Are you thinking about selling your artwork but wondering what it takes to become an artist?
In this post, you will discover 10 things you need to know to make a living as an artist.
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By the end of this post, you will know…
- How to be self-motivated
- How to set goals
- How to enhance your art skills
- Believe in your art skills
- Learn about art careers
- Self-promoting and art marketing
- How to brand your art business
- Finding your niche
- Learn who your target audience is
- Never stop trying
Become An Artist
Every artist that you admire started where you are, learning how to draw or paint, and having a dream of someday becoming a professional artist.
In the early stages, many artists starting believe their artwork is not that good and not have a clue on how to become an artist.
The artists that do succeed and accomplish their goals all have one thing in common, and that is that they have all followed the steps outlined below.
Bookmark this page for future reference if your dream is to become an artist and build a successful art business.
Be Self-motivated To Make Your Art Business Succeed
Learning how to become an artist can be intimidating and overwhelming.
In the early stages, many artists doubt their artistic abilities and become discouraged.
At that point, the reality of needing a “reel job” becomes a reality and becoming an artist starts to look like a dream and put on the backburner.
As the years go by, so many artists become frustrated with their jobs because they feel like something is missing.
Artists have a passion for communicating with their artwork, and when they are not creating art, they feel empty.
I have been involved with art for over 30 years and have met so many talented artists.
I do not think I could name one artist who became successful right out of high school or college.
The reality is that it takes time to enhance your art skills and get your name out there.
There might be a time when you have to work a full-time job to support yourself and your family or you might have to work several part-time jobs to make ends meet.
Building a successful art business does not happen overnight.
It will take time, dedication, and a lot of hard work.
But if you genuinely want to be an artist, you will put in the work even if it means you might be losing a couple of hours of sleep a night.
Prepare yourself for some ups and downs.
Your emotions will be like a rollercoaster ride.
There will be times when you feel like you are on top of the world, and there will be other times when you feel like you should give up.
Always remember that the artists who are enjoying an abundant art career are the ones who never gave up.
Stay true to yourself and always work towards your dreams even when they seem so far away.
Become An Artist By Setting Goals
Now that you know the road will be bumpy let’s talk about how to become an artist.
The first step is to know what your objectives are.
This step is so essential for your future.
If you do not know what you are working for you will never get there.
How can you develop action plans if you do not know what you are working towards?
I have talked about setting goals so many times and I feel like I can not say it enough.
Take the time now to write out your goals.
Do not wait for tomorrow because tomorrow will never come.
Do it now.
If you struggle with setting goals, grab a copy of my goal setting workbook and goal planners.
You will be happy you did.
Enhance Your Art Skills
Have you ever felt that your artwork might not be good enough?
How many times have you doubted yourself?
Every artist has been discouraged at one time or another.
The truth of the matter is that creating art is a skill, and every skill takes time to master.
The good news is that you can enhance your artistic skills quicker if you learn from others.
You might decide that you want to take college courses on:
- Visual arts
- Art theory
- Art history
If college is not for you, you can learn from other artists, art classes, art books, or even online art video tutorials.
Learn from anyone and everyone.
Practice makes perfect, so if you want to become an artist, you will have to put in the time to enhance your artistic skills.
Below are some online video courses you might be interested in:
- Startup Library: Painting With Watercolors
- Realistic Watercolors Step By Step
- Pet Portraits In Watercolor
- Oil Painting: Sand, Sea & Sky
- Color in Bloom: Painting Flowers With Oil
Believe In Your Art Skills
No matter what we do in life, the first time we learn something, it is a challenge.
We all took many falls when we first started to learn how to walk.
We had to sound out words when we first started to learn how to read.
We spent hours learning how to write.
The same is true with learning how to paint or draw.
Drawing and painting is a skill that has many layers.
Artists have to:
- Learn about composition
- Art materials
- Rules on perspective
- Elements of shading
- Color wheel
- Color theory
- Realistic drawing
- Constructive drawing
- Imagination drawing
- Rendering tone values
- Human anatomy
- Animal anatomy
- How light reacts to objects
As you can see, there are many layers to being an artist.
If you want to become an artist you have to believe in yourself the ability to learn.
Do not judge artwork to others.
Your goal as an artist is to have your unique artistic style.
Learn About Art Careers
There are many ways an artist can earn an income from their skills and it is essential to understand all of your options if you want to become an artist.
Most artists I know have several different income streams for their art business.
The best way to start is to make a list of the different ways you can earn an income with your skills and begin to incorporate the ones that compliment your art business goals.
John Simmons shared a list of jobs for artists in a post he wrote for Monster.
