Courses  Instructors  How It Works Plans & Pricing Blog Resources 

Log In

Log In 
Don't have an account? Sign Up

Reset Password

An email has been sent with instructions on how to reset your password.

Sign Up For Free

Then join a course

Our store is currently undergoing maintenance. Check back in a few hours.
Already have an account? Log In

3 Tips For Becoming a Successful, Working Artist

I wrote this blog because I actually know some artists who are really talented and good enough to be working in the field of illustration and fine art but don't have the faintest idea where or how to start going about getting work. Therefore I decided to write some tips to help push you along the road to success:

justin bua art

TIP #1

Make sure you know who YOU are as an artist. 

Your portfolio should be streamlined and tailored to tell your unique visual story. In other words, the worst thing a client can see is an artist with too many styles and directions. Remember, too many directions equals no direction and there is a perception that even you don't know who you are. Remedy? Make sure you have a definitive style. If you paint caricatures show a variety of them - don't show figure drawings, abstract paintings and still lifes. Remember, you have one shot and if you have a mish mosh portfolio it will come off as "studenty" and unprofessional. If you have a distinctive style and vision you are way more likely to succeed. 

TIP #2  

Don't be afraid to ask.

When you want to get work and you don't know where to start… start asking. The worst someone can say is "I don't know, don't ask me!”  Trust me, I have tons of people asking me questions and sometimes I send them in the right direction and BAM… their lives change.  Other times I just don't know where to send them… That’s okay too.

You need to figure out which magazine/game company/gallery would feel right for your work. Socialize in artistic circles whether it’s figure drawing workshops, artist receptions, etc. Once you ask, “where do you think my work fits in?”,  “Would your gallery be interested in a show?”, “Does your magazine use spot illustrations?” - you never know what the answer may be.  Remember though, be careful what you ask for because most of the time it actually comes true…

TIP #3

Learn how to draw well. 

I am not saying become the greatest draftsman in the world and draw the figure as well as Leonardo (Da Vinci, NOT DiCaprio), I’m just saying that everything that you do in the artistic realm does involve some understanding of either rhythm, value, perspective, light logic and form.  Most artists like to skip this basic fundamental step. Why? Because drawing is painful. You are learning the algorithms of nature - which is deep and profound.

Most artists become mediocre draftsmen and then move on to other more “creative” artistic ventures. Gross! However, and this is a fact of life, the better that you draw the more you will invariably be able to articulate your vision more eloquently.  As one of my teachers Glenn Vilppu put it: "if you think of all the possible visual elements that you must learn as keys on a piano, the more keys you have, the wider the range of possibilities you can enjoy. Of course, you can make music with just a few keys, but that should be based on choice, not limitations."

Now go get some work!!!


justin bua nas

Follow BUA on Instagram @JustinBUA. For info about online art lessons with BUA visit



Affordable Plans

Each subscription is for a single school. Pricing and features can vary slightly per school.

1 Month membership
renews monthly
Unlimited Access to Lessons
Unlimited Video Exchanges
Exclusive Content
$35/month (prepaid)
3 Month membership
renews every 3 months
Unlimited Access to Lessons
Unlimited Video Exchanges
Exclusive Content
$30/month (prepaid)
12 Month membership
renews every 12 months
Unlimited Access to Lessons
Unlimited Video Exchanges
Exclusive Content
$20/month (prepaid)