What makes a professional artist?

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morg
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What makes a professional artist?

#1 Post by morg » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:24 am

It's been puzzling me for a while; at what point can one say 'Okay, now I'm a professional artist'? is it after a certain amount of years practicing? Or is just something you decide when you look at your art and go 'Wow, this is it. the peak of my ability. I am now pro' (Which is something no artist has said ever, mainly because there is no 'peak')
Or is it a title exclusive to those who make a living out of art? maybe some decide they're professional when they've made a certain sum out of their art or after their first commission.
But what about experienced artists that don't want to make a living out of their art, they just want exposure? do they determine their professionalism by the amount of followers/popularity they have or deem amateur the rest of their lives?
Just wanted to hear everyone's opinions on this, because everybody has their own interpretation of what makes one professional, and it can get kind of confusing sometimes, mainly because there is no actually set standard or checkpoint an artist can use as reference.

Thanks :)
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Re: What makes a professional artist?

#2 Post by Mammon » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:01 am

The definition of a professional compared to an amateur is that they get paid for it enough to make a living and/or career out of it. So if an artist gets paid enough, on a regular basis or at set rates of prices, they can claim to be professional. If they produce anything at high quality or use high quality tools to make it, this doesn't neccesarily result in them being professional even if they or others consider them as such. And even the world's best at something can still technically be an amateur when they do it as a hobby without commercialism.

As such, I prefer not to use the terms professional or amateuristic because an amateur can be better than a professional. Most people use the terms to determine one's worth however, for example calling someone professional because their art is good, consistent or well organised, and an amateur when there are certain things lacking, wrong or just done with inferior tools. This is just because they want something that rolls of the tongue, just like how people call frenced fries (19th century English for sliced potato) French fries. It's just a bastardation of the term that became popular in use.

If we do use these bastardised terms, I'd say that a professional is someone who can deliver art whose quality is -consistent-, -thought out-, -structured- and -produced at a steady rate-
So, they would have to produce several pieces that can be considered at the same level of eachother and the artist' portfolio, where the artist showed some insight in things like composition and background before starting to draw, where they use certain techniques like perspective and colour shading, and with a solid estimate of how long it will take before they can produce this.
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Re: What makes a professional artist?

#3 Post by Selidor » Tue Nov 15, 2016 2:47 pm

It's really just about money. I don't think you necessary have to be able to live off it, because there are plenty of professional artists out there with a second job to make ends meet, but I think if you're declaring it as part of your income, paying taxes on it and so on, that's enough. It's not about skill, although most people making money from their art have it. Being reliable and consistent certainly helps.

As for what you feel like, the idea of looking at my art and thinking I'm at the peak of my abilities is terrifying, and I hope it never happens, because being able to grow and improve as an artist is one of the things that motivates me to continue. Plus, once you've hit your peak, that means it's all downhill from that point, which is something no artist wants to contemplate.

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Re: What makes a professional artist?

#4 Post by PyTom » Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:51 am

One thing is professionalism. If you make a commitment - "I will get you something by <date>" - can you stick with it? And that's really important when you have multiple things competing for time in your life. While you don't have to be full-time on something to call yourself professional, it is hard to make professional commitments if you have a day job that might decide to take up a lot of your time.
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Re: What makes a professional artist?

#5 Post by Rossfellow » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:54 am

There are different kinds of skills that can go into professional artists. To me, the most valuable skills would be, in order of importance:

1: Timeliness
Being able to deliver a working product on schedule or on the deadline.

2: Quality
Products are finished without glaring errors like bad anti-alias on sprites or incomplete shading or bad anatomy or design.

3: Consistency
Being able to repeat desired results with minimal deviation.

4: Versatility
Being willing to experiment with different possible options and adapt to different styles. Also being able to make necessary edits.

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Re: What makes a professional artist?

#6 Post by fmjaye » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:58 pm

As like, a noun, if you make enough money that you need to file for it in your income taxes.
As an adjective, what Rossfellow said.
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