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Looking for some meaningful and practical gift ideas that your artsy friend/significant other/family member would absolutely love to receive this Christmas? What items could help encourage an artist to keep creating and pursuing his/her creative passions?
First and foremost, I'd like to take a moment to thank you for reading this post, as it most likely means that you're interested in celebrating your friend or loved one's individuality and passion for art, and want to encourage him/her to keep going. As an artist myself, I can tell you that knowing people close to me support my decision to pursue art means everything, especially when one is just starting out.
I'm all about encouraging fellow artists to keep going because I 100% believe the world would be a better place with more art and artists in it.
All this said, no matter how mysterious and complex people make us artists to be, we're honestly an easy bunch to buy presents for. Not only do we tend to wear our hearts (and minds) on our sleeves more than others, but there are things we need to constantly replace in order to keep feeding our need for creation.
We also need to constantly seek ways to stay inspired and motivated, and a huge variety of things can get our creative minds going.
In this blog post, I'll be sharing a list of ten awesome gift ideas that your artistic friend will absolutely love. I've made sure to include options for both males and females, as well as an explanation as to why each item is so great.
Perfect Gifts for Artists on Amazon and Artist Merch Studio
I personally love buying art supplies, as well as Christmas gifts for my loved ones from the comfort of my own home through Amazon.
Another awesome option is getting a little something for your loved one over at my new Etsy shop, Artist Merch Studio! I'm filling up the shop with statement tees and mugs that are created especially for painters, illustrators and crafters.
Click on the images below to learn more about each item on this list.
Gift for artists over at Artist Merch Studio!
1. A Sketchbook (or Two)
An artist can only paint as well as he/she can draw, and keeping sketchbooks is a great way for us to continue sharpening our drawing and observational skills throughout our journeys. Not to mention, sketchbooks are portable, allowing us to stay creative wherever we go, and provide a chronological record of our progress that we'll keep forever.
You can honestly never go wrong with giving an artist a sketchbook.
Find out more about why sketchbooks are such an essential part of an artist's journey in this blog post.
2. A Statement Cell Phone Case
Not only do artists love making their passions known to those around them, but many of us working artists actually depend on it. Especially when an artist is just starting out, it's incredibly important to get the word out about what it is we do so that we can start building up those connections and experience.
An eye-catching statement accessory like this artsy cell phone case is a great way for us to transmit our originality and love for art, but also encourages other people to strike up a conversation with us.
3. A Leather Pencil/Paintbrush Case
An artist's supplies are his/her tools for creation, and they must be taken care of. This can definitely be a challenge when we do sketching and painting outside of our studios. A quality paintbrush case or pouch like this canvas roll-up ensures that our favorite paintbrushes will be kept safe.
I love the practicality of a roll-up pouch like this one, as there is no space wasted and paintbrushes can be organized/kept in place perfectly.
Gift for artists over at Artist Merch Studio!
4. A Painter's Apron
The struggle is real for us artists to keep our clothes free of paint, which can be a problem because a lot of us prefer to spend our money on more art supplies, than on new clothes!
A canvas apron like this one is durable, wraps around the back for a higher level of protection, and I love that it includes different pockets for paintbrushes, rags and other things we might need to have on hand while painting. It's perfect for both males and females.
5. Highly Moisturizing Hand Lotion
Hand lotion is a total must for artists, especially in the winter time. We're constantly washing paint and other harsh liquids off our hands, which makes them extremely dry and itchy. I personally have bottles everywhere, including my studio, and always carry a tube with my in my bag.
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day line offers a variety of scents like Lavender, Lemon Verbena, and Peppermint. They are perfect for those of us who need a higher amount of protection/moisture, as they are created especially for people who work with their hands.
We must take care of our hands because without them we can't create!
6. Artist Socks
What better way to keep your feet warm this Winter than by wrapping them in some bright and colorful art?
A pair of these socks will not only keep your artist friend warm and cozy while working in the studio, but will also remind him/her to remember to have fun!
