Your artist name plays a huge part in your art business, because it will represent you and your illustrations for years to come. But what should you choose? Your real name? A pseudonym? A company name?

Here are some ideas to get you started and find THE perfect name for you! 🥰

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Emphasis on Whom or What?

Firstly, what do you focus on? On you as a person, in which case you can start with your name or a nickname like Sabrina Kaufmann in my case? Or maybe something inspired by your name, like “Sabrina’s Drawings”?

In both cases, it will be a name that puts you at the centre of your work, where people know directly who the creator is, and it can feel more direct and comfortable.

Second option, a nickname that keeps a personal root or a word that represents you, and also puts emphasis on you as the creator.

  • Example: If I remember correctly, the French mangaka Aerinn chose this nickname because her name is Irène, and an English teacher always pronounced it with an English accent as “Irene” – she took that sound literally, and made it her nickname!

Third option, you can totally remove the emphasis from yourself as an artist, and create something totally new. This is not a golden rule, but I’ve often noticed that, when the brand name is also what you call the artist, there is often a lot more proximity between the creator and the audience, like videos where people can see your face, Insta stories, live streams, meetings at conventions, even blogs or newsletters with personal artist experiences. Whereas, in the case of a more general name, we often have groups, where nobody puts themselves forward.

  • Example: I make a kinda big difference between my personal business, Sabrina Kaufmann, which is my own name and where I do whatever I want, I show my life in stories, I break down all my choices and evolution on Patreon, … and on the contrary, there is Himesama Clothing, the fashion brand that I illustrate but where there is also the graphic designer Loïc Artieri, and my assistant to support us on social media.

Having a business under my name makes me see more of what I can create on my own, whereas a business with a global name makes me feel much more open with opportunities for collaborations and expansion, because I’m not the only one involved.

Maybe this can give you an idea of the direction you want to take: so what do you want to focus on?

A name that tells a story

What image, what universe do you want to represent?

Words can be very powerful in evoking specific universes and associations, which can directly set the tone for people discovering you.

Very basic, but take your first name and add “art, watercolour, illustrations”, we know immediately in which field you are, and that can be very useful sometimes. To give you an idea of the power of words, here are some examples.

  • PHILIPPE SOMBREVAL is the pseudonym of a friend. Unless he lied to me all these years, his name is really Philippe, and that’s personal, but it’s mainly the addition “Sombreval” that evokes something more mysterious, fantastic. For the non-French speakers here, it’s a mix of “sombre”, dark, and “”val”, valley. And indeed, his universe is very fantasy and medieval oriented, which fits perfectly with his name.
  • LOIKI NIHON, manga author, has also kept his roots while reusing his first name Loïc with a little twist, and he added “Nihon” which means Japan in Japanese. When you hear this name, you make a direct link with Japan, and that’s the goal, since he’s a manga creator.
  • MY ARTBIZ ACADEMIA, my artist coaching website that unfortunately had to close, was a direct reference to My Hero Academia. The goal was to associate the project with a manga and shonen image, like fight for your dreams and we can succeed together, to attract artists who want to create manga and sell their art at artist alley, as opposed to fine arts and contemporary artists.

As you can see, words can have an impact on how someone will perceive your universe, your work, what you do.

In some cases, it can even make people want to visit your profile without even knowing what you do! Imagine you’re looking for someone to illustrate a commission, and you’re offered two names in the search bar – Sabrina Kaufmann, and Sabrina’s Artwork. Just by the name alone, guess which one you’ll click on?

A recognisable name

Yes, it’s good to stand out. Yes, many names are already taken and you need to come up with something new. But still, try to keep the name relatively simple to pronounce, and to remember.

Remember, this is how people will talk to and about you, recommend you, Google you, write your website and email addresses.

Just look at some current brand names that are easily remembered by everyone: Dior, Chanel, Amazon, Sephora, Apple. So yes, they’re not artists’ names, but the brands do it right: simple and effective, and everyone remembers them easily. Like, imagine you have a website called The Mysterious Art of Sabrina Kaufmann Fantasy Illustrator dot com. Most people will have a hard time reading your business card, and be too lazy to type all of that into their browser to look you up online.

Speaking of browsers, beware of too generic names. Even if it represents you, you’ll need a lot of effort to get listed and found on Google if people are looking for you. Like, if I had chosen something like “Sabrina Art”, you’ll most likely only find artwork with Sabrina the Witch’s Apprentice, and it would have been very hard to stand out against that.

Again, people are lazy and even if they’re interested, if they don’t find you directly in their Google search, they’ll give up.

Speaking of easily understandable, also think about your audience: local, or international?

  • Example: an American who doesn’t understand French will have a hard time remembering “Les Dessins de Sabrina” because it doesn’t sound the least like “Sabrina’s Drawings”. Likewise, for My ArtBiz Academia, my English-speaking audience thought the reference was great, and one day, I had a French interview where the host suddenly said: “So, tell us about … uuuh… Miii Arbéis Académie?

A name that makes you proud

Your artist name, or brand name, especially if you plan to stay in the business for a long time, will follow you everywhere, so you have to be at least a little bit proud of it and it’s not a decision you can make on a whim. When you brainstorm ideas on paper, it looks pretty cool sometimes. But I always advise you to say it out loud, as if you were introducing yourself – because that often changes the game.

Fun story, my very first nickname at fourteen was Gothic-Succubus. Because I had discovered the manga Rosario + Vampire and I was going through my dark teenage phase. At the time, it sounded cool, but like that meaning? The femme fatale who seduces men in their dreams? Yeah, I was drawing gothic fantasy worlds, but seriously, that’s so not me?

So, while I kept that blog I didn’t want people to call me “Succubus”, and I didn’t want to reveal my real name, so I opted for the nickname “Nyasa Ayase” soon after. On my written blog it was fine, but when I presented my books to my teachers in high school, they would sometimes say, uh how do you pronounce that? And suddenly it didn’t sound like such a great idea anymore. Eventually, when I got tired of complicating my life, and just went with my own name, and that’s when I felt much more confident saying it out loud. Because honestly, the others… Seriously, it makes me cringe so much now!

Especially when you’re starting out as a teenager, think about it for a loooong time before validating your artist name for the rest of your life on your website, email, business cards, flyers, convention rollups, and everything. After all, there’s a lot of money involved when you get everything printed, when you buy domain names, and nothing is worse than having a whole stock of prints with a name and links you don’t use anymore.

get a name that makes you proud, because it will greatly influence your self-confidence, and therefore, how you present yourself to people.

A consistent name

Once you’ve decided on a name, if you want people to find you everywhere, stay consistent on all platforms as much as possible. That means not calling yourself Sabrina Kaufmann on your website, but Sabrina 1 2 3 on Instagram, and Sabrina’s Drawings @, and SK Drawings on Twitter…. where’s the consistency?

  • Example: you find an amazing artist on a platform you don’t have, and you want to follow them so badly, but you can’t find them anywhere else, and then someday you realise they were on your favourite platform, but under a totally different name.

Now of course, there will always be platforms where your nickname is already taken, but if possible, then at least try to keep the same versions as much as possible to stay recognizable. For instance, I use Sabrina Kaufmann for my name, personal website, Ko-Fi, YouTube, and if it’s taken, it’s on Instagram and Facebook.

Consistency is super important to find you wherever you go.


So – now your turn, I’d love to read from you! What would you like to represent with your future artist name? If you already have one, how did you choose it? Does it have any special meaning?

Leave a comment to inspire the other people here, and why not share your social media to find you too!

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