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Advice to Young Artists

By Michael Divine

Ideas about art and business and creativity for young artists and old ones too but it’s the young ones who ask…

  • Only give someone art they’ve bought when it has been paid in full
  • Contracts are good. Get everything in writing when making a deal.
  • For any commissioned work, always get at least half up front.
  • It’s ok to do things for free but don’t give yourself away all the time. Your time is valuable.
  • ‘Exposure’ us good but so is eating and paying the bills.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no when it comes to selling a painting for less than you want for it.
  • Trust yourself and know when to walk away.
  • Selling art feels like you are being supported but just because you haven’t sold anything lately doesn’t mean you aren’t any good.
  • Even the most successful artists suffer from self-doubt. Just do your best.
  • Your friends are usually terrible critics.
  • Your partner is usually your best critic.
  • You are good enough but you can always get better.
  • Beware of tropes.
  • Your best work will always be done when you’re sober.
  • Straight lines are best made with a ruler.
  • A string, a tack or piece of tape, and a pencil will give you a perfect circle.
  • If you see something in your painting that you want to change – change it. Otherwise, it will nag at you every time you look at the painting.
  • Sit and draw people in real life. Don’t just draw the pretty ones.
  • If you wear headphones when you paint, invest in a good pair.
  • Natural spectrum light bulbs will give you the best light.
  • Make sure you have plenty of sunlight. Caves are depressing to work in.
  • A great painting takes time. Don’t be afraid of taking the time.
  • Love what you do and what you make.
  • Practice makes perfect.