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Become a Working Artist

Lesson 2 of 22

Embracing Yourself as an Artist


Become a Working Artist

Lesson 2 of 22

Embracing Yourself as an Artist


Lesson Info

Embracing Yourself as an Artist

Embrace herself is an artist this is really the topic of chapter one of my book I am an artist, I periodically do public speaking and a lot of what I talk about is this idea of ownership as an artist and of really owning what we do, especially those of us who are self taught any self taught people in the room, we often feel like imposters, even people who went to art school and went through traditional channels like imposters at the time. And and so this idea of embracing ourselves as legitimate and genuine, you know, when somebody asks you, what do you d'oh, you say I'm an artist it's important? Because we all experienced out and all of this putting our work into the world can feel incredibly nerve racking. Maybe you have graduated from art school, but you haven't made or sold any work in years, and you're trying to get back into it, maybe your work you're worried your work just doesn't compare and you don't have a shot. And yet the reality is that believing this is possible in believ...

ing that you have something to give the world is really the first step, and we're going to keep coming back to that. That idea that believing this is possible is the first step it can take some of you will leave this class feeling so empowered and so ready and some of you may still not feel ready for some people it takes a really long time and that's okay, and just know that that's normal. All right, how many people have heard of the starving artist myth? Okay, you're all familiar, so let's talk about it for a second, as a culture, we've traditionally separated art from money, the ideas that aren't in order to be good and pure had to be made by somebody was not concerned with making money from it. Um, from this grew the starving artist myth we also as a culture, you may not believe these things and that's good if you don't. But as a culture, we've traditionally believed that only a chosen few make it in the art world. How many have heard that before? Right? And that actually used to be true. But now we have this thing called the internet, which is leveled, the playing field and it's great. So many more opportunities artists objective, our careers full tenuous, right? So we say even I wake up in the morning. So what if tomorrow all these people who follow my work and think it's awesome all of a sudden and want to buy it all of a sudden, I don't like it any more, and then I become obsolete. Because really the value of our work out in the world is based on whether or not people buy it or like it or share an interest in it and so that's part of their starving artist myth is that, you know, it's all very tenuous and fragile our careers are we've been conditioned to believe that struggle is inherent in making art and I'm here to tell you it sort of is but ah, but that's actually a good thing if you're not struggling if you're not out of your comfort zone, you're not pushing herself hard enough. Okay? All right, so the thriving artist mindset, which is what we sort of want to get to starving artist myth is just that a myth there was a time when for the world of artist was close very close, dark and mysterious place on those days are over new media and new ways of connecting in the world has really changed the landscape artist and actually it's changed the landscape for writers, for engineers, for scientists, for everybody, this isn't just about artist this is about everyone in the world the world is a much bigger and smaller place all at the same time, I I do believe, and I have witnessed time and time again that a combination of talent which you all have strategic choices, great customer service and so promotion are what it takes to build a career and if you combine all of those things and a few other things that were going to talk about, you've got an amazing shot I would also add a really hard work isn't here his super important and as I said, new media has opened up a whole new world for us that didn't exist before. All right, however, we are scared how many people feel scared about putting their heart into the world? All right, it's totally normal if you didn't raise your hand you're lying um so um here's feels really hit here is a feeling an illusion in a sense it feels real because we have I was feeling some fear this morning before I got up here the makeup artist was talking me down a little bit uh but it's a feeling right and it has physical symptoms and it feels real so it israel for us and so the idea is not to ignore it because it's there there are all kinds of fears associated with making and selling art including not good enough fear that others work is better than mine I might fail I might be rejected um it could all disappear in a nanosecond even if I am successful I fear being mocked orbit of fueled or criticized I fear everyone will notice I fear no one will notice right both are really for us I fear success I fear failure but we know that the best way and you you you know this even if you not sure you know it but you do know it's the best way to manage here is to acknowledge embrace and use it to motivate yourself okay, so the idea is to give fear right a bog post about this one's give here a bear hug like acknowledge it and use it don't try to ignore it or run away from it here if you're not feeling I fear you're probably not outside your comfort zone and being outside your comfort zone is really important all artists experience fear and anxiety I don't I talked about this a lot but I don't know if any of you have ever seen that documentary about gerhard richter who's a famous painter probably one of the most famous living painters and you