Many young artists as they start out wonder what they can do to find success and become one of the great artists of their time. When you’re fresh out of art school and you’re just getting started with your career, there’s a lot of advice floating around on how to become an excellent artist.
This is not going to help you with that necessarily. But this post will point out what many of the best artists have in common so that you too can decide to share in these traits. Maybe you will also end up as a recognizable name in the art world and maybe you won’t. But what great artists have in common is a true love for art, and that’s never a bad thing to have.
If you aren’t sure where you’re going or if you are on track as an artist, maybe reading about what great artists have in common can motivate you to find your place. Whether you are searching for the inspiration to become an artist or the motivation to keep working, learning about what others are doing can help!
Respect the Fundamentals To Become a Great Artist
The best artists know that the foundation of an artistic career is their fundamental skills and knowledge base. If you are someone who is drawing people, then you need to draw figures and study basic anatomy every single day to stay on top of it. If you’re a painter, aim to create a small painting every day.
Using and remembering the fundamentals will become second nature when they become a regular part of your life. Have you ever heard the phrase: if you don’t use it you’ll lose it? Most art schools have their students take anatomy classes because it helps artists understand how to draw people.
But if the last time you drew someone was years ago, it may not be as easy now. Great artists understand this basic idea and make sure to stay up to date on the skills that they know are important. So pick up your pencil and start drawing again. Don’t be afraid to face head-on what makes you nervous. If drawing eyes stresses you out, start drawing eyes every day.
Your confidence in fundamentals will carry over to whatever you’re working on and also improve the quality of your piece. Having an understanding of how shading and light work in a drawing is a talent that can benefit painting and digital art as well. The fundamentals are universal across all the visual arts, so don’t let your skills weaken.
It may feel like overkill to continue working on the basics from the first few years of art school, but strong fundamentals will never steer you wrong. If you keep up with the basics daily, rarely going a day without some sort of work, you will not forget any of the things you’ve learned and you will be headed for greatness.
Search for Knowledge To Become a Great Artist
Most artists are on a constant quest to obtain more knowledge. Understanding that as an artist you will never stop learning. Seeking more information and knowledge is an important step to becoming a great artist.
When you were a student you probably learned some great things that have kept you working. This made you happy with what you’ve been creating for years. Certainly, you learn from experience. But if your career has you working on roughly the same thing every day, you need to find other opportunities to be learning. It’s impossible to know what you may need to know in the future.
This may mean you need to get back to a formal art class if you’re not learning enough in your job. What kind of art class you’re hoping for is up to you, but there is a wide variety of out there. If you find your schedule doesn’t work with an in-person class well, there are many online art classes you can take.
Many online art classes are asynchronous, meaning they are prerecorded and you can watch the lessons whenever it suits your schedule. Whether you use an art class as a way to brush up on those ever-important fundamentals or to build on your knowledge base and try something completely new, there’s a class that can help you keep learning.
Studying your favorite artists and attempting to emulate their work can also be helpful as you are learning more. Check out their social media and find out if they offer any workshops. If you already have a respect for someone, learning from them can be a huge boost to your knowledge base.
Attending conventions and trade shows can be another way to network and learn more from your art community as a whole. If you’re on the fence about whether to attend a conference or not, just remember to use it as a learning experience. See it as a way to keep searching for knowledge to help your career as an artist.
Consistently Sharpen Your Art Skills To Become A Great Artist
If you only practiced drawing or digital painting until you got a job in your chosen field, you are not alone. Many artists fall into that category, it happens because people assume that while working they will keep using their skills so why do they need to practice in their spare time?
The great artists have realized that the secret to being great is to never stop practicing. Sure, maybe you’re drawing for work. But even though it’s your vision and effort coming to life, it’s not the same as sitting down at home and drawing something just because you’re passionate about it. Remaining a great artist means you need to constantly be sharpening your skills.
Can you keep drawing if you never sharpen your pencil? Think of a pencil of a metaphor for life as an artist. There’s room for mistakes as you’re learning, but you need to stay sharp if you want to keep going. You need to be sure that you don’t let your skills (especially the ones listed on your resume) go soft. The great artists know to keep practicing regularly.
If you want to reach your absolute top potential as an artist you need to keep working for what you want. No matter where your career has taken you, you can keep practicing and keeping your skills sharp.
Stay Motivated and Passionate About Becoming a Top Artist
We’ve all been there. You don’t want to do the work today. You’re not inspired. Artistic burnout is real, and no one will tell you that you shouldn’t take a break from time to time. But if you are regularly finding yourself with a lack of motivation then something needs to change.
Sometimes that can be as simple as deciding for yourself that you are going to be motivated today. You can either sit on the couch, or you can get up and keep drawing. Pushing yourself through difficult times can help you stay motivated in the long run. You can try to set a timer to force yourself to be creative for a while until you’re feeling it again is up to you.
The great artists know that they need to have a hunger for their art wherever they go. Are you planning a vacation? Don’t forget your sketchbook. You never know where inspiration will strike and a new environment could be just the ticket to your next great idea as an artist. It doesn’t take a lot of time to rough a sketch you’ll want to spend more time with later.
Or use your travels as a way to stay motivated. Using your new experiences and surroundings may be just what you need to get the creative juices flowing. Staying motivated can sometimes be a conscious choice and spending some time away from your typical surroundings may be a great way to keep your art fresh and your motivational mindset strong.
You may be apprehensive to put your whole heart and soul into being an artist. Making the choice to be passionate and work hard can help you become a great artist. It will take an effort to succeed, so don’t be afraid to stretch yourself to stay motivated and passionate about what you’re creating.
Believe in Yourself
As you’re making a conscious choice to be passionate, make the same choice to be your own biggest fan! If you believe in yourself and that what you bring to the table as an artist has merit and value, it is more likely that others will agree with you.
This means that you will take everything you’ve learned and your sharpened skills and set your sights on your dream job. Setting big goals for yourself as an artist can be scary, but if you know what you’re working towards it can also be inspiring and motivating. Having the self-confidence to believe you can achieve what you’ve set your mind to can help you!
There will always be ups and downs in any career, this is not limited to art. However, when you’re in a valley of sorts, having healthy self-esteem can be incredibly helpful. It can encourage you to pick yourself back up and keep moving forward. You don’t need to compare yourself to other artists, even the great ones. Their journey will take them a different direction than you.
You can always learn from and mimic those whom you admire, but own your own path and believe in yourself! Your art is a benefit to the world and is worthy of being seen. Remind yourself of your past achievements for confidence. Set your sights on the next goal for motivation. Believe in yourself that you matter and it will become the truth!
Keep Pushing Forward
Following in the footsteps of great artists may seem a bit daunting when you’re fresh out of school, but there is much to be gained in doing so. Don’t forget what the fundamentals can do for your art and keep working on them, you may even learn something new while you’re doing so. As you keep your skills sharp you will find a greeted sense of confidence in your artistic ability.
Motivation may seem difficult to manufacture when you’re just not feeling it, but if you’re working on all these other things and using your role models as a guide it will be easier. You too can be a great artist if you’re willing to put in the work and you have the passion to keep moving forward.