldo’s (my syndicated comic strip)  little sister, Gracie. How cool is that?


Marks pooch Gracie named after Baldo’s bright l’il sis.

Resources  mentioned on the show:


Local Leads Groups and BNI Groups


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45 Responses to Make over $100,000 Per Year As An Artist- Interview with Mark Simon

  1. Terrific interview! Thanks for posting this. I also highly recommend Mark Simon’s audio series “The Thriving Artist”. Great stuff.

  2. Awesome interview! Tons of valuable information ^_^! Thanks so much for posting this! Something else: I love the intro/outro music too! Who is the musician?

  3. Hi TJ, glad to hear you found it useful. The intro is ‘Moms On A mission’ by Ralph Schuckett. Thanks for jarring my memory. In my rush to post the audio I totally forgot to credit the artist.

    Thanks again Tj

  4. How ironic…I ended up here because of Linkedin, but I see one of my blog friends (TJ Lubrano) from an entirely different social media outlet. Don’t tell me the internet’s also becoming a small world!
    BTW, I tried to listen to the podcast, but the sound wasn’t great & my earphones tend to hurt, so I gave up pretty early on. Downloading A/V files through my (sarcasm)”lightning fast”(/sarcasm) satellite ISP is a long, slow process that also eats up my limited bandwidth. It would have been nice to have text to read.

  5. Hi Lana, the internet is indeed a small world and getting smaller every day.

    Thank you for your comment. Sorry to hear the sound quality kept you from listening all the way through. I haven’t noticed any significant problems with the audio quality that would keep me from listening, but maybe that’s just me.

    FYI- Transcription of the interview is in the works and will be posted ASAP.

    Anyone else having a problem because of audio quality? Let me know. I know the audio could be better so I’m open to any ideas on how I can improve it. So if you have any helpful suggestion I’m open to them. I’m always open to improve what I can.

  6. Glad you guys like the interview. It’s always fun talking to Carlos and this time you got to listen in.

  7. Carlos,….nice job! Hey,….is there anyway to get a direct link to the audio file so that I can download and listen to it offline?

  8. I never get tired of listening to the Thriving Artist lectures and interviews just like this one. This is an amazing interview, Carlos and Mark. It keeps me inspired and motivated to keep plugging away and going after those goals of mine. Everything y’all have said is so true! Carlos, Look forward to possibly meeting you someday. Mark, you know I highly enjoy learning through your teachings and leadership in the industry. Y’all are great Entrepreneurs! lol

    BTW,I Love the pic of Gracie.

  9. Carlos, thank you for this interview. And thanks to Mark Simon as well. I love the concept where meeting people face-to-face is much easier now because everyone else is busy online sending out resumes and postcards. I keep having to remind myself that.

    I also really like the statement: “The art industry has more jobs than any other industry”. Whenever I get down on myself I head to the grocery store and look at all the packaging art on the store shelves. Someone has to be producing this art. Why can’t it be me?

    Is there a way to subscribe to these podcasts in iTunes so I can listen to them on the go?

    Thanks again.

  10. Josh,….I do the same thing!
    Mark,…I honestly used to think,..oh that Simon guy must be some cocky SOB trying to get rich off of his CD’s etc…..but I quickly learned..that you are not cocky,…you are confident! BIG difference.

    Your level of confidence is actually quite refreshing! We are in a society now where everyone is supposed to be on the same even level with everyone else. I say baloney! If we can’t be confident,…then why even try for success? If we can’t be proud of our achievements,…then who can; or will? You are very generous with your knowledge…..and there is a great value in that! A value and service worth paying for!

    Thanks for sharing your experience and for putting that spark up my butt when I need it most.

  11. Togotooner, Thanks for your comments. I appreciate it. You’re right, there is a difference between being cocky and being confident, but not everyone will see it all the time. That’s OK. You have to be true to yourself as long as you’re not hurting anyone.

  12. Hi Carlos and Mark — that was an AMAZING interview. So much practical wisdom for the commercial artist. The parts about raising your fees, getting your work out there, and putting yourself in the circles where there’s work — fantastic TRUE advice that I’ve found to reap huge benefits. EVERYbody who makes a living from their creative work will benefit from this recording.

    I hope you’ll make it downloadable because this one’s a keeper. And Mark: I was so juiced by your talk that I just bought your e-book on “Mind Your Business.” If it’s half as powerful as this interview, it’ll be money well-spent.

    Thanks again! –Sherm

  13. Wow,
    I add my voice to the choir,this interview is an amazing source of informations.
    the thing that surprised me most was that half of the things you can do to improve your business(and subsequently your life’s quality)are actually everyday things,we simply need to relieve ourselves from fear to do them
    Thanks Carlos and Mark.
    As young preofessional this one helped and inspired me a lot.

    I can’t wait the transcription:P

  14. Wow! I’ve been in the business for over 20 years and that was one of the best advice filled interviews I’ve ever listened to. I’ve always told artists that the big difference between being a “fine artist” and a “commercial artist” is that commercial artists make money while they’re still alive. It takes marketing to do that. Great job!

  15. Thanks for the headsup to the interview! I just got through listening to the interview and while I do most of it already, still some real gems in there to stay mindful of. So thanks for posting.

    Hi Sherm!

  16. […] The interview was great and connected me (and perhaps you) with what should be understood as the gospel about how we get hired for jobs either freelance or long term. Feel free to listen to the interview here (one hour long) […]

  17. Togotooner, I’m working on getting that set up in the near future. Thanks for the comment, much appreciated. : )

  18. Hi Josh, glad you found the call informative. Speaking with Mark is always a whirlwind of energy and great information. I once heard artist Ann Rea say “Artists are among the lowest paid, and the highest paid workers. It’s up to you where on that scale you want to be”

    On the subject of the podcast in iTunes, I’m still trying to figure all that out.

