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There might be stereotypes of artists being “flaky” or “disorganized” but every successful artist has methods for maintaining professional practices during their careers.


Whether running your studio, completing a public art commission, bidding for a freelance contract, or ordering supplies, budgeting is an essential skill for all artists. A simple budget written out on a piece of paper is better than nothing and is often the way to start rough project planning. Spreadsheet software such as Excel , Google Sheetsexternal link , or Open Officeexternal link allow even more control for artists to create budgets and work on different contingencies and plans. As your creative career progresses it is even more important to learn how to create an artist budget .


Contracts are essential to not being taken advantage of in business transactions. Contracts don’t guarantee that you won’t be taken advantage of but good contracts written with both parties interests facilitate smooth transactions and provide a way to handle disputes. Never enter into a monetary agreement without a signed contract. Many artists make a mistake and work on good faith conversations, but this is a risky way to run a business. Ask for advice along the way to learn more about Contracts for Artists .


Your portfolio is how people will discover your work and how you will get more opportunities. Of course some people will see your work in person or in a virtual digital world but most will not. It is important to maintain an up to date portfolio of your work. You will likely have different portfolios for different types of work and opportunities. Learn more about How to Make an Artist Portfolio Website .

Resume / CV

Most Artist-Opportunities will require a resume or CV. Even when not applying for a commission or opportunity it is a good idea to have your resume published on your website so people can get an overview of your career and experience. Learn How-to-Write-an-Artist-Resume .

Portfolio Website

Having an online presence allows your work to showcase your talents even while your are on vacation or asleep. Make sure you have a compelling online presence. An easy way to do this and to control your own data to make a portfolio website. Learn How to Make an Artist Portfolio Website

Art School?

Do you need to go to art school to be a professional artist? The short answer is “No.” but you can learn lots of necessary skills and techniques in an efficient way by going to art school rather than attempting to learn everything on your own.

What about going to grad school for art? This is a more complicated question. The simple answer is to make sure that the school is covering your grad school tuition and hopefully giving you a stipend for living expenses. If you are interesting in grad school then I recommend reading this list of articles about whether or not you should Go to Grad School .