Welcome to perhaps the most relatable post you’ll find if you’re an artist on social media! Whether, you’re just stating or have been around for a while, you will recognize some of the following struggles.
Here are 13 from the top of my head:
I remember the first thought I had the moment I created my art account was: will people like what I do?
Posting your art for the world to see is perhaps one of the most vulnerable things there can be because we are showing a part of ourselves to the world.
Insecurity will always be around, but be true to yourself and believe that if you love what you do and what you create, someone out there will do as well.
It can be paralyzing, so create a support group between fellow artists and acknowledge that you can also rely on friends and family to talk you out of your self-doubt.
Don’t let your mind play tricks on you!
2. Getting noticed:
I know at the beginning it seems complicated to build up followers and have new people notice you. I remember I used to feel like I was going nowhere, so I had to explore strategies to figure out what would work for me.
Growing your audience is a slow process, so be ready for some good and bad days. Nevertheless, don’t back down and be constant on what you do.
3. Picture quality:
If you went back to the first pictures I shared on Instagram back in 2015 you would notice the difference in my grid. I’ve been through so many stages, as proof, here are some pictures:
Everyone can take a picture, but I have learned that a good picture always catches the eye.
I have worked on making sure that my pictures are high quality and that it represents my art’s color and texture the best it can.
The right lighting and camera will do magic…Instagram editing will do too sometimes. Just try to not edit too much, for it won’t go unnoticed.
Push yourself to create the content you like.
Explore ways to set up your your art.
Just be creative, and give people a glimpse of what you and your art are all about.
4. Posting every day:
At the beginning this can be one of the hardest things to do.
When I created my art account I was clueless and lacked commitment, so I left it for a year before I started posting again and became serious about it.
There can be times when there is no time to snap a picture and create a caption, so I began to use a day of the week to create the content for several days.
Before, I used to only post pictures of my paintings, but now if I have a painting session and created several paintings, I capture pictures or videos of my process, snap each painting, snap the details, and snap my artwork up on the wall.
Believe me, doing this will help you a lot, especially when you have a trip ahead or if you have busy days.
5. Posting new content:
What I just said in the previous paragraph does have its limit. I noticed that snapping the same painting over and over again makes your audience bored. Generally, the second time I post the same picture will get less likes, that is, if I post the same picture by itself.
6. Curating your feed:
I learned that if I wanted to be professional and get people to recognize me as an artist, I needed to keep the content of my account art-related. I know when a long time goes without an art session, it seems attractive to post something unrelated to art just for the sake of posting, but this is what stories are for.
I’m not saying don’t do it, I’m just saying keep it to a minimum.
Give people what they came for—art.
7. Resisting sales/hoarding supplies:
Artists need supplies. I feel more at ease when I have canvas ready to be painted at home, and I have the supplies for a painting session to happen without interruption. Sometimes, I can be guilty of hoarding supplies because I know I will need them later, and because I love having supplies at home, it is impossible for me to resist a, art sale, especially Michael’s 70% off canvas. It feels like a blessing as much as it can be a curse; especially when your wallet is tight, and you just feel like you just can’t miss this great opportunity.
I try to leave money in my PayPal account for occasions like this, or sometimes I have to really hold back and remind myself there will be another sale, so it can wait.
I won’t blame you if you can’t help yourself.
I totally get the struggle!
8. Comparing yourself to other artists:
Another reason I felt hopeless was because I used to compare myself to other artists. This can be harmful in so many ways, and your head tells you the following phrases:
Your art is not good enough.
You are stuck, give up!
No one wants your art.
[name of another artist here] is better.
You will never be as famous as [name of another artist here]
[fill your own phrase here]
The options are unlimited, and the damage can be real.
Take a deep breath, silence the voice in your head, and believe in yourself. You got this!
9. Selling artwork:
The ultimate goal when creating art is for people to love it enough to want to take it home.
Selling art is a blessing, but it can be frustrating because paintings pile up and art supplies cost money.
Unfortunately, it’s not like we can shove our art in people’s homes and take their money from their bank account.
The only thing you need to worry about when selling art is letting people know it’s available for purchase. Also, do yourself a favor and set up a PayPal account just so you are ready to send invoices (for a while I did all of my sales through PayPal).
The rest depends on people finding you. Give them a picture that will allow them to see your art just as it is, so that it can resonate with them.
Tip: Sometimes the difference between turning a one-time client into a collector is by building a relationship with them and giving them great-quality art.
10. Pricing your art:
When my first client arrived, I was clueless about how much to sell my art for. Since I felt like an amateur, I didn’t think my art was worth much, and there were expenses I didn’t consider like PayPal fees, and shipping.
I learned by making mistakes, like spending too much on shipping supplies, or even shipping, but time has taught me one thing: your art is worth as much as you think it is.
I learned this because of a client.
She ordered a commission and we sat down and had a talk so she could tell me the size and the color palette she wanted. She had given me money for supplies, which was half of the price we agreed, and so I created her painting thankful that she had believed in me.
When I showed her the end result, she loved it, and so she went on to tell me that based on her previous art purchases, my art was worth more than the original price we agreed (since she said she bought a painting before that wasn’t as big or as detailed as the painting I made for her). She then offered to pay me four times the price we agreed, and I couldn’t help but cry and thank her as many times as I could, because I never thought my art could be as valuable to someone.
Dare to give your art a price that might seem a bit exaggerated to the insecure part of yourself. Then be confident (or pretend to be) and stand by it, that way you’ll be able to afford reducing the price in the future if it comes to it.
11. Dealing with rude people:
I have seen some artists share the rude comments they receive, and I think that sometimes the more successful you are, the more people will hate on your success and your talent.
I have only receiver a handful of comments from rude people.
Sometimes the insults are pathetic and sometimes they truly hurt.
I realized that the only people with the power to criticize my art are me, and the people whose opinions I care about.
Don’t give strangers that power.
There are many times that I’ve wanted to quit social media. Either because I felt stuck with the same number of followers or because I felt like I didn’t have time to post everyday. But honestly, I love making art and sharing it and I’m a full believer of the phrase “this too shall pass” that I refused to quit. Sometimes putting up with the storm allows you to enjoy the beautiful rainbow.
Remember that your number of followers doesn't determine your talent.
13. Creative block.
There have been times when I feel like I’m done. That I won’t be able to create any more art because I feel disconnected from my creative self. Everything feels hollow and grey, and impossible.
Sometimes, I give myself a break, and sometimes I force myself to paint.
There is no magic formula to overcome a creative block, you just have to trust yourself and your talent, and believe that you have what it takes to create something beautiful—if you have already done it once, you will do it again.
I have had talks with fellow artists about the struggles that I just mentioned. It feels good knowing that I’m not alone when going through this, so let's be annoyed or amused together.
Share your own experience below, or share this with a fellow artist to start a conversation.
If you feel like I missed something, let me know in the comments.
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