When local artistDaniel Davis
, he says he was really just in the market for a few friends.
"I didn't want to start a group with memberships and membership dues and be like 'this is a secret society' and all that stuff," says Davis. "I just wanted to meet other artists because I didn't know anybody here."
Davis says he met a lot of great art colleagues and friends at these events, but he still felt like there was a lack of community for comic book artists and the like in Phoenix.
With the magic of the internet and web design know-how, Davis created the website Tiny Army in 2008 for independent Arizona creators, artists, and designers to communicate with each other. After only a few months, he says there were artists popping out of the woodwork and onto the site.
Tiny Army introduced Davis to author/illustrator Christy Moeller a.k.a. "Madame M.," comic book artist Denny Riccelli, and OCHO Comics creator Eric Mengel, among many others he didn't even know existed in Arizona.
As the site base grew, Davis focused Tiny Army as a place where artists could exchange business experiences and advice on how to sell their works appropriately.
Davis organized monthly meetings for members to go to at the Art Institute of Phoenix which would give business or art strategies to attendees. Some of the meetings have taught members how to utilize Twitter, advertise on Facebook, generate plans for convention vending, and guerrilla marketing.
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"There are a lot of places you can go to be better artists," explains Davis. "But not a lot of places where you can learn to succeed at the business of being an artist."
Davis continues to promote the group of independent artists with the help of social media tools like Twitter and Facebook (and hit the jackpot by scoring a Tiny Army booth at the 2010 Phoenix Comicon).
Since then, Davis said, Tiny Army has had a massive turnout in new people and made the independent artist community grow in Arizona.
Tiny Army meets on the first Wednesday of every month at the Art Institute of Phoenix and their next meeting is scheduled for March 2. Artists can also get involved on the website forums.