by Lee Down

Some pointers for my fellow artists who want to be creating art for a living.

1. Save money – get a bank account ideally with a savers account attached and put money aside if you’re in a job currently . It’s better to start your career as an artist with funds in the bank than starting with nothing. You have something to fall back on and don’t feel desperate to earn money immediately.

2. Plan – work out what you want to achieve and how you want to do it. Work out your costs ( for products, materials ) and think of how many hours you plan to work a day and what kind of products you can sell. Originals, prints, cards, online tutorials etc.

3. Don’t do it unless you know you’re ready – wait until you’re sure you will make an impact and people enjoy what you do. Don’t immediately think you’ll be an instant success and a millionaire in a week. It doesn’t work like that. Use your social media channels to ask questions to your followers to understand what they want from you and whether they would buy from you. I do this regularly, it’s pointless creating art to only sell to a minority when the majority want something else. You always have the final say, but it’s wise to listen to your clients.

4. Understand the first sale will always be the hardest – getting that first sale is very difficult but it’s worth spending time to get it. Don’t instantly think that now you’re setting up as a sole trader or a business that people will throw themselves at you.

5. Be prepared for failure – you will get things wrong. Not my opinion but a fact. Sometimes no amount of planning can stop certain things happening, however it’s how you deal with it that matters. You can quit and not pursue it anymore, or you can try again with the added knowledge of what went wrong.

6. A**holes – you better get used to these as well. No matter how good you are there will be someone doing the same thing as you that you consider better or more talented but in reality it doesn’t matter. A lot of people will make it their personal career to diminish, destroy and ruin you if you let them. This is either down to jealousy, incompetence on their behalf and fear that one day you will succeed more than they do and people will like what you do more.

7. The customer is king, but you’re the boss – you’ve seen my dodgy hate mail and messages. Respect the people who buy from you, make them feel a million dollars and they will always come back to you. Give them the feeling they have something that money can’t buy, even though they paid for it. Don’t accept criticism from those who simply haven’t got a clue or those who just want to put you down ( refer to point 6 ).

8. Be confident – you CAN do this.

Here is a small sampling of some of Christopher’s own artwork as a coloured pencil artist. Read about him below the images. Click the first image for the slideshow.

About the Author

Christopher Durant is a coloured pencil artist from the United Kingdom. Art is his greatest passion and he hopes to inspire others who follow his journey. You can find him on Facebook @durantsdrawings and you can follow him on Instagram @durants_drawings. Both @ links are clickable.

8 Replies to “Pointers for Creating Art For a Living”

  1. Thank you Mr. Dutant for sharing this information,. Most artists sooner or later will question whether or not there art is good enough to get the accolades or finances they may think is due . From my own experience I found the best thing about having your own business is knowing that I am trying something that makes me happy . And the enjoyment I get from it make’s all the difference in my life and art.

    1. All the thanks go to Christopher Durant. I just happened to see his post on Facebook and seized the opportunity to share it with a wider audience; with his permission, of course. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I did, too. 🙂

  2. What is the name of the artist that did the blue dawg featured in your article…thanks beth

    1. Hi Beth, that is done by Christopher Durant but he did it with a paint app on a photo of his dog, it’s not a real painting.

  3. Thanks for the great tips! Any advice on what you have found to be the most beneficial way of getting your art and your name noticed? Social media? Art markets? Art Agents? or something entirely different?

    1. We’ve had a lot of success with social media and I know Christopher does, too. He’s got a particularly strong following on his Facebook fan page. He’s working on building his Instagram, too, but that’s going a bit slow according to a post he published a week or two ago.

      Here at Arts Artists Artwork, we’ve been very successful with Facebook but our page has been online since 2009 so it was successful building a large audience early on when Facebook’s organic reach worked a lot better for users. These days, it takes consistent effort to build it up.

      We also use Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Pinterest is quite advantageous because you can pin images from your website to your Pinterest Boards. But be sure to pepper your boards with other Pins you find on Pinterest so there is variety that creates interest for people who browse Pinterest. If you’re all about yourself, I’ve come to see that people will eventually drift away.

      Also, guest writing on other websites, where they offer this opportunity, can be particularly helpful as you would include a link back to your website from the article.

      For selling art, online is one avenue and will continue to grow, but if you live in a country that often has Art Fairs and other types of indoor/outdoor art market events, those are really good for realizing more sales. Attendees are there to buy and they’ve often done well, particularly in the United States.

      You may find joining a website like ours can bring you more sales, too. But it’s also important when you sign up to a site like this that you also share your shop page’s link to your social media and on your website. These small steps help increase your digital footprint on the Internet so you become easier and easier to find as time goes by and you’ve put more of yourself out there.

      All of this is a long game plan. There are no real shortcuts anymore. But the advice offered will stand the test of time and help you with the long game. But it will also help with some short term gains.

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