Us artists can get pretty intense (and self-berating) while creating, and it's so important to remember to laugh and not take ourselves too seriously.
7. A Color Wheel Umbrella
An umbrella like this one is not only beautiful and inspiring to look at, but is also large and sturdy to help us keep our work safe when walking to and from vehicles in the pouring rain (which can be very challenging).
What better way to let that artist in your life know that you're there for him/her than providing a canopy of protection from the rain?
8. An Inspiring Enamel Pin
On the lookout for something small, but meaningful? Enamel pins are all the rage now-a-days and are a perfect little surprise that your artsy friend will be able to actually wear or stick on his/her bag while out and about.
This is another perfect accessory that can not only help us express our individuality and love for art, but can also be a conversational piece. Making time for conversation with others is essential for us, especially because artists tend to be alone a lot.
Some of us forget what it's like to talk with others.
9. A Helpful Art Book
An artist's life can definitely get lonely and sometimes we need to be reminded of how others have gone through what we're going through. We also need to be inspired by stories from other artists who have reached success so that we can keep working hard to make our dreams come true.
Both of the books above are, in my opinion, must-reads for any serious artist.
Living and Sustaining a Creative Life is a compilation of 40 personal stories/essays by working artists. Each one of them shares his/her own experiences and struggles as they have pursued making a living as an artist. This book helps us understand the reality of what it's like to sustain a professional creative career over time.
Art and Fear is a very popular book amongst creatives of all kinds. This book tackles artistic insecurities, and the internal and external challenges that professional artists face throughout their journeys. Finishing projects, getting our work out there and receiving critique are difficult tasks that artists must learn how to do/handle. This is a book to read over and over again.
10. An Easel
As a painter myself, I have a variety of easels. I enjoy standing when I'm creating my larger pieces, but a desk easel like this one is absolutely perfect for smaller and more relaxing works to enjoy on weekend mornings. Switching from one easel to another is a great way to reset my mind from a piece I'm creating for selling purposes, and one I'm creating for myself.
This easel is sleek, sturdy, and is perfectly sized, even for beginner artists working in a small studio.
What benefits does buying original art have over buying prints or reproductions? How do you go about finding an original art piece to bring into your home? What are the main things to have in mind when selecting a painting? How does one care for original wall art?
If you're a visual/creative person like I am, you're probably well aware of how your surroundings can affect your mood and even your daily productivity levels. At the same time, it's likely important to you that your home (being an extension of yourself) is able to transmit your personality and individuality.
You probably like to live your days in an inspired state of mind and simultaneously enjoy bringing inspiration to others with your distinct style and ideas.
You know that your home is a big part of your life. It's your place of relaxation, where you entertain loved ones, and where you make important memories.
It may even be your place of work (high-five!) or the space where you bring up your family and keep them protected.
In their article titled 9 Benefits of Art in the Home and How to Curate a Collection, thezebra.com shares how having artwork up on our walls has benefits such as: lowering our stress levels, promoting critical thinking, supporting local artists, amongst many others.
Because of all of these reasons, it's important to take the time to make our space our own.
Many of us can fall into thinking that collecting original fine art is only for people who have lots of money to spend. However, with the Internet, it's easier than ever to find amazing decorative artwork at all price points.
Moreover, the options are vast ranging from cheaper pieces that add a touch of life to a room, to vintage pieces that could add even more diversity to your investment portfolio. Furthermore, we're also able to connect with galleries and artists directly!
We can easily start our own art collections composed of a mix of pieces that speak to us and transmit who we are to the world.
We can find affordable art prints that we can hang up nearly immediately, as well as original paintings that no one else has and will last for generations to come.
Lots of people are ready to invest in an original piece but feel it's easier to decorate with cheaper, mass-produced art, or are overwhelmed because they don't have experience visiting galleries or simple are too shy to build relationships with artists directly.
