So you want to become an artist, eh? Unless you come from a family of artists, you have probably heard that art is not the most profitable career there is in the world (or as they say “Art is more of a hobby, not a profession”) and thus, the stereotype of a struggling and starving artist came about.
Whether or not these preconceived notions about being an artist will apply to you, will greatly depend on you.
If you are one of the people who are really passionate about art, here are
8 tips to help you get started on the road to become an artist:
1. Decide what types of art you want to produce.
Oh art, there are so many types and forms. To become an artist you have to train forms of art that you want to produce because it will have to sustain you for a long time. Some of the different art forms that artists turn into careers are:
Cartoon and animation
Costume and fashion design
Furniture and architectural design
Graphic design and layout
Pottery and sculpting
Writer/Best Selling Author
…and so on…
2. Enrich your own vocabulary and knowledge about the art form you have chosen.
Knowledge is still power. To become an artist, you cannot just have the creativity and passion for art, but the knowledge as well. Ever noticed how artists seem to have a certain jargon when they talk to fellow artists? That “art talk” comes from the vast acquisition of some terms and training that they have had through the years. As a new person in the art field, what you can do is get educated in art by finding mentors, finding How-To videos online or through reading. Do this like your career depended on it because it does. You have to be able to understand the why’s and the how’s of art so that your art communicates. It is one thing to be able to do the technical actions and quite another to have practiced the technical actions so well that you are then able to focus on the communication that you want to get across to your audience (potential clients).
3. Do not depend on tutorials.
Tutorials show you how to do things, not why you have to do it. Limiting yourself to tutorials puts you at risk of losing inspiration and your own ideas in the process. For instance, you can be taught that you need to put light in a 45-degree angle to get the best shadow for that sketch you are doing, but you are not taught why. How will you know where else to apply the technique? In addition, what if you have to do something that has not been done in tutorials before like use an old technique or a topic that is older than you are? It would be better to think of the tutorials as supplements to your seeking of knowledge when it comes to art and not your main source of information. Find a mentor and also practice. Practice does include experimenting. There are no rules in art that say you have to do it by the book – there’s plenty of space for originality.
4. Join groups of artists that share the same interest.
Nothing beats being in the company of like-minded people. Not only do you get to make friends with fellow artists, you also get to see what has been done, expand your network, possibly have art shows together, share resources, and so on. Be wise in your choice of groups. You want a group that focuses on the good points, not a critical group that tells you what you did wrong. When a person puts his attention on the bad things he can give up on his hopes and dreams conversely when the attention is on good things, skill improves.
5. Challenge yourself to do something that scares you.
Every artist knows how important it is to stay inspired and how inspiration can be one of the hardest things to come by sometimes. When you do something that takes you out of your comfort zone, it can be a great creator of inspiration, a motivator, and an overall feel-good move. When you stop challenging yourself, you stop learning and you cannot stop learning if you want to make it big as a creative artist.
6. Know how to handle brick walls and failure.
During your journey to become an artist, you will surely feel stumped at some point. Productivity stops despite any of your best efforts, you feel like you cannot move forward. As with any career (or any life challenges for that matter), there will be times when you will fail or hit a brick wall. However, that does not mean you stop ultimately. The thing is, you have to figure out how to fail forward as John C. Maxwell puts it, “‘Failing forward’ is the ability to get back up after you’ve been knocked down, learn from your mistake, and move forward in a better direction.”
7. Figure out who you really want to be.
On the road to become an artist, it is inevitable that you have to be able to establish your own identity. Figure out who you really want to be by examining your own personal values, goals and things that inspire you the most. What kind of artist do you want to be remembered for? It is not going to come to you right away, but having an artist identity will set you apart from the newbies and bring you closer to the pros.
8. Work on improving yourself every single day.
The artists who fail are the ones who feel like there is nothing more to learn and that they are the already the best. You could be churning out the best work of your established style, but what happens if you produce the same thing over and over? Won’t people get tired and your work’s value depreciates? In art, it pays to be unique, so your works have to be a better version of the last one to keep people wanting.