So You Want to Be a Professional Artist?

By Tien Frogget

You have a passion for creating beautiful things. You spend your spare time learning, growing your skills, and honing your talent. You’ve shown your work to friends and family members and they love it. You’re thinking it would be great to start making money off of your wonderful creations.

But How?

Making the transition from creating art as a hobby to becoming a professional artist can be daunting. Especially when there are so many other talented artists out there desiring and attempting to do the same thing. But breaking into the industry is definitely possible if you are passionate and driven, and willing to do what it takes to get your work out there.

Here are some simple things that you can do to help you get started on your path:

1. Be Yourself

This may seem obvious, but not everyone realizes just how important it is to create art that’s authentic to who you are.

People may buy your art because they like it, but in a way, they are also buying you. Not you physically – but who you are as you’ve expressed yourself through your work. The most successful artists have found a voice that’s uniquely their own, that stands out in the crowd. They aren’t creating for the sake of creating, but saying something with their art… and doing it in such a way that causes people to stop and listen.

Collectors prize works of art that touch their soul. They enjoy surrounding themselves with art that creates emotion.

Find what sets you apart from others and feed your passion and create works that are genuinely you. This is the essence of what makes your work valuable to others and brings them back for more.

2. Create Exposure for Yourself and Your Work

You could be the next Van Gogh or Rembrandt, but if no one knows your art exists, you will never sell anything!

There are so many ways to get your work seen, especially in this digital day and age. Here are 4 more great ways you can give your art more exposure:

- Create a Website – Web presence is a powerful tool. You go from your circle of friends and family to being able to show your art to people all over the planet. Hire someone to create a site for you, or search for free sites with templates that allow you to simply plug in your images and information. The site will do the work for you.

-Set up a Blog – Blogs are WONDERFUL! There are many free sites offering blog hosting that are simple and easy to set up. Write an interesting and informative blog post every week and you’ll increase your odds of being seen. Blogs are a great way to showcase all your newest work, your processes for creating, as well as what moves you as an artist. They are an excellent avenue for others to connect and learn more about you.

- Make Business Cards – This is a must! This is your opportunity to hand out small samples of your best work and make a lasting visual impression. An eye-catching card not only attracts attention but it’s an easy way to show others what you do without having to whip out a full portfolio. A business card can create interest and invite them to see more. Tip: Make sure that at least one side of the card is a full-color piece best work. Another fun option is to print multiple card designs, each with a different selection of artwork. Then when someone asks for your card, fan out all of the different kinds and say, “pick just one!” Let them have only one – they will fly to your website for more.

- Meet People and Make Connections – Simple? Yes. Effective? Definitely. The best way to make connections in the art and design industry is to put yourself out there. Go to galleries and art shows and talk to people. Ask lots of questions! Find out what the artists are doing to promote their work, and how they got started. Getting to know people who are already doing what you want to do is a powerful way to get good information and maybe even get a foot in the door.

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