In today's guest post, Madeline Dudziak, who writes for macfineart.com, is going to share some valuable tips on decorating with original fine art, as well as information that will help demystify the art-buying process.
Let's get into her article!
How to Choose Artwork for Interior Decorating (5 Valuable Tips)
by Madeline Dudziak
Once you’ve had a chance to settle into your home, you may begin to tire of the box store’s mass produced “Live, Laugh, Love” decor and may be longing for some proper art.
It can be so hard to choose though and there are so many options when it comes to finding the right art pieces for a room, that it can get a bit overwhelming.
When you’re first setting out down the road of fine art, you may feel out of place scoping out galleries to find a painting that speaks to you or that will suit a room in a way that will both let your personality shine and showcase the piece simultaneously.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to choose the right painting for your space, the next five tips will make the process easier!
1. Be Inspired
The first rule of thumb when selecting an artwork is to not stress about the decision. Unless you have a strict timeline, it’s unrealistic to think you'll just walk into a gallery, immediately find something you love, and hang it on your wall that evening.
There are many things to consider when looking to decorate and taking them all into consideration is important.
What emotion do you want your art to evoke?
Are you leaning towards a specific art style?
Is there are color palette you are trying to work within?
What feel/style do the furniture and other elements in the room already have?
Starting an art collection is easier than ever. You can seek new artists in local art events and social media, as well as browsing galleries both in person and online until you come across pieces that speak to you.
Follow these artists and galleries so that you can stay up-to-date with new work being shared.
If you're reading this article, chances are you're a visual, creative being. You're probably already aware that your surroundings can have a strong impact on how you think and feel.
Being surrounded by art that speaks to you is incredibly inspiring and can improve your own creativity. Paintings can be expressive of your personality and feeling, but they can also prompt you to work harder and feel better in your day-to-day life.
While art can be considered an investment, if you start buying paintings just to make money in the future, you’re rather missing the point and the opportunity to cultivate a higher appreciation for art.
Sometimes art can be used as a social status but don’t let keeping up with Jones’ stop you from buying pieces that you adore. While you hope your guests will feel similarly inspired by your home’s artistic style, ultimately you want to surround yourself with art that speaks to you.
Your home is an extension of yourself and should represent who you are.
Check out more tips on finding art that's right for you in this article over at thezebra.com
2. Seek Unique
While it can be practical (and cheap) to buy mass-produced art reproductions, there's nothing like being the sole owner of an original art piece that can be handed down for generations to come.
Nothing compares to the feeling of owning an original painting that an artist spent hours upon hours creating and has a piece of them in it. Not to mention, you'll be hard-pressed to find a reproduction that can outlast a well-made painting.
This said, you certainly don’t want to spend your time, effort and money on a piece that was sold to you as an original and really isn't. This is why it's important to visit reputable art galleries or go straight to an artist.
Whether you hope to become a collector or you just want to have one great piece of art in your home, buying original paintings from artists you love is easier than ever before.
The Internet gives us the ability to personally reach out to galleries and artists all around the world with whom you can establish connections and build relationships with over time.
3. Size Matters
Acquiring smaller pieces or quality reproductions may be a great way to start your collection and developing a relationship with an artist or gallery, but it's important to acknowledge that they have a tendency to get lost in a room.
You don’t want your art to look like a tiny island in a sea of a wall, light fixtures and book shelves. Most likely, if you're going to invest in an original artwork, you want it to be a focal point in your room. So go ahead and look at larger pieces! Showcase your favorite art and bring a new life to your space.
Of course, there are areas and rooms in any home that can accommodate smaller paintings, too. Think of entryways, bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, etc.
A good rule of thumb is you want your wall art to cover ⅔-¾ of your wall. Measure the height and width of your wall and multiply those numbers by .57. That will give you the smallest dimensions you should be looking for.
If that is much too large for you, you can always opt to create a gallery wall or group art together to cover the necessary space. Some artists even have groupings of paintings that are sold as a set, so keep an eye out for art like that, especially if you have a lot of space to fill.
