What Makes a Good Artist? (According to 15+ Artists)

Have you ever wondered what makes a good artist? What qualities or traits should one have to make it in the art world?

Many people think that creativity and talent are the most important factors, while others believe there’s more to it than that. 

According to professionals in the field, here are some important qualities that make up a good artist.

Barney Abramson

Barney Abramson

Multidisciplinary Designer 

The mixture of skill, strength, and talent

Several traits make a person good at what they do. Gay Hendricks’ book, “The Big Leap,” details how you can reach high-performing success in life and at work via his Zone of Genius framework. 

Gay claims that to achieve your Zone of Genius, you must have a unique mixture of three key ingredients: skills, strength, and talent

In essence, your Zone of Genius is when all three components are combined, making you most productive and allowing your skills to shine naturally.

Here’s how these three components are defined:

  • Skill: is something that you learned and can do well, like being proficient in Photoshop
  • Strength: is anything that supplies you with energy, like your family or being kind to others
  • Talent: is a natural ability that you possess, like being good at pencil drawing

As a graphic designer and creative director for over 20 years, I can attest to the presence of these three components in individuals who have achieved success in their artistic disciplines. 

Some of the most creative designers I’ve had the privilege of managing have shown exceptional artistic skills, profound personal strengths, and natural artistic talent. 

But that’s not all; I’ve also found two other character traits in successful artists: passion and purpose. When these two character traits are paired with skills, strengths, and talent, they can propel an artist to new heights. 

Related: 18 Best Books on Finding Your Passion and Purpose in Life

They are incredibly passionate about their creative medium

Passion is the heart. According to Merriam-Webster, “passion” is a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept. A more poetic definition can be found in author Kevin Hall’s book “Aspire,” where he defines passion as a willingness to suffer for what you love

A good artist, in my opinion, is incredibly passionate about their creative medium, whether it is: 

  • Oil painting
  • Pencil drawing
  • Photography
  • Creative writing
  • Digital design
  • Illustrations
  • Or something else 

When it comes to art, passion adds an extra layer of dedication, devotion, and love to your artistic creation. Money, awards, and other accolades are meaningless when you are passionate about what you do. 

Related: Why Is Passion Important for Success in Life?

A sense of purpose

If passion is the heart, then purpose is the soul. Purpose can: 

  • Influence life decisions
  • Affect behavior
  • Define objectives
  • Provide direction
  • Bring about meaning

Some individuals associate purpose with vocation—meaningful, gratifying work; others find their purpose in their responsibilities to family, friends, or those in need. These are the reasons why a sense of purpose is required to achieve a higher level of artistry. 

When you create art with a purpose, you have an inherent motivation — an internal guide of sorts — that helps you make the right creative decisions, thereby elevating your art.

To summarize, a person can be considered a “good artist” even if they lack passion and purpose. Many paid artists produce art that lacks passion and purpose while yet serving the needs of their clients. 

In fact, most designers I’ve worked with and managed have had success despite lacking these character traits. 

However, real magic happens when skill, strength, and talent are combined with passion and purpose. This is what Stephen R. Covey would term a win-win situation that benefits both the art and the artist.

Jen Ash

Jen Ash


To be a good artist, you have to love what you do

I would start with love. To be a good artist, you have to love what you do. You have to enjoy every step; it is a long journey full of joy and disappointment. 

We fall, and we try again. You get rejected, we try again. We get criticized, we try again, and no matter what, we never stop because we love it; it is a part of our soul, a love we can’t explain. 

It is driving us, pushing us every day to keep fighting for our goals and dreams. If there is no love, there is no art. If you do it for love, every obstacle will be worth it.

Be vulnerable

People want to connect with artists; they want the truth. We all go through different experiences in life, but our feelings are the same.

By sharing our stories, meaning our real stories, and being vulnerable, we create a world for people to identify with. I try to be very transparent in my writing. 