haven't seen it I highly recommend it it's called gerhard richter painting and here's this guy who is german probably sixties maybe even early seventies now um one of the most famous living painters very accomplished you know solo exhibitions and major museums all over the world and in this film it's very clear he has a lot of anxiety about his work and about sharing his work and about whether his work is good enough or done and I remember watching that and thinking, oh you mean this never goes away and it's true it doesn't and that's okay, because that means that we're always sort of liked pushing the envelope the the idea is to get comfortable with the fear successful people managed your differently they use it and they don't let it stop them from moving on to the next thing they're not paralysed by it I'm not going to teach you in this class how to not be paralyzed by fear I can't do that um there are lots of ways teo to approach it but if you feel like fear is paralyzing you, then that is really sort of the first step is to work is to attempt to work through that and I don't think that has to happen before you launch your career it needs to happen said simultaneously all right, what about rejection and criticism? Um another sort of like the thing that we're sort of afraid of the most right art is subjective as we talked about earlier but it's part of what we do think this idea of rejection and criticism whether it's I posted it a photo of my new painting on instagram and no one commented you know, like something is sort of little as that teo I entered a juried show and I didn't get in and I got some hard feedback from the from the juror you know, the guest you're something big like that it's just part of what we do writers experience it anybody who's um innovative and creative experience is that we are by nature what we do makes us vulnerable when we put what we do into the world, we feel vulnerable it's part of what we do so it's never going to go away so you might as well befriended and another important thing is separating the personal from the professional when people give you feedback on your work more often than not it's not about you or whether you're a good person or whether you have any talent even it is it's just a some professional feedback those of you who went to art school, how many of you again you experienced get critz right where you probably felt like he wanted to cry afterwards, sometimes I feel like I would be a better artist if I had a little bit more of that um and I feel like that is an advantage of going to art school it breaks you down a little bit you get used to it and also learned to distinguish what's helpful and what to ignore. You get to decide you are the boss of your career and you're the boss of your art so you get to decide what you're going to listen to what really feels like helpful criticism that you can use to make your work better to make your path easier or what you could do differently and what you're going to ignore because you don't agree with it, you're the boss again at the core, you're going to see this graphic a lot over the next eight segments is believing that the core is believing it's possible the challenges shifting your beliefs, and we'll begin to work on that. And some of that happens just through action on really practical things because you realize it's not that hard, all right, from starving to thriving here's, how to do it support you. Surround yourself with the support of community. We talked about that earlier if you don't have one start to find one, and the internet is a great place for that, as well as sort of getting involved in your your arts community wherever you live, um, surrounding yourself with support of people, family, friends, mentors, write stuff down religiously. Um, I truly believe that when you get your your worries out onto paper, there is a release that happens that is very profound. I carry a notebook with me everywhere, and I write as much as I can down in it or draw sometimes I also write down all my ideas, so I don't forget them, um, I write down just about everything that comes to my mind. And I feel like writing stuff down is really important. No one ever has to see it. You never have to publish it. If you want to write a block post about it on your block that's great, but really it's your way of sort of releasing and writing begin to chart your path. I'm gonna use this term charting your path to cover a lot of what we're going to do in the next two segments, starting very quickly with gabriella, as are our first guinea pig that includes vision napping, which is basically brainstorming all your big goals for the next one to five years and letting yourself dream big about what you where you want to land, at least, you know, initially as an artist without using the words, I'm not sure if I can do this or I don't know if this is realistic, or maybe I don't have the skills for for this letting all of that go, and then we're going tio take those big sort of lofty goals and break them down into really practical goals and action steps that will help you to get there. The last thing is to go outside of your comfort zone every day, I pretty much live outside my comfort zone, which means I'm a little anxious a lot of the time, but it serves me well. And I think as artists, this is a place where we have to go, whether it's in your work, right in your creative process, pushing your work, or whether it's in promoting your work and really sort of taking on this idea of, like, putting your work into the world and feeling like so nervous about it because you you're afraid what people will think. Um, tio embarking on some aspects of business that may as a right brained person may feel really uncomfortable to you because you're very because you're very right, right brained and organizing things maybe isn't your