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How to Get Started as an Artist (and Stay Inspired!)

I am an artist, illustrator, design, writer, and webmaster. I am very passionate about the arts and what it means to be an artist.

I keep an "art to go" kit that I can grab quickly when inspiration hits.

I keep an "art to go" kit that I can grab quickly when inspiration hits.

The Right Tools

What is, or isn't, the right set of "tools" for you depends on your personal style and preference. However, making sure that you've got art-specific materials on hand for when you're feeling creative is ideal for avoiding situations where you can't find what you need. Sure, an office pen and some printer paper can do in a pinch, but is it really what you needed?

Basic Tools in my "Art to Go" Kit

  • Drawing pad of paper/sketchbook (appropriate size for your needs)
  • Mechanical pencil
  • Graphite pencils: 4H, 2H, HB, 2B, 4B, and 6B grades
  • Knead-able eraser

That's it! That's really all I have in my artistic version of a bug-out bag. It's not a lot, and you can get some low-cost versions to get you going. I have learned that price point isn't always a statement of quality.


Getting the Ball Rolling in Right Direction

Sure, some people are more inclined to have an aptitude for creating artwork than others. That doesn't mean that it's impossible for just about anyone to have success as an artist. You just have to know where to start.

We Crawl Before We Can Walk

Even if you have confidence as an artist, it's best not to try to rush progress. In order to be truly successful as an artist, you need to have more than just a good opinion of your own talents.

Keep It Simple!

Start with simple shapes. When you look at a subject; what shapes do you see? Learning to identify the basic shapes that make up everything we see is more than just slightly beneficial to an upcoming artist.

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What shapes make up a face? Is it just a circle? Or is there a square and a triangle involved in there somewhere? Once you get a hang of how to quickly see and recreate the simple shapes of the things around you, then start working on how to smooth out the shapes. Every single style of art starts with simple shapes. Where you go with it from there is up to your imagination and creativity.


Reach Out to Other Artists

This is harder to do if you've already gotten into the bad habit of looking at other artists as competition. However, reaching out to other artists is a really amazing way to get going on your own creative path. Most artists are part of creative communities and will gladly give you advice on how to get over the hurdles of getting going.

Ask Questions!

Don't be scared to directly ask questions of other artists. You may come across a few artists now and then who aren't very polite or social. Don't let that discourage you! For every rude person you encounter, there will be five more artists out there willing to help you learn and grow on your journey.

Questions to Ask Other Artists

  • What made you want to be an artist?
  • How did you get started as an artist?
  • What obstacles did you overcome and how?

These are just a few to get you going in the right direction. The best questions to ask will be the ones you want answers to.


Visit Art Galleries

You would be amazed at how many people identify as artists that have never set foot into an art museum or gallery before in their life. There are a multitude of benefits to frequenting galleries when you have time. Not to mention, it can be a lot more fun that some people tend to make it out to be. Most galleries aren't super fancy, and they don't require you to wear a suit or ballgown to visit them.

Great Way to Network

As an artist, networking will eventually be your life support. Getting your artistic network going right out the gate is a great way to set yourself up for success. Galleries are great places to meet other artists and gallery owners. Other artists are amazing resources. You can learn a great deal from them if you keep an open mind. Of course, the benefits of knowing gallery owners is obvious once you start producing work you'd like to show off.

Get Inspired

Looking at other people's artwork with an open mind can lead to pretty mind blowing personal realizations. Artwork can make us look inside ourselves. We try to interpret the meaning behind what we are looking at. This entire thought process is where great inspiration is born. You may end up leaving the gallery with the concept of your first (or next) masterpiece. At the very least, you'll have seen some various approaches to different styles and techniques. All of this is how we learn at grow as artists.