There is not much of a difference between an artist who has spent some years in an art college or vocational institution and one that is self-taught. Both types of artist will be rated based on their artistic skills and their creativity. There may be some more opportunities to find their way to a learned artist but the same opportunities can also be had by self-taught ones. Some learned artists may struggle to find work while some self-taught artists may be swamped with work. A check and balance always exists in our daily lives.
Making a name as a self-taught artist may be a path long and hard for most artists. There are some methods you can use to make a name for yourself, even if you are self-taught.
- You have more time on your hands. Use that to practice and study the great masters and your favored genre and style to be able to develop your own technique. Visit art galleries, the library and the internet for sources of information, inspiration and aid you in your study. Be observant of things around you and practice drawing from nature as you continue to develop your own style. You may have the knack to be a cartoonist or an abstract artist, a computer graphic artist, a landscape or a portrait artist.
- Learn the intricacies and properties of the different art mediums. Choose the medium that you are most comfortable with and practice using it every chance you get. Some artists can use their favorite medium directly to create their artworks while others are more at home with making several pencil sketches before creating the final one. Whatever method you prefer, practice continuously and be very adept with it.
- Develop a portfolio of your best works and show it to anyone who is interested (or may not be initially interested). Take all the chance you can to show your talent, may it be during family gatherings where you can draw the faces and actions of your relatives and friends. Wow people at other friendly gatherings with your drawing skills and be ready with your little spiel and call card to let people know that you are available for job orders and art commissions.
- Develop a friendship with some established artists in your area from whom you can learn. See if you can be employed as an apprentice in his studio wherein you will be given the chance to learn and eventually be allowed to create your own artwork. There are art studios that offer original and reproduction art.
- Develop original drawings and artworks that you can be used for greeting cards. Sign these works of yours and use them as gifts. Include your contact information in those cards.
- Look for stationery and local stores who will be willing to sell your artworks on consignment. Those stores which are willing to hang a poster or announcement for your artwork will be the best choices.
- Check local art galleries and be friendly with the management. See if some of your work can be displayed and sold especially during off-season when there are no exhibitions. These galleries are always on the lookout for new materials that can be displayed.
- Look for shops and outlets that are frequented by tourists and weekenders and check if they can sell your artwork and agree on a percentage cut. You may have to frame your artworks to maximize their selling opportunities.
Hard work, perseverance, continuous studying and practicing and self confidence should be your guiding rules. Take all the opportunities that you can find and create some to make yourself known. In time you will be able to create a name for yourself, even if you are self-taught. Draw inspiration from other self-taught artists like Bill Traylor, Scotti Wilson and Kiyoshi Yamashita.