Student Artist Becomes Entrepreneur

Davanee L. creates lively cartoon images by commission to earn extra money. (Art by Davanee L.)

During the year-long lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many people found it difficult to stay productive. However, 8th grader Davanee L. made great use of her time. She seized the possibilities that the lockdown provided and started her own art business.

As an aspiring artist, Davanee noticed others offering to create art for a fee online. When an artist does a drawing or painting of a specific subject for a specific person, it’s called a commission, and it is a great way to make money from your talent.

“A lot of people in my community do commissions,” Davanee said, “I just decided to get on the bandwagon and start making money on my art.”

Davanee’s biggest seller is something she calls an icon. These are the cheapest option and only show the heads and shoulders of a character. They are popular to use as profile pictures.

In addition to making a little money, Davanee used her time during lockdown to explore digital art. She originally worked with colored pencils and inking pens, but once the lockdown started, she began to experiment with Ibis Paint X. Now, Davanee mainly creates digital art, which is easy to deliver to clients online, although she still dabbles in traditional art, as well. 

Davanee is present on many different platforms. She has a website, a YouTube channel, and a Scratch account, along with a Twitter and Instagram account. On most of these platforms, her business name is Avian Grenade. Avian represents her interest in Ornithology, the study of birds, and Grenade comes from a fascination with WWII. The combination brings to mind a callback to Angry Birds or simply the idea that she’d like to make an impact as an artist.

Davanee switched from paper and pencil drawing to online during the lockdown. Most of her images are drawn freehand, without even using a stylus. (Davanee L.)

The best place to see her work, which she describes as cartoon style, is on her Scratch account. Her website is the place to go if you’re interested in making a purchase. There you’ll find her terms of service and pricing. Items range from three to twenty dollars, depending on the size and type of shading. 

She sells art that focuses on a variety of subjects such as animals, dragons, and sometimes humans and does either icons, half-bodies, or full-bodies. 

Although she has had some online success and could probably gain more in the future, Davanee’s final goal is not to make a profit from her art. “I just want it to grow a bit—to have more exposure to the outside world,” she said.

Her favorite part of selling the art is seeing the people’s reaction to her art. “It just really makes me happy when they get so excited to see the final product.”