thing. So go outside of your comfort zone everyday, alright, so overview of the goal setting process, which we're going to start with vision math thing, we're going to start with that core values I'm gonna have you make a list of all the things that feel important to you, these air, your values that you're going to keep in mind for, um, you know, the next uh uh, you know, for your career, like, what are the things that are important to you and that you want to always bear in mind, we'll go more into that soon intermediate goals, these are sort of manageable goals that you can accomplish in a week or a month or two months or three months that stem from the big goals on your vision map and then actionable test these are the things that you can do in one day or one hour to sort of get you closer to your intermediate goals and and the big goals on your vision up don't worry I'm gonna go back over all of that and give you examples and all of that very soon so vision map now this is a tool it's like a tool I've been using since I worked in a non profit organization for many years and I worked under this really wonderful executive director who was one of the most visionary people I've ever met she just retired actually after running the same education nonprofit for many years and she used to always bring in people to inspire us and tio teach us new leadership skills and things like that and one of the things I learned how to do in working with her was this idea of brainstorming envisioned nothing so your name doesn't actually have to go in the middle it can be you could write my goals or you know I'm going to show you an example of a vision that I made a few years ago in the middle it says remainder of two thousand ten these were the things now I'm gonna be really vulnerable and put this up here this is an actual vision map I made that I found it's kind of messy, but that just shows it doesn't have to be pretty I love the one in the bottom right less ego and I was probably telling myself not to be so concerned with what other people thought about me or my work at the time this was this this was early two thousand ten this was before I hit my tipping point you can see on their tio I wanted more illustration jobs I wasn't getting enough now I wish I had less sometimes I wanted to make a pattern collection, which I've done in spades since then, but I don't think I had made one yet then maybe I'd made a few individual patterns but no pattern collection I wanted to get more organized that still would be on my vision out today um more art sales I wanted to sell more work I wanted more balance in my life, still struggling with that um I was really wanted to concentrate my efforts more I wanted to get out of debt, I have done that I wanted to write a kid's book proposal, which never happened that also shows that sometimes you write stuff down thatyou went of changing your mind about because other stuff takes over and I also wrote compassion on there, so who knows what that was about? Maybe towards myself or my partner, I'm not really sure so I was using this put this tool you can see at the time tio think about how I wanted you know the things I wanted to focus on for the rest of that year you can use a vision mouth for anything for the purpose of this class we're going to use the vision map to brainstorm big goals for um for the next one to five years around your your goals as an artist okay, so your personal life goals and stuff are great but for the purpose of this classless let's focus on your art career and they're big okay and I'm gonna model this with with with my friend gabby um and you in your packet have one if you don't have a packet you're out there in inter let that land you can um draw one really easy it's basically a circle with rays coming out of it you can draw you can write your goals your big goals here I'm calling them giant goals on these lines or you can do what I did and make like circles at the end whatever's easier for you or whatever you like best I don't want you to get hung up on things like what if that's not realistic or what if I don't have the skills for that? I don't have examples but I'm gonna tell you written on the slide show but I'm going to tell you some so it might be something like get gallery representation see how big that isthe and how many things we need to happen before you got there but that's like that's where you want to land publish a children's book this is the sort of size and flavor of the kind of girl I'm talking about your goals might be completely different from this have an illustration career why have continuous jobs coming in have a thriving etc shop that pays half my income by the way that's the one we're goingto work through in terms of examples that I give you is this a fish etc shop example because it's really concrete how did things you can do to start an etsy shop okay, so next up let's have gabby come on up all right, I know you can leave that okay um and you can sit in my chair and um go ahead and have a seat so gabby tell us about who you are you're I'm calling you gabby but your name is gabriella. Well yes, but I go by gabby okay? I met gabby actually, I've met her several times at conferences. She took a class from me once you actually live in los angeles. So you came up here yeah, so tell us about what you do as an artist so I'm inspiring illustrator and I just love lisa's condom them just your career and you're such a role model too to me and hopefully a lot of people, so my background is in graphic design, so I've worked with excellent colleges, universities, but there was just this the thing inside of me that I really fell in love with illustration and this world that I've kind of discovered and thanks to you, lisa and I'm other artists just opened up this this world that I wasn't aware of, so I did not pay her to say that. So