It is very difficult to tell the world that you are heartbroken, that you feel pain, and that your life is not perfect. Sometimes it is chaotic, sometimes enchanting, it goes up, it goes down, but we can’t hide it. 

Artists are in this world to share, give to people, inspire, and give hope. 

Related: Why Is Hope so Important in Life?

Never forget where you come from, and never forget your past

It’s sad to say, but disappointment played a significant role in my career and still does. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had a perfect life. 

My dad left when I was a kid, and I grew up with my mom and sister. I had some difficult times, but it made me stronger. All the struggles, pain, and disappointment are a part of who I am. 

Never forget where you come from, never forget your past, and use it for your art. When people put you down, use it to make you more hungry for success.

The ability to learn is a big plus for an artist

We never fully know everything, but having the ability and envy to learn it’s a big plus for an artist. 

You can learn from a teacher or a stranger, every soul who crosses your path is here to make a small or big impact in your life; take the lesson, use it and create more. 

Being mentally strong and committed to your art, life is going to throw distractions but stay focused and make your art your number one priority. Have the discipline to get things done because nobody will do it for you. Be courageous, believe, and have faith.

Related: 10 Powerful Ways to Build Your Mental Strength

Celine Chia Hui Xuan

Celine Chia Hui Xuan

Artist, Teacher, and Founder, Ccmonstersart

A great artist is versatile, adventurous, and goes out of the comfort zone

There are many defining qualities that make up a great artist, and many famous ones have one or more of such character traits. 

On top of being proficient in the medium, a great artist, in my opinion, is versatile, adventurous, and goes out of their comfort zone to try out different mediums. 

Pablo Picasso is one of the most prominent examples of a great artist that I look up to. On top of being a painter, sculptor, printmaker, and ceramist, he was always trying out new art styles and mediums. 

He eventually co-founded Cubism with George Braque, and it was one of the most influential visual art styles of the early twentieth century. 

Being meticulous and having a keen eye for details

Another defining characteristic of great artists is being meticulous and having a keen eye for detail. A leading figure in the realism art movement was Gustave Courbet.  

Exceptional attention span is required to recreate the vast and impactful realistic works and recreate the subject meticulously, accurately, and detailedly

A great artist knows how to critique their own works and find ways to improve them

Another essential characteristic of a great artist is knowing how to critique their own works and find ways to improve them. As the saying goes, “an artist is his or her own worst critic.” 

When suffering from depression (relapse), Vincent Van Gogh asked for his drawings and rough work in the early 1880s to work on new paintings from his old sketches. (Source: Rewald, John (1978).

I presumed that he needed inspiration from his past works to find out the elements that were missing. He would often critique and improve his works to achieve his desired outcomes.

The ability to appreciate other artists’ works

Last but not least, another character trait that I find is necessary is the ability to appreciate other artists’ works. Many famous modern artists tend to take reference from certain artists and adopt their styles into their works. 

In my case, I often take references from Van Gogh and Claude Monet and highly appreciate their works in both impressionism and post-impressionism. I adapt their art styles, recreate my own variations of works, and educate my students accordingly. 

Creativity and originality

Lastly, another vital characteristic to have is creativity and originality. Leonardo Da Vinci, alongside his works, is one of the most renowned and visited worldwide. 

As the symbol of the Renaissance Man, Da Vinci was known for bringing a notebook everywhere he went to put down his ideas. He would be open to others and often gave himself over to experts to educate himself. 

Much of the list in the notebook is dedicated to mathematics and measurements, and I believe it’s evident from his astounding works of art. He applied concepts and varying forms of knowledge from different fields to the arts and translated them into his own unique works of art.

Laurie Kanyok

Laurie Kanyok

Founder and Director, Kanyok Arts Initiative

From my life experience, working on stage, in film, and television for multiple decades, I like to think that making a good artist takes a lifetime. 

The three things that any great artist should embody are the willingness to listen, prepare, and commit with consistency.

