Drawing, PaintingIt's an artist's dream - to work from home, creating the artwork they enjoy, and making enough money to do whatever it is they want to do. For every artist that achieves their dream, there are thousands who struggle along trying to make ends meet. There's a reason that the stereotype of "poor, struggling artist" exists :) Take heart, though - it is certainly possible.
First, it's important to realize that you need to work on your skills. If you only half-heartedly try painting once every year, you can't expect people to reward your lack of effort. Typically the artists who do well pour a huge amount of time into perfecting their skills. They read books on their style of painting or drawing. They get feedback from friends and family. They go to art museums and learn about other techniques. They take courses at local colleges. Yes, you want your art style to be your own. But you want to be as good as you can at what you do.
Next, build up your network of visibility. If your paintings are the best the world has ever seen - but they are all down in your basement and not seen by anybody - how can people appreciate them? Build a website highlighting all of your best works. Enter your items in fairs and festivals. Volunteer to donate an item at your local town's event or an event on the theme of your painting.
Remember, a painting is a luxury item. Nobody "needs" a painting. Also, a painting is a permanent object. If you buy a soap and don't really like it, it is gone in a week or two anyway. If you buy a painting, that is a far more long term issue. You have to really connect, emotionally, with the buyer in order for them to want to see this item every day of their life.
Part of the key here is to choose themes that people enjoy. I'm not saying to custom create your artwork to be "popular". But I'm saying to look at what you like to paint about, and see which topics might be ones that are easy for people to love - at least to get you started. Let's say you like dragons. There are a TON of people out there who love dragons! If you did 10 different paintings of dragons, and showed them at science fiction / fantasy conventions around the US, you could build up an incredibly loyal following. At that point you could paint just about anything else you wanted, and those dragon-lovers would help to publicize you.
Painting on a theme also helps you in the multiple-purchase area. If someone loves your artwork, they are likely to be interested in getting multiple pieces over time. If you did a series on lighthouses, a lighthouse fanatic might want several of your works, one for each room. It's always easier to sell to someone who already appreciates you, vs having to start from scratch with a potential new buyer.
Popular Themes for Drawing / Painting
Portraits of People, Animals, Homes
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