How to Learn From Other Artists
Why you should learn from other Artists
When you begin working in the artistic world, it's easy to get swept up in the idea of having to compete with other artists. We start off viewing them as competition. Sure, striving to be better than another artist can be good motivation. However, competing with other artists can lead to a lot of downsides.
Competing with other Artists can Lead to:
- Replicating Styles -
When we are working to be better than specific artists we compete with; we often end up imitating or replicating their style. It makes it harder to find your own "voice" as an artist.
- Lack of Originality -
Going along with the imitation issue, being in constant competition with other artists can get us caught up in following trends or the subjects of other artists. This prevents us from using our own imagination and creative minds to produce original artwork.
- Creative Blocks -
It's much easier to find yourself in a creative block when you're in constant competition with other creatives. If you're never using your own original" creative muscles", they will stop being active. This will lead you to finding yourself unable to create at all.
- Difficulty Networking -
Other artists can be a great tool for networking. Feeling like all other artists are your competition will make it harder to build bridges and network. This limits your fan base and potential sales.
Learning passively from other artists is a great way to "dip your toe" into the idea of learning from other artists. Basically, you observe an artist from a far. This doesn't just mean looking at the artwork they create. This means taking a look at who they are, what drives them to do what they do, and how they interact with their fans, followers, and customers.
Who are they?
You may not know anything more about an artist you've been in mental competition with other than what they create. Digging a little deeper can sometimes offer great insights into who they are, and who you want to be, as an artist.
What's their Motivation?
A great thing to start with is looking to see if any of the artists you've been looking at as competition have social media accounts or blogs that they are active on. From there, start looking to see if they talk about their inspirations. See if you can uncover what motivates them to create their artwork by just looking at what they say and do online.
How are their Communication Skills?
If being a professional artist is on your "to do" list, it might be good to start looking into how other artists interact with their fans and followers. Each and every person that looks at your artwork, or that you communicate with, could be a potential customer. You may find that, even though you admire the artwork of a specific artist you had been personally competing with, they aren't a very nice person. Being able to effectively communicate and give off an approachable personality is fairly important if you plan on getting commissioned work and making sales.
Active learning involves reaching out to other artists and asking questions and interacting with them. This may seem scary, but you don't have to go out and find them in person right away. You can easily start by contacting them on their website, or by reaching out to them through social media.
You should probably introduce yourself first, but you can always ask another artist a question. No matter what response you get, you'll be sure to learn something. Even if the artist refuses to answer and is completely rude and off-putting, you'll have learned that you should probably avoid being like that with YOUR fans and followers. You'll learn a lot just from the way that an artists answers questions, and not just by the answers that they give.
Get to know them!
Making friends is a great way to learn and grow. If you just actively engage in getting to know another artist you can learn more than any other way. Bombarding a stranger with questions may not always get you the best and most accurate and honest answers. However, getting to know someone by attempting to build a friendship gains you much more personal insight and knowledge.
Let's all Grow Together!
As artists, it's important that we are kind to each other. Building a supportive community of creatives is the best way to grow and learn together. No two people are capable of honestly creating the exact same things without one of them actively seeking to duplicate the other. If we all focus on being ourselves and creating works of art that express us as individuals, there's nothing we should ever feel in competition about!