Scott Martin has been a successful artist and animator for years, designing packaging, creating commercials, and building a successful freelance career as a digital artist under the alias Burnt Toast. But it’s when he started designing and selling his art as NFTs that his career really took off.
Martin and his two cofounders, Jordan Castro and Evan Keast, launched an art collection called Doodles in October of last year, made up of 10,000 NFTs which sold out in minutes. The Doodles series includes colorful pastel-hued characters with whimsical and joyful expressions. Some are humans, and others are aliens, skeletons, and mascots. The subjects of Martin’s artwork often have playful and unique accessories like sunglasses, AirPods, and angelic halos. The collection has since done $166.1 million in sales.
One of the NFTs, Doodle #6914, a depiction of a monkey with a golden crown, sold for $1.1 million on Jan. 5 of this year, and is currently valued at 1,500 ETH, the equivalent of $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 did it.
Build a following for easier momentum
Building a loyal audience for your artwork can be the difference between launching a successful NFT collection that sells out in days, or not selling any at all. Martin built up his social media audience for years as the digital artist Burnt Toast before he released his Doodles collection.
“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 enter the space
Martin first became aware of NFTs when the digital artist Beeple, a working alias for Mike Winkelmann, sold an NFT for $69.3 million at Christie’s in March of 2021. Martin quickly came to the conclusion that he could also enter the highly profitable NFT space with his own work.
He continued to educate himself about NFTs and the artists creating them. He says he was lucky enough to meet the artist behind Bored Ape Yacht Club, Seneca, whose work he found “stunning.”
“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.”
Create your own digital art
Martin, like all artists, has his own process.
“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 first imagined his NFTs as tangible wall art that people could proudly display in their home. It was also his goal to have them be “visually digestible and minimal.”
To create animated NFTs, Martin reached out to his network of animation experts for help.
“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.”
Select an NFT marketplace
While there are many platforms available for NFT artists to sell their work, Martin opted for Foundation, a marketplace that he says centers creators and high-quality art. While he isn’t exclusively married to one platform, he says it was his top choice.
“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 and sell your artwork
After the actual artwork is created, selling the NFT is a simple process.
“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.”
“Minting” or creating an NFT is how it becomes part of the blockchain. Most NFT marketplaces exist on the Ethereum blockchain. Once NFTs are minted, they can be bought, sold, and traded. NFTs that artists mint are tied directly to their wallet, which means they can hold and manage sales directly.
Price your NFTs
Martin says that pricing his work was a bit of a moving target.
On Oct. 17, 2021, when Doodles launched, the group sold each piece for .123 ETH, which is approximately $306. Within the month, pieces were selling for anywhere from 1.25 ETH to 2.3 ETH on OpenSea, which in today’s market is worth $3,000 to $5,635. All primary sales of Doodles were over in mere minutes, but the current seven-day sales average for Doodles 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, which affects the price of secondary sales.
“It’s not just me who’s making money out of it,” Martin told Fortune, in regard to the Doodles art collection.
For example, an NFT investor who goes by @cozywyatt on Twitter bought Doodle #3772 for 8.96 ETH or $21,849 in October 2021, and sold it for 65 ETH or $158,503 on Jan. 13. The same investor bought Doodle #4631 in October 2021 for .91 ETH or $2,219 and sold it for 11 ETH or $26,823 on Jan. 11.
Celebrity endorsements don’t hurt…
As a newcomer to the NFT space, Martin was pleasantly surprised when musician Steve Aoki halted one of his shows 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.”
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