Being a freelance artist isn't easy, it takes persistence, resourcefulness and cunning. It is possible to make money as a freelancer. Don't give up, take a job or two on the side when needed for extra money, but never give up on your vision.
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Stop the Slaughter of Innocents. Congress is bought and paid for by gun lunatics and gun promotion groups. If you want to live in a safe America, help buy Congress back for America. Send a donation to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 909 Third Avenue, 15th Floor New York, NY 10022

What You Need to Know About Being a Self-Supporting Artist or Designer

What is it like to be a freelance artist, and what exactly do you study to become one? I will tell you what courses I took in college that were useful to me later as a professional, and what I needed to know beyond my college education. There are many facets to being a successful artist, many of which aren't taught in art school.

First of all, become well skilled in color theory, or, how to use color effectively. Using color is important especially to painters, interior designers and anyone who needs to choose colors for clients. There are many books on the subject, but make sure to learn about the Color Wheel, and buy the expensive colored paper packs called Pantone, to experiment with color usage. With color you can create moods, illusions and strongly influence advertisements. It is powerful to know color well so don't underestimate it.

Take figure drawing seriously. It teaches you the discipline and confidence of drawing live models quickly and accurately. Whether you go for minute detail like I do, or suggestion of a figure, drawing the nude is a wonderful way to know the human body and how to express it well.

Learn how to use lines and textures. One two-dimensional design teacher I had, assigned us to do pages and pages of just different lines and others of different textures. Then, we did a major drawing using those textures and lines altogether. It was a good way to learn how to add interest to your artwork, and to create different effects. I use these techniques in my illustrations to this day.

Try different mediums, just to get experience in them, such as metalsmithing, textiles, glassmaking, and others. This will give you an appreciation for other crafts and teach you different angles of the art world. It also gives you practice in design, color and other disciplines, in a different realm.

When I look at a blown glass vase, I know how it's constructed. I also know how glass is made, from silica powder in batches similar to cooking a recipe. Creating a bowl from a flat piece of brass is something I found relaxing and satisfying. Try new things. When you visit galleries in the future, you will be more aware of how the items in them are created, by skilled artisans.

Learn business. I cannot stress this enough. My school didn't allow me to double major in business and in art, though I wanted to. So, after art school, I enrolled in business courses on my own, and have been building upon that knowledge ever since. Learn how to market yourself, customer service, how to do accounting and how to be skilled on the computer.

These are skills that will help you to work the promotional end of your business, until you find someone else to do it for you. As it stands now, I let my agent handle the selling of my original work, but still manage my own business dealings for my online gallery. Make sure to keep up with the latest trends on computer marketing, and software. It pays to market your business well, so arm yourself with as much practical business knowledge as possible.

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