An Artist's Guide
Get creative with Lindsay Beach.
I find inspiration all over the place. Horror movies, music, nature, random photographs I find on stumble-upon, and my own dreams are just a few. Find what inspires you and use it to your advantage. What I have found is the things that inspire me fall into two different categories; dark and moody, or feminine and beautiful. So, I created my art aesthetic by combining these two categories.
Sometimes you've just got to jump into a piece. I personally never do under-paintings because to me they waste my time. Not to say that they aren't for anyone, they just aren't for me. I usually now go right from a sketch into a painting. My painting starts out with a pencil drawing with minimal shading, and then I start placing my mid-tones. Usually I have a color scheme in mind as soon as I'm done drawing the sketch, if not I either wing it or do a quick digital color study.
Don't be afraid to experiment with different mediums. My favorite medium is oil paint personally, but I also enjoy working with watercolor and pen, pencil, and I am currently teaching myself to digitally paint. But...
You want your work to look like it came from the same person when you are going into the illustration field. Think of yourself as a brand; brands are differentiated by their styles and aesthetics and so are artists. You want people to know your work as soon as they see it, without them having to look at the label/initials. This is not to say that your work won't.
Say if you are doing your thing for a while, and you start to lose inspiration and get bored. Mix it up. Take some time off to figure out what it is that inspires you, and what you want your work to look like. Then transform your style. I guess it can be compared to when your fashion sense changes. I used to love wearing plaid pants with suspenders and baggy Sex Pistols T-shirts, now I wear tighter shirts that I get from shows inside pencil skirts- not a huge change, but still, you get the point. My artistic style has gone from super realistic to super stylized and cutesy to stylized realism that's moody, and I'm only 22! As we grow, we get inspired by new things.
Be A Student
You can never learn too much. Whether its learning how to use a new medium, or new ways to master your preferred one, there's always room to grow. I learn something new every time I paint.
It is NEVER too early to start promoting yourself, advice I wish I had figured out while I was still in college. And try to do so in as many forms as possible. Emails have been really effective for me. And branch out in places that you may not have thought of. I didn't consider my artwork in the "horror" genre, but I have been having luck with horror magazines to feature my work. Magazine and website features are a great way to get exposure. Keep a blog and update it frequently. Go to art shows at galleries and if you think your work fits the aesthetic of that gallery, go and talk to the owner of that gallery, and have promo cards handy to give them with an example of your work on it and your contact information. And while you're at these shows, try to connect to some of the artists there. The more people you talk to and get to know your name, the better.