If you could only do 3 things in order to have the most growth, fulfillment, creativity, expression, and abundance, what would they be?
Some artists might say “make good work.” others would quickly shout “be yourself!” And while these are admirable goals, they lack one crucial factor:
they’re not easily measurable.
Vagueness is sometimes an asset, but in most cases, it creates undue frustration for us as artists.
We need to become clearer and clearer on the direction we’re heading, not only in our work, but in our lives as well.
In this article I have a massive gift to give you. If you will follow these sound and time-tested principles, then your chances of thriving as an artist go up substantially.
These 3 elements are the pencils to your paper, the action to your inspiration. If you’ll work earnestly and consistently to apply these principles, You’ll be on your way to the top 20% of your chosen field (illustration, concept art, editorial, advertising, etc…)
Here they are:
Spend at least 8-10 hours a week marketing/selling your work/services, and connecting with clients.
Create and refine a succinct process for handling your client work.
Invest at least 3-5% your yearly income back into your craft and practice.
I could leave it at that and you’d still be better off than most artists out there. All you would need to do is take out a piece of paper, write those down, and earnestly find ways to implement them into your daily habits.
However, I want to provide as much value to you as possible, so I’ll elaborate on each concept; giving you actionable and pragmatic ways to use each one.
Keep in mind that these principles are like a 3-legged stool. If you remove even one leg, then things will quickly become as wobbly as a drunken bear on a unicycle.
In order to thrive as artists and as people, balance is a crucial element.
Let’s talk about how you can take each one of these and make them your own:
Spend at least 8-10 hours a week marketing/selling your work/services, and connecting with clients:
This is a simple concept.
Take 2 hours each day for 5 days a week, and compile lists of emails, art directors, phone numbers of companies, and forums where you can reach out or advertise your work.
Day one could be making the list, day two and onward would be working your way systematically through those items.
The more organized you are whilst doing this, the better.
Start local, then branch out. If your goal is to get hired in-studio, email asking for an informational interview to get your foot in the door, or call them and see if they do that sort of thing.
Sometimes you’ll get rejected, and rejection can be scary and saddening, but the more you do it, the less it hurts.
The most successful people are the ones that fail at twice the rate of average performers.
Or, to put it another way: “The master has failed more times than the novice has even attempted.“
Being vulnerable is a scary thing because we could get hurt. I get that.
I was scared too. My voice would shake over the phone, my palms would sweat before I sent out an email.
this fear is something I had to overcome in order to get where I am today. I’ve grown substantially because I didn’t let that fear stop me, I danced with it.
“What scares you prepares you.” ~Daniel Ally
If you need more ways to get work, I’ve written numerous posts on the subject.
Create and refine a succinct process for handling your client and personal work:
One of the main themes of this article is clarity.
When we’re working, uncertainty and the lack of a checklist makes for a disorganized and chaotic process. It’s painful to create art that doesn’t look good or is deeply fundamentally flawed.
It feels like our hours went down the drain. That heavy-hearted feeling can generate thoughts like “I’ll never be good enough” or “I just don’t have the talent.”
This is rubbish thinking. Let the emotions pass, and realize that there are silver linings to your golden clouds.
An unwarranted artistic failure usually happens because we ignored a fundamental or were tired and/or emotionally drained. The process was too much for us to handle.
The simple fact is, much suffering can be avoided by sticking to one or two processes that allow us to create our best work.
What does such a process look like? It will vary from artist to artist, however, as a general rule of thumb, it tends to look like this:
Preliminary sketches > Selected sketch > Separation of Light/shadow > Colors > Rendering/Finish
Basically from rough idea to fully realized piece.
Now onto the last principle:
Invest at least 3-5% your yearly income back into your craft and practice:
Again, a very straight-forward and actionable item. Invest your earnings into learning.
Those who learn more, earn more.
Seek out tutorials, courses, classes, mentors, and wisely invest in your craft to learn how to create on higher levels.
I’m not saying go to art school, that’s pretty much always the most expensive option. I don’t want you to needlessly pour tens of thousands of dollars you don’t have into something that may not be right for you.
I’d say my college education was worth maybe 15% of what I was taught. My debt is manageable, but I’d be better off without it.
The college I attended is closing, if that gives you any idea of how sustainable their for-profit practices were.
The key concept here is to spend good time working your way through courses and tutorials, learning from those ahead of you who pour their hearts and knowledge into teaching you everything they know so you too can succeed.
Ideally, you want to learn the fundamentals like Shapes, Lines, Values, Planes, Colors, Composition, Perspective, and things like that foremost. This gives you a strong basis to develop from.
Then you want to move onto more specific techniques for gaining extra finesse and flair once you’ve solidified your fundamentals.
Design, Characters, Anatomy, Materials, etc…
Honestly? You’re never done learning. Education is an ongoing process. The best thing to do is to take great joy and excitement when it comes to implementing better methods and ideas.
As a special offer to those motivated few who’ve read this far, I’m offering 16 weeks of drawing and painting courses + over 30 other tutorials for $147 $120 when you use the code “PowerPainter808″ in the checkout form.
And yes, I even show you how to freelance and get jobs with Art Commission Specialist– Another course inside the Power Painters Platinum Package.
this is only applicable to the first 10 power painters who don’t over think the decision and act now, however.
The best decisions I’ve ever made we ones where I didn’t paralyze myself by over-analyzing. It’s like trying to draw a smooth line slowly– it almost always ends up crinkly and unsure-looking. You and your hand must move swiftly and with confidence.
By following these 3 simple rules you’re on the fast track to achieving your goals and growing your talents.
Write these rules down where you can see them. Re-read this post every day until you solidify these principles in your mind.
When you spirits are low, let these words lift and inspire you.
If this journey were simple, everyone would do it. Everyone you meet would be a phenomenal artist with the slightest bit of effort.
However, you and I both know that’s not how things work.
It takes time, dedication, consistency, and a willingness to overcome fear and procrastination.
Take small steps out of your comfort zones and do what you’re afraid to do so that you grow not only as an artist, but as a person.
You have the seed of greatness within you. Only your negative self-talk can siphon its powers. If you nurture yourself and your art, the frustrations will seem meager in contrast to the rewards.
And just for the purpose of summation:
- Spend at least 8-10 hours a week marketing/selling your work/services, and connecting with clients.
- Create and refine a succinct process for handling your client and personal work.
- Invest at least 3-5% your yearly income back into your craft and practice.
Got it? Wonderful.
I know you have it in you. I suggest you take the first steps now. Don’t open a new tab and get on facebook, and don’t go watch TV, start working on yourself and your art today.
Take care, Power Painter.
Oh, and happy creating.