Career Planning for Artists

Over the past several weeks I have been getting back on the horse with my art and making concrete moves in becoming more focused in my artistic life and career. I have been reading and taking free classes both in person and online. I have been more seriously carving out time and space in my busy life to make art, to write, and to think deeply about what I want. It isn’t as if I’ve had more time. I just have pushed myself to make the space in my life where I could.

One way I have been working on my art career is that I have been taking advantage of the Springboard for the Arts: Work of Art Business Skills for Artists Curriculum. I am about halfway through and wanted to share some personal takeaways. You can take the course in person, download the workbooks to do on your own, or purchase the course to watch on DVD. I’d encourage you to take advantage of these amazing resources to cultivate a better understanding of your art career and develop further skills. I’m not affiliated with Springboard for the Arts nor do I get any remuneration for this series of blog posts from Springboard. These are simply some of what I have learned about my own artistic practice and career through working through the materials from Work of Art.

In this first post I will be discussing unit 1.

Career Planning

“What does a successful day look like now? What does it look like in the future? Fill in the blanks.”

The first unit is all about defining your own personal success and making obtainable goals towards having a successful life. I am going to go through the workbook multiple times as they are both rich with content and I need a structured way to explore this notion of what success would look like for me.

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My path is not entirely clear, but the clouds are slowly starting to reveal a bright future.

As someone that generates many ideas easily it can be a bit of a challenge to know what to focus on. Writing down artistic, professional, and personal goals and fleshing them out helped give me a start on narrowing down what I want to do in the short term so that I could see how they push my long-term goals forward. I have long-term goals, but for the sake of this post I will share some of my smaller goals along the way that I want to work on right now.

Artistic

One of my artistic goals is to improve my techniques and knowledge of different materials. I have never done a lot of watercolor, but I took a Children’s Book Illustration class from MCAD a few years ago and learned more about types of paper, how to place the water on the paper first before painting, and I also learned about vivid paints that could look like ink. Most of the class focused on specifically how to become a published illustrator for children’s books, but one of the biggest takeaways for me is that I have not spent a lot of time in recent years in learning about techniques and supplies.

I have decided to dedicate at least an hour a week on learning about any kind of art technique. As a side note, I tend to get very excited and check out far too many library books so to help me focus I am going to reduce the number of books I have out and come up with concrete plans to practice.

Professional

I already started this goal by taking the time to do the Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists course from Springboard. I have decided to dedicate at least one night a week to working on the business side of my art practice be it taking a workshop or attending a networking event. I am leaving this to be whatever I want it to be. For tonight, I am writing this blog post to sort through some of the key points I am discovering for myself.

Personal

This one has to date been the most concrete goal that I am midway through. I have been creating an artist’s studio in my home. I had an extra room that I didn’t do anything with and I cleared it out, assembled an artist’s desk, and have started to organize my supplies. Next up will be getting a quality chair and after that I will be painting the room a beautiful and calming blue with white and gold accents. This space already has provided me with a great way to get away from everything else and have the clarity to create.

Big Picture Planning

I will hold off on explaining any details (in part because I am still developing them for myself). However, I will say that doing this course helped me pull together elements I have found in other classes and readings about finding what you want and making movements towards those goals. I know that I love animals and want to do work that will help them. I love creating and trying new things. I also love teaching and coaching. How this all will look is still in the very early stages, but it feels good to be getting back to things that make me happy and fulfilled.

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