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Any advice for an artist?

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

I was asked by a young artist if I had any advice for them. I started typing a short answer but it quickly turned into quite a long list of points.

Some points are more geared towards people making a living from art, either full or part time. However most of them would be of some help to any artists, and hopefully if nothing else, interesting.

Simply think of marketing as sharing...

...and good marketing as sharing with the right people for your work.

Paint what you love, workout who would like what you've painted and go where they are!

Call them ideal buyers or clients, whatever...decide who they are and go find them!

There's more great info on ideal buyers at


Live by the brush, to start with at least

By this I mean take on all the jobs you get offered, commissions, projects...small big, whatever!!

Ok so this approach may not be for everyone, and it’s with in reason, especially if you know what direction you want to go in and can get focus and direction straight way.

I started out at the age of 22 with no art or business training and no experience what so ever going and getting work or selling paintings….

...this had pros and cons. With no clear direction at that point I said yes to almost all commissions, requests and projects and I worked out how to do it afterwards! It was mostly commission work, and mostly working on guitars with the odd canvas painting, plus a few painting sales.

I was learning on the hoof and was quite the baptism of fire. I made a lot of mistakes, often didn’t get paid a particularly good amount

A) because I head no idea where to start with pricing and

B) I was having to work out a lot of problems as I went so this took a lot of extra time.

Based on the above it probably doesn't sound like good advice...but here was the flip-side: