Printable Version

For anyone who would like a printer-friendly version of the entire Phase One curriculum, we have made one available! 

This download includes a copy of all published overviews, blogs, and checklists. For personal use only. 

Introduction to Phase One

 

Phase One is the often overlooked step in creating an art career. When starting out, artists often try to compete with established professional artists who are well into Phase Two or even Phase Three of their careers. It's all too easy to compare yourself to these artists and try to replicate their efforts. 

However, this causes an artist to become frustrated by a lack of results and their inability to create art at the scale and speed of professional artists. Stopping to master the four steps of Phase One will allow an artist to launch themselves into Phase Two prepared for success both in their sales and in the creation of art. 

Phase One Objectives:

 

  1. Build your artistic skill set

  2. Develop a creative process

  3. Create a 100+ piece inventory

  4. Foster a local community. 

Phase One is 60% about mastering your technique. Mastering your technique means that you have practiced art concepts so much that creating art is now muscle memory and subconscious actions. You no longer need to think about creating. It's second nature. This takes time. Remember, phase one should last at least two years for the artist who has not mastered traditional art concepts. 

However, mastering technical skills alone is not enough to ensure you will be ready to grow your business. You also need a solid creative process to help you create regardless of external circumstances. A creative process is a ritual that helps you begin creating so that you are able to create whether you are having a bad day, good day, or the world's gone to hell in a handbasket. This process is vital to your success because as a professional artist you will have to create when you do not feel like it. 

After you have completed honing your creative process, you will need to create inventory. This means creating over one hundred pieces so that you enter the art market with credibility and variety. This is just a bare minimum and many artists actually suggest creating upwards of 400-800 works ready in your inventory. We'll talk about that more in-depth. 

Once you have created your one hundred plus pieces, you are ready to begin putting your work out both online and in person. It's time to foster your community. This is where you will begin working with local businesses to display art, begin participating in art events, and working with your local community. 

Video

Podcast

Black and Red Illustrative Stories & Fic

Blog Post

Minimal New Blog With Laptop Mockup Inst

What causes most artists to struggle in the beginning is their lack of understanding of how one creates an art career. This creates self-doubt and hesitation causing many artists to question why they started this in the first place. However, once you understand where you are in your journey, you can rest easy knowing you are on the right track.

Phase One Checklist

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Download Our Checklist

Here we have a checklist so that you can understand the action steps of Phase One more tactilely. This gives you a literal road map of moving through this phase. Each lesson has its own corresponding checklist so you're never left asking "What's next?"

The download is free and there are no strings attached.

This list is for personal use only and cannot be used for commercial purposes or reproduced without written permission from Alejandro Castanon and Shelby Arias Seymore.

 

Copyright Alejandro Fine Art 2021 ©.

Building A Skillset

 

Objective: Creation and art skills are embedded subconsciously. You create from a place of mind-body connection where the technical components of creating art are no longer a conscious activity.

 

The first step in the creative process is often the one everyone wants to skip. Building your skill set is all about learning and practicing each of the techne of art until you master them. Many artists want to skip this step, often because they can copy or mimic from reference materials.

 

However, when they try to create original works of art, they find they cannot translate what they see in their head to paper. This is caused by a lack of technical skill and muscle memory between the eyes, the hand, the arm, and the mind. Like practicing the piano, an artist's ability to create comes from practicing a skill over and over again until they no longer need to consciously think about the skill in order to execute it. 

This seems daunting, but consider when you first began driving a car. The first time you drove you were overwhelmed by everything you had to do. You had to force yourself push the gas, look at the rear-view mirror, turn the wheel, hit the blinker, watch your speed, stay in your lane. It was a lot! Each action you had to think about consciously. You'd say to yourself "Put on the blinker. Hit the brake. Watch that blue car, it looks a little iffy." 

However, now, after years of driving, sometimes you get in the car and arrive at your destination without even realizing you drove! Your subconscious can now drive the car.

This is the point you need to arrive at when creating art as a professional artist. You need an autopilot for artistic concepts. 

Before you panic, we can break this objective of mastery down even further:

Mastery Objectives: 

  1. Master traditional art concepts

  2. Develop a style

  3. Hone a specific medium or mediums that complement your style

Check out our resources below as we discuss each of these action steps in detail. 

Video

Podcast

Black and Red Illustrative Stories & Fic

Blog Post

Minimal New Blog With Laptop Mockup Inst

This part of the artist's journey is probably the least sexy. It's the bones of the house: the foundation and the frame. When the house is done, we can't see them. But, if the frame or foundation of a house is off or failing, we can tell very quickly.

Building Your Skillset Checklist

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Download Our Checklist

Here we have a checklist so that you can understand the action steps of Building Your Skillset more tactilely. This gives you a literal road map of moving through this action step. Each lesson has its own corresponding checklist so you're never left asking "What's next?"

The download is free and there are no strings attached.

This list is for personal use only and cannot be used for commercial purposes or reproduced without written permission from Alejandro Castanon and Shelby Arias Seymore.

 

Copyright Alejandro Fine Art 2021 ©.

Developing a Creative Process

 

Developing a Creative Process Objective: You have a reliable process that allows you to transition into a place where you can create regardless of external circumstances.

Developing a creative process might seem like a superfluous thing to do. After all, you've spent all this time mastering your art technique, why do you need a creative process? A creative process is a ritual that helps you begin creating so that you are able to create whether you feel like it or not. A creative process is essential to scaling your business. Without it, you will not have the stamina and endurance it takes to build the art career you desire.  

 

When you are beginning to find your creative process, you have to get familiar with the feeling of being in in the flow. What is the flow? Biologically, the flow is moving your brain waves out of beta and into an alpha brainwave state. However, you might recognize it when you lose sense of time or lose sense of your problems. When you are doing an activity that gets you into the flow, you are not focused on yourself, your problems, or life around you. You are hyperfocused on the task in front of you. 

 

As wonderful as this place is to be, the flow, or alpha brainwaves, cannot be forced. You cannot think yourself or make yourself get into the flow. It's a lot like falling asleep. To fall asleep, you have to close your eyes and pretend to sleep. Then, when you least expect it, ploop! You're asleep. 

Just like falling asleep, you need to create a ritual that will allow you to fall into the flow. This is a different process for everyone. For some, it's listening to music. Others, it's getting a snack. You might walk around the block, make your favorite drink, or light a candle. It doesn't matter what it is as long as it makes you feel good. We're aiming for warm and fuzzies, here!

 

Once you have found your ritual, it's time to get some mileage built up! It takes time and consistency to rewire your brain. This is how you create a habit. Your ritual will not work the first time. It won't work the second time. It won't work the 25th time. It takes time and consistency to teach your brain that when you begin your ritual, it's time to get into alpha. Your ritual is your trigger for your mind. Eventually, your body will learn to automatically get into flow when you begin your ritual. But, this comes with months and months of being dedicated. 

This is where making a commitment is vital and, if you live with others, a team effort. Just as we talked about in lesson one, it is critical that you spend time on your art. Not simply the art itself, but in creating mental stamina for the art business. Spend money on time, not supplies. Work with the people in your house. Agree on set times, in advance, that you will be creating. Your kids will be okay. Your spouse will be okay. Protect your creative time just as you protect your time with your kids, significant other, or friends. It must be a non-negotiable. However, it also doesn't need to take over your life. You need friends, your lover, your kids. You need to go watch a movie, binge Netflix, and pet the cat just as much as you need to work on your art. We'll discuss this more in the blog. 

It is imperative that you create a system for creation for yourself. This includes working in time for your life around your art. This is also non-negotiable. Without inspiration from your life, your art is nothing but hollow productions. Your life makes your art yours. 

Creative Process Objectives: 

  1. Find the flow and become familiar with what it feels like.

  2. Create a ritual 

  3. Create a habit 

  4. Make a commitment

We'll discuss each of these mini-objectives in further detail in the resources below. 

