Successful Artists

If you’re an artist, your ultimate dream is to sell some work. It probably won’t happen until you’ve found some success. What does it take to be successful?

Here are 12 habits of successful artists who have achieved their dreams and then made them even bigger:

1) They Are Committed To Their Art

“It’s not easy at all,” says artist Brian Froud of his chosen profession. “People think that when you are drawing fairies for a living–or dragons, or trolls–that somehow the artwork drops into your lap fully formed . . . You have to keep pushing yourself forward with every picture.”

Just because they love what they do doesn’t mean they don’t need motivation and encouragement! Successful working recognizes that no matter how much they love their work, sometimes they need to get out of the studio to recharge. When this happens, productive artists find other ways to keep in touch with their artistic abilities and stay motivated, such as joining an amateur art group or taking classes.

2) They Set Goals For Themselves

Successful artists aren’t content just playing around in their studios all day. Who could spend all that time doing something better! When artist Maya Hayuk isn’t painting murals or designing album covers for rock bands she likes, she’s usually thinking about her next project. “I’m always making a list,” says Hayuk. “It can be a simple sketchbook drawing of an idea I have . . .”

3) They Sure As Hell Aren’t Lazy.

Imagine creating an illustration, only to find that the pen you were using had run out of ink halfway through. You’d have to start all over again. Successful artists don’t let setbacks discourage them but instead use them as motivation to be more organized. Established illustrator Steve Simpson has developed a system for keeping track of his pens, so this never happens: “I color code my pens by putting tape around them at the point where they are dry,” says Simpson, “so I know not to pick up anyone red pen until it’s reached its last few milliliters.”

4) The Network With Other Artists

Artists often face problems that they can’t solve alone–such as finding cheap materials or getting their work into stores. Successful artists know that if they can’t figure something out on their own, someone else probably has already. “My network of artist friends is my lifeline,” says Hayuk.

5) They Can Manage Their Money

Successful artists don’t let lack of funds prevent them from pursuing their goals. When illustrator Puneet Sood was broke and living in a friend’s attic, he still somehow made enough to bring his illustrations to life through computer animation: “It took me years to pay off the debt I incurred from my education,” Sood said in an interview with DailyArtDose, “but I never gave up.”

6) They Reject Reality

Reality bites, and successful artists know it. They don’t feel the need to fit in because they’re already out of the ordinary. “In a way,” says Froud, “we [fantasy illustrators] are just continuing what people have always done: we use our imagination and create stories and characters.”

7) They Can Handle Criticism

“I can remember when I was starting,” writer/illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi told us in an interview, “and getting some criticism from an editor who said that I needed to work on my storytelling skills… It’s funny because, at the time, it seemed like such a huge blow to my ego!” You might think that unsuccessful would be discouraged by comments like this, but successful artists know criticism isn’t always a bad thing.

8) They Make Time For Themselves

Successful artists don’t let art take over their lives; they still leave time for family and friends. Graphic designer Patrick Kalange says that one of the ways he keeps up his creative output (while also spending time with his young daughter) is by working at night after she’s gone to sleep: “You’d be surprised what you can accomplish when everyone else is asleep!”

9) They Don’t Give Up Easily.

It takes dedication to become an artist–and even more, dedication to stay one. Although it would be easy for Froud to give up art entirely because it didn’t happen overnight, he never considered that option. “I started painting when I was five years old, so it’s always been a part of my life.”

10) They Have An “Oh Well” Attitude

Dreams don’t always work out. Imagine aspiring artists who can spend their days playing video games instead of doing art because they think they’ll never make it big or an established artist who has to give up painting because they don’t have enough money. Successful artists have an “oh well!” attitude that keeps them moving forward. If the day ever comes that Froud cannot paint full-time, he could still turn his attention elsewhere: “If I had to do something else tomorrow,” says Froud, “I’d find some other form! I would never give up. I love what I do.”

11) Do work that you love and believe in

To make it big, you’ve got to do work that matters to you and makes an impact on others. It can be challenging with the constant pressure of bills and the nagging fear of never selling anything again. You have to find a way to keep yourself focused on your art and inspired by what you’re creating.

12) Get out of your comfort zone.

It’s easier to stay home and paint what is comfortable rather than trying something new or researching a new project that might pay off later. Successful artists know they need variety and try their best not just to create more work but better work: stronger compositions, better use of color, stronger figures.


Successful artists are the ones who keep trying, even when they want to give up. Even if they fail, for now, you can bet they’ll be back again soon with another plan to try and succeed. Artists all know that it’s a tough business, and making a living at your craft is not easy, but these artists have made their dreams come true. Whether you want to be an artist or whatever you do in life, try and follow some of these habits; if you haven’t already, who knows, maybe we will all be interviewing you!!

Author Bio:

Sarah has been writing for a decade and now for the learn online Quran Website. She obtained her Master’s degree at the University of London. Her main objective is to write insightful content for those people who read and like it.



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