7 tips for a self-taught artist
Being a self-taught artist is not easy. In this blog, I will share some tips for a self-taught artist that will help you.
First of all, let me share a short story about my artistic journey hoping that will inspire you to become a self-taught artist or motivate you to keep going and creating.
I was working as a programmer for 3 years. I was liking what I was doing at my job but I wanted to do something of my own. In 2019, I started making paintings and selling them on my Instagram page. I was doing it with my full-time job.
Time flies so fast and after three years, I am a full time artist and I love it a lot. It is not an easy journey. I went through and still go through ups and downs. Those days taught me very important lessons and I would love to share them with you today.
Do not ever compare yourself with others
Everyone’s journey is different and everyone is going ahead at a different speed. As I read in “the courage to be disliked”, everyone is walking on a flat surface and walking ahead. We are not competing with each other.
In this time of social media, you must have seen artists with lots of followers and getting lots of orders. You must have felt proud of them but sometimes you must have felt like you are very behind and don’t know what you are doing.
My best advice for you at that time is, don't compare your current stage with the "successful" artist you are seeing on social media. If you really want to compare, then compare your current stage with the artists’ beginning stage when they started as an artist. Take notes on what they did to reach where they are right now.
Try every medium you can
I know, this must be strange advice because a lot of people say that - “get better at one thing and then move on to another”. I don’t believe in that. How do you know that you like watercolors or acrylics only? By trying them, right?
You can not decide just by reading or looking at them. You can not find your style only by painting with one medium. You have to try different things. Go ahead and try different mediums, papers, and brushes. Try to mix different mediums and play around and have fun!
You HAVE to practice more! If you really want to become a good or great artist, this is the best advice I can give you. To get mastery of a subject or medium, you gotta have to know it in the best way. For that, you have to work on it.
Learn color theory
Picking the right colors for your paintings is a very crucial thing. Even if you are a master at sketching and know lots of painting techniques, if you choose the wrong colors, everything will look like a mess.
Learning color theory is a very basic but very important thing. I was very bad at picking colors and I am still working on it. As I am writing this, I am thinking to make a whole series on how to choose the right colors for your paintings. Until then, you can read “Color Choices” by Stephen Quiller.
I have listed down some interesting videos for you to watch about color theory:
Understanding how colors work when using watercolor by Jenna Rainey
Controversial Color Theory: RYB vs CMY Color Wheel - What are the REAL Primary Colors?
Review your paintings and see what you like to paint more
When started my artistic journey, I used to paint flowers and leaves only. I wanted to paint landscapes and I started taking classes on Skillshare. I started loving to paint landscapes and thought this is what I want to paint. I painted a lot of landscapes and sold a few of them as well.
But I was not feeling happy inside while painting landscapes. I took out all the paintings I did and reviewed what I like to paint more. And, to my surprise, I love to paint flowers. I still like painting landscapes but I think flowers are what I enjoy more than landscapes.
Share something small every day (from “show your work”)
“Show your work” is a beautiful book by Austin Kleon. This book will help a lot of you who are struggling with showing your work. In this book, he says that - show something small every day - which is the inspiration for starting this website and writing these weekly blogs.
I am not telling you to buy a domain and get started with writing blogs. I am telling you to start sharing something every day on social media or with your friends. If you have a website, then it is great to start writing and making videos about your artistic journey.
I know it is very hard to wake up every day with the motivation to create something and keep going every day. In your starting days and when you don’t have so many people in your follower list and when you have very low to zero sales but trust me, if you will stop, you will regret one day that what if you have kept going and did things you loved to do.
So keep going and be consistent with your efforts.
I have listed a few books which I have read, that will help you a lot in your self-taught artist journey.
Content for you to watch
I have listed down some watercolor painting tutorial videos from my YouTube channel. I hope you will like them.