thank you guys, and I actually met gabby for the first time at sir texts, which we're going to talk about in segment seven, which is a surface design show, so if you're interested in licensing your work it's, it's, she got a booth kind exhibited her work, and, um, so I was at the show because my agent has a booth and I was showing some of my work there, and I was roaming the show, and he said, lisa and introduced herself and and I've since met her several other time, so this is actually how you meet people who can become your friends and mentors is by grabbing them even when you feel shy. So, uh, all right, while we do this together, you can do it yourself on your sheet, so I want you to just take a second and think if you haven't thought about this yet you should start now and I'm sure I'm sure all of you have thought about it it some where another think of it leased to two places if not three you don't have too many because that's going to feel overwhelming to like really big goals for your career so I'm going to draw an example of a map here and I'm just gonna right gabby's name in the middle there won't be no one but you see the whole time I was emailing you smelling it all right um I used to teach first grade so um okay gabby um tell us about one of your goals biggles what my big goals is still uh licensing license saying so she wants to get to a place where she's regularly licensing her work so let's write that up here I always feel like I misspell licensing l I see and I and right okay all right what else? I've always children's book she wants a publisher children's book and it could be a simple like a abc book or write so not necessarily a storybook but just a children's book. Okay, next, um editorial straight. She wants to break into editorial illustration we're gonna talk about editorial illustration in segments seven also editorial and illustration is basically illustrating for magazines and newspapers on dh sometimes um blog's and things like that so it's right that hear any others um and uh kind of like a larger canvas is painting yeah, she wants to paint she wants to paint on canvas is she wants to be a painter no good to say it I want to be a painter I'm just gonna write it that way be a painter. Okay? So let's step back let's just focus on these four and what's great about thes and what what makes them big goals is that there's a lot of stuff if gabby hasn't isn't already on the path to these thing there's a lot of stuff that needs to happen in order for her to get there right it's not like she's gonna wake up tomorrow like you know envision herself as an editorial illustrator and get her first job with the new york times tomorrow right there's things that gabby can do that are going to help move her career in that direction. Likewise for all of the others and that's the great news is that and this is what I learned is that having the big goals is important that's always the first step you want to keep your eyes on the prize like if you hear that phrase all the time keep your eyes on the prize the prize is the place you want to get or the places you want to get because you never want to put all your eggs in one basket that's another thing I must say um, so these are all the places that gabby wants to land, and what I learned is because my list looked almost identical to this four, five, six, seven years ago, and I started to do certain things that got me to the place where I was doing all of these things, and they're very concrete because sometimes the goals, they feel big and nebulous, like I don't even know where to start, I'm so overwhelmed and that's, why it's important? Teo, I'm gonna use this term backwards mapping, right? You start with the place on the math that you want to land, and then you sort of move from big toe little in terms of what you can do to get there. So in segment two, we're going to go even deeper on these. Um okay, thank you, gabby that's all I need from you now, thank you. Sit down. Um oh, yes, of course. I love hugs. Okay, um, all right, now I'm gonna ask some of you and you've got your microphones there. Um, maybe as you're writing here, hopefully you've got at least two things down you can. If you would like to share what you wrote, what are the things on your vision map? But if you don't want to show that that's also fine but what I'd love to know is what did you discover when you were making your your vision map? What what came up for you and we can also chris hear from people out on the internet lian to, um and also any questions you have about about this exercise all right? Well, we have some questions that have come in from the online audience that we can touch on right now. Now we have a question here how did you deal with rejection and harsh criticism when you were first showing your work? Um, I have been fortunate to never get super harsh criticism I have actually more recently than I did when I was first starting out it's never easy um there will always be people who don't like what you do. The important thing is to find your audience right and most of the time people who don't like what you d'oh aren't going to tell you that's good news, eh? So it's not like every day when you know you think, oh, someday I wanna have one hundred thousand people following on my facebook fan page and that's really great, but you know, also the more people that follow you, the more chances are there's going to be some internet troll or somebody who says something mean and so you know, like that's the thing that when you're first starting out you don't necessarily get harsh criticism it actually comes mohr the more well known you become and and so like I said earlier for me it's really separating the personal from the professional and also knowing what I'm going to listen to and what I'm what I'm going to ignore does this person have any credibility at all? Is it somebody I should listen to? Is it somebody I have offended? You know, somebody I need to apologize tio or where my work is concerned my work is my work if you don't like it go look at somebody else's work um there's room for everybody s o so that's sort of a short answer to that like really sort of understanding and knowing and being confident in yourself so that when somebody criticizes you you don't let it completely ruin your day or break you down it will ruin your day for about at least ten minutes but all right, so what did this um what this activity bring up for some of you and any of you want to share what you wrote down darling, you want to say your name and what you do to as you before you start hello, my name is darlene I do really printmaking and illustration and in looking at this vision map what came out for me is I had made one in in the start of this year in january and it seemed like pretty lofty like get my own studio and kind of ah start doing shows and since then I've been doing a lot of that so what comes up for me is how attainable these things are when I really sit down look at it because when it's nebulous and in my head it seems like this will never what happened but in looking at this it's like oh teach motivational art classes like that's a thing that can happen pretty easily so that's that's what's coming up for me yeah that's great and I think what darlene is pointing out is really important that these have to feel like something that maybe feels like if it happened it would be really great but not so huge that you're going to be overwhelmed and taking steps to get there and what I get to from what you said is that these are things that you enjoy and that you really aspire to not because they sound great or you think they're going to look great on your resume or you think you might make a lot of money but things that you know you're going to enjoy doing like I feel like connecting ourselves with like the joy that we get from teaching, making art doing certain kinds of art um are really important like if we're gonna you know it's a yes making art for a living is a job but it could be a super fun job so thank you for sharing that else yeah and again tell us your name and what you do my name is sylvia all smart and I write poems on demand at events using a typewriter and also make typewriter art what's interesting to me about looking at my vision map and I'm learning like I'm super overachiever I like eight extra bubbles in here um but what? You know, I was like, oh god, I'm overwhelming myself, but actually as I look at the things that are on here, I have my foot in the door of a lot of them so it's encouraging to see that I am actually in the goals and I'm working to achieve it might not be exactly where I want to be, but, um I'm kind of there, so I feel really encouraged in a little less overwhelmed but there are, like eight more bubbles I would probably at did anyone else find themselves in that situation where you wanted to add more bubbles? Yeah, you know I only put in the one in your workbook I think I put one tooth four, five, six seven or something like that like to me that's like more than enough but there are people I am one of those people who has I was speaking at a conference earlier this spring and the moderator it was on a panel in the modern of other artists as well and moderator said what's next for you what would what do your dream things and I was like, well, how much time do you have? I want to learn howto weave and I want to make my own clothes and I wantto make put my heart on pottery and I you know, I like him that's how I think all of the time is like, what other things can I d'oh and I don't do them all lest I end up getting a divorce because until I would be taken up with that and not on the other relationships in my life so yeah, so those are all really important things it's also important to know where to focus right? And also how many other people sort of saw when they started writing things down that they're already on the path to some of those things right and that's great news like you probably still feel like there's a lot more place you know, a lot more work you have to do and we're going to break some of those things down and you're going to get a lot of input over the next eight segment seven segments about um you know that might help answer your questions that are going to help you get to your goals um so so that's great any anybody out there? I want to share a couple of comments that have come in people have really been enjoying this and falling along with the workbook on this first one from one big girl says I'm turning fifty tomorrow and it's also the anniversary of me starting my professional career as a photographer this has been such a great exercise to really help me see where I want to go where on that and what it might take to get me there that's great and by the way my best friend diana's turning fifty tomorrow also so happy birthday to diana and one big girl that's great I am so encouraged when I think that you know as human beings not just his artist's we are we sort of grew up in this world where most of us have been told to be really, really a stick right and teo be actually you know, I was a sort of a dreamer as a kid and a lot of times you're not necessarily your parents might be your parents might be your teachers stop daydreaming right stop stop fantasizing get your homework done be realistic, you know and that's the message a lot of people get when they say they want to go to art school or they want to study design design may be a little less so because at least your parents can envision you getting a job I think that's changing for artists to butt right we're told to be really realistic and so this idea of fantasizing about like doing this thing that feels like it's going to be so