Starting your journey as an artist can be a tricky one. You might not know where to start with your own personal style, you may not have decided on what medium you prefer using or you have too many styles in mind to choose from one. If this is the case, then you will need some advice on how to start your journey to your career as an artist.
Take the first step
The best way to start your journey as an artist is to just start doing, meaning that you should start drawing, painting, sculpting or creating digital art as soon as you can. While you might not be the next Picasso right off the bat, you will be strengthening your skills and building up ones that you never knew you had.
Procrastinating until the last minute to pick up a paintbrush or to start using a pottery wheel will make you feel stressed and you might not be able to have any creative ideas when pushed for time. Remember that you do not have to be afraid that your work is not good, you are just starting out and it is best to get as much practice in as possible so that your skills improve and you see your work soaring to new heights.
Make sure you have realistic expectations
When we desire something, it is usually based on the feeling we will have once it is achieved, and not on the process of actually getting there. As a budding artist, you might often look at a stunning work of art and imagine how it would feel to create something like that, but you may not always think of the process that goes into it.
The issue is that you cannot have that feeling right away. You have to work on your skills and talents in order to reach the level that you need, otherwise, you will be disappointed with your efforts. You will need to be sure that you have realistic expectations for your artistic journey, as instant gratification is not something that painters or sculptors can expect in their line of work. Create a feasible goal each week, such as creating a piece of art to put on your website or taking a new photograph each week.
Get familiar with your materials
If you aim as an artist is to change African art as it is traditionally seen by the world, then you will need to become familiar with your materials. You should think of it as a fun learning activity, as this will help to inspire creativity in an informal and exciting way.
If you are trying to draw a leaf or a flower, spend time drawing a few different outlines and colouring them in using pencil, watercolour paints and other mediums. This will allow you to get to know your materials and see how each one works, and which ones you prefer using. You also need to become familiar with how your hand reacts with your chosen art materials, as this can help to ascertain your style and preferred methods.
Don’t limit yourself
As an artist starting out, you might think that you have to limit yourself to one set of subjects and one type of drawing. You will be limiting yourself and your skills might not improve. You should look at drawing different subjects, such as people or animals rather than just flowers and plants, and use a variety of methods to create your art.
By trying out different methods and drawing different objects, you will increase your skills and could even build on talents you never knew you had. Limiting yourself could mean that you do not enjoy creating art as much as you thought you would, so be sure to try out as many different methods and mediums before you find one that you enjoy. If you already know that you enjoy drawing or painting, play around with different styles and subjects.
Don’t compare yourself to masters
As a beginner, you will likely draw inspiration from masters of the draft such as Salvador Dali, Manet or even Hieronymus Bosch. You might also enjoy more modern artists who aim to change African art, such as Osborne Macharia or Mary Sibande.
However, it is difficult to avoid comparing your art and your progress to these masters. It can be highly disappointing to realise you are not on their level yet, but try not to be disheartened. Every artist is different, and progresses differently to one another. Do not compare yourself to everyone else, as this could dissuade you from continuing your artistic journey. Rather learn from your mistakes and work on your own art, developing your skills every time you pick up a paintbrush or carve a sculpture, and you will soon see some positive results.