Ask the Art Prof

More Pro Development Resources

College portfolio preparation
“What are common mistakes in college portfolio submissions?”
“What should you include in an art portfolio for art school or college?”

Art School
“What is the purpose of a degree in fine art?”
“How do you preserve your artistic integrity within the strict time limitations in an academic setting?”
“Is art education really so popular in western countries?”
“Should art students study abroad even if it distracts from job preparation?”
“Who should you make art for, yourself or your professor?
“7 tips for surviving art school.”
“How can I prepare myself for the reality of the future?”
“To what extent do grades define an academic career in visual art?”
“Should I drop out of art school?”

Graduate School
“Is graduate school worth it?”
“How are European MFA degrees viewed in the United States?”
“How do I choose a field for graduate school?”
“How do I find the right graduate school for fine arts?”

Post Art School
“What do you do after you’ve finished formalized training?”
“When you have a fine arts degree, what do you do for the rest of your life?”
What is your advice to young students who have just graduated from their undergraduate degree?”
“How do you stay motivated after school?”

Technique and Skills
“How can I tell if I’m skilled enough?”
“How do you find your own individual style?”
“How do artists manage to get their soul out into images?”
“How do you develop an idea from a sketch to a finished work?”
“How do you make an art piece more rich with details that will catch the eye?”
“How do you learn the basics?”
“Is it bad to start another piece of art before finishing another one?”
“How do you work in a series?”
“When and how should you use photo references to draw?”
“How do you know when to stop working?”

“How can I approach creating abstract art?”
“Does an abstract artist need to be proficient in traditional techniques?”

Painting & Color
“How do you achieve a luminous effect in a painting through color and value?”
“Does painting what you see limit your artistic possibilities?”
“What is the practical meaning of color theory?”
“How do you compose a striking painting with color?”
“Is hard work and experimenting continuously such a bad thing?”
What can a painting student do to be relevant in a digital world?”

“What is a gesture drawing?”
“Is drawing considered an innate talent or a craft, which can be learned by anyone?”
“How can I learn to shade objects in my drawings?”
“How can I draw what I see in my head?”
“What is the best way to practice my drawing skills?”
“How do you get yourself to practice drawing?”
“What is the most important mindset a student needs to have in order to create a successful drawing?”
“How can I learn to draw from my imagination?”

Drawing the Human Figure
“How would I go about studying the human figure?”
“How do you draw the human face?”
“How can I learn to draw noses?”
“What is the best way to simplify the human figure?”
“How can you learn to draw hair?”

Art Careers
“How do I change careers to pursue my passion for art?”
“What are the career opportunities in fine art?”
“How long did it take you to jump start your career after graduation?  What was your first job?”
“Should I pursue a career in fine art?”

“How do you know when your artwork is good enough to show to the world?”
“How do you get people to notice your artwork online?”
“When is it too early to start promoting your work on the Internet?”
“How do you retain the integrity of your artwork while promoting it?”
“How do you get to the top of the art world?”
“How can I get into art exhibitions?”
“Is the Internet necessary to being a successful artist?”

“How do I become a children’s book illustrator?”
“Can I make a respectable income on freelance illustration?”
“Where is a good place to start with graphic novels?”
“What does it take to get a job at an animation studio?”

Selling Art
“How can an artist bypass galleries and sell directly to their audience?”
“How do you sell your art?”

Galleries & Museums
“How do I leave my gallery?”
“How do I approach a gallery?”
“How do museums select artists to exhibit? What is museum quality work?”
“How do I know I’m ready to start selling and approaching galleries?”

“Am I actually an artist?”
“How can one regain lost satisfaction with their work?”
“How do you gain confidence in your artwork?”
“Do professional artists doubt their abilities?”

Work Strategies
“How do you keep pushing yourself to get to that next level?”
“Would you improve more if you took art classes than just studying on your own?”
“How do you break out of your comfort zone?”
“How do you get out of thinking you can’t get any better?”
“How do you develop patience for learning curves?”
“When do you let go of an idea?”
“How do I help my daughter reach her potential in art?”
“How can I study to become a professional artist on my own?”
“How do you begin to think conceptually as a visual artist?”
“How can I balance planning and spontaneity in my artwork?”

Getting Started
“Where do I start?”
“How do you learn the basics?”
“How do I get started making my art again?”

Teaching Art
“How do I become an undergraduate art professor?
“What should I be working on now if I would like to be an art professor?”
“What makes a student artist stand out from their peers?”
“How did you become an art professor?”
“How do I become a teaching assistant?”
“How can I make the transition to teaching art at the college level?”
“Can a math teacher become an art teacher?”

“How much of your emotional life do you allow to infiltrate your work?”
“How do you face artistic burnout?”
“How do you come up with ideas?”

“How do artists handle commissions?”
“How can an artist overcome their financial issues?”
“How do you explain to potential clients that artists need to be paid?”
“How do you price art?”

Practical Matters
“What do you do for art storage?”
“How can an artist balance their life?”
“How can an artist create an artistic group outside of school?”
“How do you balance a full-time job, kids and your own art?”
“How do you socialize in the art world?”

“What is the most important thing you can do as an artist?
“Does being an artist require much more thinking than in other academic fields?”
“What is the difference between fine arts and visual arts?”
“Will negative stereotypes about artists ever go away?”
“Is photography art?”
“What would you be looking for if you were judging for an art scholarship?”


AMA, Art
street art, grading MFAs, book recommendations for artists

AMA, Painting
how to get into art school, sketching advice, making contacts

AMA, LearnArt
self-taught artists, digital art, color & light, art galleries

AMA, ArtCrit
selling art, how to improve, advice for young artists

108 thoughts on “Ask the Art Prof

  1. im lecturing at parsons next month. and planning on doing guest lectures at other schools in the nyc area. i know everyone says you need an MFA to teach. and this might be true. but my background is solid. ive started my own art collective and we are opening an alternative art space. i used to run a bi annual zine that got a lot of press at one point. i was nominated for the yale summer program for juniors and as you may know only two people per school get nominated. i too went to FIT. now with all my real world experience will NOT having an MFA really hold me back if i one day decide i want to teach?

    1. Schools now are requiring people to have MFA degrees in order to be considered for an undergraduate teaching position. I can’t remember seeing any job listings in recent years that state otherwise. That “real world” experience you have will certainly help your application, but the MFA degree is what will make you a real contender for a position.

  2. thank you for the response. i was just asking because i know a few of my professors didnt have MFAs when i was doing my undergraduate degree. i am not one to try and take the easy way out and do plan to get my MFA but i think i need more experience in the art world, i want to make something out of nothing. i want to believe that art can be more than just a painting on a wall that matches a persons drapes or an awkward empty gallery in chelsea. that is why i am opening an alternative art space. i want art to be more accessible. i also believe this will help with my MFA applications. coincidentally the college that you teach at is my first choice.

    1. The generation that taught you didn’t have the same kind of stringent requirements that the current generation has for teaching at the college level. I had the same experience: I remember having at least one, maybe two professors at RISD who didn’t have MFA degrees. Getting hired at the time that they applied to teach was a completely different story; a few generations back there were no search committees and getting hired was sometimes just a matter of knowing the right person. It’s a very different story today.

  3. Hi Clara! I am currently a senior in High School and am actually waiting to get a response from RISD sometime next week. My question is about choosing the right school. So far I have received portfolio/merit/academic scholarships to everywhere I’ve applied (MICA, SAIC, Alfred U and some others), but my top choice is definitely RISD! I don’t know how often RISD gives out merit scholarships, but I have heard it is less likely to give out financial awards compared to other places. After taking a tour of RISD in the fall I had the 3 of my tour guides review my portfolio and they said I was sure to get in, but I am not sure that I will be able to afford it without some sort of financial help. If this is the case, do you think it is worth it to take out loans and go to RISD or am I better off trying to avoid having a large amount of debt after graduating? One thing I would not want to miss out on at RISD is the rigorous foundation year that really pushes students. Although I know it is possible to work hard wherever I may end up next fall, I almost feel like I will be at a disadvantage attending a different school that has a more gentle approach to their critique process as well as other aspects of the culture at other schools.