much fun and be so enjoyable eyes can be a really like inspiring exercise and I think it's important great you know we do have a little bit of time if you want we could bring another student up and do another example of anybody else one of the other years do this you've already done it it's just about sharing go for it come on up grab a handheld microphone as well and bring that up with you all right should be all on and good to go yeah all right yeah and then while I'm drawing this you can tell everybody your name and what you do hello I'm julie marsh and I'm a mixed media artist and I love you taking old and thrown out materials and saving the stories but creating a new story with it in my art great and I like that we have up here somebody who's more of a fine artist her goals are gonna look different than gabby's okay so tell me one of your big goals I'd like to be I'd like to have a solo museum show. Okay that is a big one. I love it okay, I'd like to start making money this one I thought of you and I there's more uncertainty but I'd like to, um, get representation. Okay? Representation see her? See that? My hand lettering it's not always so pretty. Anything else just keep evolving and and have a collector base that can't wait for whatever the new phase. I take my heart in two. Okay. All right, break. So for now, I can take questions. Yeah, absolutely. So we have some questions come in and I want to remind everyone that there is a feature with the ask section there. If you click the little blue arrow, you can vote on questions that you want to see answered. So this one has already gotten a couple of votes. So I want to read this one it's from v are too too, too. And this question a little bit of an explanation here first about their background. Hi, lisa. I keep hearing that to succeed in the art world, you need to focus on a market and gear all of your work branding, promotion, etcetera towards that personally, I'm an illustrator who loves doing it all children's book find our editorial. My instinct is to keep putting it all out there until one of the area's begins to bring in most of the work, then make that my focus this is most like most likely why haven't succeeded? So the question is, do you have to have a focus? Is it okay to have all of these different things and number two? If so, how do you decide? Okay, do you guys remember, in the beginning of my segment, I showed you all of those things that I d'oh so if you know anything about me, I'm one of those people who I have an abstract painting, fine art practice, I am an illustrator who makes digital illustrations that are sort of very flat and graphic. I, um you know, I do lots of different kinds of work. Um, I think it's ok, obviously I think it's okay? And I actually think that that has served me well right, that I am this person who follows my passions to do lots of different things. I think if all I did was make digital repeat patterns, I'd be really bored if, you know, if all I did was go to my studio and paint every day, I'd be bored, so I like having I like waking up in the morning and saying, today, I'm gonna work on this, but tomorrow it might be this, and I've also gone to the place where I get paid to do those things, so that feels good too, but I think it's in fact I tell people sometimes like branch out don't hone in and that is advice that's kind of different than what you're going to hear from other people like the person who just wrote in I think that that branching out is actually a good thing this person's worried that maybe they're branching out too much um I also think and we'll talk about this at the last segment today if you develop a personality for your art business otherwise known as branding um that that sort of houses everything you do in a in a package that people can understand that it can work. So when you go to my website you see that my work some of my work is very painterly an abstract and so my work is very clean and more flat and graphic on dh then there's a bunch of stuff in between so I work both representational e and I work abstractly, but I've made all of those things put together by having a very distinct voice in my work and a very distinct look right? Um even for a while I was drawing a lot in pencil, you know? But when I do use color, I use a lot of the same kinds of color that I'm the colors that I'm drawn to in all of my work you will see the same kinds of patterns and line work from the painter of the big abstract paintings to the smaller drawings um, you see themes in my work that that run across my work. And so I have managed somehow to build a brand where I can do lots of different things, because somehow have made them all fit together, and some of that's been very strategic, and some of it is just that I have after making art for as long as I have, I've developed a voice that is very uniquely ni and it's. Not that my work isn't similar to other artist work, or that I don't fit in the same genres, other artists, but but I have work that's, identifiable, and I and I liketo work and all of it, and I think that's okay, so I think it's about it's more about packaging that work and also making sure that if you're working in lots of different areas, that that there's common threads and themes, that tile of your work together, how you do that really depends on you and what you d'oh. But I think it's a great question and it's one, I get asked a lot in arctic, you know, there's a part in the branding section where I talk about sort of honing in and like making sure that you show you know, some identifiable style and I do think that that's important but that can also encompass a lot of different things way had a few more questions come in you joked a little bit earlier about getting divorced but we have a serious question before I'm afraid it could happen if I took on any more projects yeah so one of our users on facebook says how do you deal with the close family a k a your spouse parents who may not be supportive of your dreams how do you deal with the balance of all your family yeah it's hard you know I didn't I had had I had a successful career doing something else when I decided I was going to be an artist and I was already in my thirties I was a grown up I didn't have kids but I was old enough to have kids you know and I remember thinking like what if my parents don't approve you know um and I think it was really hard in particular for my dad he's like why would you leave this job? You know you're very successful you're the associate director of a nonprofit you have this income why would you why on earth would you leave that to be an artist and I was like I'm gonna show him you know so in some ways the naysayers can motivate us a cz well but it was really important to me despite them and I don't mean to get my dad a bad name he's wonderful and he's very supportive of my career and I've learned so much from him, but you know, it is so important that even when you have those naysayers that you find your people who can support you even if they're not in your family and to really also use whatever resistance you're getting as a motivator to continue to work hard and follow your dreams that I think you know is really keep. But you know whether it's friends or mentors or you know, other artists really important to have a community because these are not only the people who are going to tell you it's possible and support you, but they're also the people who are eventually going teo collaborate with you or give you shows or recommend you for illustration jobs or invite you to go to a party where you meet somebody who hires you for something or introduces you to somebody else. So this idea of building community isn't just about emotional support it's also about making the connections that are going to build your career because let's face it. A lot of what happens whether it's on the internet or in real life is about human connection and the connections we make with people people we randomly meet on the subway train people that we meet at parties I remember a couple years ago is that another friend's fiftieth birthday party? And I was sitting next to this woman and I didn't know her she was a good friend of my friend who is turning fifty and he said oh this is lisa she made that pillow that you that I gave you you know so apparently I had made he commissioned me to make a pillow and she was like, oh you're lisa and I said she said well you still so and I said no you know I'm an artist now you know I paint and then I ended up showing her my portfolio and she became very interested and you know which led teo another commission for a painting so you know, being sort of like out there about what you do publicly to can also lead to a lot of opportunities great now this question has been voted on by seventeen lots of people are interested in this ones we want to get to this the question is do you have a morning or daily routine that helps you with your everyday creative life? Yeah well first of all, one of the beautiful things about being self employed in all of you who are self employed can attest to this is that you get to get up when you want and you get to make your own schedule and so the great thing about that is that, um you know you get to make your own schedule, but the bad thing about that is that it requires an enormous amount of self discipline right on, and they're a day is now that I am a working artist in almost everything I do with the exception of some days of the week, I do do some personal work, but most everything I do has a deadline or, you know, a job or a person that I have to report to about it. So that certainly motivates me to get started on my day, but I want to make sure that my day starts off on the right track, and they're a couple of things I do. First of all, before I get up, I make sure I get eight hours of sleep. Um, I think it's really, really important tio to take care of yourself and, um and I so I get up when I, which is for me, like six thirty, feels reasonable, and I have this there's a great resource that I love it's called the five minute journal it's actually, I think you could get a five minute journal dot com and there's like, you know, three things. I'm grateful for things, three things that would make today great, and then at night they might be one more and then at the end of the day you reflect on your day and it literally takes five minutes. So this is something that I try to do every morning just to get myself in the space of thinking positively about what I'm gonna accomplish that day. Of course, the things that would make today great are often finished that job make great progress on that thing, you know? Of course, and so I really have to force myself to think outside the box about what would make today great, because often it's associated with what I have to get done. Um, I also exercise almost every day, and I feel like as artists, often what we do is very sedentary, right? Even if we're standing at an easel or somewhere at a working desk are a a standing desks where we're not moving around a ton, and so I feel like, uh, because we're so sedentary, it's important, we'll talk about this and segment eight tomorrow like getting out and walking and being active as much as you can and taking regular breaks is really, really important because we can start to have a lot of aches and pains, and and I feel, you know, pretty crappy, and so I liketo get out and I go to spin class or go swimming on guy. Usually start my work day and then do that at about nine thirty in the morning, and then come back and finish my work day. So it's, a way for me to take, take a break. It sort of breaks up my day as well. So exercise important.

