Much, much sooner than expected

gold pendant mermaid

How do you know when to go pro? Well, when you have buyers. I already have buyers.

The past five years have been a wonderful journey. Once we reached fuck you money, my wife decided that we need to see the world. Note that once again, fuck you money doesn’t mean rich. It simply means you have enough where you don’t have to put up with bullshit. We’re not rich yet.

Then, we started seeing the world. 2014 we hit Dominican Republic. 2015, I started taking my music seriously, released an album, visited Spain, and shot our first music video. 2016, we shot three music videos and visited Alaska, Canada, Maui, and Vegas.

Then last year, the band finally flopped. I learned a lot in our comedy of errors. I am however proud of some of the music we released. But making it in music is way harder than people realize.

We did get to visit some gorgeous Caribbean islands though (owned by Colombia) last year.

And this year, my wife and I did an 11-day Mediterranean cruise. More importantly, in February of this year, my best female friend Allie and I had a talk about art. I decided to once and for all become an artist.

I spent two months drawing Allie every single day. Then in April of this year, I scoured the internet to learn what the best watercolor products were. I decided to use Daniel Smith paints and Arches watercolor paper. Ironically, I ended up preferring Blick blocks over Arches paper. Personal preference (I’m a very small minority here).

Sometimes failure is a good thing

I love music. Don’t get me wrong. Heck, look at the name of this blog.

However, we weren’t cutting it. Even before Skitz left the band, the writing was on the wall. Since 2009, I put over $100k into the band and sold less than a thousand CDs. Do the math. That’s painful!

The biggest cost was paying for the orchestral musicians and the sound engineers. Real orchestral musicians demand a lot of money. As they should.

Sound engineers aren’t exactly cheap either. They have to pay the studio’s rent and still manage to eat. Plus, they have a shitload of expensive equipment.

It hurt, but I was ready for it as we weren’t making shit.

The music videos were the straw that broke the camel’s back. Each one of them cost around $5k. Yeah, that’s cheap for a music video. But considering they got us a few views but no sales – bad business model.

I’ll always do music…

But, it will no longer be my main priority. When I started drawing Allie, my wife and Allie became my two biggest fans. They both encouraged me to take it seriously.

I’m not a natural artist. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ve already heard my spiel about talent. In case you haven’t, I’ve always said that talent just means you have to put in 5-10% less work than the average person. In extreme cases, 20%. But, you still have to do the work.

I’m talented musically. I picked up guitar really fast. I was already at a professional level in only two years. Professional level means I could play any cover with relative ease, including some pretty difficult pieces.

Lines and circles

I’m not talented artistically. Even before I started drawing Allie, I tried here and there to draw. In my early 40s, I was still drawing like a little kid. Then, I read some lady’s blog about succeeding in art. She said that if you have no artistic talent, then continually practice drawing lines and circles. After all, everything you see is a line or a circle.

Do it daily until your lines and circles look like lines and circles. Of course at first, my lines and circles looked like a little kid drew them. After awhile, they looked acceptable.

I’m not going to show you my February and March drawings of Allie. They were bad. Real bad.

But when you draw several hours a day, you’re going to improve. By the time I got around to painting in April, my drawings looked somewhat decent.

The bouncer

I’m not going to say his name and I’m not going to say the club. It’s a popular club in the San Francisco area that has live music and also sells artwork.

I’m friends with one of the bouncers. I showed him my artwork last month. He took a good look at it, knowing I’ve been doing it for less than a year, and said that I’m already better than half of the people who actually sell their artwork at the club.

Much sooner than expected

And this, my friends, is when I realized it’s time to go professional. Yes, it was much sooner than expected. I set a goal to go pro in 2020. It’s currently November 2018. I already have buyers. Yes, actual buyers.

I’m going to ask each one for a huge favor. I’m going to work on a website soon to sell my art. I need testimonials. Testimonials are everything for a new artist. When potential buyers see that other people love the work, it really helps the sale. (Or so I was told. I don’t know what I’m talking about. I haven’t even started the site yet. But if they really do work, I’ll let you know).

One of the buyers is a professional blogger. He gets thousands of unique visitors a day on his blog. He’s the main guy I want a testimonial from. I may have to bribe him with a really good bottle of Scotch. (Any suggestions?)

Another of my buyers sells jewelry online and makes money that way. Maybe what I ought to do is offer them links to their respective websites from the testimonial. Heh. It’s funny. I haven’t even started this website yet. I’m just brainstorming right now. The buyers are people I know who I’ve shown the works to and they wanted to put them up in their homes.

So that’s it, my friends. That’s the measure of when to go pro as an artist. When you show the works to people and they start asking how much you want to sell them for, then they actually hand you cash, it’s time for you to go pro.

And for my regular readers, I see the numbers. I know there are a lot of you. Thank you for following me on this journey so far. I hope this website has at least entertained to and at best taught you something useful.


Roman is an artist, composer, writer, and travel junkie.

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