How do I Become an Artist?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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If you want to become an artist, the first thing that you have to do is to develop your skill. While attending classes or even getting a degree in art is helpful, there are and have been many successful artists who are entirely self-taught. Whether you decide to teach yourself or take classes, the most important thing is to practice your craft on a regular basis.

In order to become an artist, you must practice and develop your skills. You will need materials such as pens, pencils, sketch pads, paints, brushes, and canvases. Some art supplies, especially canvases, can be quite costly. If you are budget-conscious, one thing that you can do is peruse thrift shops and garage sales for inexpensive paintings that you can paint on top of. While this is not ideal, it is one way to get started with your painting practice.

Once you have the materials that you need, try to stick to a schedule. Even if you can only carve out a few hours every week to work on your art, make sure that you do so consistently. Also, use extra vacation days to dedicate to your craft. Many artists and burgeoning artists have to get their careers started while maintaining a day job.


When you feel that you have a body of good work — more than five strong pieces — begin to put together a portfolio to show others. If you know anyone who is also an artist or simply has a good eye, ask for feedback on what you've created. It is important to know that artists of all ilks receive huge amounts of criticism and rejection early on in their careers. It is important to use the criticism that you receive to improve your work.

Be sure to get involved in the arts scene in your town and neighboring towns and cities. Attend art openings and gallery shows. Study the work hanging in local museums. Networking is a wonderful way to meet other artists, develop your own community of colleagues, and learn from other people's work. Again, while taking art classes is not a requirement to become an artist, it is a great way to both improve your work and meet other people in your field.

Finally, a great way to become an artist is to study the masters. While art books, especially those with glossy color pages, are expensive, most libraries have a collection of art books that you can peruse. While you are on your journey to become an artist, spend as much time as you can looking at and learning from masterful work.


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Post 4

@bythewell - I mean, when someone asks how do you become an artist it really depends on what they are asking. They might be asking how you can make money from art, or how you become famous, or how you make something beautiful or how you go to an art school.

Being an artist isn't a simple concept. Many people might think that a lot of modern paintings aren't anywhere near the same quality of the older masters, but they often have very complex meaning and highly technical aspects. Does that make someone who paints one of them an artist or is it simply the fact that they call themselves artists that does the trick? It's a question that people have been debating for a long time.

Post 3

@pleonasm - Well, I think anyone can become a portrait artist or learn how to paint with some realism, but I also think that creativity is more than just learning how to paint what is right in front of you. If that were true than people like Picasso would not be as famous and beloved as they are. He certainly wasn't just observing and painting what he observed, although that was part of it.

Which is not to say that everyone can't be an artist, just that there is more to it than learning how to draw.

Post 2

I've heard a lot of people talk about how they aren't artistic or don't have an arty bone in their body, but I really think that's nonsense.

Art doesn't have to be about natural ability and in fact it rarely is about natural ability. People who seem to be naturally good at art have actually been practicing for years, even if all they are doing is sketching in the margins of their school books. Anyone can learn to be an artist if they put enough time and effort into it.

There is no mystery about it. You simply learn to observe carefully and then make marks representing what you observe. If anything, the art is in the discrepancy between what you've observed and what is actually there, so you might actually say that real art is in mistakes.

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