PK 155: How to Become a Fantasy Illustrator. Interview With Fantasy Artist, Crystal Sully.

PK 155: How to Become a Fantasy Illustrator. Interview With Fantasy Artist, Crystal Sully. 2 pk 155 how to become a fantasy illustrator pencil kings podcast

Want to know more about how to become a fantasy illustrator?

In this week’s artist interview, fantasy illustrator, Crystal Sully, reveals how she’s turned her love of drawing dragons into a successful creative career.

You’ll hear about her early career as an artist, and the numerous projects she’s worked on, such as Elder Scrolls, The Dragon Lords Book Series, Lord of the Rings TCG and more.

Crystal will be sharing her experiences of exhibiting at art conventions, and how she’s grown her audience via social media and targeting marketing. So, if you’ve been wondering how to make a living from making the art you love, you’ll find stacks of great advice in this interview to help you take the next steps.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, she’ll also be talking about her Kickstarter project, The Untamed Beastiary book, and revealing details about all the exciting goodies on offer for fans of her art.

How to Become a Fantasy Illustrator – Crystal Sully’s Story


“Find that thing that makes your heart sing (it sounds so cheesy, I know!); that thing you could draw or paint forever. Find a way to do that, and then market that and find which people buy that…and you’ll be golden!

~ Crystal Sully.

Interview Chapters:


Introduction and Overview

Your host, Mitch Bowler, introduces today’s guest, Crystal Sully, a fantasy illustrator from Colorado.

In this chapter, she talks about her exciting Kickstarter project, The Untamed Beastiary book, and her journey as a professional artist so far.


What has Crystal Learned Through Exhibiting at Art Conventions?

When she first started exhibiting at comic conventions a few years ago, Crystal says she ‘had no idea what she was doing’.

Since then, though, she’s steadily built up a huge fan base of people who want to buy her work, and has learned some valuable lessons about how to market your work at such events.

And, in this chapter, she shares them with you.


Conventions Have Become Increasingly Commercialised. Has This Affected Her Sales?

Comic conventions have changed considerably over the last 10 years, with many artists complaining that they’re losing sales to large corporations such as Marvel.

What’s Crystal’s take on this…and has she been affected by it?


Did Crystal Always Want to Draw Dragons?

These days, Crystal has built up a large following thanks to her lavishly illustrated dragons and other mythical creatures.

But did she start off drawing these…or is it something she just found herself doing?

In this section, you’ll hear about her early days in art school and how she’s turned a lifelong passion into something which she can earn a decent living from.


How Did Art Conventions Lead to Her Producing a Book?

Crystal first had the idea for her book about two years ago, but how did this come about?

In this chapter, you’ll hear how her client work played a large part in inspiring her, and how seeing the demand for her work at conventions gave her the motivation she needed.


Why Did Crystal Launch Her Book With a Kickstarter Project?

Launching a Kickstarter project doesn’t always equal success.

So what made Crystal decide to go down the self-publishing route?

In this section, she talks about her book, The Untamed Beastiary, and how this project has taken shape over the last two years.

This fearsome dragon is just one of the untamed beasts you’ll meet in Crystal’s book


What Are The Perks For People Who Back Her Kickstarter?

No Kickstarter campaign is complete without a whole stash of exclusive goodies for potential buyers to get excited about.

So what can people who back Crystal’s campaign expect to receive in the mail? You’ll find out in this chapter.


Where Can You Find Out More About The Untamed Beastiary Book?

Want to find out more about how to back Crystal’s Kickstarter project and get your hands on a copy of The Untamed Beastiary Book? The links you’ll need are in this section.


What Does The Timeline For a Kickstarter Project Look Like?

Launching a successful Kickstarter project can take a huge amount of time and effort.

In this chapter, Crystal shares a fascinating insight into what happens behind the scenes, and the complicated logistics behind every successful launch.

Like she says, it’s a lot of hard work, but the end result can be incredibly rewarding if you stick at it.


Which Audience is The Untamed Beastiary Book Aimed at?

Knowing your audience is a crucial part of any marketing plan – especially if you want to earn a living as an artist.

So who did Crystal have in mind when she started working on her book?

In this chapter, you’ll learn about the importance of aiming your work at one particular audience, but still keeping general appeal in mind.


How Has Crystal Built Her Following on Social Media?

Building a large following on social media enables you to reach out to more people as an artist – the people who could potentially buy your work.

But how do you go about doing this and which platform is right for you?

In this section, Crystal shares some incredible useful insights about using social media, and explains why Facebook turned out to be the best channel when promoting her art and her Kickstarter project.


What’s The Scariest Part of Launching a Kickstarter Campaign?

Most artists are familiar with the saying ‘If it scares you, do it’, but what does it actually feel like to step outside your comfort zone and take on something as huge as a Kickstarter campaign?

In this chapter, Crystal talks openly and honestly about the challenges she faced while working on this project…but reveals why she’s so glad she completed it.



Mitch wraps up today’s interview with Crystal Sully, and she shares some final words of inspiration for all you artists out there.

We hope this week’s interview with Crystal has helped you learn more about how to become a fantasy illustrator.

Have you ever exhibited your work at a comic convention?

Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below – we’d love to hear from you!

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