4. Hanging Your Art Properly
Don’t just eyeball it and pound a nail. If you’re going to put in the time and effort to buy an amazing art piece that you love, make sure you're giving it the respect it deserves and hang it up properly.
While certainly a room’s architectural design (wall height/width, location of windows, etc.) may dictate where the frame should rest, you will want to carefully consider what wall and specific location the piece should be installed in.
Consider the furniture and accessories you already have in the room. Does it make sense to leave them where they are, or will the room work better as a whole if things are moved around now that you have an important focal point in your decor?
Another huge element to consider is lighting!
I highly recommend installing the art piece on a wall that receives little to no direct sunlight. Sun rays can drain a picture of its vibrant color, which is the last thing you want. If you have a room with a lot of windows and sunlight that needs art, make sure to frame it using specialized UV acrylic plexiglass which will protect the paint from fading.
While there are exceptions to any rule, you should aim for your artwork’s center to be at eye level or 57 to 60 inches from the floor.
The next formula will help guide you through this process:
First, divide the height of the frame in two. Take the resulting number and subtract the distance from the top of the frame to the hanging hardware the frame has. Add this number to 57, 58, 59 or 60. Take your sum, measure upwards from floor level to that many inches on the wall, and mount your hardware there. This should give you the proper place for hanging art at eye level.
5. Tender Care
Aside from direct sunlight, another factor that can affect the painting is humidity. Make sure you choose a room and area with low humidity and no direct contact with water. Excessive moisture can damage a painting over time.
If your art requires cleaning, simply dust it with a feather duster and leave it alone. Never use water or cleaning products, and inform yourself on cleaning instructions when you buy the piece. The gallery or artist will be happy to provide tips and recommendations.
If at any point you notice that the art is becoming damaged, immediately reach out to the gallery or artist for suggestions. If you're unable to do so, another option is reaching out to a restoration expert. Cover your art with cardboard and bubble wrap for transporting to avoid further damage.
Artistic expression and individuality are beautiful, powerful things. We're all unique and deserve to have inspiring spaces to live in that reflect who we are to our guests.
Don't hesitate reaching out to galleries or artists today and, just ask! I assure you, they'll be incredibly happy to help you, and you'll never regret starting this relationship.
Allow yourself the chance to fall in love with art and to truly appreciate the pieces you bring into your home. Anyone can become an art collector! The magic starts with only one piece.
I'd like to send out a huge thank you to Madeline for so generously providing all of this helpful information for us.
Visit macfineart.com to find amazing fine art and read more helpful art-related posts such as one titled How Color Is Used in the World of Art and Why Local Artists Are So Important (and How You Can Support Your Local Art Community).
Also, follow them on social media to find out news and when new resources are released:
Twitter : https://twitter.com/mac_fine_art
Thanks so much for reading!
If you create amazing art and share it on social media, sales will start rolling in, right? What does it really take to start getting your work and name out there as a professional artist? What marketing tactics work for artists in today's world?
As I have shared in past blog posts and YouTube videos, being a full-time artist and making regular art sales involves way more than shutting ourselves in our studios, consistently producing work and blindingly sharing on social media.
Studio time is absolutely essential, don't get me wrong.
However, so is creating meaningful connections, as well as making time to learn about business strategies, marketing and sales. At least this is the case for all of us who want to get to a point at which we're making a livable income from our work/artistic skills.
As artists, we are creative entrepreneurs.
It's imperative to make peace with the fact that we're business owners and that we're selling products and/or services.
Meaningful, unique, impactful products that we should be proud to share with those around us!
No matter how skilled we are or how amazing our work is, sustainable success implies learning about business, staying on top of boring and tedious tasks we may not want to do (such as accounting and taxes) and creating connections with other artists/art businesses/art lovers. All this has to be done while consistently producing new work and getting our message out there in a way that is professional and coherent.