- Art teacher
- Cake decorator
- Fashion designer
- Graphic designer
- Illustration and technical illustrator
- Industrial designer
- Makeup artist
- Motion graphics designer
You can read more by visiting 10 Jobs For Artists And People Who Love Drawing
These are just a few different jobs that you can do to increase your income that relates to art.
Take out the list of your goals and start writing down some different ways you can start to build your art business.
Learn About Self Promoting And Art Marketing
After you have a list of different income streams opportunities, you will want to learn everything you can about marketing your art business.
Different ways to learn about art marketing:
- Online college courses
- Online video tutorials
- Art marketing books and eBooks
- Blog posts
- Other artists
- Small business owners
- Online business owners
There is a wealth of information out there. You have to schedule some time every week to learn about art marketing/.
The bottom line is that if people do not know you have a product for sale, they will not purchase your products and services.
Art Marketing eBooks and online video courses:
- Working Successful with Clients: A Class for Illustrators and Designers by Lisa Congdon
- Storytelling: Using Story to Influence and Connect by Stefan Mumaw
- How To Make A Living Selling What You Make by Megan Auman
- Simple Email Marketing for Makers by Megan Auman
- Pinterest Marketing for Makers & Designers by Megan Auman
- How To Build A Business While Learning Your Craft by Megan Auman
- Optimize Your Online Store by Andreea Ayers
- Selling On Social: A Complete Guide by Mei Pak
- Copywriting For Crafters by Lisa Jacobs
- Marketing Your Etsy Shop For Sold-out Success by Lisa Jacobs
Above are some great courses and eBooks that will help you get started.
The key to remember is that not every art marketing strategy will produce the same results for everyone.
Learn what is working for others and develop a plan that compliments your art goals.
What I have learned over the past years is that if an art marketing plan is not producing the results I was hoping for I will revise the plan or discard that plan entirely.
Do not waste your time on things that are not growing your art business.
Learn How To Brand Your Art Business
Many people think that a brand is a logo for a business, but it is much more than that.
Your unique brand is a reflection of:
- You as an artist
- Your art business
- The quality of your artwork
- Your customer service
- Your businesses mission
Just like taking some time to learn about marketing, you will also want to learn how to create a brand identity.
Marketing is all about making people aware of products or services you have available for them to purchase.
Branding is a way for people to identify your art business.
By developing a brand for your art business, you will be creating a way for people to recognize your art business on social media and in the search engine search results.
- What Branding Is For Creative People
- Sell Your Paintings By Building Your Brand
- 3 Easy Tips To Help Artists Build Their Brand Online
You have to spend money in order to make money.
Investing in your art business will help you to grow your art business faster than you could have ever imagined.
Below are some popular online branding video courses:
- Branding Strategies to Grow Your Business by Jasmine Star
- A Brand Called You by Debbie Millan
- Hype Your Brand on Instagram by Sue B. Zimmerman
Become An Artist By Finding Your Niche
Have you heard of niche marketing?
Niche marketing is an advertising strategy that focuses on a unique target market. (Source: Alexa)
The larger the target market is, the more difficult it will be for you to develop a productive marketing strategy.
The smaller your niche is the easier it will be for you to connect with your audience.
What is a niche?
Essentially, a niche is the industry you will be in and the types of products you will sell; it's what you specialize in. (Source: The Balance)
Why is it essential to narrow down your niche?
Out of the 100s of people I know who are driven to create their own lifestyle design and become successful in the online business world, the ones who are killing it are those who have dialed in niching down. Those who haven’t, are still struggling. (Source: Miles Beckler)
Focusing on marketing to a smaller group of people will make it easier for you to stand out as an authority in your niche.
- How To Monitor Your Niche
- Research Your Niche
- Niche Marketing Strategy For Artists
- Does Niche Matter in Online Business?
Discover Who Your Target Audience Is
After you have decided white your niche is you will want to learn more about your target audience.
Your target audience is the people who have a passion for what you create and are more likely to purchase your products.
You will be more productive with your art marketing strategies if you know who your target audience is and where they reside.
- Simple Strategy For Finding Your Target Audience
- How To Find Your Target Audience In 3 Easy Steps
- What Is Your Target Audience Searching For
- How To Sell Your Art Online By Knowing Who Your Audience Is
Keep Working Towards Your Art Goals
The last tip about becoming an artist that I would like to cover is, in my opinion, the most valuable advice I can share with you.
You will never fail if you do not stop trying.
Yes, there will be times when you are questioning yourself because you will not see fast results, but trust me, if you keep learning and you keep working towards your goals, you will eventually get to where you want to be.
Popular Art Marketing Online Video Courses: