Becoming a master artist is not enough
I originally posted this in my blog at but i think its important that every artist understands this so i decided to post it here. the Crimson Daggers will always be my boo 4e5dd44a

Okay, Okay, This topic is very important.

We artists are famously obsessed with our craft, like really really obsessed, and we all want to be the next Sargent or Zorn or Jason Chan, and we believe that to get there we have to lock ourselves up in a dark dank cave where the only thing we do is draw, paint, eat and sleep for years.

Okay, i’ll admit that there’s something very sexy about becoming a hermit, locking yourself up in a tower like the great wizards of yore and obsessively read books and practice our arcane craft while ignoring any form of distraction such as family, friends or love. (I did it, i spent 377 days in a row without leaving my house, in 2014…i should tell you guys about it someday)

But the truth is, becoming a great artist is simply not enough.

Have you ever felt like there are artist below your skill level getting jobs and attention while you, the better painter, writer, photographer, can’t seem to do as well? It has crossed everybody’s mind at some point or another.

The truth is that while its easy to blame luck or education, there is something much more subtle going on.

That artist who isn’t as skilled as you artistically but keeps getting great jobs, might be a great communicator and goes out of their way to contact Art Director and maintain relationships with other artists.

Those that get more press might have a huge following, and wile you might think that they just got lucky, they are probably just more likable with great personalities and takes the time to respond to very single fan.

I know what your are thinking, “Styles, should’t i spend my time doing studies or practicing?” Yes you should. “THE CRAFT IS VERY IMPORTANT BUT NEVER TO THE EXCLUSION OF OTHER SKILLS.”


A good rule of thumb is spending 70% of your time on your craft and the remaining 30% on other skills like Communicating with other artists, posting on social media, learning about business, writing, marketing and so on.

I once offed an ice cream salesman a sketch as payment for his most expensive ice cream and he politely refused (which was odd, i always got free ice cream with a sketch) but i had read a few good books on business and offered to show him a way to get more costumers, I got two magnum gold in return.

In the end, your other skills will help you in many areas of life where a sketch can’t fix your problem.

My Sketchbook

I shall live forever or die trying.

Sketchbook: p1 p2 p3 p4 p5 p6 p7
I agree with you. For me, making a steady sustainable living from Art as a freelancer (not in a studio) involves (out of my ass) 80% business savvy, people skills and discipline, 20% artistic technical skills.

Only 20% on skills because you should already have the majority of skills you need at a particular level of proficiency before you should even begin to try and make an art career sustainable.

The "locked away in a cave" routine tends to happen to people early on in development or early on in freelance. Anyone who makes it to pro, fairly quickly realises this type of lifestyle is undesirable.

Obviously life extends far beyond the realms of art, so to shun it for art, for me points to borderline unhealthy obsession. You can't take your art with you when you dead.

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