12 Things I Wish I'd Known as a Beginner Artist | Peggy Dean | Skillshare

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12 Things I Wish I'd Known as a Beginner Artist

teacher avatar Peggy Dean, Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      12 Things I Wish I'd Known...


    • 3.

      Next Steps!


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About This Class

The biggest haunter of starting out for me was not starting sooner. That’s a lot to say because I jumped in pretty quickly. When I’ve asked other creative entrepreneurs, their answers are along the same lines. This is because if we’re thinking about starting, it usually means we’re ready to start. What holds us back is our confusion about direction. How are we going to start when we have no idea what steps to take and what direction to go? So rather than sitting in the “I don’t know if it’s the right time stage,” it’s now time to equip yourself with the resources and knowledge that you need in order to take the right path so you can achieve your goals.



Looking for more inspo? Come on over and visit for a while: thepigeonletters.com

Meet Your Teacher

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Peggy Dean

Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

Top Teacher

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Hey hey! I'm Peggy.

I'm native to the Pacific Northwest and I love all things creative. From a young age I was dipping everything I could into the arts. I've dabbled in quite an abundance of varieties, such as ballet, fire dancing, crafting, graphic design, traditional calligraphy, hand lettering, painting with acrylics and watercolors, illustrating, creative writing, jazz, you name it. If it's something involving being artistic, I've probably cycled through it a time or two (or 700). I'm thrilled to be sharing them with you!

Visit my Instagram for daily inspiration: @thepigeonletters, and head over to my blog for more goodies curated just for youuuu.

I'm the author of the best selling... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hey guys. I'm Peggy Dean, and I am an author and educator, primarily, an artist started out, and now I am here to provide resources for you guys to learn, and to continue to grow in your creative field, whichever direction you choose to take. I just want to introduce 12 things that I wish that I would have known starting out. There things that come up a lot especially with my mentees, and I just want to provide a little bit of insight for you guys, just in a nutshell, quick bite size, less than how many different ways going to say that. I'm wearing my serious business women shirt, it's ironic because I'm also wearing sweat pants. Let's jump on in. Oh, boy. I don't know. 2. 12 Things I Wish I'd Known...: First of all, the biggest hunter of me starting out was not starting sooner, and that's a lot to say because I jumped in pretty quickly. When I've asked other creative entrepreneurs for their answers though, they are along the same lines, and this is because if we are thinking about starting, it usually means that we're ready to start. What holds us back is our confusion about direction. How are we going to start when we have no idea what steps to take, or what direction to go, or what resources to grasp? So rather than sitting in the I don't know if this is the right time stage, it's now time to equip yourself with the resources and knowledge that you need in order to take the right path so that you can achieve your goals. I know it's easier said than done for sure, but that's why I want to provide these resources for you, and it'll get you well on your way. Secondly, I wish that I would've held on a little tighter and longer to the art process while I was growing and building my empire. The reason why is because I feel exploration is the part of the process that brings the most joy. Learning these new techniques and skills should be embraced because there's no feeling like when your hands show you that they're capable of grasping new information and you put that out there through your body. The art that you create will evolve ever as so quickly as you experiment, so revisiting those stages during that process will allow you to expand on style choices and essentially play a bit more. There is a place for you, the creative industry is a saturated market. This is not a secret. There are no longer original ideas, there aren't as many original techniques left to discover either. I'm not saying there aren't at all. It's just not common to come across something that has real true originality, but here's where I contradict myself. Each person that approaches an idea or a technique does it in a very particular way because they're the only ones that are inside of their own head powering the movement in their hands, so no matter how similar, nobody will ever produce exactly what you will. That's what makes you just as special as those well-known big names out there. Truthfully, the rest of it just comes down to your hustle and networking efforts. You will hear no, a lot, if you seek to collaborate, or design for a company or brand. If you hear no, you just need to accept that it's part of the process. It doesn't mean that they don't like it, it could just be not the right fit in general, or just even at that time. More than hearing no though, you just won't hear anything back at all, but don't let this stifle you, keep putting herself out there because the commitment is everything and it will pay off. Piggybacking on that. Under no circumstances whatsoever, I'm so serious, under no circumstances should you spend more than 30 minutes of time mindlessly scrolling Instagram or Pinterest. It leads to comparison, and comparison leads to the death of creativity. It's a nasty cycle and I promise you at one point or another, you'll feel it and get caught in its de-motivating trap. If you limit yourself to the amount of time that you spend on these "inspirational feeds", you might just actually get inspiration from them instead of having that inspiration turn into comparison. This is going to be a long hard journey. Creativity pulls out vulnerability and mindfulness that can show up differently than we expect. It opens doors that we didn't know were there, it closes other doors, it guides us in a deeply personal way. Whatever you want to accomplish along your journey, there will be a struggle. If there's anything that I'll ever say about what I wish I would have known when I started, it would've been that even though it's going to be tough, it is going to change your life for the better, and you will grow in ways that you never thought you could not to mention that with the practice that you put in your art is going to look pretty killer. It's a marathon you guys, it is not as friends. Be open to criticism. Oh my gosh, this was a hard one for me. I got used to working in my happy little save space with no one to tell me how to do anything and the minute that I landed a big project with a team, I got a lot of requests for revisions, but when I read those e-mails, I subconsciously read them like they had this rude, judgy condescending tone, and I got very reactive. I was working on my book with one of the most kind and patient editors ever I might had, but I remember getting so frustrated that I'd go off on a rant, not on the e-mail, but in the comfort of my home, I would not let it go. I finally had my wife read over an e-mail that I just couldn't get over, and she immediately laughed at how ridiculous I was being because the e-mail wasn't anything that I was making it out to be. She re-read it in a normal tone, not the one that I assigned to my head, but when she did I felt so much relief like I had a good laugh out of it too, and it was then that I realized that we were an actual team and we were working toward the same goals. That the criticism provided truly can be incredibly productive. Side note, it doesn't always mean that it's correct, but it does mean that we should definitely be open-minded because it can better us as a whole. We don't have the only answers even though we think that we do, that's me. I don't, I'm just stubborn, but when I'm open-minded it doesn't matter. You get what I'm trying to say. Back on track. With art, there's not a wrong way to do it. Sure, while there are rules that we learn for technique, those are rules that are placed to achieve a very specific result, so unless you're set on that result, you can do anything that you please with what you have. If you're out for winning an award for best realistic looking art, at which some of you may be, that's absolutely wonderful and you should embrace each and every rule to get you there, but if you're not don't try to replicate a photograph, you can take a picture for that. Try to really explore your unique creativity. Choosing art as a career also means being a business owner. It's 90 percent of it and there are weeks they go by that I don't touch art supplies. It's quite difficult to take on so much while maintaining that balance and it's easy to get lost in overwhelming confusion. What I will say is that when you launch your business, hire an assistant before you think it's time to. If you wait too long, you'll feel like you're drowning, and it'll take extra time to train them of the processes that you want, what you want them to do, but which in turn it takes the time away from what you really need to be doing. The expense will be worth it because time is money. Do not choose to pursue art for the sake of making money. This isn't actually something that I struggled with because I solely created art initially for myself because it brought me such joy, but I have come across a mentee or two who have expressed that money was what they are after. It's not a wrong mindset, but if you're not focusing on the process of creating and you're only looking at the end results which just so happens to be dollar signs. If that's the case, that will come across through your art. It won't have that connection. Since art is so personal, it comes across in the energy that you put into it so it won't catch as much interests, so it's seriously wild how it works. Arts is a highly competitive field so you don't want that energy associated with what you do. It just takes the passion out. Make as many pieces as possible. The more that you practice, the more you loosen up, and the more you begin to explore. It's easy to sit around thinking about creating and how you're going to create, what you're going to create, how you're going to make it different things do experimentally, but unless you're actually in the flow, none of that will organically come out. Your style will form the more that you create. Don't be ruled by your goals. Setting goals is an excellent practice that I encourage highly, but when we don't meet our goals, it's easy to stop completely and move on to something else. But sometimes despite your best efforts, we have goals that we just don't meet and it's part of the deal and creativity, or it's actually this part of the deal and just plain life. But guess what? That's okay. You can just try again tomorrow. I hope these tips helped you out and you always know where to find me at the pigeonletters.com, and I've got tons of great resources for you guys always just flowing out. Thank you, and I will see you next time. 3. Next Steps!: Because this is an actionable tip-filled class, while it's byte size, I want to see your notes. I want see actionable items for me. I would love to hear you post a project with notes of your biggest takeaways, your favorite insights, and also how you plan on implementing some of these moving forward. Also, I've created a mind map that you can download in the download section. You can also create your own mind map. It's very simple, you start with your circle and you just branch off. This is going to help you get your workflow flowing, your mindset flowing. I'm really eager to see what you guys have put on paper and really put pen to paper because there's nothing like a brain dub. All right, you guys. See you next time.