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How To Become A Successful Artist Without A Degree
Is it possible to sell art without a college degree?
Do you need an MFA to be able to paint a beautiful landscape?
Artnet did an extensive study of 500 artists within 50 years and discovered that only 53% of the artists had an MFA.
Some people will significantly benefit from an MFA in visual arts because a structured program will help them redefine their creative techniques while having someone critique their creations.
An MFA degree does provide credentials to teach art courses at colleges and universities. However, if you are not planning on teaching an art course in a college, a significant investment for an MFA degree might not be your best option.
A two-year master’s degree program would run $27,600-$72,600 and a three-year program would be $41,300-$108,900. (Source: Cost Helper Education)
Don’t give up your dream of being an artist if you do not have the money for college.
Let’s talk about how to become a self-taught artist without a degree.
How To Become A Successful Artist
Creating art is a learnable skill that anyone can study.
Most children become fascinated by scribbling with crayons at a young age.
According to The School House
Children like to draw. Around the age of two they discover the sheer pleasure of making marks. They pick up any crayon, pencil or pen and they scribble.
Our toddlers are not trying to represent reality with these scribbles. It is simply a joyful exploration of their own new found power – the ability to make a permanent mark on the world.
Adults enjoy painting because it promotes stress relief from their hectic days. Painting and drawing are a way for people to disconnect from reality for a short period and allows them to create their perfect world through their imagination.
According to Tessera of Brandon, there are many health benefits for creating art, including:
- Promotes stress relief
- Expands creative growth
- Bolsters memory
- Enhances problem-solving and motor skills
- Cultivates emotional growth
- Stimulates an optimistic attitude
To read more visit, The Benefits Of Painting For Brain And Mental Health.
All people, even left-brained, have a creative side that can be developed with practice.
What separates an individual who enjoys painting as a hobby versus a person who wishes to make a career from their creative side is their dedication.
Hobbyists paint because they enjoy the process.
Successful artists paint regularly to enhance their artistic skills.
There will be sacrifices you will have to make if you are planning on earning an income from your creations.
It would help if you dedicated time every day to enhance your artistic skills.
Dedicating time does not mean creating a painting. It means spending time on different art techniques including different brush strokes, values, and learning the elements of light.
Enhancing your artistic skills is like a pianoists practice their sightreading and arpeggios. Or like guitarists practicing different modes every day.
Here is what you will have to do to become a successful artist without a degree.
One of the positives of continued education is that you are held accountable for specific tasks with deadlines.
It is easier for people to complete projects if they are held accountable.
Being held accountable is one reason some people spend up to $200 a week on personal trainers.
All of the information about losing weight is available on the web. However, a personal trainer makes the individual feel accountable for taking action even when they are unmotivated.
Suppose you want to become an artist without spending money on a degree. In that case, you will have to hold yourself accountable for your actions and find ways to keep yourself motivated even when you would rather be doing something different.
Professors have an outline of what they have to cover in a semester.
Each student is expected to learn a specific amount per semester and will be graded accordingly.
The outline of what the students have to learn is goals for the students.
You do not need a degree to write goals for yourself.
A positive of being self-taught is that you can focus on the artistic style that you have a passion for.
Set monthly goals for yourself and learn to become your worst critic so you can focus on your weak areas.
Every month determine what your strengths and weakness are.
Set new goals to make your weaknesses your strengths.
Develop practices to overcome your weaknesses.
For example, if you want to be a wildlife artist but you have a difficult time painting fur, spend time on painting fur.
Practice painting long fur, short fur, curly fur, wavy fur, and strait fur until it becomes one of your strengths.
Continue to critique your art until you are delighted with your work.
Review Your Progress
Keep everything that you work on so you can see the progress that you have made every month.
You will see more significant improvements over six months, but if you force yourself to assess your achievements every month, you will work harder for those thirty days instead of saying, I can do that tomorrow.
At the end of every month, take out the list of your goals for that month and grade yourself.
- What did you accomplish?
- What didn’t you accomplish?
- What needs improvement?
Write down a list of new goals for the next month.
Continue these steps until you feel confident enough to start selling your art.
Do You Need A Degree To Be An Artist
Having an art career is different from being a veterinarian or engineer.
Artists do not need to have a degree to sell their artwork.
The only reason a person might consider majoring in art is to become a teacher in schools or colleges.
As I mentioned earlier, art is a skill that can be learned by practicing.
As long as you are self-motivated and are willing to dedicate a large amount of time practicing your art techniques, you can learn how to create art that people will want to hang on their walls.
Everything you need to learn about art can be found online for free.
Most of the artists I admire, including me, do not have a degree in art.
I know some people who gave up on having an art career because they spent so much money on college fees and did not learn anything that would improve their art skills.
The subjects and techniques they worked on were basic due to the limited amount of time the class had to cover everything on the curriculum.
My friends told me that they had learned more when they left school because they could focus on the subjects they want to paint.
Devoting time enhancing your artistic skills is only only one part of having a career in art.
Learning about self-promoting and marketing is the other part of operating an art business.
My friends’ other issues with art school were that they do not teach you how to sell your paintings.
They learned how to paint things they didn’t want to paint and knew nothing about art marketing or business when they got their degree.
Besides dedicating time painting and drawing, you will also have to devote time learning how to market your art business.
You can also find everything you need to know about operating an art business online for free.
Art Jobs Without A Degree
There are many ways a person can generate an income from their creative side without a college degree.
Here are a few options:
- Sell original artwork
- Sell reproductions of original art
- Sell artwork on merchandise
- Liese original artwork
- Rent original artwork
- Teach one-on-one art classes
- Sell online art courses
- Write eBooks
- Monetize your website
- Offer commissioned projects
The list above are ways many artists I know earn money. I do want to point out that the list above is not a get rich quick list.
Most of my colleagues have multiple income streams to earn a living from their artistic side.
Earning a living as an artist is not easy, but you do not have to have major in the art to make a living, creating art.
You just have to be willing to put in the hard work and be ready to have multiple revenue streams when art sales are slow.
Final Thoughts On How To Become An Artist Without A Degree
Anyone can become an artist without an art degree.
Practicing different art techniques makes it possible for an artist to express their vision.
You do not need to spend thousands of dollars for a professor to tell you what to paint unless you are not self-motivated.
The only reason you might want to consider art schools is to have a career in art education or graphic design.
If you want to make a career in the art world the one thing you will need is discipline.
You must continue to create new art and develop a marketing strategy that will showcase your art to your target audience both online and offline.
You Might Also Be Interested In:
- Sell Art Online Etsy Makes It Easy
- How To Become A Successful Artist
- Your Art Career Journey – How To Achieve Your Goals
- What Kind Of Paintings Sell
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