In Part One of this series I compared developing an art career to taking a road trip. I touched on preparing for your destination, the importance of having a map and the need to stay focused. You've had a few days to consider your art career. It's now time to start preparing for your journey. Lets get started.Preparation is Key:
Whether you're just beginning your art career or you're a seasoned professional preparing for a gallery opening... inadequate preparation is opening the door to failure.
For the seasoned professional artist, you've achieved many of your goals and gone on to set new ones...don't forget the good habits that got you here.
If you're a college student majoring in art, I envy you...absorb all you can, knowing that you will be getting on the road to success closer to your destination than many of us.
For those of you without professional training who are "thinking about", "dreaming about", or wondering "could I really" become an artist...I say, choose your destination, get out your map and start planning your trip!
The "To Do" list for Your Journey
1. Make a Conscious Decision...Say to yourself everyday, "I am an artist".
You have to believe you're an artist before anyone else will believe. Get the image into your head, make it part of your being. Develop and fine tune your vision...we generally get, in some fashion, what we think about and focus on most. It simply works.
2. Refresh and Fine Tune Your Skills:
Knowledge builds confidence. Depending on your level of skill, search out appropriate art education. There are online communities that will critique your work...join them and submit regularly. In 'part one' of this series and I gave you links to the two online forums I found most helpful. (see additional links below)
Take some basic drawing classes...regardless of your medium, drawing teaches you to see. And there is a tremendous difference between seeing and looking. Get on the web and find artists whose work you admire and ask questions. If they offer classes, sign up. I take a class or workshop two or three times a year...returning each time to my drawing board with renewed enthusiasm.
Join an art club, get together with other artists in your area. Once a month I meet with a group of painters...sometimes I paint but most times I draw. The exchange of ideas from others who see the way you see is exhilarating. Don't have a group in your area? Start one.
READ...there are lots of instructional art books by great artists crammed full of information. Most book stores today have a reading area or coffee shop where you can sit and browse before you purchase or...not. Many artists who write books also offer workshops. Some of my favorite books on drawing and watercolor are listed under the topic... Artist Resources.
What ever your medium is...make a schedule, setting aside creative time for your art...and don't let anyone or anything steal it away from you. There will be exceptions but when exceptions become the rule, you need to reevaluate...finding a schedule that is workable.
3. Create an Artist's Statement:
You may think it is a little soon for this, but it will give you strength for the journey ahead, define your goals, maintain your focus, and help you explain your work to others. For now your artist statement needs to simply explain who you are, what your art is about, and what you want it to say.
Asking a few simple questions can help you decide what to write: WHY do I draw? WHAT do I draw? WHERE do I get my ideas? WHO do I want to touch with my work. (At this stage, your artist statement is for your benefit) It will be revised many times in the next few months before it's presented to the public.
4. Develop a Plan:
To start with, on the back of your artist statement, make a list of achievable short-term and medium-term goals, creating a time line. It could be as simple as "taking a workshop" or "setting aside studio time each week"...to researching and planning a "small exhibition for friends in 12 months to unveil your new career as an artist".
Identify and list some steps for achieving each goal: noting the deadline for your workshop and making necessary travel plans, scheduling your weekly studio time, or preparing for your first exhibition...finding a venue, framing, designing invitations, contracting caterers, arranging for music.
Your "Artist Statement" and "Goals" are powerful tools...mine are always close at hand. In fact I keep a copy in my billfold.
5. Build a Strong, Cohesive Body of Work:
Start producing "frame worthy" pieces on high quality paper or canvas. You'll need 20 to 30 works in a style, medium, and subject matter that distinguishes you from other artists in some way.
If you work in more than one medium, select one to move forward with. You need to be recognizable if you want to get peoples attention. Galleries expect to see continuity in their artists work. Art Fairs are more tolerant but will charge a premium if you're showing more than one medium in your booth.
Well, I think this is enough to keep you busy for awhile. Remember...don't rush things, it's one step at a time. Take it slow, enjoy the journey and never, never give up on you!
Part 3 is next....Developing a Web Presence That Works.
This article continues here: Part 1, Part 3, Part 4
Carol's Drawing Club ...Scribble Talk ...artist forums
Wet Canvas...Art Papa ...artist forums
Books on Watercolor...Books on Drawing
Marsha Robinett Fine Art...website
My Squidoo...drawing techniques
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