Spoiler Alert: You’re never too old for art. But that title sure got your attention! Here’s the thing: some people are just naturally gifted at creating visual or musical pieces of artwork. But for most other people, the journey to success takes a lot of hard work. The good news is that if you are willing to grow and put in the work, no one is too old to begin!
When you’re just starting out, you develop your artistic skill. Drawing or painting can become almost second nature over time, but if you don’t stretch your artistic muscles your skills can become rusty. Luckily, with some time and effort, you can get back to where you left off. Great art doesn’t just happen.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “practice makes perfect” and while art is subjective and there is no such thing as perfect, practicing can certainly make a difference to an artistic outcome. You may be wondering, how old is too old to start working on becoming an artist? You’re never too old! Here are six ways you can overcome the “too old” for art myth.
1. Your Learning Muscles Are Weak
The human brain is programmed to learn. From the minute you’re born your brain begins taking in information and learning new things. But just like anything, if you haven’t put the focus on learning something everyday your brain will take more time to learn. Learning at a slower pace can be discouraging for many people.
As you get older and spend less time actively learning it will take a more concentrated effort to learn a new skill like how to paint or draw. When you went to school every day you would learn and your brain would soak up new information constantly. Once you’ve been removed from an educational setting your brain slows down.
This doesn’t make it impossible to learn new things however, you just need to be willing to put in the effort. It is similar to working out: if you haven’t been to the gym in years it doesn’t really matter what you used to bench press since that’s not the weight you’re going to start with now. Over time, you can strengthen yourself back up, and this holds true for the brain as well.
Learning how to create art as you become an artist will help your brain. As you develop new techniques and venture into different mediums you are going to stretch your learning muscles again. As you begin honing your craft, go ahead and learn at your own pace. It is a marathon, not a sprint!
Online art classes can be a godsend and very convenient when you don’t want to go to university. Find time in your day to do a little bit of work at a time. This will help you get used to learning at a natural pace and help you expand your knowledge. Remember that it is okay to learn slowly as long as you keep learning!
2. Who’s Got the Time?
Life is busy! Between work and kids (why do they always want snacks?) you have a lot of responsibilities to find time for every day. It’s the same old story for everyone. The older you get the less likely you are to take time out to do something you want to do.
No one is here to tell you to shirk your responsibilities, but you may have to rearrange your schedule a bit in order to have time to create. Setting aside an hour a day to draw may seem impossible but if you check your screen use time on your phone it’s likely you actually have more time than you think.
Don’t let time become an excuse to not become the artist you’d like to be. This may take some self discipline. You may need to wake up earlier but you can find the time! Taking time to create will not only let you grow as an artist but it can also be an excellent form of self care.
As you’ve already learned, consistency is key to improvement. You are pursuing art because you enjoy it after all, so it’s not going to feel like a chore you need to squeeze into your day when you’re creating. And you’ll just keep getting better and better at it!
3. Difficulty Saving Money
Just like anything, getting an art education can be a significant investment but this doesn’t mean that you need to take out a loan to become an artist. Don’t let the cost associated with art classes deter you from a passion of creating art!
Sure, materials do cost money but there are some mediums that don’t require a lot! All you need to draw is a pencil and some paper, you don’t need anything fancy when you’re starting out. Plus there are other mediums that cost very little: found material art and digital art can be created with stuff from around your home or on your computer!
Consider what you’re aiming for. Is art going to be your hobby? Or are you hoping to turn your art into a lucrative side hustle or even replace your full time career? Depending on your answer, you will need to set aside more money for your artistic endeavors.
A way to save is to take half of any raise or pay increase you get and put that into a savings account specifically for your art. Or cut back on your trips to the local coffee house and put that money into an account for your art. No matter how you do it, having a great savings practice will benefit you and allow you to pursue your passion the way you want to!
Consider art to be an investment for your future! Spending the money to learn and to buy your materials may allow you to become a professional artist capable of selling their work. It’s not an unreasonable goal to make all the money back that you’ve spent on your materials. And you’ll never know until you try!
Creating art and initially paying for a class or materials could be a financial sacrifice you have to make. But if you’re committed to the process, becoming an artist is a great goal to accomplish. Save money here and there when you can in order to start working on your dreams! You’re never too old to stop dreaming!
4. You’re Not Willing to Put in the Work
Don’t be impatient. Art isn’t something that you become great at in a day. It might not even be a skill you become great at in a year! Art is a talent that takes time and patience to become good at and you will have to work hard to get there. Developing an artistic eye takes time.
If you are going to be impatient and frustrated that your painting doesn’t look like Degas’ right out of the gate then you’re never going to find satisfaction with art. The longer you work at becoming an artist the better your work will become. It may happen slowly, and you’ll probably get frustrated and face disappointments: channel those feelings into your artwork!
The harder you work for your art and the more you learn, the better you will become! If you are willing to put in the work to become the best artist you can, that’s great! Otherwise, there’s no shame to just being an okay artist. Art is just as much about your enjoyment as it is about the result. There’s no reason to believe that you can’t be great however!
5. Advantages of Age in Art
Did you know that the Prefrontal cortex of your brain is not fully developed until you are twenty-five years old! All the stupid things you might have done when you were younger seem silly and childish the older you get, right? By the time you are in your thirties, you should be much better at making smart decisions and managing your time.
With this in mind, your age may actually be a benefit to you! Having the ability to focus on your goals and learning new techniques in art can help you become a remarkable artist. This is especially true if you are older and want to make art your career because you know what it will take to get you there successfully.
Often you notice that people who go back to school when they are older are much more motivated than the younger students. This is because they know how important education is and they’re extremely motivated to work as hard as they possibly can. Since art requires a motivation that many people do not have, your age may work to your advantage.
It’s possible to become an artist at any age, but it does go to show you that it’s never too late to become an artist. With your life experiences to rely on for inspiration, your developed brain and motivation can be the recipe to success as an artist.
6. Perspective is Everything
Over time people tend to lower their goals and expectations. What may have started out as a big dream for your career might not pan out the way you expected. If you find yourself dissatisfied in your career, it can feel impossible to get back to your original goals.
But if you are alive and breathing it is never too late to reach for that ultimate goal for your life! No matter what age you are if you want to become a skilled artist then you are capable of accomplishing just that! Succeeding in the art world can be difficult to achieve but don’t let the challenge compromise your ambition.
It might take time to become an artist but it will be worth it in the end if art is something you’re passionate about. So many people compromise their goals over time and lose sight of what they wanted. Don’t become someone who sits back and wonders “what if”? Because what if you really could have made it happen?
It may require a structured learning environment such as an art school or online art courses to accomplish your goal and it won’t necessarily be easy: but no one promised it would be easy. But it will be worth it! Don’t accept mediocrity, aim high and accomplish your dream with hard work.
In your journey to becoming an artist there will always be those who question you and you will certainly face challenges along the way. As you age you may lose motivation, become impatient, or struggle financially. Powering through any trials and tribulations will ultimately make you a better artist. After all, suffering for your art just puts you in good company.
If you want to become an artist, you just need to brush up on your skills and get to work. The truth is no one is ever too old to learn how to create art! If you are willing to devote some effort to the cause, then you can get far in the art world! Take a class and try it out. There is no such thing as aging out of creativity!