Every so often I get a flurry of emails requesting information on how to be a professional artist.I thought I would pass along some tips here. But here's the thing: there's a really good chance that what worked for me won't work for you. So I won't be going into detail but I am going to list some very general, very basic stuff that should be a given but usually isn't.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Aside from that whole "Learn to draw" jive the following are some pretty good guidelines:
1. If you want to be a professional artist art has to be a passion. You can't be in it for the money because you will be severely disappointed. I've told my wife on numerous occasions that if everyone in the world except me went blind tomorrow I would still paint because it's part of me.
2. Sometimes in order to get to the point that you can do what you want you have to do stuff you don't want to. Just consider all that lame stuff you have to do as practice for the cool stuff.
3. Practice & observe. Look at others work. Dissect it. Figure out how it was done and try to imitate it. Art is a problem and they way you solve that problem determines your individual style. Practice, practice, practice!
4. Experiment. Try new mediums. Mix mediums up. Don't be scared. Again: Art is a problem. Figure it out. Think outside that damned box everybody talks about.
5. Learn. Read tutorials, books, blogs whatever. Just learn and don't stop learning. Speak with other artists. Everyone has something to offer regardless of their skill level or discipline. All you gotta do is listen.
6. Get that thick skin in place. Artists can be nasty and conniving and art directors can be blunt and rude. Figure out what to take as constructive criticism and what is bullshit. And then you can ignore the bullshit. Your life will be much easier that way.
7. If you wanna make money at art (or anything for that matter) you have to approach it as a business. Which means marketing, bookkeeping, networking etc.
8. And as a business you need to conduct...uh, business as such. Which means clients are customers. And you know what they say about customers and being right, right? If your client ain't happy you failed. And stay away from public drama. And by public I mean online. Nobody that's looking to pay someone for artwork cares about how your baby's noncustodial parent is a loser. And trash talking other artists is a HUGE no-no. If someone tries to drag you into a flame war? Ignore it. Remember, arguing via the internet is like the Special Olympics; even if you win you're still retarded.
9. Don't stop. Never stop creating. Someday it will work out. If not, see rule #1.
*note: The above rules only apply if you're going into the illustration or graphic arts fields. For fine & gallery artists all bets are off! The weirder you are the better they like you!
There are my 9 Golden Rules. I probably have 10 but it's late and I'm sleepy. If I think hard enough...OH! Here it is:
10. The more full of shit you are the less you should appear as though you're full of shit.
So do I appear to be full of shit or do I?
Posted by Billy Tackett at 10:59 PM