Updated: Aug 26, 2021
So let's talk about the journey you had to go through to be an artist, whether that's learning new skills, learning to network, and probably number one on the list, finding work to pay for your living. Let me explain this beforehand if it wasn't clear already. I'm an artist and love being an artist every day. I say this to clear up the number of grammar and punctuation errors you may encounter reading this, just know I do my best for you, my dear readers. I say to share my own experiences in this blog and any number of content that will be coming out of my business.
Now back on track to the "why" and "how" to be an artist. Ask yourself these questions first, do you enjoy creating? Do you enjoy being creative in what you do? Does it relax you or give you a little bit of stress? Maybe you have this uncontrollable urge to create or design something when you find some free time. Well if you answer "yes" to any of these questions, then you have the making of an artist in you, whether you feel like it or not. The journey is highly questionable but is well rewarded for those who can push for it the most. You should know in advance, the challenges can be overwhelming but it all comes down to perseverance. It's cliché but it's also the truth in pursuing anything you want to do, especially when you want to make it a living.
How do you become an artist? Well realize that art is literally everywhere and it's up to you as a future artist to build something out of what you see, smell, hear, feel and even taste. Be the mad scientist by combining all of these elements together to form an abomination. Depending on what your interest is in the world of art will initially determine your method of madness but know they all start from the same point. Break down that idea to its most fundamental form, find that foundation first, and build on it. For the sake of my sanity, I will focus on illustrators, 3D artists, and graphic designers but my pointers transcend fields so take it as you will.
To start us off, you would need to focus on the overall themes and shapes. You may not notice this right off the bat, but we recognize silhouettes or "big shapes" first before ever noticing the little details. As an example, let's say you're casually walking down a street and you see this big building. The first thing that catches your eye in a split second is the silhouette of the building and then you see the other details on this wonderful structure.
Don't believe me? Well test it out yourself and look at the random things in your room, then tell me if you don't see it. The point is if your silhouette isn't sexy then everything else will be pretty basic or just blah. Doesn't matter what you do, the best designers know how to work with their silhouettes and would do an occasional test to make sure it's appealing. How do you know it's appealing? Well, ask your friends and family if they can tell what your "big shape" is, what's it doing, and most importantly if it's interesting. If no one can tell what's going on then it's back to the drawing board. Break the shape down to just circles, squares, and triangles, and try again and again. It's stressful, it's going to make you mad and you may even cry but this is all part of the journey. Trust me, none of this stuff is going to be easy but like I said before. Going through all of these headaches will lead to an awesome reward for anyone who can make it and harness these important skills.
Why on earth would you want to be an artist? Seriously, why would you do it? I'm sure everyone has had that talk before. Are you going to make enough money? Is it a stable career choice? How you are going to make a living doing it? In all accounts, it's a rough world and competition is incredibly high because every artist is basically hungry both figuratively and literally. What's worst is the people that take advantage of you. From friends and family doing small projects to discouraging working environments in larger studios. Even then, getting a "full-time job" is harder than it appears because studios can always find someone cheaper to pay on contract versus paying an employee. Rather than spending thousands of dollars on health insurance, unemployment insurance, 401K, and whatever else, then salary on top of that! We're talking about a $40k to $100k investment! So rather than dealing with that, they can pay contractors for maybe $10k on an animation project and that's it. Out of sight, out of mind. Even these artists are constantly looking for their next big payday to pay their bills and make a decent living. Artist like this is typically one of the best out there, generally in a well-rounded network and have done harness their talents to the max. If you don't have a solid network or lack networking skills, then it's going to be a little rougher journey for you. So again, I ask you why!
How and Why...
Well, let me, you're below average writer tell you why! If you are one of those people that wake up every morning thinking about doing something creative the moment you wake up or has the competitive spirit to always improve your craft then this is for you. Maybe you have the drive to strive for your passion, then that's enough of a "why" to pursue your dreams. The "how" comes after and would be nonexistent if your "why" isn't strong enough to carry you through. Trust me, I've met plenty of people where their "how" plan is absolutely solid but the "why" was severely lacking and ultimately was their demise when challenges continued to pop up. Now to clarify, you don't have to be a big-time artist to be an "artist". You just have to love what you do with it and see where it goes. To make it a career out of it is going to require a very strong "why" because other artists are willing to give everything they have to pursue their dreams. Crazy? I know, I've met a handful of them and they are incredibly talented because they practice their craft every day! Just know that everyone has their level of intensity and you have to be around people that can positively influence that energy. After that, the rest is up to you to be resourceful and creative to be an artist.