Artists have to be more than just talented. We need to be resilient, resourceful, and tenacious to make a great first impression with any potential fans, partners, or collaborators. At the same time, you may be coming from a non-art background and feel like it’s difficult to get started as an emerging artist in your field. Here are some tips on becoming successful as a new artist and building your brand.
Internally, artists tend to have a lot of passion for what they do. However, that doesn’t move the needle enough in today’s world. You need to take actionable steps towards becoming known as an artist — not just someone who creates art. This article will help you take those first steps and establish yourself as a successful new artist.
1. DAILY SKETCHING
This section is all about eliminating pressure. As an artist, we can be our worst enemies by giving ourselves unnecessary stress. That can be added to the accessories we buy along the way. When talking about a simple sketchbook, go cheap. There’s no reason you need high-quality silk paper to get vapored approval from others. This allows you to make extra mistakes — daily mistakes. And not care as much because you’re not using anything expensive.
This goes for your pencils, colored pencils, markers, etc. This free’s up unnecessary pressure. Art shouldn’t be meant like an expensive shore, it can be fun and affordable too. Drawing digital? Even better, just erase and start a new canvas.
2. KEEP DRAWING
Once we get in the act of drawing daily, keep going. Be consistent. This is very important. Imagine drawing every day for two weeks and then just stopping, why? Are we really not going to pick up the pencil for another couple of weeks? Nah. We’re not doing that because there are ways to help shape us along the route.
For example, did we walk into the challenge of drawing a human body? Yes? Then it’s time to find a solution. Buy a cheap drawing book. Study what you’re struggling with and make it effective. Books maybe aren’t for you? There are a ton of “How To” YouTube videos where you can get so lost in those algorithms that it will be impossible to not follow along. The biggest takeaway here is there are no justifications. Keep pushing.
3. STUDY THE FUNDAMENTALS
Buy an anatomy book and learn about the human body. Start with going back to the basics because there should always be time to study our craft if we ever want to get better — it’s simple math. This way we can start visualizing shapes and all sorts in our drawings. Learning specialties like composition where you think about all the different elements in your work and where to best place them as a whole collection. That includes color theory. Instead of elements, you think of color based on the glorious color wheel which births our primary, secondary, and tertiary colors for our viewing pleasure. Knowing how to place colors and mix together is a crucial staple for artists.
Now that we have the arrangement of elements and color, it’s time to talk perspective. Depth and space of a 3D image inside a flat 2D surface. The creation of a point of view by defining the horizon line, vanishing points, and vanishing lines are all necessary to how others view art.
4. FORGET ABOUT PERFECTION
This one can be really hard. As mentioned earlier, we are our worst enemies and when it comes to art it can have us feel very vulnerable for many reasons. The thoughts in the back of our heads are turning constantly saying, “Are people going to like my work?” “I’m not going to get any likes…” I mean, we can go on. The point is we have to draw for ourselves vs getting validation from others because what we build up inside our heads sometimes just isn’t safe or productive, it damaging. Especially when done over and over and over.
The rise of social media sometimes can make it easier said than done, but at the same time, who really wants to be perfect? The process of an artist linked with a piece of art is a beautiful thing and it’s ok to make “mistakes” or “happy accidents”. Eliminating the daunt strain of constantly having to please is probably what the Red Bull “Gives You Wings” commercial was really about because it’s freeing. Trust the process. It’s all about growth.
5. DRAWING FROM REFERENCE
As artists, some believe that being able to draw from imagination only happens to ones that collect the “golden ticket” in life. However, drawing is a skill anyone can learn, and to call yourself an artist should be of great self-privilege. Start with having a live reference to draw from. For example: grab a sheet and place some fruit on the table or watch your favorite cartoon and the shapes onto paper.
Eventually, snapping a reference here and there will allow our creativity to be clear with fewer drawbacks during the process. This is because our mind will be able to see real-life objects to mimic in art by understanding the objects, weight, poses, and more.
6. LET’S BE HONEST
It’s easy to lie to ourselves in order to not do something or to dive in head first without any plan on how to rise above the current. There is no worth to art by overworking our minds — sorry, there just isn’t. Sure, art can be created without order, but at the cost of whom? Schedule time to disconnect, think, relax, and even sleep. When something isn’t working out, take a second to step away, breathe, and then come back to it. It’s ok. Listen to what our bodies tell us.
Occasionally, that has to overshadow the mind from oozing into an artist’s block of anxiety particularly when we aren’t getting what we want at the moment like skill, constructive criticism (of only things we want to hear), acceptance, vision… a lot. We have to level with ourselves in order to always be able to get back on track.
7. SHARE ART WITH OTHERS
There are pros and cons to social media these days as each platform has its own language of how we speak and share content. Some reasons to share could be for self-indulgence, to keep people informed, to gain another artist’s critique, and receive constructive criticism (maybe). But if we don’t share our art, where does that get us? These days it could lead to collaborations, jobs through hashtag discovery, and more. Once you get a tweet that goes viral that could be the beginning of everything.
Or maybe you just get three likes, who cares. It can be nice getting a second approval as your art gets seen from a bird’s eye view but also even if there is a lack of interaction, that doesn’t mean people are out there watching. Be proud of your creation because you never know, you may securely be helping someone else on their journey.
8. COPY OTHER ARTISTS
No, this doesn’t mean copy verbatim what another artist is doing and claiming it as your own. What we’re saying by this is that if we choose three of our favorite artists and see what they’re doing. Whether it’s how they post their content on social media or a certain tutorial video on how they draw portraits… then you get another tip from another artist, and then another. Now you have a basket of ingredients to through into the artist’s brew to stir and make your own concoction. This is how you start learning more about your personal style and what works for you.
The fun thing about art is that it’s subjective. There’s no right or wrong way to do things, but only how to get better at reaching your goals
These are a great way to get the idea tank fresh. Whenever you don’t know what to draw and need to through the jam, art challenges are a great way to mesh ideas together and get us to think. There are ones that are themed for holidays, two words, draw this in your style or a simple phrase. You can also find art generators online that can create art challenges for you. Then you can share your work with the given hashtag or create your own for others to see.
Fantastic for the art community as the engagement rises ass other arts complete challenges too. And that’s just what they are, challenge. So use it as another educational platform for learning and having fun.
To have a visual artistic invention inside our brains is the easy part. Being able to transfer that into a drawing will get easier with repetition. Doing the same drawing, again and again, will get us somewhere because the image will then stick in our minds.
The more time we reproduce that concept, the process becomes more effortless because we are creating a pattern in our minds. Maybe it’s not about making the previous piece of art better than the last but updating the base tool to use whenever you need it.
Our artwork is the manifestation of our soul. When we put it down on paper, life seems to shift from a dark place to a light one. We’re able to confront ourselves, our fears, and our shortcomings. We’re able to open up our artistic vulnerability and share it with the world. We have the ability to be able to let go of what we’re carrying around and let it all out on paper. That being said, we don’t want to take for granted that our skillset is helping us build a platform for a career and express our talents. Let’s use art as a way to elevate our everyday life and not just as a hobby. It might not be easy, but it’s worth it, right?
See you on the other side.