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What are the skills that I need in an art career?

I'm mostly interested in drawing, water color painting, and sculpting. A topic that I'm passionate about is art. What are some career that requires past experiences and what are the best option that can help me in my future career.
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Elisabetta’s Answer

Hi Laysha! I really admire your ambition of growing a career in the art field. I assume you would like to become an artist yourself, from your description of art techniques you enjoy. I actually have a couple of friends who started off as artists recently. My suggestion is to showcase your works online, for example Instagram is a great place to start: use that as your "gym", practice and try new things, share them with your network. Try out different techniques in your free time to understand which can be your brand, your signature (will it be sculpting? water colors? more combined). You will figure out which you like the most and hopefully your virtual followers might give you feedback that will help you (or you will see by yourself which technique is the most appreciated out there!). My second advice is around the more technical skills that you might find useful to acquire: there are so many resources out there like Coursera or LinkedIn learning where there are free online courses on a multitude of art techniques. Many artists do run free workshops or webinars, there are virtual "ateliers" where you can draw, paint or sculpt in company of others! Get involved in this network and activities. Lastly, once your technique will be mature and you feel confident, you should try to sign up on Etsy, for wider audience and to see what other artists out there do. If you wanted, you could start selling your works in the future too. Etsy is a great place to start to get visibility. In this period, there is greater attention to local artists so you might see people interested in wanting to see more of your works! To summarize, online presence and working on your signature technique, would be my initial advice. In the future you can evaluate higher education (going to an art college) if this is an appealing option to you in the future, to further deepen techniques and learn more about art.

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Andy’s Answer

Hi Laysha,

It's great to see that you're interested in a career in the arts. Some of the main things to consider are what kind of art specifically? Art is a diverse field and can have a wide range of different specialties: fine art, advertisement, graphic design, industrial design, fashion, illustration, children's books, video games, film, television, etc.

Since you mentioned sculpting and watercolor it seems that perhaps fine art might be more appropriate. Although one thing to note is that if you have a strong foundation in the arts, you will set yourself up to be successful in a wide variety of art related fields. Having been an illustrator in the video games industry for over 15 years I have worked with artists with very diverse backgrounds: trained sculptors who paint digitally for a living, 3D environment artists who started out in quality assurance, comic book artists who also work in video games. So yeah, even if you begin by exploring one particular discipline just know that it could in directions you'd never thought of before.

So to answer your first question, make sure that you have strong fundamentals: color theory, composition, perspective, anatomy, aesthetics, design, etc. Make sure that you take courses especially in areas in which you are weakest. Draw, sculpt, paint, create art every day, even little doodles in a sketchbook are fine. They don't all have to be masterpieces.

The next best thing to do is to figure out where your passions are aligned with a career. Work with your college to see where there might be internship opportunities for you to try out and see what those careers are like. Having an online presence is great but it's not likely that people will just contact you out of the blue and offer you a job. Use online platforms to help with your technique, receive critiques, and talk to your peers. But if you know what you want to do then you will be able to focus and direct this passion and energy towards that goal.

With that being said, keep an open mind. Art is about creativity and finding paths that you might not have thought of before. Have a goal in mind but don't be afraid to take some time to explore what else might be out there. I know that this sounds like a lot of mixed messaging but believe me, they all work together in the long term.

I hope that you find a path to spark your passion. Good luck!

Andy

Andy recommends the following next steps:

Look at college and university internship opportunities
Figure out what you're passionate about and what careers line up with that passion
Keep an open mind to new art disciplines
Practice, practice, practice! Create more art!

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Addi’s Answer

Hi Laysha, I'm excited to hear you're looking into your career as an artist!

All of the advice previously mentioned is excellent. One additional skill I want to suggest is getting comfortable with communicating about your work. No matter what path you take, it is always a really important skill to be able to present your work and tell the story. Whether you're presenting a portfolio, pitching a design for a project, or are showcasing in a gallery, people want to know the process that led you to the finished piece. What inspired you? Why did you make certain decisions? If applicable, what did you learn and how will you apply it to future pieces? Customers and clients enjoy knowing the journey of a piece, and in many cases it becomes a major selling point that convinces them to buy or hire you.

A great way to start is to do a small write-up for your pieces now. Share them on instagram or other social media, or just with friends and family to start. You can also use social media see how other artists speak to their pieces.

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Jaclyn’s Answer

My best advice is to work on developing your artistic style. Create and practice your craft as much as possible so that you have a body of work to show prospective employers. To make a living in art, you will need to have an online presence. Create a website or a blog to showcase your work, or even a dedicated art-instagram so that your work is out in the world. Interact authentically with other artists you admire to build your network, as well as joining local clubs and organizations to get involved with the other artists in your community. If there is a brand you want to work with, put together a proposal and send it to them—You never know what might come out of it! And lastly, to make a living as a fine art artist, flexibility is key. You will likely end up using your skills in ways you never imagined to earn a living. Good luck! You got this!!

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