  4. I know you’ve said before on this blog that the prestige of your grad school is critical. How are European MFAs viewed in the United States?

    Thanks so much in advance Clara. …Now back to my ISP

  5. When I lived in England, the support for creativity, individuality was so profound that a crayon sketch was praised, a thrown together ensamble was applauded… Because it was really the creative process that was admired-the fact that one was thinking outside the box or at least attempted something new was encouraged. We can not force the majority to appreciate art/creativity here. However, do you think art will become an integral part of the everyday person’s life where the negative stereotypes about artist removed and respected as much as any other profession? What do you think will get us there? Thank you. RJB

  6. Does the location the young art student is in really affect or matter when they are trying to become a fine artist? I’m actually choosing between risd and pratt and even though you are a professor at risd haha, my teacher recommended pratt mainly because of its location and proximity to new york, which i heard is a MUST if you want to become a successful fine artist.. how much of this is true?

  7. sorry for posting again, but I have the same problem as Richard.. the fine arts department isn’t as known at Pratt and while i’m sure the location is a plus, I’m worried that simply going to a school mainly because of a location is going to make me regret the awesome/rigorous foundation year and the great paintings department at risd…but thankfully my parents can afford to pay for my tuition at risd when I received no financial aid, but I received 20 k per year for pratt ): I honestly can’t choose and it is a bit late for me to decide now, but the deadline for May 1st is approaching extremely quickly…):

    i just cant get that out of my head! the part my teacher (who was from cooper) emphasized how as a fine artist, being in/near new york is a must.

    1. I think being in/near NYC is more important if you are studying at the graduate level. For your undergraduate degree, I don’t think it’s as crucial. I know plenty of people who I went to school with at RISD for undergrad who eventually did “make it” in NYC, so attending Pratt would in no way make or break your career. Let me know if you have other questions.

  8. thank you for your honest opinion clara!!

    but do you find that the atmosphere “feel” in RISD kind of boring/uninspiring? I heard some advice from my art teacher that it can be a bit difficult to receive inspiration during your junior/senior year..but I think I’d do pretty fine since I receive inspiration from art blogs/galleries online….

    and also, about the graduate it really necessary for fine artists who don’t really plan on teaching in the future??

    i know that you’re a risd professor haha, but do you know anything about the fine arts department at pratt? 🙂 i already know that the paintings major at risd is really strong

    1. I find the atmosphere at RISD to be incredibly stimulating and exhilarating; when I was a student, there was literally never a dull moment. Inspiration is the last thing I would be concerned about at RISD. In my opinion, the most important thing to consider when choosing a school is the people; you can have the best facilities in the world at a school and it won’t matter if you don’t have a strong artistic community of students, faculty, and staff.

      If you don’t plan on teaching, the graduate degree is really a personal decision, and I think it can only be accessed after you’ve completed your BFA. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time later to think about it.

      Sorry, I don’t know anything about Pratt, I’m sure you can find information about it online. Good luck!

  9. Hi Clara,
    It has been my dream for a long time to attend RISD, so I worked very hard on my portfolio and application, and not only was I accepted, but I was awarded a decent scholarship. But unfortunately my father is unwilling to help me with school. He said “if you can’t afford school, you shouldn’t go”. Even though I disagree with him, I’m smart enough to know that taking out 100k in loans on my own is not only nearly impossible, but incredibly unwise. I know there have to be a lot of people in my position, but I don’t see how my peers are making it happen. Does everyone else have parents that will take out loans for them? Or have wealthy parents? Or taking out nearly 100k in student loans? My heart is breaking, and I would do anything to make this happen, but it seems like its all out of my hands.
    So here’s my question: Is there a way to go to art school without accruing a tremendous amount of student loans?

  10. Hello Clara Lieu, I have another art question. I have no formal art education so I just create “art” as a hobby. I have been doing a lot of experimentation since 2011 with photography and art. However, I find myself longing to want to find an art style that is mine. One minute I am really loving the new style I was working with, the next minute I am searching for something better. Sometimes I get very frustrated with myself because I think that I’ll never find an art style that is mine. I have made the past mistake of sending in artwork to places in one style but the next month, having a different style of art. I wish I could take back the past art pieces because I feel I made a bad impression. My question for you is: How do I get to a style that is mine and KNOW that it is ? so that I can avoid making that same mistake again!

  11. I don’t know if you can help me, but google sure can’t. I was taking a Contemporary Art course several years ago and we were told to see if we could find a video by a certain artist, which was banned. I found two videos by this artist, one of him (which was long) taken by an audience member that involved him being naked and pacing back and forth into the audience making a lot of noise. The second was of a character, similar to a chef, and all I can remember is hamburgers and feces being involved. I’m doing an exploration into controversial performance art pieces and cannot, for the life of me, remember who this artist is. Does this ring any bells? Thank you, li.

    1. Thanks for reading! Yes, this is where you can post for having your work reviewed. Can you tell me what the size and media is for this piece?

  12. Clara, could you tell me if their are artist’s who don’t use accurate color and is on the spot color mixing ok to do? Basically improvising as you go. I do pre-mix colors but end up being wrong value, so before I know it, I’m not using accuracy in color to well. It takes a long time to get the shapes, and the values right and when they are, i find my color was off quit a bit.

    1. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to mix color, it’s up to everyone to figure out what works for them. I would recommend that you take the emphasis off of accuracy, as this can be very limiting in your painting.

  13. Thank you Clara for helping lift that burden. After showing my work at the local art juried show that past 2 times, i have lost faith in my work. I personally think most judges lean towards too much realism as being the “best” art and also spontaneous clean color. It might be better perhaps not to enter these shows.

  14. Hi Clara,
    I have heard that you “can fix anything” in oil painting. Would you say that’s true? I’ve blotched up a area of the sky for example. Can even such a thing as that be fixed without look contrived? Or put another way, is this “acceptable”? I’m imagining a big time artist telling me, no, no no,…you don’t do it that way! I think most of us need to hear it come from someone who is a leader in the arts’ world such as you. Otherwise it’s nearly impossible to tell ones’ self what is accceptable or not. Thanks,

    1. Anything can be acceptable, it’s up to you to decide what is best for the work. You need to empower yourself to make those decisions on your own.

  15. ma’am im planning on discontinuing my education here and joining an art school as international freshman. suppose im admitted is there a possibility for getting scholarships to pay for tution fee?

  16. I’ve had tendinitis in both arms for about a year now. Throughout the year it has become more and more debilitating, and my work has come to a grinding halt. I expect to improve with the correct care, but I best I can expect is that I will not be able to be as prolific of an artist as I would hope to be. I’m graduating with a bachelor in fine arts soon, and have aspirations to go to graduate school. If my physical problems prevent me from being prolific (I can only do about one finished piece a month) would I be able to go to grad school or even be an artist for that matter? Have physical limitations ever held you back from what you wanted to do artistically?

    1. I had DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis about seven years ago, which is very similar to tendonitis. It was awful. I had to drop everything because it was too painful to work. I remember barely being able to hold a brush and write my name at the time. Eventually, I got the correct treatment and fully recovered, but it was really frightening because I had never encountered anything like that before. I think grad school and working professionally will be contingent upon how successful your recovery is, as the reality is you will be held to high expectations of productivity in both contexts. Another option is to explore ways of working that are perhaps not as strenuous on your arms, perhaps digital media or something more conceptually driven. Good luck!

  17. I hope im not bothering you but I have another question.

    How should you sign your artwork? To be more specific on the first part, is it best to put your full name, initials, mix of the previous ones, or even a symbol?

    The other part of my question is where is the best place for your signature to be located? Does the location of the signature depend on the artwork itself?

