So You Want To Be An Artist?
Start With What You’ve Got
If you want to be an artist, then be an artist! It really is as simple as that. But many people are under the impression that it’s hard and complicated. They think they need years of schooling, equipment, a studio, and even the tiniest bit of talent. If you’re one of those people, I ask you to reconsider.
The Oxford Dictionary’s first definition of an artist is “a person who produces paintings or drawings (sculpture, etc.) as a profession or hobby.” It does go on to include those who are skilled in their various crafts and those of particular talent, but the first definition is what I am focused on here. It refers to both the professional and the hobbyist. And, that means that if you’re starting out with art as a hobby, there’s no reason why that hobby can’t turn into a profession.
Not To Knock Art School, But…
You might be thinking that you lack the knowledge or skill to be an artist. To that I say, educate yourself. You don’t have to enroll in an expensive art school. There are free courses and videos online. YouTube is chock full of artists who show you how they do their thing. There are paid-for courses that are not very expensive and there are a gazillion books out there where you can learn a thing or two about art in its numerous forms. And as for skill, that comes with practice. If you want to be an artist, you must do art practically every day. Notice I didn’t say ‘every day’. I said, ‘practically every day’. Life happens. And if you’re working a 9-5 like me, or have a family with kids, then you know how crazy busy things can get. But make it a point of trying to draw as often as possible, even if it’s just 15 minutes.
But I Don’t Have Art Supplies!
You might also be thinking that you don’t have any fancy art supplies. Who says you need to? Sketchbooks are not expensive. And if you know when to buy (the first month or so of college terms), many art stores knock their prices way down. At least two art stores in the Los Angeles area offer BOGO (buy one, get one) deals on sketchpads and sketchbooks. It’s a great time to stock up! You don’t need fancy pens or pencils to start off either. Use a #2 Ticonderoga or a blue Bic pen until you can swing artist’s pens and pencils. Heck, I am aware of several well-known artists who use Bic pens in their professional work! I know of several professional doodle artists who swear by Sharpies. (See below for links for Bic pen and Sharpie artists.) The point here is, don’t turn your nose up at regular pens and pencils. Humble though they might be, they can still be used to create amazing works of art.
I Don’t Have a Studio.
As for studio space…for years, decades even, I used whatever table or flat surface I could find. I had an adjustable artist’s table, but no space to put it up. I still have that table today and I finally have the space for it, but not in a fancy studio. Unless of course you consider that fancy studio and my bedroom to be one and the same.
I think the notion of being an artist has been romanticized for eons. And as such, the general public thinks being an artist is unattainable to most and highly mysterious. It’s not. My point here is that if you want to be an artist…then just get started and be one!
Bic Pen and Sharpie Artists:
Maura Cluthe aka Fragmented http://www.flickr.com/photos/fragmented
Alex Chiu https://alexchiu.carbonmade.com/
Allison (last name unknown) https://www.doodlersanonymous.com/post/2142/doodle-my-ride/
Samuel Silva https://www.instagram.com/vianaarts/
Enam Bosokah https://www.instagram.com/boski_pens/