Today, we’re talking about taking action with your art…And what we mean by that, is when you find yourself a bit stuck somewhere, then how to do something about it.
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The idea for this episode came about when I was having my own personal confidence crisis, which we all have from time to time. It was at that time that I was experimenting with new ideas, but still, I was generally down on my art.
But, then things started to happen, that told me that actually, I was doing alright… Of course, me, being me, I thought it was some kind of message from the universe, but then Tara pointed out that maybe it’s because I took some action recently, and that made those things happen.
I had entered the SWA exhibition, which I had never done before, and my painting got selected. I had put all of my art up on a secondary site, and shortly afterwards one of my paintings was featured in their May favourites and not long after that, I also got a commission.
I worked harder on my social media and off the back of that, I got invited on another podcast as a guest… All of these things, I had put down to some kind of message, where of course, Tara, who is far more level-headed than I am, was right… It wasn’t a message from the universe. It was simply because I had actively, even if unwittingly, made those things happen, and just as I had started to feel flat, they all came to fruition.
First of all, you need to look at what might you need to take action on.
Is there anything you aren’t happy with at the moment?
Perhaps you feel like your art isn’t improving
If that’s the case you need to ask yourself why not?
The most likely answer is that you are not putting enough time into actively drawing.
So the action you need to take is to:
- Put aside a set amount of time to draw every day or week and stick to it.
- Take part in challenges or create one for yourself that will help you improve
- Remember to be realistic, if you have a full-time job and a family you probably don’t want to schedule in 4 hours a day, but maybe half an hour a day is doable. Little and often works best.
Put aside some time for active learning
Practice is really important, but make sure you put aside some time for active learning too. You’ll improve much more quickly if you combine practice, with reading tutorial books or watching videos on the things you want to improve on.
But you do need to do both. So make sure you are also putting enough time into actively practicing and not just watching other people do it.
You could also take a course. That might be a physical course that you actually go to, or it might be an online course.
I know, Tara, that you love an online course, because you’ve done loads of them. How useful have you found them?
Are you trying to learn a new medium?
Maybe you are frustrated because you have been trying to learn a new medium, but you can’t seem to get to grips with it.
This could be because you aren’t putting consistent time into it
- Perhaps you might want to join a challenge related to that medium. That could give you the accountability you need.
- I remember trying to learn how to create loose watercolour faces without drawing first. Along with buying a recommended book I decided I would paint a face a day until I felt I had the knack of it. Up to day 10 was a disaster, I was getting frustrated, then as if by magic the next face worked much better, it was like magic. Of course, it wasn’t perfect, but I could see progress. You won’t necessarily see improvement every day, you tend to make a leap and then stay the same for a bit.
Maybe you are lacking some knowledge that could help propel you forward.
So apart from what I mentioned earlier, which was to read tutorial books and watch videos, why not engage with other artists who do the type of art that you’re into. Ask their advice!
Of course, there are always going to be some artists who are going to be reluctant to share their knowledge, it’s unfortunate. But luckily, the majority are more than happy to share some tips.
Maybe you are using the wrong equipment.
This is a classic with watercolour. If you try and learn watercolours using cheap paper, it can be a disaster. Even an accomplished watercolourist would struggle with cheap paper.
And that’s actually the same with a lot of mediums. I remember people in our group having trouble making watercolour brush pens work. And that was because they were usig a standard cartridge paper that was just soaking in the colour
So the Action, in this case, would be to
Read up on the medium and seek out video tutorials. You could also reach out to someone on social media and ask for advice
You feel like you are not being seen or noticed
Maybe you are confident in the art you’re producing, and yet you feel like you are not being seen or noticed.
Maybe you are not putting enough effort in to Social Media
So, the first think to do is to make a plan to post at least once a day.
And it really doesn’t have to be a fancy post, there are all sorts of cool ways to share your art on social media and in fact, recently we did an entire episode on 31 ways to share your art, so definitely check that one out if you need some ideas.
But it helps if you allocate certain times specifically for posting. Really it’s just to remind people you are there and it encourages people to engage with you as well. And don’t forget to spend a little time commenting on other people’s posts too.
Have a listen to our previous Episode on sharing your art too.
Some action you could take on your social media
You might want to Spend a day or half a day a week making your reel and scheduling your posts. That way you know it’s done and don’t have to suddenly come up with something to post.
If you have a website, maybe you are not driving traffic to it often enough
Regularly post links to your products. Explain what you love about the piece, what it means to you.
If you don’t share your art, nobody will see it
If you don’t want your own website, then maybe it’s time to join Etsy, Artfinder or something similar. Or, perhaps even a blog. If you don’t share your art, nobody will see it.
A blog is a really nice way to share your art and it’s much easier if you really don’t want to build a site. And the good thing is, they are usually free as well, so there are no costs involved.
Do you feel like nothing has happened for ages to help move you forward in your art career?
Maybe you are not throwing enough sticks in the air or taking enough risks.
- Enter a competition (be careful which as it shouldn’t cost much, if any money).
- Try asking other people who you think the target market is for your art. I did this in a group once and someone suggested a niche I had never even heard of. It was related to the tattoo market, when I searched it, I could see how my art might fit.
Don’t be afraid to ask big questions.
Would you be interested in showing my work in your gallery?
Would I be able to hold an exhibition in your space? (this doesn’t have to be in ta gallery… It could be in your local pub!
What’s the worst that could happen? They can say no? Well that’s fine. Try somewhere else!
Do you feel like you are not selling anything?
Maybe you are not pushing your work out there enough.
- Remind people of upcoming dates, like Father’s Day, the Wedding Season, Mothers day, Valentines day, Christmas… Are they looking for a unique gift? You can link them to your products or offer commissions.
Do you feel like you’re not getting much engagement on Social Media?
It might be that you just haven’t found the right audience.
- Maybe Linkedin or Twitter or a different platform might be worth experimenting with if you currently use Instagram or visa versa. You can always use a social media app to push content out to lots of different places at once.
- Maybe there are a specific set of people you need to reach, You need to work out where they are.
Maybe you are putting time into something that is just not right for you.
Decide if you are flogging a dead horse. Sometimes you have to know when it’s time to cut your losses and try something else. If you’re unsure, set a time limit and push until you have reached it. If nothing has changed, then it’s time to make a decision.
I had to do this recently. I’d put a lot of time in to NFTs, but after a while I realised that, for it to work, I would need to invest even more time on it, which I don’t have, so the time I do have is better spent creating work to sell on other platforms that do work for me.
Your best off throwing a few sticks in the air and then concentrating on the ones that look like there going to do something.
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This week’s creative question
What is the biggest hurdle you have, that gets in the way of your art?
The best answers will be read out on a future podcast.
You can Tweet us your answers @KickCreatives or let us know in the Facebook Group, which by the way if you haven’t already joined, I highly recommend that you do! We will put the question up there and also on the Facebook page… and of course, on our Instagram page @kickinthecreatives.
If you have any suggestions for the podcast or our challenges please feel free to get in touch.