The willingness to listen 

First and foremost, listening is key; listening from a very early age while in training and listening to all the murmurs around you, allowing those murmurs to marinate and seep into your being. These little things can be very informative. 

Related: 50+ Reasons Why Listening Is Important

If you are training in dance, as I did from a very young age, you realize physical achievement is rarely spontaneous. 

But if you apply the auditory component of the lesson or class, ingest the triumphs and failures of your peers, and apply them slowly into your practice, you accumulate that much more wealth of knowledge.

You continue to train your craft, allowing equal weight in both technical execution and sheer abandon. The technical aspect of your art asks for consistency. By applying the daily and consistent practice to our lives, we build a sort of arsenal of tools to rely on when ready to perform, paint, write, and create. 

A practice without consistency is like climbing a block of Swiss cheese. Sorry to the vegans out there. There is no way to climb a mountain filled with holes.

Preparation is part of their daily and constant effort

It’s almost maniacal to me, and if I’m honest, living, breathing, and eating your craft is almost the only way to achieve freedom and the level one might describe as being “good.”

Being committed to the process

Being committed to failing during the process; is a process that never ends. And when you are given a moment to perform, show or exploit your craft to the public, trust your process and allow your subconscious to take the driver’s seat. 

It’s rare and challenging to live in the “zone,” but we all should strive to find it at least once in our lives. I like to think of the zone as a meditative state. 

When we meditate, it’s not easy at first, often boring and uncomfortable. That is precisely the point. It is finding a place of comfort in the uncomfortable. 

How do we do that? By listening to ourselves, practicing the craft, preparing for that moment, and committing to it. And hopefully, time after time, with consistency, you find the zone because of your life’s work. 

Emily Clare

Emily Clare

Publisher, Fine Art Tutorials

Finding joy in the process

A good artist makes great art, so the first port of call is to try to understand what makes a piece of art high quality and the factors that give current popular artworks their critical acclaim:

Evaluating art requires objective analysis but also subjective opinion. Artists can educate themselves on the fundamentals of art so that they can assess their creations better.

  • Use of materials

Artists should understand how to use their mediums to create a structurally sound piece that will stand the test of time. Archivability is an important factor that art buyers and collectors consider before investing in a piece. 

For example, if the artist has used oil paint as a medium, they should follow the “fat over lean rule,” as this will prevent paint from cracking over time.

  • Composition

It’s possible to objectively evaluate whether the composition is successful or not. This involves seeing if the artist has used elements and principles of design in an overall pleasing way to draw the viewer’s eye through the piece. 

This may include: 

  • Balance
  • Rhythm
  • Contrast
  • Dominance
  • Proportion
  • Unity

A good artist will know how to use composition to support their subject matter and create a deeper meaning for their audience.

  • Use of color

Look at the value range or use of color schemes as an indication of a well-executed painting. A good artwork will have a sense of balance and harmony

For example, if all the colors used in the painting are over-saturated, the painting could appear imbalanced. If the painter has painted in a realistic style, you can judge the accuracy of color mixes. Accurate color mixes are often muted in tone rather than being pure and vibrant in hue.

Characteristics of a good artist:

A good artist may have some of these characteristics or all of them. Every artist is unique and different, but there are a few common characteristics that good artists have.

Technical skills

The ability to paint or draw in a way that demonstrates great technical mastery of the artists’ materials is essential. 

This can include: 

  • The ability to paint accurately
  • The knowledge of different techniques and how to use them 
  • Observational skills
  • Understanding of composition
  • Knowing how to mix colors accurately

Skills can be acquired through practice and education and can always be developed and improved. 

Often the first step for an artist is learning how to use the medium, then the essential techniques. Skills may then move on to crafting unique compositions, veering away from relying solely on a single reference for inspiration and developing a style.

The ability to convey a message effectively through their medium

A good artist is able to communicate their ideas effectively through their artwork. When conveying a message to the viewer, the artist should be intentional about it.