This may not be something us introverts want to hear, but we need to be able to talk about our art, too. Repeat customers or collectors buy our work because they establish a connection with us, the creator of the piece, not only because the artwork is nice to look at. And we want repeat customers!
There's a lot to learn, for sure. And it can certainly be overwhelming, as well as frustrating, when we're putting in so much work and not getting the traction we're hoping for.
Learning from other artists who are farther along in their journeys, as well as from creative business experts has been a huge factor in me being able to grow both my artistic skills and my online presence, which has led to exciting opportunities and sales. And though I have a long way to go still, I'm very thankful that we have access to others who so generously share their advice with us.
Today we have an article contributed by Erica Martin, who creates educational content for ArtworkAbode and has 10 years of experience in creative writing, Graphic Design and the online world. She'll be sharing seven key things that artists should make sure to start and/or continue working on throughout their careers that will help ensure greater, sustained success.
Without further ado, let's get into her article!
7 Useful Tips to Market and Promote Your Art
by Erica Martin
Unfortunately, there are a lot of artists out there that want to make an income from their work, yet don't know enough about business, or show any interest in learning about it.
Oftentimes, they associate negative emotions like shame or fear when it comes to business and selling, and refuse to see them as areas that can be creatively fulfilling and can grow alongside their artistic skills.
Marketing and sales are instrumental in an artist's career and success over time, and the sooner one is able to embrace them, the sooner the success will come.
I've met artists that don't even know how to price their work! Some have no idea how to earn a profit from their paintings and end up losing money on sales. Others drive away potential buyers by overpricing their work.
In Erika's blog post titled Essential Tips on Taking Art Commissions, she explains two common methods used by artists when pricing their work, as well as many other important points that will help you keep healthy relationships with clients.
Here are seven key things to start doing to market your art and begin gaining the experience/connections you need to grow your brand and make sales more consistently.
1. Get in Touch with Galleries, Businesses or Event Organizers that Could Provide a Space for You to Physically Share your Art
In the art world, it’s essential to create meaningful relationships and network on a regular basis. Not only with other artists, but also with people you could work with or could offer valuable opportunities to show your work in the future.
As tempting as it may be to spend all our time sharing on social media and online communities, nothing will replace connections we create in person, especially when we're just starting to get our work known and gaining expertise.
It’s important to approach gallery owners or venues that can provide a space to display your work, as well as establish strong communication with possible collectors who have already bought from you or have expressed interest in your work.
We cannot just connect with other artists and expect to make sales this way.
Visit as many art shows or related events as you can, whether you're displaying your own art or not. Have updated marketing materials such as business cards prepared at all times.
The more events you visit, the more people you will meet, and the more likely opportunities will come your way. It's as simple as that.
If the idea of networking makes your skin crawl, try to look at it as opportunities to meet like-minded creatives or art-lovers. Do your best to stay open and always approach every new person thinking how to can provide value to him/her, as opposed to what he/she can do for you.
Be on the constant lookout for art-related events, opportunities to participate in art shows/markets, and even competitions or juried shows (if that's your thing).
Charity events, non-profits, restaurants and small businesses can also provide great opportunities to start getting your work out there.
There are also artist associations or clubs where you can meet a lot of peers. Through participating in such groups, you can learn important business tips that have worked from others, as you simultaneously grow your artistic skills and stay motivated.
2. Build a Strong Social Media Presence as a Professional Working Artist
Now-a-days, having a strong social media presence is basically essential for all kinds of businesses.
If artists don't have a professional-looking website that is updated frequently and aren't consistently sharing their work/message (in a professional manner) on social media, they are missing out on opportunities to create connections and make sales.
You can’t just close yourself in your room and think that your art will magically find its way to other people!
Luckily, social media is available for everyone. Even those who don't like the idea of investing in advertising. All social media platforms give you the option to build your profile or professional page where you can share your work and engage your target audience.
What’s even better is the fact that most social media platforms come with some basic analytics you can use for free. These tools can help you learn about who is interested in your work and help you define your target audience better, which is very important.
