Can it count that I was kind of working on Wednesday? Also that my computer was unavailable to me? Heck yes!
An awesome friend of mine has a career in the medical world. She wants to raise money by throwing a fundraiser for her office. She wants to have one of those paint and sip parties. She asked me to teach.
Networking sounded so stupid to me in college? Like why would I pretend to enjoy small talk with a stranger so I can give them my business card? But this is technically networking? Also, I love my friends. And that they’re thinking of me.
I don’t know if her idea will get approved, but I can’t not think about something once it’s in my head.
I want to teach something easy, but REALLY impressive looking. Something with mass appeal. All my brain keeps coming up with is sunsets. Or paintings where you peel the tape off later and come up with something cool. Or a galaxy? A galaxy could be fun.
This totally counts.
So as I recall, I ended last week not knowing whether or not I had to pay taxes on a quarterly (or even monthly!) basis on my art generated income.
So I found this which both made me happy and sad at the same time.
Basically, as I am an individual (and not a corporation), unless I expect to owe more than $1,000 in taxes, I have to pay yearly. More than that, it’s quarterly.
Also, unrelated, how am I supposed to know how much I expect to owe in taxes? Since this income is extra, I’d say save half of whatever I make and take a guess. I suppose I could fill out the forms I mentioned last week, which I’m totally not going to do because I’ve made less than $300 on my art this year…so there’s no way I owe more than $1,000 in taxes.
I will keep all of this in mind when I really get serious about selling stuff. But for now, I just plan on learning as much as possible.
Curiosity killed the cat, but the satisfaction of its discovery brought it back.
I went to school for accounting; I took tax classes. I hated it. Our professor told us the one thing he hoped we would get out of the class was: “hire a tax accountant to do your taxes.” For real. So my grasp on taxes is shaky. I know enough to terrify myself. I know enough to know that I’m doing something wrong, but not enough to know how to do it right.
But it’s working Wednesday and I needed something to do. So I’m researching taxes.
I started at IRS.gov. I feel like they’re trying to be helpful, but it still makes my head hurt. I found this link on figuring out if you’re subject to self employment income. I tried to take it on my phone. Then I lost data and had to take it later. I have MANY questions. I mean…I go to church, does that mean I’m a member of a religious order? Am I a sole proprietor? Who uses the word proprietor in real life?
Ultimately, it told me that I don’t owe self-employment tax because I chose hobby, but I also chose Other because there are things I do that I don’t consider a hobby. Like odd jobs. House sitting, cleaning, stuff like that.
So I went on to Publication 334 (which is just such a bureaucratic name) and basically, if I make over $400, I have to pay self-employment taxes.
But…then how? I mean, I am so used to the go to an accountant (I took my professor’s advice) in February or March and give them my W2 and whatever really basic forms are needed and be done with it thing. If someone’s not making my form for me (like my employer) where do I even start? I REALLY want to do things the right way.
So I Googled. I really wanted to do everything through IRS.gov…but I just couldn’t. I found THIS SITE which made me feel a little better. It listed out how to account for odd jobs. There’s the Schedule C and and EZ. You fill out the simpler one (EZ, obviously) if you made under $5,000. Anything above, and you’re onto the more complex one. Oh, also, if you do handyman work one day and babysitting another, you have to fill out a new form FOR EACH TYPE OF JOB YOU DO. My future accountant is going to LOVE me.
But that’s only the beginning of the forms. Because that’s just for figuring out your profits (I think?). THEN THERE’s THE Schedule SE (1040) that you fill out to put on your normal 1040. I read the instructions which didn’t tell me when I need to file or how often. From some prior experience, I know that a lot of people file quarterly or monthly. But I don’t know why.
I will continue untangling this web, hopefully next week. I feel (a little) better having done some research. It’s not Mount Everest, but it’s still a pretty steep hill.
Also, now I know I need a printer. Or a scanner. Or to start handwriting invoices.
I have to admit that I’m a little underplanned today.
Working isn’t just me doing art, there’s a different side to it. A side that terrifies me. A side that I should be WAY more comfortable with considering my background. I’m an accounting major. Do you know what scares me?
Specifically selling my art taxes. Like, I know when you’re self-employed you pay the full amount for social security and whatever. Got that. But what about sales tax? Also, do I need to be making invoices? What about contracts? Oh my gosh, I’m giving myself a panic attack.
It seems like way too much to handle.
But lots of people do it. Which means I can figure it out.
So now my plan is to slowly study taxes (I mean, come on, I went to school for stuff like this) and to do that thing where by teaching others, you become an expert in something.
What I would love to do if I wasn’t so terrified of talking to people, would be to interview artists who make money from their art and small business owners and just figure out how the heck they do what they do.
But until then, I’ll be studying taxes on the internet.
Also, I happily take advice.
My major project right now (because I’m not really out there hustling for art projects like I should be) is an album cover for my husband’s band. I’ve been putting it off and putting it off, and I’ve had multiple ideas, but I’m starting to solidify them. Which is good because he’s almost done mixing. He’s a perfectionist, I totally have lots of time.
Here’s where I started with the idea that I really, really like more than any of the other ideas:
You can see some prototype ideas that I was working through. I’m still torn on a few of them because I’m not sure what I want my ultimate medium to be. Maybe paint, maybe charcoal, maybe photograph.
So I made a new sketch using Google search results for “skinny male guy” which is not even the weirdest thing I’ve Googled today. Also, the one I used most was calling skinny male models ugly? Rude.
My sketch was fine, but clearly that’s not the size and shape of traditional album art.
So obviously I drew lines and then attempted to erase them. This is only a sample, so any professionalism I have is out the window. Also. I have no professionalism.
So I laid in some details and some colors:
Added in the album name and realized I should have done it in pencil first AND I totally shouldn’t have used the awful pastel crayon things from the generic “art box” someone thoughtfully gifted me even though they don’t know anything about art and I feel so bad for disparaging their gift and just typing it is making me feel so guilty.
I then showed my husband. But…he had an idea. Which resulted in my attempting to punch a piece of paper unsuccessfully.
I was just trying to make a reference. He wanted skinny model to be holding a piece of paper with a hole shot through it.
So I laid down a new sketch. With less enthusiasm. It was getting awfully close to my bedtime.
He likes it better. Even down to the style (????). His band. His rules.
In any case, I’m so going to make it giant. And I’m so excited I might take a day off of work to do that.
I have a cool special thing that I do at my church. I get to pray for youth leaders and their youth. Someone told me I should draw for them when I pray. So I do. For now, I just draw their name. The mighty creative juices at work, haha.
Does it count as work if you’re not getting paid? Totally. So it qualifies.
I start by looking up the meaning of their name. I think names meaning something is so cool. For example, the name Elainey is a form of Helen which means light. I always really hope that something didn’t get typoed on its way to me. Fingers crossed! Then I draw a few thumbnails to get me thinking. Note the vague sketches and dog hair stuck to the notepad.
The last sketch I drew I liked best (why keep going when you know what you want?). And that’s the one in the top left corner.
So I laid down the lines:
And then I do a rough sketch of the name, erasing and changing as I go:
What a nice blurry picture that I cannot go back in time to fix. Yay for smart phones. I’m not going to ever tell you I’m a perfectionist.
At this point I start inking the name after making some changes:
It’s all right. I don’t like the balance. There’s too much white before the E, but I didn’t want to go too far to the left and make it too small. I wanted the word go up because that seems happy. For the E to be big, it would have to slope down.
And I’m done.