When you focus on being a productive artist you get more done with less effort.

— Barney Davey

Are you a visual artist who wants to be a better version of yourself? Or maybe you’re an aspiring visual artist who needs inspiration and motivation. If so, I trust you’ll feel this article is written for you. We’ll talk about how to enjoy life while being a productive artist and do our best to help you understand why it’s essential to be productive in the first place.

Why you must find a way to be productive.

As an artist, you are in the business of creating beautiful things. To do that well and with passion, you must be productive. It’s maddening to feel you don’t have time to make your art. That’s because, without adequate time, you can’t progress on what matters most: fulfilling your vision for yourself as an artist. All this frustration can lead to depression and anxiety—no one needs that.

Turn your passion into a viable business if you want to be successful.

To be a successful visual artist, you must turn your passion into a viable business. It requires creating a business plan and understanding the market in which you work. It also means knowing your audience and promoting your work effectively.

You can’t just create art all day long and expect people to buy it if they don’t know about it or like it. So you need to get out there and show people interested in purchasing artwork from you what you can do.

The unique qualities of your art are attention arresters.

To sell art, you need relationships—even one-way types where the buyer knows you and not vice-versa, like online sales. Regardless, the quality of the art you produce is the first step in advancing the relationship. That’s because it’s nearly always what gets noticed first.

The unique qualities of your art are the strings that pull on the viewer’s attention.

— Barney Davey

It’s your chance to make an impression and set the quality expectation you want them to have of your artwork, so when they are ready to buy something from an artist (or hire one), they think of you first.

If this sounds daunting, don’t worry: we’ve got some tips for making sure that everything goes smoothly enough so that even if things aren’t perfect at first (and sometimes they won’t be), at least there’ll always be something positive going on, which is so much better than giving up after tiny setbacks.

Never let discouragement stop you from being creative.

Remember that you are not alone as an artist; many service-minded individuals like me are here to help you on your journey. If you have a question about your creative process, ask it. If someone offers to critique your work, take the time to listen with an open mind. Don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there because the more you do, the more opportunities you will create for reaching your goals and living your best life as an artist. Never let discouragement stop you from being creative.

Learn how to make a schedule that allows you to produce good content in a reasonable amount of time.

First, you must figure out how much time you can give your art. You have bills to pay and other responsibilities, so keep it real. Next, create a schedule based on your available time, including sleeping, eating, and other regular routines. Once again, be realistic—you don’t want to burn yourself out by doing too much at once.

Finally, consider outsourcing tasks such as cleaning or cooking if they’re not part of your business model. Doing this will allow more energy and attention to focus on what matters most: creating your best fine art. Look for mutually satisfying tradeoffs. For example, one pays for the meal kits, and the other prepares and shares them. Bartering and cooperation produce excellent results.

Be humble, but not too modest.

Being humble is an excellent quality, but it can be too much of a good thing. You should know your strengths and weaknesses and be humble about your strengths but not so modest that you don’t let people know what you are good at. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed; there’s no shame in admitting that something is outside your expertise—even when you feel you should already know.

Do things to improve your life, and never stop sending positive vibes into the universe.

You are the architect of your life. You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it. To be happy, you must start sending positive vibes into the universe. You can’t change the past, but you can change the future by being proactive and always working towards improving yourself every day.

Make sure you take care of yourself to continue being productive and positive.

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Take breaks.
  • Exercise and enjoy life. But remember not to be too productive all the time, or you’ll burn out quickly.

Find ways to help others for free and ask for help when needed.

Giving back is vital to being an ethical and productive visual artist. When you help others, it feels good to give something back and make the world a better place for someone else. It also allows you to become less selfish by opening your eyes to how other people live their lives, giving you a different perspective on life.

It’s important not to get overwhelmed by the neediness of others or feel like you have to solve all their problems—but at the same time, you should do what you can when someone needs help. Conversely, it is just as important for visual artists to ask for help when we need it.

The best way I’ve found of asking for assistance is by simply saying “I don’t know” instead of lying about having all the answers or pretending to know everything about something (especially since I don’t).

Always Stay True to Yourself.

You can be a productive artist who enjoys life to the fullest by doing things that will make your life better overall, and always remember that no matter what happens, it’s essential to stay true to yourself.

  • Make sure you work on your art every day. If you’re not working on your art daily, don’t expect anything good to happen in your life or career. As the dead simple saying goes: “If you want to make money selling art, then you have to sell art.” It would be best if you worked at it to get it.
  • Building on the point above, it’s critical to make commercially appealing art to be influential in getting your work to market. However, it’s a given that finding the balance between art and commerce is sometimes tricky but always possible. Of course, you can make it happen.
  • Make sure you do things that will make you feel good about yourself. You need self-esteem for others to respect and appreciate what makes up who “you” are as an individual (even if they don’t understand). The more positive energy we receive from ourselves and others through compliments, eye contact, or other actions, the more confident we’ll feel creating and marketing our art.


I hope this post has given you insight into what it takes to be a productive artist. Indeed, being in the creative field can sometimes feel overwhelming and discouraging, but there are always ways around it. Sometimes all we need is a little motivation or inspiration; before we know it, we’re back on track with our goals and dreams. Other times, it’s learning to permit yourself to fail, to be okay sometimes, and to understand that succeeding at high levels can also require self-permission.

If you struggle with any aspect of your life or career as an artist, take some time today to reflect on what makes life worth living for YOU. It will surprise you how quickly things start looking better because there always is an upside—sometimes, you have to find it. Solutions aren’t always apparent, and getting help is beneficial.

When you know what you want is attainable and embrace your goals with gratitude, intelligence, and enthusiasm, it’s the shortest path to your best life as an artist.

I Can Help You

I’m here to help you find legitimate ways to make things start looking up for you. The twice-monthly AMXtra newsletter is about assisting artists to do better in business and enjoy their lives as artists. Click here to learn more.


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