Art Jobs, Selling Art

How to Transition from Art Student to Professional Artist

May 30, 2014

By Alina Bradford

So you’ve completed art school, or maybe just a workshop or two, and now you want to become a professional artist with all that you have learned. The transition doesn’t come with your degree or diploma. You have to make conscious choice to mold yourself into what you want to become over the next few weeks, months and years as you build your art career.

Walk the Professional Artist Walk, Talk the Professional Artist Talk

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”- 1 Corinthians 13:11. The same can be said for the artist. Transitioning from a student artist to a professional artist means getting rid of student habits to blossom into the artist you want to be. You’ve got to take yourself seriously and project yourself as a person with a professional art career. Here are some things to try:

  1. Start by calling yourself a professional artist. Don’t say, “I want to be an artist,” say, “I am an artist,” or, “I have an art career.”
  2. Get business cards made and give them to everyone you meet. Being an artist is a business of selling yourself, so get to it.
  3. Put together an outstanding portfolio, both online and in a professional looking folio.
  4. Get paid. The hallmark of a professional is that they get paid for their artwork. Creating artwork for free makes you a hobbyist according to Jeremy Sutton’s Advice on Becoming a Professional Artist.

Market Yourself and Find Art Jobs

Part of walking the artist walk is building contacts in the art world so that you can find work. Here are some articles that can help you build your art career:

Use Quality Art Supplies

One of the most important steps to becoming a professional artist is using professional quality art supplies. Using student art supplies gets you sub-par results due to cheap pigments and non-archival quality paper. Higher quality paints blend better and glide across the canvas better. High quality paper and canvases last longer and absorb the paint properly. Better quality supplies make the art process easier, too. Struggling less with your mediums will enable you to focus on your art.

Overall, all these tips add up to one thing: Take yourself seriously and others will, too. After a while, you’ll realize that you have become a professional artist and your art will reflect that.

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