Experiment and do research to learn about what works on each social media channel because they are all quite different. I'd recommend to explore a few different ones that you feel called towards, and then limit yourself to a couple that you feel work best for your particular situation.
Become an expert at those and stay consistent so that you can grow your communities. You'll need an audience in order to start selling your work.
Make sure that your online participation shows you in a professional light and that you are including links or contact information everywhere. People need to know what you offer and how to contact you at all times. Follow best practices when you're creating your profiles and pages.
With ever-changing algorithms that share our posts to our followers less and less, it's even more important to make sharing quality content a priority, as well as staying up-to-date with changes.
Finally, remember that social media is meant to be "social". You want to engage with people who ask you questions and show interest in your work. It's all about building those relationships, and not only about constantly sharing or selling. You never want to appear spammy!
3. Strengthen Your Art Portfolio and Make it Available for Others
All artists need to have a strong, updated portfolio where possible customers/clients can find their work easily.
It's important that your portfolio shows your art style and includes the kind(s) of pieces you're personally interested in working on. Remember, that it's important to commission yourself.
Always be working on personal projects that excite you and make your style shine, even when you aren't having others commission you.
Carefully curate the work you include in your portfolio. As you continue progressing in your career, weed out the projects that no longer serve you or make you shine in your best light.
Make sure to include information like size, title, medium and, if the piece is available for purchase, state the price.
Write an Artist Statement describing/contextualizing your work and your story. Why do you feel compelled to create art and what sets you apart from other artists?
4. Build Your Art Blog
Building a blog (or YouTube channel) is one of the best things artists can do now-a-days in terms of online marketing, as these help you build a community around your work and your brand.
Not to mention a blog is, by definition, updated with new material frequently. This means it's one of the best ways to build a strong SEO online. I will not be getting into SEO in this post, but do know that it's an essential component behind making a website rank in Google.
Websites that aren't regularly "fed" with more content, don't have a chance of ranking when they have competition from bloggers who regularly create new content.
For any artist looking to set up an online store, knowing about SEO and keywords is key as well!
An artist's website should include a portfolio and a blog through which he/she can share the 'behind-the-scenes'. Through sharing special insights into their life and creative process, artists are able to establish deeper connections with their audience.
Let people into your process! Allow them to see the work that goes into creating your pieces and what fuels your projects.
Whenever you have new posts on your blog, you can share them on your social media channels of choice and continue feeding useful, inspiring information to your audience.
Slowly but surely, you'll build a community and create deeper connections.
5. Write a Creative Business Plan
Believe it or not, artists also need to have business plans. Don't get scared, though! They don't have to be overly complicated or extensive!
A business plan is a document which outlines all your goals, resources and actions you need to take to achieve set objectives over time.
As Erika shared in her blog post Time Management for Artists: My Secrets for Staying Consistently Productive, it’s not enough to have a vision – you need to build a smart plan and stick to it over time.
A business plan reminds you of what’s important and helps you stay on course. Some of the questions your business plan should give answers to are:
6. Regularly Revise Your Business Plan
As a creative business owner, you're going to be wearing many hats. You're also most-likely going to be plagued with new ideas (shiny objects) that pop up as you continue learning about all the moving parts in your business and try to take advantage of opportunities that pop up.
It's easy to get off-track and loose sight of your objectives.
It's important to review your business plan every so often to make sure you stay on course and continue making steady progress towards your goals. It's okay if you're going slow due to life responsibilities, just keep your artistic objectives in mind and keep taking small steps in the right direction.
A year from now, you'll be happy you pushed on!
Make sure to add both short-term and long-term goals to your business plan and make sure to assess whether you are achieving those goals. If not, revise and adjust.
Things don’t always go as planned, and there's nothing wrong with adjusting your strategy.
You're going to discover things that work and things that don't as you continue taking those steps, which means you're going to eventually have to make changes to your plan.
