10 Books Every Artist Must Read
(that have nothing to do with making art)
Because making art isn’t just about making art.

To survive and continue to make art, you’re gonna need some business sense. And if you’re prepared to stop avoiding the subject because “you’re just not good at it” and want to learn, this is a great place to start. I’ve boiled down 10 books that are utterly essential for every artist who wants to make a living at this crazy career.…

What failure looks like

When you’re looked over, passed by, and straight up refused, that isn’t failure. When it feels like you can’t do anything right, that isn’t failure.

When it all feels hopeless and you don’t even know why you bother, it still isn’t failure.…

Minimum Wage Artists

To my fellow artists, creatives, illustrators, and concept designers,

Do not work for less than minimum wage.

Companies like Fantasy Flight Games ask artists to do a fully painted illustration and sign away nearly all rights to that piece for just $100.…

Don’t go to art school

I’ve had it.

I will no longer encourage aspiring artists to attend art school. I just won’t do it. Unless you’re given a full ride scholarship (or have parents with money to burn), attending art school is a waste of your money.…

Review of the Yiynova MSP19U tablet monitor

I love it.

Last week I purchased a Yiynova MSP19U, a 19″ pressure-sensitive tablet monitor. After the fantastic review by Frenden this tablet monitor has gotten a lot of internet attention. Wacom has utterly dominated the field, leaving little room for competitors.…

Start

Start working.

Convincing yourself to sit down and work is a difficult prospect. You might have other things you want to get done. You might think it’s daunting to sit down to a big task like that. You might be scared of “wasting” your time.…

It’s just piracy

Piracy doesn’t bother me.

It’s quite easy to pirate any of my paid content (namely, The Art of Freelancing). And you know what? I’m not freaking out. It’s ok.

I know quite well what it’s like to be a poor college student living off of student loans.…

Disconnect

Being creative is hard.

Being creative while constantly being distracted and interrupted is impossible.

Learn to disconnect. Turn your phone off. You don’t need it buzzing with texts, phone calls, and notifications every couple minutes. Disconnect from the internet. You’ll live without it for a while.…

Stop Overthinking It

We’re our own worst enemy.

Our minds keep us from doing the things we want to do by telling us that we can’t do them. That we don’t know how or we’re not qualified or we’re going to fail.

Stop listening to yourself.…

Fake it

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received has been “fake it till ya make it.” I took it to heart.

I thought I was a good artist before I was. I acted like a professional before I was.…

Find more time

We all want to have more time.

One of the best ways to have more time is to simply spend it on the right things and to stop spending it on the wrong things. Easier said than done.

Enter RescueTime.…

Remove negativity

Negativity doesn’t help.

Negativity is bringing you down. Discouraging you. Distracting you. Keeping you from creating. Telling you that you aren’t good enough. You won’t make it. You can’t make it. You’re wasting your time. It takes the best of your time, energy, and motivation.…

Stop waiting for inspiration

I don’t feel inspired. But that doesn’t stop me from painting. It’s work. I love it. I even enjoy it sometimes. But it doesn’t mean I’m working under the influence of some brilliant stroke of inspirational genius. I’m just working.

If you only work when you feel like it, you’ll never be a professional.…

Start often, finish well

Start a lot of things. Scribble down thousands of thumbnails for paintings. Jot down ideas for novels, poems, articles. Sketch constantly. Start drawings, paintings, sculptures, songs, anything. Every day, start something new. Hell, start ten new things.

Finish a few things.…

Do Impossible Things

I want you to do the impossible today.

I want you to do something that you can’t do. I want you to try something you know you’ll fail at. I want you to put your heart and soul into something where the end result will likely be ugly and unpresentable.…

Do one thing

Every day, do one thing.

You don’t have to clear your to-do list.

You don’t have to do ten things.

You don’t have to do everything.

Just one thing, every day. Pick one thing that will make you feel like you accomplished something today.…

A year, a month, and a day

My student loans are paid off.

When I graduated art school I set the goal of having the entirety of my student loans paid off within a year of graduation. And while I missed that deadline by a mere month, I am extremely proud to announce that I have done it.…

Consume, Create, Recharge

As a creative, there are three types of things you should be doing.

You should Consume. Consume content. Watch movies, read books, listen to music. Fill your head with the ideas of others, the wonderful creations around you, and the unique techniques of your peers and masters.…

Love the Process

Nearly everyone loves to look at a good painting. Very few actually enjoy the process of making one.

As artists, our love of the craft should be focused more on the process than the end result. I love making pretty pictures as much as the next guy, but it’s not the results that drive me.…

It’s Dangerous To Go Alone

Art is a solitary pursuit. As artists we spend hours and hours holed up in our studios, living the lives of modern day hermits. Sure, we get out sometimes. That’s what conventions are for, after all. But by and large most of us are all too happy to spend more time with our brushes/tablets than with our fellow human beings.…

When in doubt, return to the basics

I did a still life this morning on livestream. I hadn’t done a still life in months. Maybe longer. But since I’ve had the nagging feeling lately that my art is getting stale I’ve been looking for ways to push my skills and continue to develop as an artist.…

I Hate Your Portfolio

I hate your portfolio. A lot. Your art might be fantastic and make my eyes weep tears of sweet joy, but your online portfolio is making my eyes bleed.

It’s a darn shame just how atrociously bad most artist/illustrator/concept artist portfolios are.…

Noah’s 2-Step Program to Being an Awesome Professional Artist

So you want to be a professional artist?

I get asked a lot: how do you get work? How do you get your foot in the door? How do you break into the industry? How do you become “professional”? How do I become a concept artist?…

How to be an Artist Without Going to Art School

Aspiring artists these days have it pretty darn good. Sure, we can complain about a lousy economy, a highly competitive field, and the loss of several fields of illustrations (thanks in large part to the stock photography/illustration industry). But the fact is that much of the entertainment industry is doing extremely well, the field, while only accepting of high caliber work, is ripe with work, and new fields are opening up for artists to fill.…

8 Great Anatomy Books for Artists

I already shared with y’all my list of 10 must have books for artists. Those are a great set of books to start with, but sometimes you’ll want some books to help hone your skills in a particular area. One of the most troublesome and complicated subjects for artists is anatomy.…

7 Things I Hated About Art School

Now that you’ve heard about the things I loved about art school, it’s time for a dose of dark, depressing cynicism. The butterflies and good feelings are gone. Here’s some of the ugly, honest dirt on art school.

Money

Art school ain’t cheap.…

7 Things I Loved About Art School

I graduated from art school a month ago. It was quite a ride, spanning several schools (RISD & VCU, most notably) and more years than I’d care to mention. But it’s finally over. All of the homework is done, all of the critiques are wrapped up.…

Stop Whining, Start Working

I hear it all the time:

Am I talented enough? How much should I draw? Am I studying right? What’s the best way to use XYZ book? Art school or no art school? Do I need a degree? How will I know when I’m professional?…

10 Books Every Artist Must Read

I love reading books on art. Not just the kind with pretty pictures, either. But the kind with words. It baffles me how few of my classes during art school actually had required texts. Thankfully I was lucky enough to stumble into the world of art books on my own, and I believe I’m a better artist for it.…