So you say that you want to learn how to be an artist. You have an innate ability to create and a burning desire to share your work with the world.
But how do you get started? How do you get the doors of the art world to open?
This may sound counterintuitive, but I believe that the answer lies in becoming a quitter first. That’s why today I’m going to share 7 things to quit if you want to learn how to be an artist.
Quit comparing yourself to other artists
Seriously. Comparing yourself to an artist with ten years of experience when you’ve only just completed your first painting is the quickest way to stifle your creativity and stop you in your tracks. It’s always apples to oranges, no matter who you are comparing yourself too. Because every artist is unique and so is there path. That’s the point.
There will always be artists who are ahead of you and artists who are behind.
The best way to quit comparing yourself to others is simply to put your head down and focus on becoming the best artist you can be, right now.
If you really can’t resist the urge to compare, simply focus on comparing your latest piece to your previous one. Have your skills improved? Have you explored the ideas deeper?
Quit saying ‘not enough’
There’s not enough time. There’s not enough money. I’m not young enough. I’m not talented enough.
If you want to be an artist, and a successful artist at that, these are two words you need to strike from your vocabulary. These words point to a big underlying fear that’s not even real. If you can give yourself permission to let that fear go, you can give yourself permission to be an artist.
Quit emptying your creative ‘well’
Artists need inspiration like they need food and water. But if you’re constantly pouring yourself out on the canvas, you will quickly run out of ideas and could end up in a state of burnout. This is especially true if you’re working a 9 to 5 while making art on the side.
Of course, it’s critical for artists to establish a creative routine and make art regularly. But what’s equally important is scheduling yourself down time to rest and fill your creative ‘well’ again.
So how do you keep your creative well full? Take a note from Creativity Coach Julia Cameron and schedule a weekly artist date with yourself. You might like to go to a gallery, walk in nature or see a new movie. Whatever you can do to nurture your Muse because this lady loves attention.
Quit looking for validation from others
We all want other people to like what we create, after all we’re only human. But if you want to learn how to be an artist, you’ll need to quit looking for praise from other people. It’s just that simple.
Your validation as an artist needs to come from yourself first and foremost, and when that validation is reinforced by others, it’s a very nice bonus.
The fact is, not everyone will like your work. And it’s actually better if your art divides opinions – this means you’re making a statement and aren’t ‘playing it safe’.
Quit buying into the myth of the ‘starving artist’
If your goal is to learn how to be an artist and make a living from your work, you’ll need to let go of the outdated concept of a ‘starving artist’. Artists are entrepreneurs and need to approach marketing their art as such.
It is entirely possible to create a full time income from your art business if you’re willing to do what it takes to sell your art at a profitable price point.
Becoming a professional artist requires you to get organized, network, learn some basic business skills, and quit buying into the artist stereotypes. (hint hint: I created a powerful Masterclass to help you do that)
Quit listening to the people who don’t get it
There’s no doubt that it stings when a well-meaning friend or family member says something like; “When are you going to get a real job?” or “Do you really think you can make it as an artist?” or “Must be nice to only work when you feel like it.”
If you allow them to, comments like these can hold you back from reaching your true artist potential. Learning how to be an artist requires you to discern which voices you listen to and which you disregard. Measure yourself by your own value’s not theirs.
If the people you surround yourself aren’t supportive, it may be time to switch up your inner circle. Joining an artist community is a great way to network with like-minded people and find support on your journey to becoming an artist.
Quit feeling selfish for wanting to be an artist
Just as society needs doctors and lawyers, accountants and teachers, we also need your artwork. Imagine how dull our world would be without all the artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, and other creators.
Artist and bestselling author Steven Pressfield once said, ‘Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.’
If you want to be an artist but you’re harboring feelings of guilt when you invest time into your art, try reframing your mindset.
Remember that your artwork is needed – this is the outlet that makes you feel fulfilled.
Without art, you can’t show up in the other areas of your life in a meaningful way. Your relationships suffer when you deny or suppress parts of your authentic self. If you want to learn how to be an artist, allow yourself to make some art.
Now that you’ve discovered what you need to quit if you want to become an artist, it’s time to show us what you’ve got. Go make some art!
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