Tips For Becoming a Professional Artist

Many people who paint dream of giving up their day job and becoming a full time artist. This guide describes how my friend manages to do this – and make a reasonable living.

I was talking recently to a friend who is a professional painter. He makes a living from making and selling art. I asked him about how he was able to make a living and feed and house himself from this precarious existence. Many so called full-time artists in reality depend on their pension from their early retirement from a “proper job” to make ends meet but he does not have this. I was keen to learn some of his secrets. This is what he told me.

Paint and Draw Every Day

He said he started being an artist because he loved painting and drawing and making things. Even if he has no client that he is working for or an exhibition for which he is trying to prepare he still produces work every day. “This keeps my mind active and my hands skilled.” He told me that his speed of working has increased as he gets so much practice so that when he gets a commission he can achieve a good result much quicker than it used to take him. And it also has the benefit of building up hi portfolio so that he has on hand a huge range of work that he can pull out at a few moments notice to show potential clients.

It follows on from this that if you have a big stock of work available you have a greater chance of taking it out at every opportunity to show it to potential clients or customers and show it at fairs stalls or exhibitions. Being creative does not only apply to how you prepare your work but also to the ways in which you find to market yourself.


This is the big secret. If you are working for yourself you can never stop promoting yourself. It has to be a constant thing. He told me that he is always looking for new ways to sell pictures or show his work to the public. Some creative people fail because they are just not hard nosed enough about the business side of self employment.

Don’t Pay Other People for what you can do yourself

If you want mounts make them. Learn the secrets of framing. You will have to invest to get the proper equipment but this is a serious business proposition. Work out how much you spend in a year on mounts and frames and then work out how much it would cost you to do this yourself. Add to this how much you could earn if you do some framing for other people to make full use of your equipment. If you work it out on paper properly then you will make an informed choice on business realities not on a creative whim. Learn how to make a professional website but more on that later.

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Published in: Home Business


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  1. Hi,
    Ive just had my first publishing ‘A Young Mother Strong’and I find your tips on Artists enlightening and I’m going to ’share it’ with my teenage granddaughters who are displaying some talent with their art work and photography,their Mum also. I have a friend who does on the spot pencil drawing likenesses at the local markets each week. A4 size $12 a time I think for these. Have you tried that? She has done some paintings on commission.

  2. Hi, as an artist myself, I do abstracts and portrait pencil sketches, I found your article quite informative. Thank you very much.

  3. how much money do you earn a year

  4. Hi My name is Shunderious Collins im writing this because from the day i was 3 years old i wanted to become an artist in professional cartoon animation i am 17 and and i need to get my Skills out there so the world can see my creations i have just about 6 shows and my characters are amazing and funny i really want to show the art industry what i can do i have great ideas i have even made my own company name Master Productions if you know anyone who can help me get my art featured in anyway i would take anything your kids family and the people of everyday life are gonna love this i promise.

  5. i forgot my phone number is 951.656.0769

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