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So let’s start with what it means to be a self-taught artist?
A self-taught artist is someone who don’t go to art school or receive any formal training. Basically this means that you are responsible for your training.

Not all of us have the option to pay for art courses and go to a top art school. but it doesn’t determine rather or not you can be a successful artist.

Starting out can be intimidating. As a self-taught artist, you will have a tough journey but it’s also a very rewarding one. You can succeed as an artist even without formal training.

Actually, some of the best artists in history are self-taught, including Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gaugin, Frida Kahlo, Henry Darger, and more.

Here are 8 valuable tips that will help you keep going and become a successful self-taught artist:

8 Valuable Tips to Success for Self-Taught Artist

1. Be Consist:

Maybe one of the most important points.
Consistency is the key to success for everything that you’re going to do in life, regardless of the art. In order to be a successful self-taught artist, you must create all the time. Practicing and creating consistently will guaranty your improvement. Here are one of my first realistic portraits and some throughout the years. As you can see, I wasn’t good at my beginning but as time passed, my skills improved, and I’m sure they will keep improving in the future. 

Make time to work on your art. At least a few times a week or one hour each day. Take small steps but make sure you’re making it part of your routine. 

Giving up to yourself is the worst thing you can do to prevent yourself from succeeding.  

2. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others:

I know it’s almost impossible not to compare yourself to other artists. Especially for beginners, it’s easy to get frustrated and discouraged when you feel like you’re not as good as someone you adore. You want to be in their position but every time you try to create sometimes similar to their work it turns out completely different.

See it as an opportunity to get better instead of discouraged. Be inspired and set yourself a goal to practice until you become “as good as” (maybe even more). If you’ll be inspired by them instead of comparing your works you will be able to move forwards and keep creating. 

3. Watch YouTube videos, Online Courses and Read Books:

Being a self-taught artist means you have to find resources everywhere you can! I started with reading basic books about “how to draw” and then found most of my mentoring via YouTube. There’re so many resources available for everything you want to explore. 

One of my favorite oil painters on YouTube is Daria Callie. She paints realistic portraits with oil colors and posts tutorials for mixing realistic skin tones and how to paint realistically.  
Another one of my favorites is Proko. He is an incredible artist. In his channel, you can find so many tutorials of how to draw realistically, step by step tutorials, drawing supply, shading, and more. 

Take advantage of the internet and find the resources that best fit what you want to learn. There’re so many online courses- some for free and some for a monthly or one-time payment. 

4. Celebrate your Successes:

No matter how small they are, make sure you mention them. Make it part of your process to identify something that you really like and satisfied with your work. Celebrate this achievement and your improvement. You’ll notice that it will elevate your mood and give you the motivation to keep teaching yourself. 

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5. Copy the Masters:

One of the best ways to learn is by copying someone’s work. You get to learn the techniques and understand where your strengths and weaknesses are. The goal is to get a feeling of how the artist work, not to replicate the artwork. It can help you learn about values, color, and composition.

For me, I used to draw portraits all the time as a way to criticize my techniques. When you’re drawing realistically, you can see how similar/ different you are from the original work and identify what you need to improve. Also, I learned a lot from copying other’s work and make it my own. It allowed me to step in their foot and try to see the artwork from their eyes. 

FYI- If you’re copying someone’s work, you have to give credits!! You can study from it but you can’t promote or sell it to your own benefit.

6. Don’t be Afraid of Criticism:

Ask people to criticize your work.

Even if your family or friends aren’t art experts, that’s totally fine. Ask for genuine criticism and help in your piece. Sometimes the people who “don’t understand art” will have the best advice. 

See the criticism as a way to grow and improve your skills. In a lot of cases, another set of eyes will help you come with an idea for improvement and will help you see things that you haven’t noticed on your own. 

7. Join an Art Group/ Community

You are not alone! There are so many facebook groups and communities waiting for you. Be part of an art community is an incredible way to gain support and confidence. You can ask for advice, help, and any kind of guidance. You can also learn a lot from others, looking at their work and apply some of that to your own process.

8. Be Patient:

Improvement takes time. Success takes time. You can’t rush it and skip steps. Don’t forget that everyone has their own journey and being on a different phase than someone else doesn’t mean anything. Focus on your Journey and be patient. If you truly want to be an artist and willing to practice and learn, it will happen. 

Last words…

Hope these tips will help you on your journey as a self-taught artist. Don’t be afraid of the journey and enjoy the process of creating.


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