Class Description

"This is an incredibly helpful class for anyone who feels intimidated by all the "giants" in the land of art, and wonders if it's really worth keeping trying to make money from their talent. Lisa breaks everything down into manageable steps, while not dumbing things down. Her manner is very approachable, so that you can imagine yourself doing what she does. Her generous spirit means too that she is sharing really useful stuff - not just some fluff, and keeping all the good ideas for herself!"
 - Janet and Craig Mathewson (CreativeLive Students)

An enthusiastic audience that appreciates your art is waiting for you. Join Lisa Congdon, illustrator, artist, and author of Art, Inc. for Become a Working Artist and learn everything you need to know to make a living as a fine or commercial artist.

In this class, you will find out exactly what it takes to break into the art world and reach new, diverse audiences. Lisa will show you how to:

  • Identify the characteristics that make your style unique
  • Map out the vision and goals that will drive your artistic career 
  • Navigate the fine art market and break in to it
  • Land and negotiate art licensing deals
  • Develop effective techniques for promoting your work
Every artist faces rejection and setbacks on the road to finding an appreciative and paying audience. Become a Working Artist will teach you how to navigate the inevitable disappointments and push through to build a vibrant, rewarding career in art.

Making money as an artist doesn’t have to be far-fetched dream, Lisa Congdon will show you how to make it a reality.  



I was very happy and inspired to be able to attend to this class! It helped me so much to understand which are my goals as an artist and what I need to make to make them happen. Lisa is amazing and I cannot be happier to have been part of this, thank you so much!! I am now more than inspired to create beautiful things and make the tasks I need to make to become the professional artist I aim to be. Thank you Lisa for your wonderful generosity and Creative Live for hosting and creating such a wonderful event!


This course was fantastic! The format was great and Lisa was extremely helpful, knowledgable, and engaging. I was so inspired and loved that she gave very real information and great advice. I came away with a great new plan for my business and a renewed excitement for growth. I would highly recommend this class!

Simply Stated Architecture, PC

Professionally, I am an architect, but I also dabble in some watercolors as well as wood and metal work. When I started my own architectural office, I found good resources for business information were scarce. Most of what I found applied to retail or service businesses that really did not apply to a creative professional. One of the best resources I have found has been my local art guild - The Yellow Breeches Chapter of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. I found that the painters, jewelers, potters, fiber artists, and other artists faced much more similar issues to what I was dealing with than the contractors, store owners, financial planners, insurance salesmen, and other business people that I was finding in business groups and classes. Lisa Congdon's class is the first CreativeLive course that I've taken. I had signed up for the CL email recently and Lisa's class just caught my eye. I'm glad that I took the time to sit through the sessions. A few of the segments - such as that on illustration and licensing or fine art - really did not have any practical application to my own situation. But there were items of value in pretty much all of the segments that I could take away to adapt in my own business. For someone just starting off in a creative profession, I'd highly recommend Lisa's course as a roadmap of items to keep in mind and plan for in their business. But by no means should you consider this to be a "beginner only" course. I started my business four years ago and I really wish that I had found something like this course in those first months or first year. But even after four years, I found great value in this course. The information on setting goals, actionable tasks, and the final segment on managing your success were extremely valuable and gave me many items to work into my own business in the coming weeks and months.