How To Be A Freelance Artist-4 Sure Fire Ways To Keep You On Top

That’s me






I am going to give you lesson learned advice and tips to help you to grow further in your art carreers.

This is advice and tips from one man’s perspective on how to be a freelance artist to be effective in this what can be a cold, cut-throat world.

You have to be tough enough to accept criticism no matter how harsh it is, and just because someone thinks they have that right to criticize your piece or style doesn’t necessarily mean that its right.

That’s why its called an opinion, like water off of a ducks back let it roll down, its only one person.

And the fact that you have read this far into my article tells me that your interested in what I have to say about how to become a freelance artist.

Let me tell you a short story about what I went through to get my book published and how many rejections I went through until I found a way, and because of my perseverance it got published.

A copy of it is in the New York National library, has been since 2007.

I told several friends and family that I was going to write and publish a book. The looks and lack of support that I got from them was not what I was expecting to say the least. I have to admit it hurt a little.

But I turned that hurt into determination and I kept at it, writing a little each day. And when that part of it was finished I set out to get it published.

Well the support I got from my family, was bordering on kind compared to what I faced with the publishers out there.

I would look up a number of them and send a sample copy of my book to them via email, or snail mail, any one of those combinations.

It was about 15 different publishers in all that I attempted work with.

One by one from each of them I got a nice little letter that basically politely told me that my style, format, or the timing wasn’t right for what they were looking for.

I want to also add that I had no idea how the whole process worked then. I do now, and as always hind site is 20/20. Long story short I didn’t let those rejection letters stop me from achieving the goal of publishing my book.

P.S. I still have those letters each in its own manila envelope in my file cabinet.

Know That You Have Something To Contribute


Each one of us is a unique individual with a talent that only we own, that only we can specialize in, in our own way of doing it.

I know this because if you ever have taken an art class, where everyone draws the same thing, it never looks the same on any number of students interpretations of the object or objects.

Lets’s take a look Picasso! The guy was amazing, His art well known throughout the world.

But if you didn’t know who he was and you were, oh let’s say from another planet or something, because you would have to be to not know who the guy is

OK so objectively you’re looking at one of his pieces, don’t you think the thought might pass by your mind like “it looks like a little kid drew this?”

That’s what I am trying to demonstrate in this scenario. Picasso I’m sure didn’t much care what anyone thought about his pieces.

Maybe down the road He did but when he made the sculpture of the “Bulls head” piece out of bike parts, He made it because he saw it in his mind and created it.

Not because of someones like or dislike of it, He did it because he wanted to.

Every piece that is created has a story with it, a theme in it, a meaning whether deep or shallow all the same there is a meaning.

I know a guy who I’ve known for about 8 years, I was at a function and my fiance’ was telling some of the people there about my art.

I like that she takes pride in what I do, it is a wonderful feeling.

But anyways to my point This guy who I won’t name here as I don’t have his permission, Is an amazing artist!

He showed me several of his pieces when I was showing mine to him. The first thing I said to him is “Wow!” Your art is incredible!

I asked him “so what are you doing with it?”.

He responded with “nothing, it sits in my basement” I was shocked. This guy painted so well that it looked like someone had taken a snapshot.

I immediately asked him why he hadn’t sold any or done anything with it.

He didn’t know what to say. I’m half the artist this guy is, I’m not afraid to admit that. I know my art is good, and I  am constantly working to improve on it. That’s the journey for me and I enjoy it greatly!

What I’m getting at is I made a career with my art. Because, knew I had something to contribute.

No one could convince me otherwise!

In my other article I talk about my career as a tattoo artist for over 20 years, closer to 30

Make What You Do All You                 

100 Percent all you! Not only will you feel better about it and yourself, you will know that is your baby!

And know one can take that away from you. You will have so much to offer to the freelancing world when its all you.

There will be no worries when you need to duplicate something for whatever reason, because it came from you!

Every piece will be unique hand crafted by you the expert on you, and will have your signature.

I learned something in the working world that I used to try to pass off to my co-workers.

I don’t care if you’re a ditch digger, an artist, a landscaper or you crush cardboard for a living, whatever you do “Own it”

Make it yours, I used to tell the guys I was supervising that. Everywhere you are in this world you are being watched.

There are eyes on you even when you don’t think there are. I like to work like I am being watched because I am and so are you.

