Making your way through the art world is no simple task. But throughout the years, I've noticed certain qualities pop up again and again in the students that end up successful in their art education and later careers. So get ready to pop your mirror out and take a good look at yourself, after learning these 8 qualities, you'll want to do a little self-reflection.
Art students have a long road ahead of them and they need to accept that they won’t get everything right the first time. With art, the general rule tends to be that the more you put in, the more you get out – and that applies to skills, techniques, and theory. So dig your heels in and get ready for a real uphill struggle, as well as a whole lot of fun and accomplishment as you watch yourself grow.
2. Enthusiasm for the subject
You don’t have to love art all the time, but you really should love it most of the time. It's very possible to do a job well and hate it, but it tends to be ten times harder and sometimes the viewer can feel your disinterest through your work. There are different things that will feed into your general enjoyment and enthusiasm; sometimes it’s the process, maybe it's the finished product, other times it’s seeing the big picture that each piece fits into. But if you don’t feel anything like that at all with art, then maybe consider stepping away as soon as an opportunity presents itself (i.e. before your GCSE’s).
You will always be able to grow as an artist, and to be able to grow you need to be able to accept criticism. Some will be given kindly, some will be given harshly, and once you start putting your work out to the public, the latter will become the norm. So build up resilience, and learn to listen – and I mean truly listen, even the harshest criticism may hold some use to you.
You can’t leave all your work to your teacher or tutor. If you’re going to get even a measure of success in the art industries, you need to be self motivated and you need to be able to take important steps on your own. You need to be able to research, learn, and practice things without being told to. Only then can you get high grades now, and mature in your craft later.
Imagination is imperative for art. Even if you’re going to be an artist that works solely on existing IPs, you will still need to be able to picture old concepts, characters or places in new ways. Only a visual library that you’ve built up over the years will help you do that effectively. Your mind and the unique thoughts it holds is a gift only you can give to the world - so give it good sources to feed on and let everyone see what you've got!
We all have different ways of organising ourselves; some of us are precise and specific, others prefer to leave things a bit looser. However, as long as you have a plan and you know what you are doing, you'll be in control. Make this a habit and you will be sure to avoid missing any school or client deadlines, and you will also find it much easier to spot if anything is wrong or out of place early on in project.
7 & 8. Obedience and Rebellion
This is point is a two in one and requires good judgement. Artists need to understand how things work before they can change them. So while you're in student mode - whether you’re still in school or already a working professional – make sure you follow the instructions of your teacher or the tutorial you’re reading/watching closely. Once you’ve followed their instructions right down to the smallest stroke, then you can add your twist to it, experiment and break the rules.
So those are the 8 qualities we believe all art students need to succeed. Hopefully these have helped you to reflect, look at yourself, and plan your next steps in your journey to becoming the artist you want to be.
What do you think of our list? Do you excel at any of these qualities? Or maybe you think there’s some things we left out. Share it with us in the comments below.
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