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The Artist Within: A Beginners Guide to Success
I am blessed to do what I love and share it with the world. Between writing and painting, my creative hunger is satisfied. Over the course of my career, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting fellow artists. Much to my surprise very talented artists are hesitant to promote their work. I believe we are given this ability for a reason. Developing confidence comes with time and practice. If you’re just starting out, here are some lessons I’ve learned.
Invest in Your Art Skill
You’re never going to improve if you don’t get some help. I entered in to beginner level art courses with that mindset. I learned valuable lessons that help me compose better work. The other students in class seemed to be embarrassed by their skill level. I’ll tell you the same thing I told them, “Don’t expect to be perfect on the first try.” Art is a skill and with proper direction, you too can nurture it. This also helps develop your confidence as an artist.
Have Faith in Your Artistic Ability
I bet Wayne Gretzky missed many shots before he became “The Great One”. You’re going to be bad before you’re good. I’m sure every artist can attest to this feeling of not being good enough. You can’t give up on yourself. As it says in the article ‘7 Ways to Increase Your Confidence as an Artist’ “There will always be people that are more skilled than you and you will always be more skilled than others. Comparison doesn’t change that. Only focusing on yourself and your own practice will make you better.”
We all make mistakes! Part of growing and developing as an artist is finding your technique. I tend to follow my gut and trust what I can do. Even when it doesn’t turn out the way I want it, I know how to correct it next time. I believe that we each have our own style and that develops with practice.
Join a local Art Group
It’s wonderful engaging with like minded people. You learn so much and it gives you a chance to start a little smaller. My group is called The Port Perry Artist Association and is made up of all age groups and levels. We have connected with local business to showcase our work. We also do local shows twice a year. This is an excellent way to dip your toe in the water without getting overwhelmed.
I find support and encouragement from my group. They are also very keen on offering constructive feedback to help me improve. When I joined as a beginner, I found it very beneficial for my confidence level.
Don’t let Negativity Stop You
There are two types of criticism: constructive and destructive. Constructive criticism comes from those with more experience than you in a chosen field. I listen to individuals who have success and experience in the creative industry. They are highly encouraging and supportive. Their ultimate goal is to help you succeed and grow as an artist.
Destructive criticism comes from people who would rather be negative without offering any constructive feedback. Usually they have absolutely no experience in the creative field. For lack of a better phrase, they just want to rain on your parade. I tend to tune these individuals out because they have nothing to offer. Hurtful criticism brings you down as an artist.
We cannot escape judgment. It can really hold you back or motivate you to work harder. I choose to work harder! You can’t please everyone so don’t let negativity stop you. You may ask yourself, “How do I do that?” It doesn’t happen overnight. You can achieve anything you set your mind to.
I found my true calling after a really rough time in my life. I learned if I can get through that, I can face anything. Judgment doesn’t phase me because I know who I am and my work speaks for itself. Carry on and keep at it!
In two and a half years as a professional I’ve already had two solo shows and lots of commissions. How? I deserve success and I refuse to give up. Some of the best opportunities came after I was told “no”. A thousand “no’s” are worth it if it leads to the one “yes” that changes your life.
Develop An audience for Your Art
I admit I am not social media savvy. I have learned it’s a necessary activity if you want to broaden your audience. Social media is free and allows you to advertise to more people. You don’t have to be an expert. I developed my Facebook page and also chose to invest in a website. I recently just started on Instagram as well. It takes time to develop an audience so make sure to post regularly with updated content. For tips, read ‘How Building an Artistic Presence Online Can Lead to Growth.’
Especially for those artists who are introverted, social media is a great way to get your work out there. You don’t necessarily have to engage your audience on a more personal level. I tend to post pictures of the development process. It relates well to others because it paints a more realistic picture. I have my struggles and doubts like everyone else. At the end of the day, just be yourself and do what works for you.
For the extroverts out there, we like to get out and meet the public too! I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people. It allows me to develop an audience who may not be on social media. I have a newspaper article in the local Scugog Standard. Being able to engage people on different levels is key. Promote yourself as much as possible because no one will do it for you.
Look for opportunities to get your name out there. I completed a commission for the 150th anniversary of our local High School. I approached them with the idea and they loved it. I’m now a part of their celebration day which is a big event. Don’t be afraid to take a chance!
Don’t Expect to Get Rich Quick
You’ll most likely spend more money than you make when you’re first starting out. Have realistic expectations and you won’t be disappointed. I know that having short term goals has been key to my success. What can I achieve at my current skill level? I’m certainly better than two years ago. Earning an income is not realistic until you develop your skill and audience.
I still work full time to supplement my income. I love being an artist and I believe persistence is key.
If you’re expecting to be a full time artist, make sure you have a financial safety net. There are months when I sell nothing. I won’t give you false information. I love what I do but it doesn’t mean people will pay for it. It’s not an easy road but I believe it is possible with a realistic approach.
Success in Art Doesn’t Happen Overnight
You can’t expect to be an overnight sensation. My grandmother always told me, “patience is a virtue”. I believe that helping yourself is imperative. My personal philosophy is to make one decision every day that leads me closer to a goal. Anyone can do that! If you need to improve your social media savvy, sign up for a course and learn how to do it. If you do nothing, nothing happens.
As you can see, there is a lot to learn. If you’re a beginner, focus on developing your skill which will lead to better quality work. When you have better quality work, you’ll have more confidence. This takes time and patience so keep at it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Follow your art!
About the Writer
My name is Lauren Walker and I am “The Artist Within”. I am a professional artist and freelance writer in Port Perry, Ontario. I use the love of my small town as inspiration for my work. I believe the only path to follow is the one you create.
5 responses to “The Artist Within: A Beginners Guide to Success”
This article was very helpful. I feel encouraged and strengthen. Thank you for sharingLoading…
Merci beaucoup, j’ai apprécié cette lecture. Cela m’a redonné le goût de recommander, la où j’ai laissé.Loading…
I am a practicing full time artist with a studio and gallery, plus a website and am active on social media, so not a beginner. However, I found your words very enlightening and true. Thank you for sharing and encouraging all .Loading…