6 Steps You Need to Take to Get Started in Art
...From Playing it Out in Your Head to Putting it Down on the Canvas
If you’ve considered getting involved in the arts, you likely have artistic ideas in your head, concepts that would look fantastic on canvas. But perhaps you’re not sure how to get started, how to go from inspiration/imagination to a completed work of art.
Luckily there are steps to this, a clear pathway to going from having ideas and dreams to being a competent and talented artist who makes those ideas and dreams a reality in the form of art.
1) Begin by Taking a Look at Different Art Mediums
Art appreciation is the first step to becoming an artist. If you’re considering getting involved in the arts, you’ve likely already been appreciating art for some time.
The Arty Factory defines art appreciation as such:
- “Art Appreciation is the knowledge and understanding of the universal and timeless qualities that identify all great art. The more you appreciate and understand the art of different eras, movements, styles, and techniques, the better you can develop, evaluate, and improve your own artwork.”
Art appreciation is crucial for the budding artist because observing and appreciating art helps you not only decide what type of art you’re most interested in, but doing so also enables you to get ideas, concepts, and inspiration for your art pieces.
2) Experiment with the Mediums You Like the Most
Some artists like to draw with sketch pencils, but they might also enjoy ink pens or charcoal mediums. When you’re just getting started in the arts, you might not be sure as to what medium you’d like to create art with. Maybe you know you want to become a painter, but you’re not sure if you would enjoy watercolours, oils, or acrylic paints.
The best way to decide on a medium is to try the ones which interest you. You might consider doing this before you even enroll in an art class. After you’ve spent some time appreciating different art styles, decide on three mediums you’d like to try, then purchase the necessary materials to experiment with those mediums. Give it a whirl! Don’t even worry about buying expensive art supplies or trying to create a masterpiece on your first try. This is just a practice run to find the medium you connect with most.
Here’s a valuable resource for learning a little bit about each art medium, to give you an idea which ones you might want to try your hand at:
3) Enroll in Art Classes
Once you’ve given yourself a practice run with different mediums and you've found the one you seem most inclined to, find a local art class and sign up! The best way to go from being an ideas person to an arts person is to learn from an expert.
Let’s look at it this way. If you wanted to become an expert at your job, you’d find someone who’d been at your place of work for a long time and ask them to mentor you and help you improve your skills. The same is true in the arts. Taking an art class is a great way to learn the fundamentals of your chosen medium. An art class acts as a compass. It helps guide your journey into the arts.
4) Practice, Practice, Practice!
The key to becoming a great artist is to practice, practice, and PRACTICE!
Here are two tips from professional artists for how to make practicing art fun, easy, and rewarding:
- Start taking a notepad or camera with you everywhere you go. Why? So that when inspiration or an idea strikes, you can make a note of it or take a picture of it. That way, when you are next in your studio, you can pull up that note or that photograph and start creating art of it. This way, you never forget a moment of inspiration, and you carry your inspiration with you in the form of notes or photographs.
- Other artists recommend setting aside a segment of time each day to create art. Maybe it’s an hour, perhaps it’s two hours, or maybe it’s only thirty minutes. But this is the time where you leave the phone in the other room, turn off electronics (except for your favourite, art-inspiring music playlist) and just make art. Lock the door if you have to, and put up an “Artist at Work, Do Not Disturb” sign if you have roommates or family. Remember, art is a journey, but you have to walk the paths and the trails of that journey. Dedicating time each day to creating art is an excellent way of becoming a better artist.
5) Get Your Art Out There in the Public Eye
Art is meant to be appreciated. One of the steps to getting started in the arts is to create art, and, no matter what you think about your art, to show your art to others.
Follow these four steps to ensure you put your art in the public eye.
- As you're getting started on your next art project, tell five people you are going to make a piece of art.
- Then tell those five people you’d like to show the art to them when it’s done.
- Now you are beholden to show your art to others. When you finish your piece, show your art to those five individuals!
- Repeat the process on your next art piece, except this time tell eight people you are making a piece of art, and that you’d like to show it to them when it's done!
Getting your art into the public eye, even if it’s your first painting, sketch, or sculpture, is a great way to create the feeling of being an artist. You become accountable to those who have seen and appreciate your art. You begin building up a following, and that following helps motivate you and inspire you to keep making art.
The beautiful thing about the arts is that it is a cyclic adventure. By that we mean creating art and being an artist does not have an exact starting point or an exact ending point.
Once you find an art style that you like and you become proficient at it, what’s the next step to take? Now it’s time to circle back to step one. Now it’s time to start looking at mediums again. Art is an exploration. Art is a journey. Artists regularly cycle through the steps, exploring new mediums, trying their hand at different art styles, enrolling in art classes for a new medium, joining art groups for that medium, etc.
Spoken like a true artist, it was Thomas Merton who said:
- “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
And that couldn’t be more true. Art is a journey. It is an exploration and a lifestyle, a daily discovery of new ideas, new concepts, and new methods of expression. Take joy in the arts, change the world with art, and may it change you as well!