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Ten Tools Every Artist Needs

Whether your goal is to be the next Warhol or simply to earn a little side cash from your artistic hobby, there are 10 basic tools you need to get ahead—no matter what type of art you do.

1. Comfortable Workspace
The plain and simple truth is, if you aren’t comfortable where you work, you’ll probably work less. Distraction is the bane of artists everywhere, so find a room, a corner, or a rental space that allows you to have your materials at the ready whenever inspiration hits.

2. Quality Supplies
Whether your preferred medium is paint, pencil, digital, or sculpture, quality supplies are critical to your performance as an artist. Not only will lower grade materials show through in your finished product, your seriousness as professional artist may come into question, as well.

3. An Online Portfolio
An online portfolio grants you the unparalleled advantage of being able to show your artwork anywhere there is an internet connection. There are plenty of free resources for artists on the web, and with a little research you can most likely put your portfolio together by yourself. A good online portfolio will showcase your body of work in an elegant but simple fashion. Take the time and make it happen. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

4. A Computer
Borrowing a friend’s laptop or visiting the library just won’t cut it if you plan to be successful as an artist. As a resource center alone, a computer may be the most valuable tool you can invest in, providing a launching place for blogs, your portfolio, email listings, and more.

5. A Good Digital Camera
The easiest way to get images of your artwork online is with a digital camera. Unfortunately, and a low-end camera will give the impression of low-end art. Try to think like an art customer—if you were looking to buy new work, would you spend money on a piece you couldn’t even see properly? A good camera should be at least eight megapixels, and should be easy for you to use.

6. Image Editing Software
Even images from the best digital cameras may need a little color correction. Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard, but many mid-level programs will work just fine, as long as you can crop, rotate, and adjust the image sizes and colors.

7. A Paypal Account
Paypal is free, easy to set up, takes almost all major credit cards, and is a widely trusted source for transferring revenue. Paypal acts as the intermediary between you and a customer, allowing payment to be processed at minimal risk to both parties.

8. Writing Skills
Decent writing skills are critical to composing articulate and coherent content for your portfolio, blog, flyers, press releases, and gallery statements. Always be sure to spell check and proofread for grammatical errors, or have a friend read your writing before you release it to the public.

9. Business Cards
Business cards tell potential customers that you’re serious about what you do, and also, of course, provide a place to log all of your contact information. Professional business cards can be printed very affordably and are well worth the small investment.

10. Networking Ability
Perhaps the most important tool you can have as an artist is yourself. Get out into the local art scene, shake some hands, and spread your name around. You never know when a contact might come in handy in the future. 


Photo Courtesy of Nicole Galipeau