    1. I think full name in the lower right hand corner is fairly standard, although there really are no “rules” for exactly how to sign your work. As long as the signature doesn’t get in the way of the artwork itself it should be fine. I’ve seen people sign their work with these gigantic signatures that really get in the way of the artwork itself.

  18. Hello,

    I am a 42 year old working mother of 2. I work in healthcare, but always wanted to be an artist. In the past 2 years, I have become very prolific in my craft of rubber stamp carving, and now use these stamps to create fine art, mixed media works. I have past the point of hobbyist, and am interested in pursuing art full time. I am taking a mixed media class at a Fine Arts Center and love it. I’m getting good feedback from other artists, as to my potential. I’m making new contacts, and have entered an art piece for exhibition.

    My question is… is it too late for me at this time to truly pursue an art career?

    1. Question: I am preparing to begin a series of works on paper. Can you advise me on the best was to hang these pieces if I do not want to frame them. The pieces will be approximately 26″ X 32″.

      P.S. I am so glad I found this blog. It has helped me as a teacher and artist!

  19. Every person who wants to pursue an art career, better learn business mechanics.
    Making art for a living is possible. There are many artists who have, working class careers.
    Career management is very important. Reading business books, learning how other money making artists got financial traction will be of some help. I am a non starving blue collar artist in Denver. I get by OK. I devote half of my time to business tactics, the rest to art production. See me at See me on You Tube, hear me on NPR. I am on Facebook. I don’t make masterpiece art, I do try to make masterpiece business.

  20. Hi Clara,
    This may be more of a suggestion than anything. Some artists just use a palette knife and nothing else. I just did a quite impressionistic painting with basically one brush, and it’s quite interpretive to anything i ever did before. My point is that it doesn’t take accuracy and being too literal to do good art. It’s a matter of jumping in and not stiffining up and holding your breath. I see the majority of painting tutorials on the web are all about technique, such as how to paint clouds and so on. All art is not that way and one has to remind himself constantly of this.

  21. Hi there
    I am applying to art school this year and I am worry about deadline and so on so forth ,also I am wondering where will be the best place to study art will it be better to stay in scotland or go back to Hong Kong (which is where my family located ) due to money problem the courses fee in scotland will be a presure to me as well so I am really worry if I go back to hong kong can I get good art education that can help me to achieve a good career life .

    Also , for the art protfoilo ,I am applying for fashion design but in the protfoilo there may not contain many fashion stuff will that be a problem ?

    Thank you very much for your reply

    1. The better place to study really depends on the school, which is specific to your situation, so I can’t really help much there. For your portfolio, usually it’s completely fine for there to be minimal fashion design work. Most art schools are looking for drawing skills and diversity, as they don’t expect you to have expertise in your intended major yet.

  22. Hello Clara (:
    I want to be a Art Teacher but I’m not sure what degree should i get (like fine arts) i don’t know about undergraduate and graduate. Can you explain me please? (I’m almost 18)
    I love to draw, sketch and I’m learning how to paint, my strong point is drawing i can sketch or draw almost anything, but i’m not really good with paint. Should i learn how to paint first?
    Thank you so much.

    1. It depends on what age you want to teach, as the degree requirements are different for K-12 and college level. At this stage I would work on painting, but emphasize drawing the most.

  23. Hi Clara, in a couple of your blog posts you mentioned stretching paper to work on. Can you explain this process?

    1. It’s basically exactly like stretching a canvas, the only difference is you soak the paper in water for a few minutes before stretching it onto canvas stretchers with a staple gun. As you stretch the paper onto the canvas stretchers, the paper will look very wrinkled. Let if dry overnight and it will stretch itself perfectly flat. Very easy technique to use, I highly recommend it!

  24. Hello clara. Compliments for your website! it’s great.
    I’d liked to ask you some questions about becoming a professor of art.
    I’m an Italian 23 years old graduate in Painting and Visual Arts in italy. I also studied 6 months in San Francisco for an exchange program and it was the best experience of my life.
    I’d like to become a professor of art, teaching painting or drawing or art education (a high level of course). I’m a painter and I like to write about art and to teach art to adults (I did some workshops and little experiences). The problem is that I don’t know where to start my career and also where to keep going on with my studies. I live in London now and I was thinking about doing here a MA in Art Education. Is it the right master for the type of career I’m looking for? And is London the right place where to do it if I’m not sure in with country I’d live and work?
    Should I do a MA in drawing or painting instead of an art education one?
    Thank you for you time and for you precious advises.
    My best, Serena

    1. Hi Serena,
      Sorry for the embarrassingly late response, I think your comment somehow slipped through the cracks and I didn’t get to it when you initially posted. Anyway, I think it will be important for you to do your degree in the country that you want to ultimately teach in. Usually one of the advantages of going to school is the professional contacts that you can make with the faculty there. So if you do your degree in one country and then move to a different country to start your teaching career, it will likely be much tougher to do. If you want to teach at the college level, don’t bother with an Art Education degree; the Art Education degree is generally for grades K-12. To teach at the college level you need an MFA in the area that you want to teach in. Let me know if you have any further questions!

  25. Hi
    I want first to thank you for the tips that you give to people that wants to get started in the industry
    I’m beginner in drawing and I want you to give me what’s you do exactly with your student , what lesson did you started with students and what’s the homeworks that you give to your students .
    Thank you
    thank you 🙂

  26. I am sorry that this question may be little bit off topic but I don’t know where else to ask.
    I remember seeing a painting but I cannot remember whose work it was. It was surreal. There was a hippopotamus on the top of a tower in moonlight. If somebody remembers who was the painter and what was the name of the painting, I would be very grateful. I going crazy trying to remember it.

  27. Hi Clara,
    Over the years, I’ve gathered tons of notes from what I’ve read and watched via the web. Approaches and techniques is all I see. It’s all seductive and makes so much sense. But, such artists as Andy Warhol, or Gaughan etc…they didn’t have so called techniques like what I’ve far as I know. I realize now that why am i not seeing “these” kind of artist’s showing me how THEY do it on the web? Because they just do it! They don’t have anything to show! It’s their own intuition and choice being made at the that particular moment in time on the canvas. Sure, a basic understanding of things such as the color wheel etc. is necessary, but they aren’t being hyper critical of color. I’ve seen on portraits how every part of the face will have different variations of skin color. I read for an hour on that. Edward Hopper is another example. These artist I feel sure, are using just one color such as burnt sienna and white………..and can accomplish amazing work.

  28. I’m so glad I cam across your page. There’s a lot of good information and a lot of things I have learned just from reading your blog.

    I’m thinking to join RISD in a year or so. I would really love to be your student.

    God bless you.

  29. Hello! I have a question. When copying a drawing, how can you copy it accurately? will I get better if I keep on copying? or how can you draw something you like the way you wanted how it used to look like? I’m having trouble with it because whenever I try, most of the time I always fail…

  30. Hi,
    I’m applying to RISD for fall 2017 and RISD is definitely my first choice. However, I’m not sure whether I should apply by early application or regular decision since I think I can have a stronger portfolio with more time. Should I apply for regular decision with a stronger portfolio or is applying for early application actually has a higher chance of getting in? Thanks!

    1. I tell students to apply for early admission only if your portfolio is very strong and you’re super confident that a few months of extra time will not make a huge difference in the quality of your portfolio. If having a few extra months really will make a big difference, it’s much better to apply regular decision. Many students apply early because they think it will increase their chances of getting in, but I think a really strong solid portfolio is much more effective during regular admission than a weak portfolio during early admission. Good luck!

  31. How do I develop a “painterly” style to my drawing? To me your white on black hand drawings and your graphite portraits of elderly women are very painterly (if I’m using that term correctly). A lot of other artists instructing online have a more realistic approach to their method utilizing angles, sight size, etc. They draw very slowly and very precise. I was immediatly taken back by how fast you draw (and erase!).

    Realistic graphite drawings can be impressive but they don’t have the raw impact that your drawings have. Your graphite and conte drawings are bold and draw the eye in. They are much more interesting than the more realistic drawings. I’d even say they are more “artistic”

    Why is that? and how does a beginning artist get there?

    1. In my opinion, drawing is not about achieving accuracy and precision; we have more than enough technology today that can accurately reproduce images to a stunning degree of precision. I also think that there is a difference between drawing and simply “copying” what you see. It’s the difference between writing a heated opinion piece and a dry book report. The book report simply regurgitates the facts, while a heated opinion piece shows passion and thought.

      The short answer about how a beginning artist can get there is you have to be willing to 1) experiment and try many, many diverse ways of drawing 2) be okay with making tons of really bad drawings in order to improve, 3) release yourself from the obligation to be precise and accurate in your drawings, 4) be willing to depart from reality and distort the figure, and 5) allow yourself to become a visual editor; just because your eye sees something doesn’t mean you have to draw it.

      We actually just shot a video about this very topic the other day, it will eventually be released when the new Art Prof website launches.

      If you’d like to be notified of our site launch, you can sign up for our email list here:

  32. I am very inspired by your work! I am a creative person, but sadly, haven’t really developed much artistically since high school mostly due to lack of motivation and effort….although I do try to live creatively, it’s more for a personal hobby, and enjoyment. That is, until I saw your gallery of portraiture! I’m very interested in learning the art of portraiture from you, and getting back on my feet as an artist. Your gallery is so beautiful, and if those 50 portraits were those being criticized by that professor, she has no idea what she’s talking about. You are an amazing artist, and an amazing person to be taking on such a big project. I am excited to learn from you and support you as much as possible. I am writing you because I used the embed code on your kickstart page to try to add the widget to the blog that I’m bringing back to life. However, it doesn’t display the image, only the link. Any suggestions?

    Also, I plan to order a copy of your book and am hoping for your approval to post a photo of it under the section of my blog with a link to purchase it? I am importing my old blog and just getting it up and started so it is by no means professional! More or less a personal journal.

    For the site launch, is there a specific link or order to learning from you? I have only just begun looking at your sites, and apologize that I missed that.

    Thank you, for doing this! I want to eventually go back to college for art education, and I am excited to begin my journey by learning from someone like you!

      1. Thank you! My friend asked me to draw their picture so I was just working on it. You inspired me very much but I realize that I should have done more art in the last 20 years since high school. It is not easy to draw realistically!

  33. hi! i am a high school student in india. i am currently looking for art universities to apply in.While looking through the courses i came across several illustrative and fine art courses. i wanted to inquire about the basic difference between these two.I have always worked with pencils and charcoal and i usually make portraits.I would like to request you to have a look at my website and tell me if i am fit for illustration courses or the fine arts courses.

    1. Hi! The main difference between illustration and fine arts is that illustration includes fields such as editorial illustration (doing illustrations for magazine covers, newspapers) children’s book illustration, and more. In illustration, you work with art directors and they assign a specific prompt that you create an illustration of. For example,you would work with a publisher, who would give you an author’s children’s book story, and you would create illustrations based on the text of the book. An art director at a newspaper may have an article about a school lunches, and they want an image that conveys what the article is about. Fine arts by contrast is entirely self-directed, you don’t get any prompts, and you create your own artwork based on your own interest. Ultimately, professionals working in fine arts would show their artwork in gallery exhibitions, and sell their artwork at various venues, have their work collected in museums, etc. The fields are very different! I’m sorry but we get far too many requests from artists to review their artwork and we simply don’t have time to review portfolios for free. You can purchase a portfolio critique on if you want to receive a portfolio review.

  34. Hi Clara,
    I don’t think their’s a clear and definitive answer for this, I know i’ve asked this before
    . I just did a drawing and spent nearly hours or so i’m guess over the past several days. Last night i had it just right..perfect. Then i kept playing with it to improve it just a bit better. Well, i was on it for 15 hours just going crazy with dissapointment trying to dabble with it to see if it could be fixed. i never took a break and i stayed up the entire night fixing and agonizing with dissapointment the more i continued with it.
    i am trying hard to stay optimistic. I know all artists go thru this. I just hang on to it way longer than i should. Sometimes, you HIT upoin something and it suddenly turns pretty good.. You don’t KNOW ahead of time that it’ll happen or why it happend. So, i keep throwing the dice like that hoping.
    Is their really something being learned when all this happens?

    1. In my opinion, you can learn from any experience at any point in the process. Even moments of struggle and difficulty can be fruitful learning experiences. I would say keep going and try to ask yourself out of every experience what you gained from it, and then to apply those ideas the next time you work.

  35. I just have found this great platform to solve my problem and spent a lot of times here to find out my answers. All are very nice and appropriate, however, I have to say something about my career. I am ant artist have been working in the international art world since 2013 and awarded several times for my paintings. I don’t like to claim myself as a great or good artist 🙂 but I haven’t found why art collectors are overlooking my paintings. I followed the instructions of some great art advisors and have done everything. Now, I have a bit of knowledge about selling art online but unfortunately, I sold only two paintings from last 4 years. By using a software installed on my website, I noticed that someone went to buy a painting by clicking on the “Add to Cart” button but didn’t complete the payment!! What’s the reason? I got inquiries in several times from art collectors and I replied quickly with the specific answer, moreover, I followed up the mail at least three times, but didn’t get any reply. You can chack my website. Will you kindly tell me what is my fault?

  36. I’m a freshman in college and my major is art education. I would like to know the steps to becoming an art professor. How many years of school would I have to attend? I’m in a four-year college now and I need to know what’s next. I do not have a guide so I need some answers. Would you please update me with some steps? My email is and I would like for you to message me so I can get my questions answered.

    1. To teach art at the college level, you’ll need an undergraduate degree + an MFA degree. (2 year program) This article I wrote, “How do I become an undergraduate art professor?” and this article should give you some concrete info to start with.

      I get far too many requests to provide people with individual email responses, so instead, I would highly recommend that you use our “Ask” section on where you can ask our staff any art related question. You’ll need to register to post a question. (registration is free) The advantage of this “Ask” section is that it’s an entire staff of diverse artists you can get an answer from, instead of just me.

  37. Hello! I am a highschool student who has gotten into both RISD and University of Arts London. You have been constantly inspiring me and i just wanted your advise on which is a better place for someone who is currently a fine artist but wants to look into animation and design. I live in India and london is nearer than providence thus would be more convenient, also london is major city and providence isnt. Risd has one of the best animation departments and is also Number 3 in world currently, and UAL is 6th. I dont know about the employablility rates or how hard the course is going to be but Risd is one of the best schools and I would like to go there,leaving the fact that its going to be very difficult to adjust. UAL is also very well known for its alumnis and is an excellent school overall.
    If you could be kind enough to tell me what school can be better for me in your honest opinion, that would be really helpful.
    Thank you.

  38. I was wondering if anyone can help me please. I am looking for a painting that I thought was a Picasso but I can’t find it. The painting has a white background with an “abstract face’ and a horizontal triangle at the lower right hand side of the painting. The triangle is deep blue or purple I think. Can you help me find the name of the painting and the artist please?
    Many thanks

  39. Hi Clara,
    thank you for your guide on the kneaded eraser. I included a link to your article and embedded your video about the topic in my article about how I use the eraser in pencil drawings.
    Thank you for all of your tips on art.

  40. Hi Clara!

    I thought i’d leave my question here after looking at your advice with thumbnails and composition. I was wondering if you had any tips or resources on learning to paint ‘bigger’ I’m attempting to size up (i’ve already done some larger work but do want to go bigger) but find it quite overwhelming.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Joey, I think it’s a matter of “just do it.” I do recommend using something cheap like a big sheet of paper so you aren’t nervous about wasting materials, that helped me! -Clara

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