How to become a full time artist

Too many artists don’t earn a living through their art. And I’m sure many of us who are in a full time job that has nothing to do with art, dream of becoming a full time artist.

But what if we can’t afford to be living the starving artist lifestyle until our art career takes off? What if we can’t take the leap because we have people who depend on our income?

How to become a full time artist

Here are some steps you can take in order to become a full time artist and avoid living the stereotype of the starving artist.

Think about your voice

What is it that you want to say through your art? What kind of art do you want to create? How do you want to make people to think and feel when they look at your art?

These are all questions that is worth asking yourself before you become a full time artist. You can also consider things like, what mode of delivery will suit your message best? Will you be painting, sketching, sculpting, etc.

This is also a good time to experiment and think about what kind of art you enjoy creating most.

Think about who you want to see your art

So now that you know what it is that you want to communicate through your art, whether its a feeling or a powerful message, it is time to start thinking about who your target audience is.

You might think “hey, I want to show my work to everyone” and “I want to make a difference in the world”. While these are great goals, it is not easy to speak to everyone at once, since we are all so different.

In the book This is Marketing, I read that in order to create change in the world, you need to start with a small group of people. This is how you influence the world little by little.

This might sound like you will then make no money because you are marketing to viewer people, but wouldn’t you rather have your work in front of 100 people who are actually interested in your work and subject matter than have it in front of 10 000 random people who might not even be interested in art to begin with?

Once your target market is set and you know what your subject matter is, be sure to stick to it for a while. It helps to have tunnel vision when creating a brand for yourself. Try not to dabble too much in other subject matter, etc. since you are only focusing on one niche at a time.

It helps to create a customer avatar in a lot of detail, to the point where you feel like you can actually give this person a name. It is good practice to write the details on your customer avatar down and to refer back to it once in a while when you are feeling a bit lost.

Questions you can ask yourself on your target audience are:

  • Who are they? (Age, Gender, Marital status, Age of children, Location, Level of Education, Occupation, Job title, Annual income).
  • What do they want?
  • What is stopping them from getting it?
  • Where do they hang out online

Always remember; if you market to everyone, you market to no one.

Be willing to make some sacrifices

If you want to succeed in transitioning into a full time artist, it is important to see your goal as a job too. Be prepared to spend a little less time watching tv, etc in order to commit more time to your art. Try to schedule on your calendar the amount of hours per day or per week you will spend on your art and stick to it.

It might take a bit of self discipline every now and then to get grinding, but as long as you keep your eye on your goal, it shouldn’t bee too difficult.

Build your portfolio

People won’t buy your work when they can’t see it. Even if you mainly plan to work on commissions, it is very important to show your potential clients some of your previous works.

An important thing to remember when you start out with this, is that your art does not have to be absolutely perfect in order for it to be shown to the world.

In Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Before you Quit your Job, he says that so many entrepreneurs spend way too much time on refining their product, instead of getting it out there in order for it to be sold.

So don’t be discouraged when you feel like you lack some technique in your work. As long as you know you are doing your best, you will gradually learn the techniques as you go. And by giving your audience the opportunity to watch you grow as an artist will only make them feel more connected to you.

Gain recognition!

Put yourself out there as much as you can. Make sure you’re online! Create an instagram account and facebook page and showcase your art on there. Other great platforms are also Pinterest,, Etsy etc. depending on where your target market hangs out online.

Once you have your accounts up and running, it is important to keep posting consistently. Your followers will eventually get so used to you posting at a specific time of the day or week, they will be looking forward to your next post.

With that being said, it might be difficult to have a finished product ready for posting everyday or twice a day(recommended for Instagram and Facebook) or even once a week (recommended for You Tube).

This is where you can start creating time lapses of your creative process. Why not start a You Tube channel with art tutorials on a new technique you just mastered? Or just giving your viewers a tour on your studio area, even if it is just a desk with a drawer full of materials, this will give you the opportunity to connect with your potential customers. You can also recommend materials you like, etc.

A lot of us don’t like the idea of being on camera. But the best part is, you don’t even have to be on camera in order to do these things. You can just show your work and do a voice over when editing your video if you’re a bit shy or even get a friend to read your script for you. How about using text instead? Get creative! The possibilities are endless!

Six Figure Mentors, an online course on how to start your own business is a total game changer if you want to get learn how to sell your art successfully.

You can sign up for free online workshops here:

Sign up for free online workshops

Finally take the leap without risk

You can start all of this while you are still working in your day job. The beauty of focusing on selling your work online, is that you don’t have to attend every single gallery exhibition in order to network, since you will be doing all your networking online. This helps a great deal when you have responsibilities at home, since you are not required to go anywhere.

Once you have your art selling online successfully and you’re generating enough income from it, you are then able to save this extra income for a while in order to create a buffer for the more quiet times. This will let you transition smoothly into your new career as a full time artist!

I would also like to remind you that it is important to stay patient when transitioning into becoming a full time artist. As long as you keep your eye on your goal and bring your best self to the table, or should I say easel, you’ll get there! I wish you the best of luck on your journey in becoming a full time artist!

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