Scott Martin has worked as a professional designer and animator for many years, designing packaging, creating commercials, and establishing a lucrative freelancing business as a digital artist under the moniker Burnt Toast. His business truly took off when he started designing and selling his work as NFTs.
In October of last year, Martin and his two cofounders, Jordan Castro and Evan Keast, released Doodles, an art collection made up of 10,000 NFTs that sold out in minutes. Colorful pastel-hued figures with quirky and joyous attitudes star in the Doodles series. Some of the characters are people, while others are aliens, skeletons, or mascots. Martin’s subjects frequently wear colourful and quirky accessories such as sunglasses, AirPods, and celestial halos. Since then, the collection has brought in $166.1 million in revenue.
Doodle #6914, a painting of a monkey with a golden crown, sold for $1.1 million on Jan. 5 this year and is now worth 1,500 ETH, or $3.6 million.
“I went from a quite humble paycheck to quite a ridiculous one,” Martin told Fortune. “I’m still figuring out how to live this life. I don’t even talk to my neighbor, and I was out shoveling my driveway, and he came up to me and said, ‘I saw you sold an NFT for $1.4 million.’ And I was like, ‘Uh, how do you know that?’ The cat is out of the bag.”
Here’s how he went about it.
Create a following to help you gain traction.
The difference between launching a successful NFT collection that sells out in days and not selling any at all is building a loyal audience for your artwork. Before releasing his Doodles collection, Martin built up his social media following as the digital artist Burnt Toast.
“The main focus should be on making good art and reaching a large audience,” Martin told Fortune. “Both of these require a lot of hard work and time to achieve. I was lucky enough to have been building an audience around my artwork for nearly a decade.”
Learn more about NFTs and how to use them.
Martin initially learned about NFTs when digital artist Beeple, a pseudonym for Mike Winkelmann, sold one at Christie’s in March 2021 for $69.3 million. Martin quickly realised that he could cash in on the lucrative NFT market by doing his own thing.
He kept learning more about NFTs and the artists who made them. He claims he had the good fortune of meeting Seneca, the artist behind Bored Ape Yacht Club, whose work he considered “beautiful.”
“It was so exciting to realize that digitally made content could be sold as verifiably original artwork issued by the artist,” Martin told Fortune. “I knew right away that this was a perfect fit for my work. When your work is made digitally, the only way to sell it before this was to print it as reproduction. This new advancement in tech was very exciting.”
Make digital art of your own.
Martin, like all other artists, has his own method of working.
“I usually have, like, a half-baked idea sitting in my sketchbook, and it could be for months or even years, and then just some idle Tuesday, a punch line for that drawing will sort of come to mind, and I’ll go and finish the drawing and publish it digitally,” Martin said.
Martin originally envisioned his NFTs as physical works of art that individuals might proudly display in their homes. He also wanted them to be “visually digestible” and “minimal.”
Martin enlisted the support of his network of animation experts to develop animated NFTs.
“With this new type of canvas you have the luxury of adding animation,” Martin told Fortune. “I have a good friend who goes by Alfie Motion who helps me with some of the more demanding animation tasks.”
Choose an NFT marketplace.
While there are other sites for NFT artists to sell their work, Martin chose Foundation, a marketplace that focuses on creators and high-quality art, according to Martin. He claims that while he isn’t completely committed to one platform, it was his first pick.
“Foundation is an invite-only platform,” Martin said. “Meaning that you need to be invited by an artist who is already on the platform. This helps in terms of curation on the site and maintains a higher level of quality as a whole.”
Mint your artwork and sell it.
Selling the NFT is a simple process after the real artwork is completed.
“I feel like a lot of people do get caught up in the noise and the nerdy terminology that comes with things like blockchain and tokenizing and yada yada, but you really only need a MetaMask account to create a [crypto] wallet,” Martin said. “Then you can create an account on any platform that you can tie your wallet to. And then you just create art and pay gas and minting fees and then confirm the sale.”
It is added to the blockchain by “minting” or “generating” an NFT. The Ethereum blockchain is home to the majority of NFT exchanges. NFTs can be bought, sold, and exchanged once they have been coined. Artists mint NFTs that are linked to their wallet, allowing them to keep and handle sales directly.
Your NFTs should be priced.
Martin admits that setting a price for his services was a bit of a moving goal for him.
When Doodles first launched on Oct. 17, 2021, each piece was sold for.123 ETH, or around $306. Within a month, pieces on OpenSea were selling for ranging from 1.25 ETH to 2.3 ETH, which is about $3,000 to $5,635 in today’s market. All primary Doodles purchases were completed in a matter of minutes, while the current seven-day Doodles sales average is 11.2 ETH or $27,950 per NFT.
“I’d suggest agreeing with yourself on a price you’re happy to let the work go for. Once a bid is placed, an auction is started for the following 24 hours. I’ve had work go up in price 10x during the bidding period,” Martin said.
NFTs can also appreciate in value, affecting secondary market prices.
“It’s not just me who’s making money out of it,” Martin told Fortune, in regard to the Doodles art collection.
For example, in October 2021, an NFT investor known as @cozywyatt on Twitter purchased Doodle #3772 for 8.96 ETH ($21,849) and sold it for 65 ETH ($158,503) on Jan. 13. The same investor purchased Doodle #4631 in October 2021 for.91 ETH ($2,229) and sold it on January 11 for 11 ETH ($26,823).
It doesn’t hurt to have celebrity endorsements…
Martin was pleasantly delighted as a rookie to the NFT arena when artist Steve Aoki paused one of his gigs on Jan. 12 to show off a Doodle NFT that he had purchased for $859,000.
“It was pretty exciting,” Martin said. “I want the record to show that we did not ask him to do that, he did of his own volition. But we think it’s amazing, and I feel like that’s a clear sign of NFTs entering the mainstream.”