  19. I love all these comments but the best actually came from my dad. He’s a Realtor. He wanted to listen to just a few minutes to hear what it was about. By the end of the interview he changed his approach to his real estate business to incorporate what we talked about.

    This info will help virtually any business so thank you all for listening and share the link with anyone who wants help with their business.

  20. That’s fantastic to hear Mark. Thanks for sharing that. We’ll have to do a follow up call at some point.

  21. That was exactly what I needed now; I smack in the face, a wake up call and a reminder to what I have implemented in the past being in the IT industry.
    Thank you.

  22. How can you help me to succeed in this profession?I do a lot of drawing for people who say that I draw very well.But when it comes time for payment they hide from me. Why?Because I’m new to this profession?Please help me.

  23. Hi Carlos,

    I really liked the interview honestly and I hope that Mark comes back and shares more of his thoughts on the industry. I really was amazed at how he was able to get throught the gatekeepers and that made me laught out loud!!.

    Good Work Carlos and keep up the good work man!

    Cheers mate,

    Jean Claude De La Ronde,
    Freelance Storyboard Artist

  24. I loved this interview. I just moved my family of eleven from the US to another country. I am using this as an opportunity to move onto work that is closer to my heart. Art has never gone further than a hobby and some part time work for me. This interview and the website are so refreshing. I am not used to being around artists who are so motivating and positive about making the money they deserve.

    After I finish an online course that I am in the middle of, I am committing to take action on two of the points you mentioned, Mark. One, to sit down with a local, successful creative person and two, to take some time to learn accounting. I found a really interesting website with a free course on it for anyone interested:

    Thanks Carlos for the push.

  25. Osher, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. That small action alone primes the pump for bigger action ahead. Keep the momentum going. Grateful to have you as part of our community.

  26. Great interview, re-learned allot things I should be doing. First thing I’m doing is revisiting my “Goals & to-do List”, Start meeting new people and Market my self as an artist/illustrator.

    Luis Duenas

  27. What a great interview! So many good ideas!

    At the time when I’m writing this, I’m still in school and trying to get a leg-up on strategies for succeeding in the freelance market. So the first thing I’m going to do is make a list of the steps I need to take to get up and running. Then I’m going to meet with a local industry professional who does what I want to do and pick her brains for a portfolio review and guidance.

  28. We connected on Linked In. I am both a fine art artist and a cartoonist. I have worked on the fence in the French Quarter of New Orleans for the past six years. I am considering doing two things in 2013 to improve my income. I will do at least six art fairs this year … and … I will try to create an online business.

  29. This was a great interview,
    Mr. Simon is very informative and matter of fact and I agree with about everything that he speaks about. When marketing was first touched on and the mentioning of doing your taxes properly, I must admit I was a little skeptical. However after considering that many younger artists (I’m a 30 year old Freelancer) might not know it, to be fair it’s actually excellent information to mention. All the portions regarding making contact, meeting face to face and building relationships are so crucial to getting freelance work and I would recommend Mr. Simon’s interview to anyone looking to benefit their marketing skills.

  30. This interview is gold to me. I have just begun taking steps to starting my own business as an artist and felt like I was on a raft in the middle of the ocean. Endless possibilities but no way to get my bearings. This website and these interviews (I have listened to several) are like sails for me. I finally feel like I have a direction. THANK YOU for sharing all this information. I am revamping my website, narrowing down my products, and preparing to go out and meet people and market what I offer. Thank you, thank you for taking the time and posting this.

  31. Mark is the ultimate professional. He keeps an incredibly positive attitude and doesn’t let you get away with anything but your best.

    I worked with Mark on a small project a couple of years ago, and he was probably one of the best art directors I’ve ever had.

    Save those receipts!

  32. Great Talk……applies to all businesses in art and the creative field. As a fine artist, with a degree in Business, business is very important.
    We need accountability to get things done and take action. My action is to cancel vanity galleries who ask for money and not really market your work and work on setting up a real gallery who will work with you, trust you and want you to succeed.

  33. Hey Carlos, Thanks so much for the video and the gentle but firm kick in the butt! My take away from the video featuring Mark Simon is that I need to get out to more networking and business events that would need the work that I do and become more involved! Thanks again!

  34. Thanks Mark, the key is to find a place supports your beliefs and goals and stay plugged in and active. Thanks for being part of our small but committed community.

  35. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from this interview is to be intentional in everything I do. As professional artists and entrepreneurs, we need to be goal oriented and not allow life or the status quo to dictate its agenda to us. We need to reject assumptions of a tough economy, starving artists, the idea that charging more and making money is inherently bad, etc. Such assumptions are excuses tempting us to give less and eventually give up the fight without taking personal responsibility.
    The other big lesson I got from this interview was the value of trust – being intentional in building trust. Starting with trust in yourself and your abilities to be the best and confidently charge appropriately, to be an authority and expert on the type of art solutions we provide, and to consistently accomplish the goals we set out to, demonstrating consistency. Marketing not only gets your name out there but builds familiarity and trust- especially with sending value added content, interacting with the community and repeated client interaction. Trust is more valuable than the content we create because clients value trust over all else!
    I love how the ideas Mark gave often run contrary to popular opinion, and yet when given an opportunity, make total sense. I learned much more but brevity is not a strong-suite so I’ll end here! Thank you so much for doing the interview!

  36. Great interview with Mark Simon, Carlos, tons of fantastic info! I was listening to Mark talk about sending out promos more than once while working on a pencil for a new client. I got this job by sending out multiple promos, so marketing the old fashion way still works!

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