How To Be A Successful Artist

If you can create beautiful, interesting, thought-provoking pieces of art, then you can call yourself an artist. There is no true definition of this particular career (or even hobby); art is so subjective that it is virtually impossible to put it into one category or another. Success, however, is a different concept; success can be defined a lot more easily. If you want to be a successful artist, here are some things to think about.

Become A Freelancer

In order to be successful, you need your work to be seen, and although you might like the idea of simply creating art for yourself and hoping that someone else might spot it, what you really need to do is work in the artistic or creative fields so that more people can notice your name, style, and work. One way to do this and still give yourself enough freedom to create your own work is to become a freelancer.

A freelancer is someone who is self-employed and who works for a variety of different clients on an ad-hoc basis. They are not employed in the traditional sense and are responsible for their own taxes; there are no vacation entitlements or sick pay which means you have to look after your own health so that you don’t lose out on any jobs or money. It could mean taking up more exercise, eating better, getting more sleep, or switching from cigarettes to vaping. If that’s the case, you can see the best vape juice here.

However, when it comes to freedom and being able to plan your own day, week, or even month, there is nothing better than freelancing. Working on different temporary contracts will give you a varied career and all the experience that goes with it.

Budget Carefully

If you are a freelancer, there may be periods of time when there is no work, either because of a choice you have made to take some time off or because the market is slow for whatever reason. Between contracts, you may not have any money coming in, and this is why it is essential for you to budget carefully so that when you aren’t getting paid, you still have enough money to cover all your bills.

Having a contingency plan is something that all successful artists will put in place for those times when work is scarce. During this time, they can work on their own projects and use the downtime to hone their skills. Just because you aren’t getting paid doesn’t mean that the time is wasted. Rather, practice is something that all artists should do because no matter how good they are, they can always be better, or try out a new style, or just experiment in some way. Doing so will also open up new and different markets so that it is easier to find work.


Self-promotion is one of the best ways to engage people and show them what you can do. Social media is ideal for this, and Instagram and Facebook, in particular, are useful as they are the most visual. You can showcase your work online through social media, or (or as well as) your own webpage. Having a strong online presence means that you are more easily visible not just to the general public but to potential employers too, and that can help immensely.

No artist should ever shy away from promoting their own work because if they want to be successful, they need people to see what they are capable of creating. Not everyone is comfortable in showing off their work in this way, but over time you will learn to be happier about it, and that’s a good thing in terms of your work life and also your personal one; you will gain in confidence in many different ways.


Some artists absolutely love to network and socialize, and others prefer to keep to themselves, and they don’t like other people’s company. However, no matter whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, socializing and networking is extremely important when it comes to becoming a successful artist. You need to speak to people and talk about your art and show them what you can do if you want to grow your client base.

Networking is important no matter what area you are hoping to be successful in; you might be trying to add to the number of commissions you are able to take on, or you might be looking for a new freelance (or even permanent) contract somewhere. Talking to the right people at the right time will give you that chance; not networking at all means you’ll miss out.


Some artists choose to form collectives to push their work more and engage more people. A collective is a group of artists who come together in order to split the costs of gallery space and advertising, for example, and who might even work together on collaborative projects from time to time. By sharing costs and leads when it comes to working, there is more chance that the group as a whole will be more successful.

In a collective, there will be people who have a variety of different skills, and utilizing these skills can truly help everyone. You’ll have more resources and more opportunities when you work together. Another bonus is that you will make friends and have fun at the same time as enjoying your art, and that is extremely important. Once your art is no longer fun, you will start to resent having to do it, and the work itself will suffer for that.


Any artist who wants to be successful must have a portfolio to show potential clients. This is, for many, far more important than a degree in the arts, for example, which doesn’t necessarily showcase exactly what the artist can do. That’s not to say that a degree isn’t a useful addition, and certainly going to college and learning as much about your chosen subject as possible (while also gaining any life skills) can be crucial, but if you don’t also have a portfolio, then there is very little for a potential employer to see. If that is the case, they may not be confident enough in your work to hire you.

Having a wide range of different pieces of art (not necessarily in different styles or media, because some artists do choose to specialize in one direction) will make hiring you a much easier decision. An employer will see your portfolio and immediately know if you’re the right artist for them and their project.

A Second Job

In order to truly concentrate on their art, many successful artists began by having two jobs; a ‘day job’ that brought in the money to pay the bills and the mortgage or rent, and their artistic job that was on a part-time basis. Jumping straight into being self-employed and solely working on your art is something that you need to be extremely confident and brave to do. Plus, you need to have a good deal of money set aside to see you through the first few months (or more) when you are trying to find your way and spot potential commissions and employment opportunities.

Having a main job and working on your art on the side, during evenings and weekends, perhaps, is a good way to hone your skills and get everything in place before you take the leap and become fully self-employed and dependent on your art. It can certainly be done, and many artists can earn a good living from their art. However, it needs to be done in the right way from the start and having the breathing space that another job would give you will give you the chance to set everything up as it needs to be before you begin.


If you want to work in the arts no matter what, then having a second job in an office or grocery store, for example, may not appeal. In that case, you may want to consider an internship in an artistic field. It will give you plenty of experience, and that’s something that many employers will be looking for. Remember, though, that not all internships are paid, and if you need money to live, then it may not work out for you that well. Weigh up all the pros and cons before making your decisions and determine whether this course of action is the best way for you to become a successful artist.

Job Satisfaction

In order to be a successful artist, you must love what you do. Otherwise, you will find that you love the lose of the arts that brought you to this place in the beginning. The good news is that those in creative work often have a much higher job satisfaction rating than those doing almost anything else, so the chances are high that you will enjoy what you are doing. If you don’t, then step away; there are more and more artistic, creative jobs opening up, especially thanks to web design positions, and if you’re not feeling good about what you’re doing then it’s important to keep searching until you do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *