What makes an artist “good”? Is it their skill? What medium they choose to work with? Maybe it's the number of followers they have on instagram??
Or...Maybe it's none of that?
By studying large scale creators for the past few years I've come across four things that make a artist/creator objectively good at what they do. (Hint: they have nothing to do with what the art looks like). These four things are:
Creating whenever you want, wherever you want.
The very first thing that sets creators apart is being able to “create on command” as I like to call it. A big problem many creators face is that they rely on a “muse” to put them into a creative mindset.( A muse is "a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.")
While the idea of a muse isn’t wrong, to place all of your creativity at the whim of some external and abstract force does nothing but hinder you in the long run.
While it’s great to be inspired by people/places/things, understanding that you are your own source of creativity is a key step to developing as a Artist. This understanding is what separates you from writing 3 days a year, when you’re “inspired”, as opposed to 300 days a year because you know you have it in you.
Having a process you can rely on.
From the outside, art can seem very mystical. Have you ever watched your favorite artist at work and just wondered to yourself "How can they do that so effortlessly and consistently? Did they sell their soul for talent like that??" Trust me, you don't NEED to sell your soul to get comfortable with your craft, and here's why;
Every artist has a process that they develop over time. The process can be as simple as a mindset one gets into before working on a project or as complex as a ritual they do before they get started working.
I’ve met people who need to shower, make a cup or tea, clean their desk and sharpen all of their pencils before they get started on projects while, on the other hand my own process is centered around me mentally telling myself “ok, it’s time to make something!”
The key takeaway here is; find out what you need to do for yourself to get into your creative mindset. Once you understand it (rather than just waiting for the spark to happen) creating becomes a lot easier, and your work will flow much more consistently.
Understand that some people will hate what you do.
As with anything, there are people who are going to love what you do. With the population of the planet coming in at a whopping 7 billion, you can rest assured that no matter what your craft or your kink, there are people who are going to love it and there are people who will hate it. There’s absolutely no getting around that.
What I believe shows in a developed artist on any level is the knowing that not everyone will like what you do (some people will downright hate it) but still making it anyways.
This is important because a big barrier for a lot of people is that they don’t make or publish work because they’re afraid of negative feedback. negativity can be very discouraging and, at times, it’s stopped many people from making art at all.
Being able to work through this is a big sign of growth in an artist’s life because it shows a willingness to put yourself in positions you may not be comfortable in. It’s also takes a lot of perseverance to put out work despite their being people always putting you down for it.
Probably the most important thing on this list is just being able to enjoy what you do! When someone genuinely loves what they do it shows. No matter what your medium or your skill level if you’re really enjoying what you're doing then your work is already "good". At its base, art starts with the individual. SImply put, if you don't enjoy what you're creating, maybe you're making the wrong thing?
In conclusion, you don’t have to have formal training to be good at your craft. What’s more important is that you understand yourself and your process! When you can channel your own process and creativity at ease, the art will flow naturally.