You want to be an artist? That’s great. The first question everyone should ask themselves in response to that statement should be one of two. First, what’s your plan? Second, what’s your story?
You might be confused. Wait, why not ask what kind of art I create? Don’t get us wrong, that’s important. But if you want to know when you can call yourself an artist, what you are probably really asking is when can I call myself a professional artist? Or, more likely, how do I become an established artist? That’s a different question, one that comes with a lot of nuance. But it’s an excellent question and one we hope to answer as best as we can.
Artists Come in Infinite Flavors
Here at Daz Studio, we work with thousands of artists around the clock, whether it’s the creative individuals who help build and market our products, such as the Daz Studio platform, or the countless published artists who partner with us to create and sell 3D content in our massive marketplace every day. Many of these published artists are making livable part-time or full-time incomes off their work.
So if you want to know how to become an artist, the first thing you need to know is what your plan is and what story you want to tell. In other words, why should people follow your work? Why should they buy your work? What will make you stand out or appear unique?
Our community of published artists proves no one artist is exactly the same. Not only do they have different passions and interests, they also have different skills and proficiencies in different areas of 3D design. Our most successful published artists know their strengths and play into them. Some are great at modeling figures and leverage that effectively. Others are excellent at posing and creating animations. Both can be equally successful in terms of monetary earnings and exposure of their work within the Daz community.
What’s Your Story?
When it comes to becoming an artist, knowing your story can mean a lot of different things. We don’t necessarily mean story in the classical sense of telling a plot. That story can change and evolve over time, too. Think of almost any music artist and examine an album they’ve released. Does the album tell a story? Or, in other words, does the album have a feeling, a sense of cohesion, or a theme? Many of them do. That doesn’t mean the next album the artist releases is going to have the same story. The narrative may change or evolve.
A successful musician and producer Benedict Roff-Marsh once wrote, “If the artist can’t express whatever it is that they are trying to tell the world then they are not ready. Worse, they are not even an Artist yet.” These are strong words, but he is talking about being an Artist with a capital “A” here. Maybe there’s a special distinction.
One shouldn’t feel ashamed to call themselves an artist at any time; however, Roff-Marsh’s words are excellent advice for someone who hopes to achieve success and excel within the industry associated with their medium.
Making Art and Being an Established Artist Aren’t the Same
And maybe that’s just it. Anyone can be an artist. If art is simply the creation of imagery in any form or medium to express something, even a child can do it, and they can and should. Art is wonderful, and the act of creating it is therapeutic, rewarding, and fulfilling. But simply making art and being able to call yourself an artist won’t necessarily be enough if you want to build a career out of it.
Becoming an established artist is going to require work and dedication. It will take creativity and problem-solving. It will probably involve community building and marketing too. In that sense, there seem to be at least two routes people have taken in the past. The first is more or less dumb luck. Create for the love of creating with no intention of ever making a buck. Put it out there, on a website or social media, and just give freely. With enough time and luck, you might amass an audience. Somebody might even ask to purchase some of your art. Then again, maybe they won’t.
The second approach is the thoughtful one. It accepts the harsh truth that becoming an established artist is just as much about establishing a successful business as being a successful artist.
Being Business Mindful About Your Art
Let’s talk about business in art and being mindful of best practices. First, the obvious. Don’t try to take shortcuts. Put in the work and practice. Get good. Learn your craft. Discover your unique passion, voice, and style. Find ways to stand out from the crowd in your work. Once you’ve found it, learn it inside and out so you can explain what makes your work special. Don’t be afraid to explore this style and branch out, but figure out what your thing is.
The other thing you need to do is create a portfolio. Social media feeds are equally powerful in this regard as hosting your own website. In fact, they may even be more advantageous to the burgeoning artist because you can leverage strategies within the app to gain exposure.
Learn the Ins and Outs of Your Industry
The next step is learning the ropes of the industry or niche you are creating within and marketing yourself and your work. Here are some practical examples. A writer hoping to break out into traditional publishing with their first novel is going to have to learn how to send query letters to editors and agents. No matter how good their novel is, if they can’t craftily relate that in a professional query, they likely will never find professional representation.
In another example, say you are a sculptor. You’ve created very unique and beautiful art pieces that you want to display to the public. Where do you begin? A business mindful artist might research and create a list of art shows in their area. Not only that, they will learn enough about the art shows to know what kind of art they’re looking for, and if their work could be a good fit. Then, much like the author, they pitch their work. They carefully craft a presentation showing the work, explaining why it matters — in other words, telling the story of their art.
By being mindful, the artists who take the extra steps and put in the work are more likely to succeed, because they know how to tell the important people why their work matters and why they deserve a shot.
Forget the Troubled Artist Myth
Our last bit of advice to help you become the most successful artists you can be is to move past the cultural image of the troubled artist. Sure, many of the world’s most brilliant and skilled artists had their struggles, and that is perfectly okay. But what we mean here is moving past the idea that becoming an artist doesn’t take skill or intention.
The thought of doing business might scare you and that’s okay. You might say, whoah, I became an artist because I didn’t want anything to do with that kind of stuff. But therein lies the trap. Don’t let this be an excuse that hinders your growth and gets in the way of developing a savvy artist-business mindset. If you really hate the business side of things, learn how to catch the favor of people who handle the business aspect of creating and team up with them.
A great example of this is becoming a published artist with Daz 3D. We’ve built the platform and amassed an audience. We know how to manage products, offer marketing deals, and do everything we can to help ensure your success. While the most successful artists also do their share of promotion, marketing, and community building, it can help to know you have support from a professional entity and you’re not alone on your journey.
Take the Leap and Get Started Today
Knowing when to call yourself an artist is different for everyone, but if you’re putting in the work and feel like you have something to offer, you’re an artist. Artists come from all walks of life, economic statuses, and cultures. If you are proud of your work and feel ready to share it with others, then definitely take pride in calling yourself what you are: an artist.
If 3D is your thing, we’d love for you to join our community and start creating or selling as a published artist! Even if you’ve never made a 3D render in your life, learning with Daz is simple and fun. Download Daz Studio for free and start your journey to becoming an artist today!
Featured Image: “Milly 111” by randalthoor2_38ac2e2446 in the Daz Gallery