Our Gallery: How to be a successful artist

Since there are lots of stereotypes and misconceptions about being an artist, some people tend to get discouraged and back out of joining the art world. 

You’d probably think it’s a waste of time and you’d be better off pursuing something practical, like medicine, law or dentistry. Besides, when you’re an artist, you have to define what success means to you and set a benchmark for glory since there are no bar exams to help you measure what you’ve attained.

But here’s the thing when you become an artist: you stay true to who you are, especially if it’s the thing you’d regret the most. Just like any other career, pursuing to become an artist will take a great deal of determination, patience and willpower. Remember, the amount of time and effort you put into your craft will truly define your success, so don’t be afraid to push yourself forward.

To get you started, here are the most useful tips on how to be a successful artist:

Establish an artistic routine

When you are an artist, one of the few things you need to keep in mind is that motivation and inspiration won’t always be there to push you through the day. There are days you’d find it hard to get up in the morning, much less hold a paintbrush in your hand. You might even wonder why you chose this path in the first place for hours on end you’d end up doubting your skills.

This is why establishing an artistic routine you can commit to is extremely helpful. Of course, this routine will mostly depend on what works for you. You may start your day with a cup of coffee, meditate for several minutes or read a self-help book, among other things. 

Check out some tips below:

Change how you think about mornings

There’s no doubt that mornings can be rough, especially when you’re too groggy to even lift a finger. However, you have to keep in mind that your mornings will set your mood for the entire day. How can you produce great works of art in your studio when you wake up carrying so much negative energy?

So, try to wake up early as much as possible. Give yourself enough time to be in the right mindset and write down all the possible roadblocks you might encounter.

Know your intentions

Before you paint the first stroke, make sure that you’ve set the right intentions. List down at least three reasons why you’re making art, and why you’re willing to pursue this field for years. When you know the reasons behind your artistry, you have a higher chance of accomplishing your works before the sun sets.

Get enough sleep

Sleep can be a rare thing for busy artists, especially when they are juggling multiple projects at the same time. But remember that this is important for your well-being because you cannot give it your all if you’re too sleep-deprived to polish your art. You need to get at least seven hours of sleep for increased creativity, improved memory and lower chances of depression, to name a few.

To improve your sleeping habits, exercise regularly, avoid using your phone before bedtime and set an alarm.

Pick a niche

Once you decide to pursue the path of being an artist, you need to choose a niche. This will help you establish a loyal client base, become successful in a medium and build a name for yourself.

Here are some niches or specialities you can give a shot:

  • Calligraphy
  • Animation
  • Photography
  • Painting
  • Mixed media art
  • Textile 
  • Graphic design

It’s helpful that you try every medium and choose something that truly speaks to you. But some mediums may be more expensive than others, so try borrowing from a friend if possible.

You should also think about your skills and talents that help you stand out from other artists. Understanding what makes your works of art unique can be the first step towards choosing a niche and building your audience. For example, if you love playing with lightning schemes, various angles and colour palettes, being a photographer might work best for you.

Aside from that, you also need to pay attention to the medium you prefer using. For instance, if you’re well-attuned to using Adobe Photoshop and other digital software, pursuing a career in the digital arts can be your best option. You can also pick lesser-known media to make yourself even more marketable and exceptional.

Get to know professional artists

If you’re an up-and-coming artist, getting advice from professionals and seasoned artists can be a huge help. You can receive constructive feedback and helpful insights regarding your art, helping you drastically improve your style. For starters, you can try working as an art gallery intern or become an established artist’s assistant so you’d have some ways of growing your network.

You can also find other artists on online platforms such as Instagram, Twitter or DeviantArt, among others. In addition, when you try to build connections with other artists, make sure you do it out of goodwill and not the intention to sell. 

Most newbie artists tend to make the mistake of connecting with other artists because they are desperate to make themselves known or get paid for their work. However, you need to remind yourself that you’re more likely to be successful if you are genuinely interested in making genuine friendships in the field.

Explore your style

When you’re just starting in the arts, you feel this intense pressure of following the most trendy art styles of the year. You spend hours and hours stalking other artists’ Instagram feeds to look at their style and imitate them in the hopes of becoming popular too. However, this should not always be the case.

Don’t be afraid to explore your style! One of the best things about being an artist is that you have the freedom to create your standards and rules that will truly bring out the best in you. You can begin by knowing what purpose you want to serve for your chosen audience. Depending on your choice, you may want your art to make people laugh, sob their hearts out or think about themselves and their dreams. 

Stop making excuses

Do you know why most artists that carry lots of potential within them still fail in the end? It’s because they make way too many excuses. They don’t find the time to show up for their craft yet spend most of their days romanticizing their inability to create art.

If you’ve been in the art world for a long time now, you’ve probably walked away from your art and told yourself this isn’t for you. You’re better off chasing your other dreams, giving yourself a bunch of reasons why you’d never make it at the top, much less creating art that would change someone’s life. At some point, you might have even told yourself that you don’t have enough time to paint, sketch or draw. Because in a world of 9-5s, how can you possibly give time for your craft?

Here’s the thing: if you truly want to succeed, you’d dedicate a small amount of time to your art, even if it’s just for an hour. For example, on the train ride, whip out a piece of paper and draw something that caught your eye when you left the office. Even if you’re not in front of an easel or inside your studio, you can always make art happen, for as long as you’re open to possibilities. 

Take advantage of the Internet

Now that the Internet has become a huge part of everyone’s lives, you have plenty of opportunities to get recognized. You can post your artwork on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook so you can start building an audience. Just always make sure that you insert a watermark to avoid thieves and cybercriminals from duplicating or stealing your art.

Once you start, you need to be consistent with your posting. Don’t leave your followers hanging since showing signs of inactivity can make them lose interest in you. Start with something you can handle, like posting one artwork per day or 5 works of art in two weeks.

Moreover, you have to be strategic with what you’re posting. You must set your intentions or objectives, including generating sales, connecting to an audience or gaining enough exposure to give you an advantage in the arts.

When you’ve figured out your goals, don’t be afraid to share that with your audience. Chances are, they’d be more than willing to help you reach your goals if you’re upfront.

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