Two years to become a professional artist

Two years to become a professional artist | Deviate and Flourish Blog

The other day, on August 1st, I realised that I have exactly 2 years to become a professional artist. 731 days until I need to be making a full time living through my business. This realisation scared the crap out of me and gave me a major kick up the arse at the same time.

I was at my little sisters 1st birthday party. There were family members there who I hadn’t seen in ages. I knew the question was coming and I knew I’d have to answer it plenty of times before the day ended…

“So, what’re you up to?”- meaning what am I up to in life, where am I working, how do I spend my days etc.

“I’m actually at uni” I say, nodding and smiling.

“Oh brilliant, what are you studying?”


The replies I get to this statement are usually either, “what’s that?”, or “what are you going to do with that?”. Neither of these questions are asked nastily, they just genuinely want to know.

And it’s not really the questions that bother me. It’s my answers that leave me feeling stupid.

If they ask “what’s illustration?”, I say “drawing stuff”. I dumb it down. Not because I think the person is dumb, but because I want out of the conversation.

And if they ask me “what are you going to do?”… my answer is literally ridiculous. I say something like “erm, I dunno… paint pretty pictures… well, more than that… there’s a whole plan… I’ve got a plan… I’ll be doing lots of things… don’t you worry, I’ve got it all planned out”… :|

And they nod and smile. I bet they wish they’d never asked. Ha!

My answers to these questions make me look silly and irresponsible and maybe even lazy. When the truth is, I work really hard every single day to improve my skills and build up my business. I do myself such a disservice when I answer their questions like that…


All of these questions and answers lead me to thinking about my future. How it’s all going to work out, how I’m going to achieve my goals and how long I have to pull it all off.

I have 2 years exactly. In 2 years I’ll have finished uni and I’ll need to either support myself and my little girl with my business or get a full time job.

I have absolutely no doubt that it’s possible to build a career and a wonderful life as professional artist. I also know it will be really hard. But I’m going to do it.

I’m going to work hard and succeed. And I want you to do it with me.

That’s the reason for this post.

I want to connect with people in a similar situation. People who want to build a career or business around their art. I want us to work together and encourage each other along the way.

I’m going to be sharing my journey on the blog. I’ll be transparent and honest. Share my successes, failures and everything I’m learning along the way. As encouragement for us both…

I’ve identified some key areas I think we’ll need to work on. Things that I believe will be essential to our success:

Artistic growth– constantly improving our skills and learning about our craft.

Expand knowledge base– learn about art, learn around art and learn things that seem unrelated but will inform our art. Things that will support our artistic growth, inspire us and give us new ideas.

Work / Life balance– starting and running a businesses, learning, improving. It’s going to be hard work. But I believe it’s sooo important not to let it take over your life. Balance is key. Balance is hard!

Systems, strategies, goals and accountability.

Self discovery– I believe that learning about yourself, how you work, your natural strengths, what squashes your creativity, what enhances it, is the key to… everything. To happiness, to success, to productivity, to achievement, to sanity!

A body of work to be proud of AND people who love it– Fans, followers, customers, collectors, your tribe, potential employers. People who see our work, love it and want to be part of it. And that requires us being brave and putting our work out for the world to see.

A supportive community of encouraging, likeminded people with similar goals who you can turn to for advice or encouragement.

These are the things I’ll be focusing on over the next 2 years. These are the things I’ll talking about on the blog. I’ve probably missed something important, but that’s the point. We’re learning!

I want to start a private Facebook group for us so we can help, encourage and inspire each other. Leave me a comment below if you’re up for it! Tell me who you are and what you dream of doing and we’ll make it happen together…

And if your answer is “erm… I want to paint pretty pictures and draw stuff… “, then that’s ok.

I feel ya!

Kylie x

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11 thoughts on “Two years to become a professional artist

  1. Kylie! I’m so happy for you, that you’ve decided to set the goal for “going pro”, and that you’ve outlined how you want it to happen! Your motivation is truly inspiring <3 I totally agree with the points that you've mentioned, and I'd be down to contribute to a group. Why not host it on your blog instead of a private group? Perhaps that can gain more visibility? Let me know what you think about that as well :)

    1. Yey, Katie!! *hand clapping emoji* I totally want you in on the community / group. I know what you mean about hosting the group here on the blog. I’ll have to have a look into it. The only thing that’s putting me off that idea is that I find forums difficult to stay on top of. I’ve been in communities on forums before and I always find it clunky and annoying. Facebook just works so well… I’m going to have to think about both and compare the pros and cons. If you have any pros and cons let me know! I’ll send you an email when I’ve got more info :)

  2. This was lovely to read, Kylie! I feel ya, too, I’ve been struggling to describe everything I ever did to relatives (not to mention turning things into businesses). But I love how you’re handling it. I wish I did what you’re doing now when I was back at Uni. Looking forward to see your progress! :)

    1. Hi Violeta! Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing the post on twitter :) I’m really pleased you enjoyed the post. What is it that you do?

  3. This is genious. I’m in. I’ve been wanting to do this for so long now. Yet never really found the proper motivation/reason to go online with it. Hence I’m just working and working and working in silence on my project. This might be just the thing I needed ;) I’m not on facebook atm (huge waste of time imo), but if you really can’t find a decent alternative I could be convinced. Also, have you considered dropbox? You can just as easily put stuff on there if you’re going to go private, and communicate through txt’s :D Plus, there’s the added extra bonus that, you know, no one will actually steal it – including facebook ^^

    1. Hi Thierry, thanks for your comment. Awesome! I’m happy to hear you’re in! I took a look at your site and your twitter feed. Your work is really cool :)

      So, that’s two votes against using Facebook… I’m looking into a forum here on the blog. No, I hadn’t even thought of using dropbox in that way. I’ll have to have a look into that too. I’ll get in touch when I’ve got more info :) Thanks again.

      1. Heya Kylie,

        thanks for checking out both my blog and twitter feed. I’m honoured! And thanks for the compliment, it’s always nice to hear/read people like your stuff :)

        Also, I accidentaly read that Violeta had posted here as well – hadn’t even noticed that last time. Next to the fact that she’s reallly nice, she’s also an expert in marketing I believe. It’s cause of her tweet that I landed here in fact! Just thought to share that detail. And sure, take your time – I’ll check out your blog once in a while as well, (like now for example ^^) just to make sure a

        1. .. anything has changed. I have the gift of pushing too many buttons – I blame mondays ^^

          On the topic of dropbox, allow me to make your life a bit easier:
          Dropbox site:

          It’s free and has a lot of available space ;)
          You’ll see for yourself I guess.

          Talk to you later.
          Cheers :)

            1. Lol! Thanks Thierry :) I’ve actually got dropbox and love it but I’ve never used as a method of sharing things with other people… I’ll have to look into how it works… hmmm, lots to think about! :)

              1. Sure, anytime. I’m all for easy communication and making life as easy as possible for people – it’s hard enough already ^^ Well, if you feel like getting in touch, I’d love to send you an invite to a dropbox map with the email from your contact, or you could use my email too, if you feel like it. I’m currently setting up a form of businessplan and maybe I could share with you what I already have.

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