You'll discover factors you hadn't initially considered that are impacting your work towards your goals. Things you'll have to include into new versions of your document and continue working to improve along the way.
This is completely normal! A business is a living, breathing organism after all!
It's important to stay flexible. You may even find that new, exciting doors open up for you that take into into a path you hadn't even considered before!
7. Never Stop Networking with Art Lovers, Businesses and Other Artists
As we mentioned earlier, creating connections is essential and people need to know about what you do.
Start shouting what you do from the rooftops and growing that web of people around you that you could possibly work with, learn from or even support.
You'll go far if you make sure to come from an honest, inspired and helpful place.
Try setting a personal goal to attend art-related events once or twice a month, or whatever works for you're own situation. Stick with it over time and it'll do wonders!
Reach out to other artists online and join artist communities that will help keep you inspired and consistent.
Just remember to grow that web through both local and online actions.
Once you're able to establish a good network of people and others have gotten to know you as a reputable, hard-working artist, your work will start promoting itself.
Of course, this takes time and persistence over time, so don't get discouraged!
As with any entrepreneurial venture, it's important to stay persistent and to keep going, even when some opportunities don't pan out.
It takes time to build a name, but remember that everyone started at zero.
I hope this post was helpful!
Thanks so much to Erica Martin for so generously sharing all of this useful information with us. For more inspiring articles from Artwork Abode, visit their blog here.
Thank you for reading and I wish you much progress and enjoyment in your art journey!
Do you need to go to art school to become a highly-skilled and successful artist? What experiences do art schools provide that being self-taught doesn't? As a beginner artist going down the self-taught route, what can I do to ensure steady artistic progress and get to a point at which I'll be able to actually sell my work?
Throughout the years, I've had the honor of meeting many successful artists both online and offline. Some of them did go to art school and some of them didn't.
There are highly successful artists who didn't go to university at all and took up low-paying/low-stress jobs until they advanced their skills enough and started making an income from their art sales.
There are artists who reach success later on in life, after having completed university studies and years of working in a completely different field.
There are others who did attend art school only to realize it was a total waste of time, as they had to learn all of the techniques they were personally interested in, on their own.
There are others who did go to an amazing art school that allowed them to advance their skills immensely in an inspiring and challenging learning environment, and also created great contacts that helped them fast-forward their careers post-graduation.
Finally, I've met people who went to art school and created breathtaking work, but gave up and started on a different path after they realized that making a consistent income from art involves learning about sales and marketing, as well as being willing to push past their comfort zones.
The scenarios are really never-ending, and there is no right or wrong way to go about it.
Every artist has to forge his/her own path, depending on his/her own goals, as well as the situation they are personally in.
You need to define what success means to you personally.
Does it mean being able to create artwork your proud to share, but not necessarily earning an income from? Perhaps just a side-income?
Does it mean getting your artwork shown and sold by popular galleries?
Do you want to get known on an international level and sell on your own terms?
Does it mean earning enough of an income through art sales that you're able to live comfortably? If so, what does living comfortably for you actually entail? How much of an income would you have to be making each month in order to live that way?
Today, I'll be sharing the five key things that successful self-taught artists do since the beginning of their journeys, which enable them to make faster progress in both their cold artistic skills, as well as their confidence and ability to share and speak professionally about their art.
But first, I'd like to clarify a couple of things.
I personally did go to art school. I was lucky to be given a scholarship and was able to attend a great university through which I learned from experienced professors not only in the Graphic Design field, but also from artists teaching (very basic) drawing, painting, silk-screening and photography.
It was through university courses that I learned about Art Fundamentals, how to talk about art, experienced what it's like to create an original project from scratch and pushed myself to see a piece through until completion, which is so, incredibly important.
I leaned about the importance of sticking to deadlines, managing multiple projects simultaneously and experienced what it's like to get my work critiqued by skilled professors who literally tore my work down in front of large groups (eeek!).
This said, in terms of painting, which is how I make the majority of my income now-a-days, I'm mostly self-taught.
