There are a lot of ways to make money (and, with enough diligence, a career) from your art.
One way – arguably the best, and for some the only, way – is to simply work hard.
Aside: if you were expecting something else, you’re living in a fantasy. But I digress.
Make what you make for the sake of making it, and plan to do it for the rest of your life. Work to perfect a sense of style you can call your own. Always share what you make with the world. The Internet makes this way remarkably easier than it has ever been for artists throughout history (here’s how to start, if you’re unsure).
What happens after a while, if you work hard enough and long enough, is someone is going to want to work with you, or to buy what you’ve made.
For example, I regularly get emails from people asking me to write for them. And I’m not an amazing writer, to say the least. But, primarily thanks to writing here on this blog for the past six years, they recognize that I occasional have interesting thoughts. Those thoughts have become one of my arts. And people, seeing that I have spent time building up my craft and my knowledge of the craft, want to buy part of that.
It sounds so simple because it is. But the hard part is sticking with it, being unafraid to share what you make, and keeping at it. That’s what I think scares so many artists away from the artists, into a life of mediocre office work and spreadsheets.
Of course, after awhile you’ll find that you have enough art to sell on its own, without people approaching you for it out of the blue. But you’ll inevitably find people want to pay you for what you’re doing anyway, because they can see that you’re the one who does that type of art well.
Becoming known for something is one of the easiest ways to make a living from it.
Be careful though, because the moment you start making a living from what you love doing is the moment it shifts away from “I do this because I love to do it” towards “I have to do this shit because I have to pay the fucking bills.”
Sometimes it’s worthwhile to only make a bit of side money doing what you love, and keeping your day job anyway.
Photo via Flickr