How to Be an Artist after University in 5 steps


Be an Artist after University in 5 steps….well the steps kinda stretch out a bit…they are organic steps;)



OK you may be wondering how on earth you can be an artist after university in five steps? Well honestly being an artist, weather  you’ve been in an institution like university or not (it’s not essential) is more of a way of life than a series of steps. But thinking about these steps and applying them as you progress through your artistic career is a good starting point to success. Plus there are tons of resources on the internet to help you on your way to becoming a successful artist after university.

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 I started to take myself seriously as an artist…


After my four years of study at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, I immigrated to the UK and got sucked into a series of shitty jobs that I hated. Now, I knew I wanted to be an artist, but I didn’t know how! Well its been three years since then and I managed to save up a bit of money from one of my jobs (which wasn’t so bad and I did learn a thing or two).


I started to take myself seriously as an artist in April 2012 when I quit my job. I used up most of my savings on art supplies, converting my website to wordpress so that I could edit stuff, and on a studio space in London. Of course not everything I have done has been successful in my quest to be a successful artist after university (OK there are quite a few …for example I still want to redesign my entire website after spending shit loads on it )  and I didn’t count on a whole lot of other expenses… like food for example;)


I am still learning!!


But the point is I have learnt much about how to be an artist after university and I am still learning about how to use my art to create a sustainable business (the only problem is that I thought it would happen over night!))


artists studio, jessica ballantyne artist, panarama of artist studio

So here are some steps to help you on your way if you are seriously considering art as a career after university and please note; you have to treat yourself and your work as a business and accept that whilst making the actual art is very important, the yucky left brain business stuff is too….and to be honest…it can be fun:)

 Step 1 : Set some goals

Set goals and know that they are possible to achieve. Don’t  just believe they are , but KNOW they are! Write down your goals in detail in present tense (the power of this is pretty incredible!!)


I quit my job but you don’t have to!!

OK I’m not saying go bat shit crazy and quite your job like I did. Thinking back it may have been better to get a low stress PART TIME (part time!!!!) job for maximum three times a week just to keep some income flowing in while you are learning about art and yourself in terms of a business.



STEP 2: Practice and research

PRACTICE and RESEARCH ! Make time everyday not only for art practice and studio time but also for learning about the business side of art. I will include some great resources at the end of this post:)



STEP 3: Learn about MARKETING

Learn about MARKETING- I know if you are creative this might sound boring but trust me if you want to make money doing what you love, marketing knowledge is ESSENTIAL. This includes social media, your website and all the ways in which you share yourself and your art with the world.




Make CONNECTIONS- attend gallery openings, speak to other artists that are successful, comment on blog posts and use social media (Facebook pages, Twitter, and Pinterest to name a few)  to connect with artists, potential buyers and build up a fan base of people who love what you do!



Step 5: DON’T GIVE UP!!

DON’T GIVE UP!!I haven’t, not yet and I don’t plan on it either:)  These things take time, I am still in the baby phase myself but I know its possible to thrive financially doing what you love!



and HAVE FUN!! Its a process and like anything else don’t take it TOO seriously, if you put the time in you will become successful…. please comment below if this has inspired you in any way!


Great resources to get you started:


for general art stuff you need to know

The Abundant Artist

For marketing (more advanced)





Hope this helps, please comment below with what has helped you as an artist!



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