And though I'm thankful for having the opportunity to go to art school, based on my experience post-graduation, as well as what I've gathered from other artists who've I've had the chance of meeting, it's definitely not necessary to have an art degree in order to become successful.
Especially because, in today's world, we're able to experience and learn all of these things art schools offer through the internet. More specifically, through blog posts, video tutorials, courses offered by skilled artists who are willing to share their techniques and knowledge, and online communities.
This said, having all of this information and possibilities at our fingertips can often be confusing and overwhelming, especially when we're just getting started.
Many beginners don't know where to start or skip over fundamentals, just to be disappointed with their creations or with the fact that no one is liking/buying their work after they've put very little time and effort in.
Before getting into the tips, I want to briefly explain what being "self-taught" means to me, as there are different opinions on what this entails.
To be perfectly honest, I don't feel there's such a thing as a 100% self-taught artist.
Reason being, whoever is serious about improving in any field, will most likely be taking it upon themselves to look for material to learn from, whether it's books, videos or classes. These resources were, of course, put together by someone else and as consumers of such content, we're getting directly or indirectly influenced by them in some shape, way or form.
Most of us, even started drawing by copying other artists' work. In a sense, we were learning from other artists even back then, as we were replicating those shapes, lines, colors, etc.
Throughout our lives we've all been influenced by artists around us and were exposed to all kinds of art that were created in or before our time. And the artists who created that work were also influenced by artists around them and art that came before their time.
We're all influenced by others, whether we want to admit it or not. This goes for people who've been to art school or haven't been to art school.
We're all a wonderful mishmash created by the culture we've been brought up in, the people who've been around us throughout our lives, and the different kinds of art (design, music, literature, cinema, etc.) that have impacted us in the point and time we've been living.
For the sake of this post, however, I'll explain what I would personally consider to be a self-taught artist.
In my opinion, being a self-taught artist implies not attending art school, or any kind of academy in which a full art curriculum has been laid down for you to follow over a relatively long period of time.
A self-taught artist, for the most part, decides on his/her goals, searches for resources and learning material (whether it's books, workshops, classes, figure-drawing sessions, online courses, etc.) and goes through his/her own self-imposed "curriculum", so to speak.
Though an artist that did attend art school still has to continue doing all of these things after having obtained his/her degree in order to continue improving (the learning never stops), a self-taught artist didn't go through that initial "formal" training. *That formal training could have been amazing, or it could have been useless.
In my opinion, taking a workshop a couple of times a year, or following individual tutorials online, doesn't really count as formal or in-depth training (unless one takes a very complete course through which you're able to obtain direct feedback from the instructor).
Most likely, one-off workshops or stand-alone video tutorials will not lead to steady or significant progress unless the artist actually prioritizes his/her work enough to continue working consistently and complementing those classes or tutorials with other resources in a coherent way, depending on his/her current skill level and goals.
Short workshops or week-long art retreats are super fun, but usually, students are basically copying the instructor's techniques and are not taught Art Fundamentals, which are what will allow them to create original, visually pleasing compositions from scratch.
I know because I've taught those workshops. Because there's a very small amount of time, the instructor ends up giving his/her students the fish, instead of teaching them to fish for themselves.
The instructor's goal is (usually) to give you a taste of what creating art is like, and to facilitate an experience that will enable you to have a quick art win (oftentimes something pretty that you can take home). It's not to encourage you to find your own style or give you the tools necessary for you to make significant progress in your journey on an individual level.
Short workshops and video tutorials don't allow for adequate feedback on part of the instructor or deep conversations amongst students, which are key in order to improve at a deeper level. Oftentimes we're unable to see our own mistakes when we're just getting started. Not to mention, it's incredibly important to get used to sharing and talking about both our art, as well as art created by others.
Next, I'll be sharing five key things you can do to ensure you're getting the most out of the resources offered by the Internet and make faster, meaningful progress as an artist.
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