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Working as an Artist: Tips & Advice


The art world is not an easy one to navigate these days. With a global audience and constant access to information, it’s no surprise the art world has become increasingly competitive. I don't even mean that in the sense that you're competing with other artists. Every single working artist out there is competing against a lot of things, other artists are the least of your worries.

If you’re someone who thrives on challenges and is up for the task of carving out your own niche in this space, then you should genuinely consider entering the art world as a career path. That said, there are many things to keep in mind before jumping into this industry. After all, there are several pitfalls that can make things difficult for those who take the plunge into this as a profession. For example, figuring out how to properly price your services, effective marketing, and networking and collaboration efforts with other creatives, can all pose interesting challenges in your journey as a professional artist.


So how can you avoid these pitfalls? Read on for some useful insights...


Research is Key

Research is a process of gathering information, and it’s always important to do your due diligence before you start any artistic endeavor. For example, if you're just starting out on your artistic journey, start by asking yourself a few questions: What kind of art do I want to make? What skills do I have that will help me? How much time and money will this require? Make sure to consider everything from the tools and supplies you'll need to how often you'll need them. Once you have some answers, you can plan out your research accordingly. Map out the path you want to take. Start by brainstorming ideas for different mediums or subjects; this might include drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking, photography, or digital art.


After you’ve narrowed down your choices, you can start researching each one. This could involve reading about the history of the medium, visiting museums and galleries where work in that medium can be seen and studied, or simply looking at examples online. You might also want to look into related fields like writing or music so that you can see how other artists have approached similar subjects. Things like Youtube and Google are truly great resources you shouldn't be afraid to use as often as possible.


Don’t be Afraid to Ask for what You're Worth!

If you’re an artist, this is especially important. You may not be as experienced as other professionals in the field, so it can be hard to know how much you’re worth or what you should be charging for your services. Hell, I've seen some veteran artists underselling themselves, so do everything you can to avoid making this mistake. Asking is a sign of confidence and professionalism, so don’t be afraid to do it. Just remember to do your research first, so you have a solid understanding of the market and what other artists are earning.


Make sure you don't just consider how long it takes you to complete a project or commissions. All of the hours of time and effort you put into honing and perfecting your skills should be taken into account as well. You've worked hard to get to where you are in your artistic journey. This is why it's so important not to be afraid to ask for what you're worth.


Networking and Collaboration Matter

Starting out as a freelance artist can be lonely work. You’re working by yourself in your studio, and you don’t have any immediate social support. This can make it difficult to get word out about what you're creating. You need to network with other artists who are also trying to build their careers, and collaborate on projects. Even if that project is just a mutually beneficial social relationship where you're openly supportive of each other. This will help you build trust among potential clients, collaborators, and other artists. It will also increase your visibility, and allow you to expand your client base. Ideally, without you having to take any "free gigs" for exposure. Doing a little doodle on the side for fun is always encouraged and can be a great excuse to draw another creators character for a little crossover fun.


Working as a team with other artists can occasionally be better than working alone. So make sure you’re actively building relationships with other artists in the field. Once you’ve built up this network of collaborators, you can start pitching them your art projects. Start small with one or two projects at first, and then gradually work your way up from there.


Don’t be Afraid to Experiment & Try New Things

One of the things that can be difficult for professional freelance artists is being comfortable experimenting and trying new things. Even though you may be comfortable in your artistic field, there are always going to be new things to try. Whether it's a new technique, a new medium, a new tool, or just a new concept. This can cause a lot of anxiety because it’s scary to not know if you’re doing something right or wrong. To overcome this, just remember that every time you step out of your comfort zone, you are learning something new. It will take time, but eventually you will become more comfortable with trying new things. Another thing to keep in mind is that even though you may be unsure at first, you will eventually figure out what works for you. Personally, I believe that when it comes to art there isn't actually a wrong way to do it. That just doesn't exist. However you're doing it and getting the results you want, that's the right way to do it. When you keep at it and don’t give up, eventually you will make progress and end up with some amazing results!


Do what Feels Right!

At the end of they day, I'm not an expert. There's going to be things that work for some people that don't work for others. Hopefully, you got something useful out of this post. Take my advice however you will and maybe adjust it to fit you a little bit better if needed.

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