7 Proven Steps for Achieving Full-Time Success as an Artist

How to Become a Full-Time Artist: 7 Steps to Making a Living from Your Art

Research shows that many artists struggle to earn a living from their art. They end up working in other jobs, from secretaries to construction workers, and only pursue their artistic passions on the side. However, art is essential to society as a source of inspiration and innovation. As such, it is possible for artists to make a living from their work, and even become full-time artists within a year or two. Here are seven steps to help you achieve this dream.

Step 1: Decide What You Want to Do as an Artist

The first step to becoming a full-time artist is to choose your medium, topic, or theme and find your voice. This can be a challenging process, but it’s important to remember that your thoughts and ideas will evolve over time. Define your values and beliefs, as they will form the foundation of your art and ensure longevity in your career.

Step 2: Define Your Target Audience and Future Patrons

Once you have defined your art, you need to identify your target audience and future patrons. Consider the people who share your values and passions, such as boat owners and coastal dwellers for marine artists or Greenpeace fans and safari lovers for wildlife artists. Only a small percentage of society will buy fine art, so it’s crucial to identify your audience and understand their buying habits.

Step 3: Build Your Portfolio

Once you know what type of art you want to make and who your target audience is, it’s time to build your portfolio. Seek non-monetary support from potential patrons, such as gaining access to their property or asking them to model for you. This can also help you build your network, which is essential for any successful artist.

Step 4: Gain Recognition

Getting recognition for your art can be a valuable tool for building your reputation and attracting future patrons. Enter art shows or competitions, or participate in other forms of recognition. Use this opportunity to promote your art, inform press, and existing patrons.

Step 5: Fine Tune Your Brand

Your brand is an extension of your art and values, and should be reflected in everything you do—from your website to the way you dress. Fine-tune your brand message and ensure it is consistent throughout all aspects of your business.

Step 6: Revise Your Pricing Strategy

Pricing is always a sensitive subject in the art world, but as a rule of thumb, higher prices tend to indicate the level of recognition an artist has received. Don’t underprice your work, as this can result in fewer sales and less interest in your art. On the other hand, highly-priced items may deter buyers altogether. It’s essential to calculate your material costs and set a price that covers these costs.

Step 7: Think About Sales and Information Channels

Finally, you need to think about how to sell and promote your art. Establish an online portfolio, create a website, and consider exhibiting your work in art galleries or other art-related events. Ensure that your art is being seen by the right people, in the right places, and that your work is promoted in a way that reflects your brand message.


Becoming a full-time artist is not an easy feat, but with dedication and hard work, it is possible. Remember to stay true to yourself and your art, as this will be the foundation of your success. Whether you’re printing canvas prints and selling them online or exhibiting your works at galleries, following these seven steps will help you increase your chances of making a living from your art.

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