Interested in drawing or painting? Wondering How to Become an Artist? I’m hoping I can help. I’m excited to share my adventures of rediscovering my love of art and sharing my advice on how to be an artist.
How to Become an Artist:
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you won’t be surprised to see this post. If you’re just following Inspired by Charm here or are new to the blog (welcome, by the way), then this discussion of my artistic journey might be new to you. Either way, if you have an interest in art, drawing, painting, or just curious about my process, then this post is for you.
Part of me feels a little premature in writing a post titled “How to Become an Artist” because I honestly don’t have the answer for you yet nor am I technically an artist. However, a big part of this blog is taking you along with me on my adventures. Every adventure needs a starting point, as rough as it may be, so I thought this would be the perfect place to start.
I have always had an interest in art, drawing, and painting. I took as many art classes as I could in high school and even a few in college. More recently I’ve taken some local community art courses–one for watercolor and one for oil painting. Am I any good? I suppose that’s subjective, but I’d like to think I have some God-given abilities. You see, my mom and both of my brothers were / still are very talented artists. My brothers don’t practice much anymore, but my Mom has been diving back into the arts.
As I’ve started practicing again, I’ve created some pieces which I like and some that I feel could use some work. I’ve included a few photos from my sketchbook as part of this post so you can have an idea of what I’m creating. None of these are official pieces of artwork. Rather, they are merely studies as I try to determine the direction and style I want to explore in my artwork.
So you may be asking, “What is the purpose of this post?” Well, as I dove back into my art practice I’ve learned a few lessons along the way that I thought might be helpful for anyone looking to build an art practice. Also, as I’ve been sharing some of my work and studies on Instagram I’ve received dozens of questions about how I got started, if I’m taking classes, etc. I’ve also heard from a lot of you that want to dabble in art, but aren’t sure where to start.
I’m just a novice myself, but I hope what I’ve learned so far will help you on your journey. Let’s get into it.
How to Be an Artist:
Practice, study, and practice some more.
We’ve all heard the saying “Practice makes perfect,” and that couldn’t be more true.
Even if you “don’t know how to draw/paint,” you can start by just drawing basic shapes like lines, circles, squares, doodles, etc. Just the practice of moving your hand, wrist, arm, and connecting that with your brain will make a huge difference.
When I started back up with my art process and went to draw a circle, it felt really weird. It was almost like I forgot how to do it so I just spent time drawing and doodling. The goal wasn’t to create a piece of art, it was just to get my hand and brain working on movement again.
If you’re really new to drawing, you can also start by tracing. While you’re obviously copying someone’s work, this technique is done to make the connection between your hand and your brain.
The more you practice, the more these movements and gestures become second nature for your hand and brain. With enough practice, you’ll be able to create lines, shapes, and brushstrokes without even thinking about them.
This might sound like fluff, but it’s really helpful. Once you’re feeling comfortable and ready to dive deeper, I recommend studying and learning from the greats and artists you admire.
How to Get Started:
I know how overwhelming it can feel when you’re beginning something new. Where do you start?
While I have some basic art knowledge, I also had a lot to learn as I was getting back into my art. Yes, you can certainly just sit down and draw or paint, but if you want to grow, learn, gain new techniques, etc. it helps to learn from someone that has more experience. Below I’ve listed some of my favorite resources that I’ve been using over the past few months.
If you’re looking for more structured lessons, Skillshare is an amazing resource and one of my personal favorites. There are thousands of classes and it only costs $9.99 a month. Not only can you learn art, but you can take courses on public speaking, photography, building confidence, graphic design, productivity, etc. If you put in the time and effort and take even one class a month, this is an amazing value. To me, this is more valuable than any other subscription you can buy. Plus, they also offer a free 14-day trial. It’s the best.
YouTube might be my favorite resource because it’s absolutely free and there are literally thousands of artists sharing a multitude of techniques and related items about art. Just head on over to YouTube and search for whatever skill, technique, or medium you want to study and I promise there will be dozens of videos. It’s an incredible library of resources and it doesn’t cost you a penny.
Another free resource is social media. Over the past few months, I’ve followed dozens of new artists on Instagram. Since the addition of Instagram stories, Reels, and IGTV, you can find some art tutorials on Instagram, but nothing like you would on YouTube. However, I do consider Instagram a great resource for inspiration and motivation. In addition, artists will share classes they’ve taken, tools they use, etc. I also found a couple of artists that offer classes themselves. I’ve even taken a few.
Finally, as I mentioned above, I’ve taken some local classes right here in Pittsburgh. No matter where you are located, there are likely some art courses nearby. You can start by doing a quick Google search for your area. I also recommend checking out local colleges, museums, botanical gardens, art education centers, etc. In addition, you may want to find a Facebook group for your local community and ask for recommendations there. You may find individuals in your community that teach out of their home.
My watercolor class was at my area Adult Education Center, my oil painting class was at an independently run art school, and I even took a mosaic glass art class at the local botanical garden.
While not a go-to for me personally, art books are another great resource. Again, there are books on almost any art subject that you may be curious about. Just a reminder that you can save yourself some expense by going to a local library and borrowing books that you’re interested in. If you love the book and want it as a permanent resource, then you can make the investment and purchase it.
I do have a few art books that I really love and use when I need a quick reference. (I’ll be sure to share these in a future post.) However, my preferred learning method is video tutorials or in-person classes.
As you can see, there is an endless amount of resources available to you. Search out to find which one suits you’re learning style best and give it a go.
GET SOME BASIC SUPPLIES:
On Instagram, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about paints, palettes, pens, tools, etc. As I’m diving deeper into my “How to Become an Artist” adventures I’m discovering products and tools that I love. As I continue to grow and learn I will be more than happy to share these things with you. In fact, I have a post HERE with all of My Favorite Art Supplies.
However, if you’re new to art, I would focus less on the tools and more on the practice. I say this from experience as I spent months buying “the best” art products and then never did anything with them. Being a person that loves to shop and buy supplies, this brought me joy but didn’t really help my ultimate goal of being an artist.
As I discovered wonderful artists through my studies, I was surprised at how many used somewhat basic art supplies. I’ve seen amazing drawings from ballpoint pens and highlighters. I even saw paintings done with tea and coffee! Get creative and use what you have.
Do “the best” art supplies make a difference? Yes, of course.
Do you need them to get started? Do you need them to be an artist? Absolutely not.
You don’t need a specific pen, pencil, paint, brush, fill-in-the-blank, to get started. Use what you have. A simple ballpoint pen and a notebook are enough for you to start drawing and learning. Start there.
And yes, I get it. Trust me. Buying and amassing art supplies is such a wonderful high. I can’t wait to share some of my favorite art supplies with you and tell you why I love them so much.
Becoming an Artist: Final Thoughts:
If I could sum up this post in two words I would say: Just Start.
What is the first step to becoming an artist? Just start.
It really is that simple. And yes, I know how hard starting can seem. As I mentioned above, I waffled for months and stocked up on every art supply thinking that would make me an artist. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. It wasn’t until I put pen to paper (literally and figuratively) that the magic started to unfold.
So grab a piece of paper, and just start. You’ve got this.
Want more follow my art series here on Inspired by Charm!
INSPIRED BY CHARM ART SERIES:
If you want to follow along on this journey and learn more about my art process, favorite supplies, recommended courses, etc. Join the IBC Mailing List HERE. You can also find me on Instagram at @inspiredbycharm to see more of my studies and work.
I really hope this was helpful. If there’s more you want to know or have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below. I will do my best to answer whatever I can. Your questions may even spark an idea for a future post in this “How to Be an Artist” series.