Artists will formulate the composition of the artwork and employ a set of techniques to have some control over how the viewer will receive their artwork. 

Constantly learning and improving

Artists are constantly evolving their skills, pushing themselves to try new things, and pushing the boundaries in their work. It takes a lifetime to refine techniques and develop a personal style, and good artists never stop this process. 

Improving involves:

  • Having strong self-awareness.
  • Being able to reflect on their work.
  • The ability to challenge themselves as artists.

The motivation and desire to create

One of the most important features that separate an artist from a good artist is the motivation and desire to create. An artist that finds joy in the process, dedicates time to their practice, and looks for opportunities to improve can ultimately be successful.

K.K. Hammond

K.K. Hammond

Blues Singer, Songwriter, and Slide Guitarist, Curse of K.K. Hammond

What makes a great artist? This is a hard question to answer as there are so many facets to it. One of the most essential elements when it comes to standing out as an artist is finding a way to bring both the familiarity that grips listeners and a whole new sound to the table. 

This can be easier said than done! In my genre, Delta blues (mainly championed in the 1930-60s), I seek to find a way to bring what is essentially classical music to a fresh, modern audience in a fashion that nonetheless appeals to traditional roots music lovers too. 

A good artist does their own thing

I think it is important to write music in an authentic fashion straight from your soul without trying to emulate what has already been done too faithfully, lest you become a tribute act of sorts. 

Of course, there needs to be a familiarity there that appeals to the audience in your genre but finding your own musical voice which is authentically yours, so any song stands out immediately as one of your own, is definitely the route to being noticed in a sea of other artists I believe. 

Aesthetic and mood

Conjuring up your aesthetic and mood is something that certainly piques the fans’ interest. 

Social media is a powerful tool to do that these days and also offers an artist a way to create a “character” with a story that fans find fascinating and encourages them to relate and interact with you. However, this also allows an artist to switch off and have a private life and private “face,” too. 

A great artist is one who is always feeling fresh and ready to present that side of themselves while having the ability to switch off for some personal time to tend to their own needs and mental health when needed to prevent burnout. 

The right attitude is the hallmark of a great artist

I think a positive mindset, and friendly, grateful attitude is the hallmark of a great artist. It can be a big turn-off when someone starts airing their gripes or being snide and snippy with fans. 

Sometimes this involves answering the same questions from fans over and over despite it being frustrating at times (or an indication they haven’t read what you just wrote very clearly in a social media post!).

Sometimes fans will make suggestions, offer critiques or even complain about something, and it’s important to respond with grace and decorum. 

Being able to remind yourself that every fan interaction is something you should be grateful for is vital. Fans love to feel in touch with an artist and understand a little about what makes them tick! 

Interacting with fans is a great indicator of what direction to take your music and what would excite them. These interactions are so meaningful these days as they will trigger the algorithms to reach new fans for you. 

Obviously, it can be impossible for artists to respond to every fan when they get bigger, but a little bit of interaction can go a long way to solidify them as someone with a very personable attitude who cares about their fans’ thoughts about their work which is very good for their brand.

Marley Errico

Marley Errico

Arts Professional | Director of Operations, BAIA Agency

Having worked with dozens of artists as a creative project manager and representative, I have noticed three qualities that, when exhibited, signal a potentially great artist and tend to lead to success in their career. 


Good art is made not through grand inspiration or inborn talent but through time-consuming repetition. An artist’s craft is developed and perfected simply by doing. 

One must show up every day and do it, whether they are inspired or not. They must try new things, experiment, get bored, and get frustrated, all for the sake of ultimately crafting a signature style worth sharing with the world. 

This applies to: 

  • The making of art
  • The marketing and sales of art
  • The self-promotion involved
  • Everything in between

 There is no substitute for practice. 

Knowledge of one’s self, one’s place in the world, and one’s vision

Art is an expression of one’s unique identity, story, and perspective. No one else has lived the artist’s experience, so it is their responsibility to create from their own life, to tell their story, and to tell it well

This means knowing who they are, what they stand for, where they come from, and what their vision for the future is. All of these factors inform the artist’s work and the messaging around it, regardless of whether they are part of the subject matter or not. 

Alignment of one’s art with one’s values

Great artists know their values and make art that aligns with those. 

The difference between an artist-for-hire who simply creates what others request of them, and a great artist who dictates the direction and subject matter of their work, is someone who knows what matters to them in the world. 

These artists have strong convictions, understand what they are not willing to tolerate or condone, and they create work accordingly. 

Terry Bonneville

Terry Bonneville

Co-Founder, Art Grenade

A good artist creates a response in people

Art is, of course, subjective. For example, there are those who either don’t understand or hate the work of Picasso and those who believe him to be a creative genius. 

The beauty of art is that it is open to interpretation, but this is only true of work that at least tries to make a statement and make the viewer feel, realize or understand something. 

Art that comes from the need to communicate can be considered true art, regardless of its perceived aesthetic value.

Questions to ask yourself when appraising good art:

  1. “Does it tell me anything?”
  2. “Does the art directly make me feel something?”
  3. “Do I enjoy this art? If so, why? If not, why not?”
  4. “Does this art have a unique message?”
  5. “Does this art enrich my life in some way?”

Now let’s compare one of the jaw-droppingly skilled draftspeople of modern times, many of whom can be found on Instagram and other social channels, who can create photo-realistic portraits, against a well-established modern artist such as Jackson Pollock.

Does the photo-realistic portrait tell us anything? It tells us that the creator is extremely technically gifted, yet it has no message, meaning, or purpose other than to demonstrate a high technical ability. 

To most, it will have some enjoyment value through the sheer skill needed to create it, but beyond that, it arguably has little else or even nothing to offer. It can be argued that work that can have such little value to people cannot be truly considered art.

As for Jackson Pollock, even if the viewer doesn’t appreciate the work, they will ask questions:

  • Wonder why splashing paint onto a giant canvas is considered art?
  • Why do some people find value in it?
  • Why can art be defined in such works?
  • Why is it not limited to figurative representations?

They may leave feeling they have gained nothing, but they have learned of a new aspect of art and what it can be, and that is education enough.

Those who do appreciate Pollock leave with much more. The rhythms of nature and the seasons that permeate his work are common themes. To feel those in his work is to, in a way, see through his eyes and see how other human frames the world. 

The value of this is incredible and eye-opening. Great art like this genuinely enriches our lives and contributes to the development of culture and wider society in general. That is good art, made by a good artist.

Kevin Caron

Kevin Caron

Artist and Sculptor

A good artist follows their own goals and intuition

Professional artists are often asked by their galleries or people who want to commission art to repeat successful types of work, a seductive request when you are relying on sales income to survive, but one that can bleach your soul. You can balance requests with your own artistic integrity.

Being curious about what others see

I often get asked, “What does this work mean?” I always turn around the question: “What does it mean to you?” I’m curious about how the work moved them, and I’m often surprised by the answers.

They continue to follow their curiosity with topics and materials

People often comment on the breadth of my work, but that happens because I am always growing, learning, and, as author Elizabeth Gilbert said, “following my curiosity.” 

That keeps my work fresh and fascinating. That being said, I usually have an entire series of sculptures that come from each original concept.

They reflect their own experience, perspective, beliefs, causes, and desires

A good artist’s work reflects who they are and the times they live in. I don’t do much “statement art” unless I have something to say. Otherwise, I focus on my interests in form, color, movement, and materials to tell a story. My life is reflected in my artwork.

They make art that has its own presence, a soul

My most successful sculptures touch people viscerally because they are their own entities. They “speak” to people from their depth. It’s like writers who say their characters took control of a story. Good art has its own life. 

Julie Flanders, Marina Belica, and Emil Adler

October Project

Recording Artists, Producers, and Musical Activists, October Project

Go beyond talent; overnight success is a myth

Talent is important, and most great artists start with natural gifts, but outstanding artists don’t leave it at that. They continue to grow and develop beyond inborn abilities. 

In practice, this might look like pushing outside of your comfort zone and taking risks to create projects that are unexpected.

Great artists are dedicated to their craft and remain focused

Professional artists make what they do seem effortless. The easier it looks, the more likely it is that the artist practices daily, tests techniques to find new strengths, and routinely seeks inspiration. 

Great artists are dedicated to their craft and remain focused on continuing to produce their best work. Artists who achieve longevity also understand the need to persist in making the best of the road to success which is often bumpy and unpredictable.

Be immune to criticism

A great artist must be immune to external opinions. They need the courage of their own convictions to express what is true for them.

An artist should be able to create based on how they witness and interpret the world through their own lens without flinching or bending to consensus opinions.

Emily Krill

Emily Krill

Collage Artist and Blogger, Matchy Matchy

A good artist can calibrate the work of art to the space where it will live

When I was younger, I used to think of artists as people who lived separately from the rest of us and saw things differently. I thought the best art was the work I didn’t fully understand. But as I’ve gotten older, I like mysterious modern art less and less. 

These days I’m more interested in works of art that complement the spaces that they are in. I am much more into the craft and the design of a piece now and less into whether or not I understand it.

It’s funny because I used to wear this t-shirt when I was a teenager, saying, “Good art doesn’t match your sofa.” But now that I am in the middle of my life, I think, “Would art that matches your couch actually be so bad?” 

I wonder if anyone buys art that doesn’t match their sofa. Not anyone that I know, certainly.

When I was twenty years old, I had a job in Pittsburgh’s major museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art. Every few years, they put on a big show called Carnegie International and invited all the hottest artists to show their work. 

My job was to work for a famous performance artist. Each day, I went to this little room and cooked curry and rice for the museumgoers. That was it; that was the art. I am scratching my head over it to this day. Was it art, or was he just a con artist?   

I tend to think it was the second answer. Now the art I am drawn to is more traditional. I like classic paintings and sculptures. I am more interested in the craft than the meaning or lack thereof.   

I think a good artist is one who can calibrate the work of art to the space where it will live. I like art that reflects its surroundings. If that means that a work of art matches a sofa, then so be it.

Lily Keller

Lily Keller

Self-taught Artist, Neon Dunes | Designer | Art Teacher | Writer

They tap into a process outside of themselves

As a self-taught artist and art teacher to both professional artists and everyday people looking to DIY their home art collections, I’ve thought a lot about this question.

Art is wholly subjective. We can’t quantify talent by looking at brush strokes, color theory, or palette mixing. Unless we are looking at realism, then we can’t judge based on objective criteria. 

Does it embody the feeling the artist was hoping to convey? Great art may look horrible to one person and be the answer to another person’s prayers. 

Great art will evoke a strong response from many and a neutral response from others. Some will love it, some will hate it, and others may not even notice it. 

If this sounds too broad, hear me out. Great art is like a living, breathing thing—it interacts with each viewer based on their unique worldview. No piece of “great art” will be universally loved or hated. It will speak to each person as an individual.

I’ve been an artist for 30 years and have studied art across so many mediums and genres. The art that stands out as “great” is invariably created by someone who is in the flow

Someone who is tapping into a process outside of themselves, almost in a meditative state; whether that person is your toddler, your neighbor, or the newest artist at the national museum.

Richard Hsu

Richard Hsu

Freelance Artist and Creator, How To Artist

Solid fundamentals and a good work ethic

One of the most important things to master as an artist is the fundamentals which include things like shape, form, color, values, and anatomy. If you are missing a key aspect in the fundamentals, it can make your art seem less professional. 