Especially when you venture to be a freelance artist, that’s inviting those interested parties to watch you.

You have to show them what you can bring to the table.

And unless your not you, then its you that you bring to that table with the confidence of an expert in you.

Believing in yourself is a huge part it, trust is.

It’s like if I was going to sit down and let a guy or gal tattoo on me, they better have confidence in themselves or their not touching me!

It’s the same thing as a company feeling out the ground, to see if they want to employ your services to represent their company or product.

Keep Your Options Open-Shoot For The Stars


If you want to be a freelance artist it is totally doable, be as knowledgeable as you can about everything that is going on.

Like who’s looking for an artist, what types of things are they needing from you, what duration will they need your services for.

If you find a company or several, do some research about them, try to memorize some things like profit margins, stats, company history, presidents name or division you would be freelancing for.

You want this company to feel a “fit” with you, you want them to feel comfortable like you care about their cause.

so much as to have done a little homework on them, You want to be able to talk with them on the level they need you too, and to do that, your going to want to know some things about their company.

I know its not possible to know everything, but it will show you really care and are seriously interested to freelance for them.

If you can demonstrate an interest in what they do, what their goals are in obtaining them, you might really care.

Be that gem they are looking for. That may sound corny, but its true. Show them you care about them solving their issue even if it isn’t you that may be a right fit.

That doesn’t mean your giving up, it shows some empathy for their cause and issue.

Trust me this will be a back and forth with them because rarely are they going to decide in that first meeting with you that “yep” we found them.

That is part of the game that you must play unless its an a.s.a.p. thing with them and they may take you on to freelance for them instantly.

You will be discussed by them when they are weighing out their options to make a decision to choose you or possibly go with another or a few other candidates that may have also inquired with them.

So keep your options open but make sure to have some prior knowledge about them when communicating with them.

Do Not Come Off As Desperate-Let Them Feel You Have Other Options

You definitely don’t want to give them the upper hand, you want them to feel your a serious artist that has other parties interested in what you have to offer.

This is you being on top of the game part, Remember your the expert of you. Present that in the way you carry yourself.

Like I stated earlier you will be watched, they will be taking all of it in.

And yes they will me making judgments, not necessarily to your face, like Simon on American

But in their heads their opinions will be flowing, so give them good strong confident waves to splash in.

Remember your the only one in the world that has what only you can offer, so exude that.

Don’t be snotty and arrogant either, show strength with humility. A favorite saying I heard and its so cool.

“Humility is strength under restraint” So its possible to display humility without looking weak. Just be graceful in your strengths.

Sounds hard doesn’t it? It’s really about what you wear on your face when presenting yourself to the people, the tone of your responses, and how you accept certain criticisms.

I mean if they say something you don’t care to hear, and you slam your portfolio on the desk and storm out..That’s not the image you want to convey.

lol sorry the image of someone doing that made me laugh. But you get the picture, right?

I could type a million more words describing how to portray the proper attitude, but I won’t because I think you get the picture by now.

So If You Follow This Advice-You’ll Be A Freelance Artist

This article was written with all my experiences in it so 100% of this is true and been tried tested and proven to work.

Thank You, For Reading.


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  1. Reply

    Nice article, Pete.
    You have some great points…love the analogy with Picasso. It resonates with me. You are so right – if you work from your heart, then it is all you and others will admire you for who you are and your uniqueness that you ‘bring to the table’. It is true – everyone has a story within them. All the best and much success.

    • Reply

      Thank you Michelle I appreciate your comments.
      As an artists I know that the world is seen from a different perspective I like having that set of eyes.
      I see a vision of all artists joining together and having great discussions, my hope is it’s here.
      Thanks again Michelle.

  2. Hans Persson


    Good and inspiring article,Pete
    It`s all about being true to yourself and follow your own goals. I liked the part about strength and humility. I also got that picture before me of “slammimg the portfolio and storm out” haha…great!
    It`s obvious that you`re a very determined spirit that work hard to achieve and it all was well put in the article.
    By the way, what was your book about?

    • admin


      Thank You Hans Persson.
      My book was a book of poetry, I found out it’s hard to sell poetry.
      It’s subjective, either you like it or you don’
      I figure the better I get at this affiliate business I will probably be able to sell it easier.

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