If you are an artist you might just keep doing what you do. But what if that bogs you down from time to time? So, maybe your 2023 resolution should be "I'm going to draw or paint EVERY day."
That sounds like a plan, doesn't it? Spoiler alert: I can predict that I won't draw or paint EVERY DAY! My local business keeps me pretty darn busy, as it is.
Here are 10 New Year's Resolutions for Artists:
1. Organize Your Studio
I was able to do this in 2021 when my family moved to a new home. Since I had to pack up all my art materials for the move I was able to toss or give away things that I no longer needed. (Hint: schools are a great place to call for donations as art supplies are frequently needed particularly at the elementary level).
The closet was very different from the space that I had in my old house but this allowed me to really think about what I used often, and what I could pack to the back or higher areas. The room is meant to be a bedroom and is small in size, so I really had to plan where the two essential tables would be. Now, with everything in its place, I work hard to put things back where they belong, especially after I pull a lot of stuff out while I work on a piece.
2. Go through your Portfolio
I was offered an opportunity to have a full month as a single artist exhibition in February 2023 at a local gallery. Going through my fine arts painting portfolio to pick selections for this exhibit has been a delightful task. I realized how busy I have been over the past five years and how much I have grown as an artist. I have over 300 works on Society6, and my sales there testify to how many people like my images.
This keeps me in my studio, making more art.
Make sure you scan or take pictures of EVERYTHING in your portfolio. You never know when a theme might be just the right fit for an exhibition or a request from a client.
What your portfolio should include:
Original works: This can be a study if your work is very large. The work should be recent.
Professional, high-quality photographs of your work: These should be large prints and feature details of the work on the back. Include your name, the name of the work, the medium, the size, and the year of creation. You might want to include a price.
Your resume: It should include relevant education, exhibitions, prizes, and commissions. You should also include any works displayed in noteworthy collections.
Contact information: Ensure a gallery can contact you after your visit, so include your details on everything.
3. Strategize your social media
Who doesn’t envy those rarefied artists who earn big followings (and profits) on social media?
You know social media could be a boon to your art business, but you struggle the find the time or expertise to gain real traction. Make this the year you spread your digital wings and commit to a real social media strategy.
Invest more time in your existing platform where you’re already seeing modest gains. Plan ahead — create a calendar of social media postings and stick to it. Post a photo of existing pieces on a regular basis. Create postings that are themed to annual events. Awareness days and national holidays are easy things to plan for.
Need inspiration for your postings? Download the 2023 Social Media Calendar for Artists.
Creative and consistent postings and engagement with followers can help you boost your social media following.
Read more about how artists can promote themselves on social media.
4. Create videos
Ever hear of Mr. Doodle? The 28-year-old British graffiti artist sensation marries charming Keith Haring-style doodles with viral videos of him making his art. The result? Three million YouTube hits and art sales are nearly $1 million for a single work.
I struggle with this process. I have tried a myriad of video editors and failed. This resolution is high on my list. I plan to watch more artist videos and make it easier, not harder to set up and edit. This is on my to-do list RIGHT NOW: How to Take a Time-lapse Video of Your Art Process by my favorite artist, Cat Coquillette.
5. Plan Your Blogs
Well, this post just jumped into my plan.
If you want to blog, create a plan of what to cover and when. Just remember that a great blog should be a great read. Include some fascinating facts, and discuss your inspirations and your thoughts on what’s going on in the art world. Coming soon.
Theme your blogs around seasons, you could talk about the changes in light and landscape and their impact on your work.
A how-to guide: it sounds counter-intuitive but an artist offering a workshop talking about how to paint faces, will make a great read and make it clear you are accomplished and confident in your subject area. Create a short “how to” film.
Consider a podcast on your work.
Explore how an artist “lives” with a tour of your studio, again a great video blog.
AND....here's my art studio. (1:24)
6. Get ahead of the trends.
It’s easy to sit in the studio, paint, sculpt, make, and forget about the outside world. But just like fashion, art styles and mediums come and go. Get out and see exhibitions, read about the latest trends, and blog your thoughts about what you see on the horizon.
Where to find trends?
Magazines and digital blogs (like Artweb) are great at helping you to discover the latest trends. Some may be related to artwork – textile wall hangings, for example, are proving very popular today.
Big exhibitions or retrospectives of famous artists can help introduce trends. Monet can remind us of our love for landscape, or revisiting Reubens will help audiences rediscover the human figure.
Look at homes and interiors. Has Pantone just announced a new color shade that is similar to one of the colors you are grappling with on a canvas? Mentioning these trends online, and adding a hashtag or two, will bring interested viewers.
7. Learn New Skills
Here's what I learned in 2022. My artist friend, Catcoq, started teaching classes on Skillshare. Oh my goodness. She has almost 100,000 followers and you will soon find out why. Her classes are amazing, fun, and engaging, and you will want more. At my age, the threshold is huge for using digital methods with art. My Photoshop skills have increased exponentially with every class. Give her a visit https://www.skillshare.com/en/user/catcoq Earn a free month by inviting friends: https://skl.sh/3GQYvQy
I love learning new things. Artists never stop learning, whether it’s a spot in art history or how to work with watercolors. What courses are running near you in the coming year? It could be a short course looking at a new medium, life drawing classes to brush up on your skills, or even practical courses to help you approach your art practice as a business. There are also plenty of online short courses, which will allow you to learn at your own pace. Be careful of getting lost in the mire of endless “how to” videos.
8. Expand your brand.
Not only did I rebrand in early 2022, but I also started stretching my repertoire, as in commissions. I had done a few for friends, but now I was accepting referrals from people who would inquire at the Boutique where I sell my cards and prints.
9. Do any amount of work.
Scriptwriters are encouraged to bring a small notebook everywhere they go to be able to jot down ideas when creativity strikes. They didn’t need to sit down before their computer to force an idea out.
Take a break if you cannot bear staring at a blank canvas or strumming your guitar endlessly. Go for a walk. Listen to the sounds of nature. Draw what you see in the park.
Some days, it’s best to find inspiration elsewhere. What matters is to put it on paper, no matter how short or simple it may seem. It may just get your creative juices flowing.
10. Enjoy the Creative Process.
The reason artists make art is that it speaks to them and calls out to them. It moves them. Drives them. Art should motivate you because it speaks to something more profound.
Most of your time will be spent doing a sedentary activity alone. Learn to appreciate that your imagination flows from your head and heart to your hands.
Make art you like. Learning to enjoy the process makes the struggle worth it.