From my experience, many professionals still practice the fundamentals even decades into their careers. If you are struggling with fundamentals, try taking an art class or look up YouTube channels that teach art fundamentals. 

I personally try to set aside at least an hour every day to practice my fundamentals. However, don’t let this stop you from tackling more complex topics. In my case, I keep improving fundamentals while learning advanced topics simultaneously.

Another thing that makes a good artist is a good work ethic. Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. Most artists I know got to where they are today because they are willing to put their time into their craft. 

Sometimes it means sacrificing some personal time so that you can work on your art and improve. A good habit to build, although it may be obvious, is to draw every day. 

I start each morning with just a five-minute sketch before getting ready for work. This habit can help you start being consistent with your art practice, even if you have a full-time job or other obligations. Try to aim for at least an hour of practice every day if you want to progress at a consistent pace.

Barry Gray

Barry Gray

Archeologist and Woodworker | Founder, The Tools Square | Author, “Hygge Home

They have unique perception and appreciate the beauty in everything

If you are an artist, you see art everywhere you look. This will sound strange, but it almost feels like artists are slower than everybody else. 

Let me explain. When you are walking down the street, you look at the trees and slow down to admire their shape and unique color of leaves, wondering how they would look different if they had other forms. 

Basically, I am trying to say that when you are an artist, it usually means you have created something yourself and feel appreciation towards other creations. That unique perception makes artists unique and gives them an advantage when it comes to noticing things that others might miss. 

This is why artists are often the first to spot trends and notice changes in their world. They have a habit of taking time for themselves, allowing them to see things other people might not be able to see. 

So, if you want to be a successful artist, developing that unique perception is important. It would help if you learned to slow down and pay attention to the details in everything you see. This will help you spot trends and developments in your field that others might not even notice.

However, sometimes artists can get overwhelmed because they have intense feelings or thoughts about their work. They might not be able to take breaks and rest because they constantly think about the next step in their project. This can lead to burnout and eventually disaster for artists if they don’t take care of themselves. 

So, it is vital to find ways to relax and let go of your projects from time to time so you can continue producing high-quality art without stressing out too much.

Moreover, you constantly learn as an artist, and growth is central to your experience. Whether creating new art or revisiting older pieces, you can experiment and explore different ideas that may not have occurred to you otherwise.

In addition, being an artist puts You in touch with your creative side, which can help boost your mood and creativity.

More generally speaking, artists tend toward spontaneity and independence, leading them down interesting paths or inspiring them to create something new.

In conclusion, becoming an artist requires a lot of dedication and hard work. However, it is also worth noting that it takes a unique perception to be successful in this field. 

If you can learn to slow down and appreciate the beauty in everything around you, then you have a good chance of becoming a successful artist.

Matt Hagens

Matt Hagens

Carpenter | Founder and CEO, Obsessed Woodworking

Seeing beauty in the mess

A good artist must have a vision when others think there could be none. 

In my example, I look at a piece of wood and think of all the marvelous things I can make with it. A sculptor might look at a rock and imagine a statue so fine you’d think it’s real. A designer might look at a piece of fabric and create a dress worth walking the red carpet in. 

I’d say creativity while looking at plane things will give you the ability to pursue what you want. It will help you create something out of nothing.

Work ethic is important in the long run

I meet a lot of talented people. Even with children, you can see where they have a spark and are naturally good at something. However, most people seem to forget that the most important thing is work ethic in the long run. 

I see my kids interested in what I’m making, and they’ve often tried creating something out of wood themselves. The first few times were more difficult, but they’ve become almost as good as me with practice! 

Talent might make you pursue something, but work will make you remarkable at it. The first will be good, but it takes practice to create something spectacular.

The ability to see the future

An artist is a soul that can anticipate the next wave. They can see what people gravitate towards, so they can provide the world with their work when the trend is born. 

A good artist takes advantage of the present moment, but they are people that live in the future.