Video

Podcast

Black and Red Illustrative Stories & Fic

Blog Post

Minimal New Blog With Laptop Mockup Inst

Many artists we come across resist this stage. Again, just like mastering your technique, it's not something that shows results. You cannot put this up on Instagram and receive validation. However, it is invaluable to your ability to play the long game with your art career. Without developing a creative process, artists burn out, can't keep deadlines, and quit. 

Develop Your Creative Process Checklist

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Download Our Checklist

Here we have a checklist so that you can understand the action steps of Developing Your Creative Process more tactilely. This gives you a literal road map of moving through this action step. Each lesson has its own corresponding checklist so you're never left asking "What's next?"

The download is free and there are no strings attached.

This list is for personal use only and cannot be used for commercial purposes or reproduced without written permission from Alejandro Castanon and Shelby Arias Seymore.

 

Copyright Alejandro Fine Art 2021 ©.

Create an Inventory

 

Inventory Objective:  Create 100+ Original Pieces to Sell

This is where your creative process is already going to come into play. It's time to create inventory. This means you are going to create 100+ pieces of work. Remember, you are starting a business. You have to have inventory to open a store. Having over one hundred pieces of work ready when you open your art business will do many things for you:

  • Allow you to spread your art into competitive spaces such as local government buildings, restaurants, vendors, etc. 

  • Have a show ready inventory for art shows and local events

  • Show a consistent style of art. This will allow clients who want commissions to feel more comfortable hiring you. 

  • Allow you to create a robust e-commerce inventory of prints, merchandise, and originals. 

When you are creating inventory, it's important to remember that your customers are not going to all be able to afford or house your largest pieces. You must create art in a large variety of sizes. It can be tempting to only create large pieces as they sell for the most money. However, this will hurt you in two ways: 1) it will take you too long to create, store, and replace inventory when your pieces are all over 30X40 and 2) you will be losing customers who can afford and house smaller pieces of art. 

While you are creating your inventory, it will help you out immensely if you document as you create. This means taking process pictures, timelapse videos, videos of you talking about an art piece. You're not throwing up anything on social media yet, but after creating 100 pieces and having documentation for each piece, you will have a surplus of content for social media. This will give you both credibility and your customers will feel like they are getting to really know you. 

The last bit of advice we have is do not get to 3 or 4 pieces and decide you need to try to sell them. You are not to the point where you are publishing or selling your work. This is not the time to post to social media. It's not the time to be getting your art into the community.

 

 Through your career, you need to maintain a fresh inventory. This means if you sell 3 or 4 paintings, you'll have to start all over at 0! You need to always have 100 on hand. Any you sell or give away must be replaced. Do yourself a favor. WAIT! The sales will come. 

Inventory Objectives: 

  1. Create 100+ pieces of work in various sizes.

  2. Document your process of creating each piece. 

  3. Do NOT try to sell your inventory before you've even opened. 

We'll discuss each of these mini-objectives in further detail in the resources below. 

Video

Podcast

Black and Red Illustrative Stories & Fic

Blog Post

Minimal New Blog With Laptop Mockup Inst

Now it's time to create inventory! Don't panic. This is where mastering your technique and developing your creative process will make your life infinitely easier. Once you have completed the first two action steps, you will have the mental and physical skills to create a lot of art without burning out or getting into a self-deprecating rut. 

Creating an Inventory Checklist

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Download Our Checklist

Here we have a checklist so that you can understand the action steps of Create Your Inventory more tactilely. This gives you a literal road map of moving through this action step. Each lesson has its own corresponding checklist so you're never left asking "What's next?"

The download is free and there are no strings attached.

This list is for personal use only and cannot be used for commercial purposes or reproduced without written permission from Alejandro Castanon and Shelby Arias Seymore.

 

Copyright Alejandro Fine Art 2021 ©.

 

Foster a Local Community

Local Community Objective: Make agreements with local businesses, participate in local art events, and begin selling to customers outside of friends and family. 

Finally! It's time to launch your art business. We're so proud of you for having made it this far. We're proud of your patience and determination as you built your foundation of your art business. Now, it's about to pay off. It's now time to start easing yourself into your community. Why focus on your local community and not try to sell primarily online? We see entering your local community more as a soft launch. A soft launch is a limited release of your product to a small audience prior to introducing it to a large market. Your local community will give you a deeper understanding of how people respond to your art and will offer feedback on how to improve your business. This way you can work out all the kinks before you try to scale your business.

First, you are going to create a portfolio. A portfolio is a polished collection of work that you show to clients, businesses, and organizations that you wish to work with. For this portfolio, we highly advocate creating a physical portfolio. Having a physical portfolio, you will be able to give the client a more tactile and personal connection with your work. It also looks much more polished for you to have a formal presentation of your art rather than asking someone to flip through your phone. We'll talk more in depth about how to price your art in the resources.

When you meet with clients, you want to have somewhere for them to access your work later on or share it with others. This means creating an  online presence. An online presence is having virtual locations where you exist online for people to find. This is primarily your website and your social medias. We do not advocate launching e-commerce quite yet. Rather, consider your online presence a sort of digital business card for your local patrons to find you and your work. 

Once you have your portfolio created and your online presence ready, it's time to jump into that cold pool. It's time to go out an approach people. We know, this is terrifying! It's scary and rejection seems like the most difficult thing you could face. However, it's necessary (and less painful than you imagine). It's time to go out to local venues and speak to the owners/managers about displaying your work. The goal is not to sell to these people. Your goal is to expose your work to more people so your community will begin to recognize your work around town. 

 

It's not enough to simply display your art and post it online. You will begin to sell when you begin to meet people. People buy art because they like YOU and they want to take a piece of you home with them. The best way to do this is to regularly participate in local events - even the ones that have nothing to do with art. The more people recognize you and see you as an artist, the more they will want to buy from you.

Local Community Objectives: 

  1. Create a portfolio.

  2. Create an online presence.

  3. Display art in local venues. 

  4. Participate in local events.

We'll discuss each of these mini-objectives in further detail in the resources below. 

Video

Podcast

Black and Red Illustrative Stories & Fic

Blog Post

Minimal New Blog With Laptop Mockup Inst

Fostering Your Community Checklist

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Now it's time to create inventory! Don't panic. This is where mastering your technique and developing your creative process will make your life infinitely easier. Once you have completed the first two action steps, you will have the mental and physical skills to create a lot of art without burning out or getting into a self-deprecating rut. 

Download Our Checklist

Here we have a checklist so that you can understand the action steps of Fostering Your Community more tactilely. This gives you a literal road map of moving through this action step. Each lesson has its own corresponding checklist so you're never left asking "What's next?"

The download is free and there are no strings attached.

This list is for personal use only and cannot be used for commercial purposes or reproduced without written permission from Alejandro Castanon and Shelby Arias Seymore.

 

Copyright Alejandro Fine Art 2021 ©.

 

Is it time to move on to Phase 2?

You have completed all the milestones of Phase One. You have built an artistic skillset, developed a creative process, created a 100+ piece inventory, and fostered a local community. 

How do you know it's time for the next phase? 

It can be easy to want to move on to Phase Two once you have hung up 2-3 pieces in a handful of venues and have been to one local event. But, my dears, it's only the beginning. You must push on and continue to build awareness of your art in this way even as you shift into Phase Two. The more time you spend fostering a community, the easier starting Phase 2 will be. 

When you move into Phase Two, it will be time to begin marketing and selling your work. How do you know you are ready? Alejandro has always advised that an artist is officially ready to shift from hobby artist to professional artist when you have sold an original to someone outside of friends and family. 

Once you have accomplished this feat, it is up to you to take the plunge. You move to Phase 2 when you are ready.

Ready to plunge into Phase 2?

Coming Soon!