Miss Freddye

Miss Freddye


Being humble yet steadfast

All the years I have watched artists, either local, regional, or national, their audiences, I see what makes them “good artists.” The language of their crafts, how they share their crafts, and the reactions from the audience can make or break the artists. 

I believe when the artist embraces the craft, loves it, shares it, and continues to develop it without hesitation, this makes the “good” or even “great” artist. 

Being humble yet steadfast is all about that “good” artist’s character! Never doubt yourself. Sure it happens. No one is perfect. But always remember it is what you love and why your audience loves you because the artist continues to grow!

Related: How to Be More Humble

By the way, this is about not only musicians but artists of all types of crafts!

John Webber

John Webber

CEO and Founder, Carved

Having a keen eye for detail and a knack for choosing the right elements

The best artists have a keen eye for detail and a knack for choosing the right elements to highlight. This can be seen in many works, from paintings to sculptures to architecture. 

The Mona Lisa is a perfect example of an artist highlighting the best elements of their canvas. Leonardo da Vinci paid careful attention to the composition of the painting, choosing to focus on the subject’s enigmatic smile and gaze. 

Similarly, the ancient Egyptian pyramids are considered masterpieces of architecture not only because of their size and scale but also because of the way they were designed to reflect and refract sunlight. 

Sean XLG. Mitchell

Sean XLG. Mitchell

Hip Hop Instrumental Artist | Author, “Hip Hop Hooray

The mastery of the craft

In my opinion, what makes a good artist in hip hop is having a mastery of your craft. In other words, a good artist has the ability to make versatile music for both mainstream and core audiences and understands the difference between the two styles. 

They can write songs using subject matter and congruent lyrics to capture the topic, perform vocals by understanding range and voice projections, and perform in front of a crowd by understanding live energy.

Mônica Bressan

Mônica Bressan

Visual Artist

A good artist is made when technique and poetics appear in their work

Creating is only one part of being an artist. Genuine art involves stories, meanings, purposes, and contexts. I believe that a good artist is made when technique and poetics appear in their work. 

The technique can be obtained with lots of studies and continuous practice. The poetics, though, depends on how much this artist is involved with what happens in the world around them, how much he reflects and questions, especially the social matters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes an artist a good artist?

A good artist is someone who can effectively communicate their emotions, ideas, and experiences through their chosen medium. They have a unique style, dedication to their craft, and a deep understanding of artistic techniques. 

Good artists are also open to growth and learning, constantly seeking to refine their skills and explore new ideas. Passion, creativity, and a strong work ethic are essential ingredients in the recipe for a successful artist.

Can anyone become a good artist?

Yes! Becoming a good artist is a journey that anyone can embark on, regardless of their background or previous experience. 

Perseverance, practice, and a genuine love for the art form is the key. With time and dedication, you can develop your skills and hone your craft. 

Remember that it’s never too late to start, and every great artist was once a beginner.

Does a good artist need formal education or training?

While formal education and training can provide a strong foundation in artistic techniques, history, and theory, they are not mandatory for becoming a good artist. 

Many successful artists have thrived without formal training, learning through self-study, mentorship, and experimentation. In the end, it’s your passion and dedication that will drive your growth and development as an artist.

Do artists need to be versatile in different art mediums?

Versatility can be a valuable asset for an artist, as it allows you to explore various creative outlets and expand your skill set. However, it’s not a requirement to be a good artist. 

Many artists excel by focusing on a single medium or style. It’s essential to find what works best for you and embrace your unique artistic voice.

Do good artists need to have a strong concept or message in their artworks?

A strong concept or message can add depth and meaning to an artwork, making it more engaging and thought-provoking. However, not all good artists focus on conveying a specific message in their work. 

Some artists choose to emphasize the aesthetic or technical aspects of their art, while others may create to evoke emotions or simply for the joy of self-expression. The beauty of art is its diversity, and there is no single formula for success.

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