3 Requirements for Becoming a Live Painter
Many artists ask me about how to do live painting, and I don't blame them. I mean, I get paid to paint at parties for a living (and we are talking real painting and real parties... not sip n' paint). If you want to do live wedding painting or live event painting, you don't need to have live event painting experience, but there are some skills that really help and there is one major prerequisite: You have to know how to paint. Live event painting is an advanced level of painting skill. Not only do you have to know how to paint, but you have to be able to do it well and with an audience. Painting well doesn't mean painting like a photograph, or painting compositions that look like weddings. Painting well does mean you need to have the foundational keys of color, composition, perspective, line, form, and value well under your command in whatever style you paint in. How do you know what level of artist you are? Here are a few questions to help you determine: Have you ever received formal training? How long did you study? What kind of classes did you take? Have you ever shown your work in a gallery? Have you sold any art before (with formal training or not)? The answers to these questions speak to your level of professional experience as an artist prior to becoming a live event painter. None of it is a requirement, but having some of these experiences mean you are more likely to be at an intermediate to advanced level artist. If you've never had formal art training you may not really be sure. It can be difficult to get an honest assessment of our own artistic skill. I offer live painter coaching and can help you assess your level of skill with a free consultation! Just shoot me an email and I can help you with a portfolio review! Now what about that little mention I made about needing to be able to paint in front of an audience as a live painter? If you are stage or camera shy, I'm sure that caught your attention. It is the other half of the name of “live painting”. It's live, after all which means eyes will be on you. Extensive experience painting in front of others is not a requirement at all, but you must prepare yourself. Before I started my live event painting business, I had a side gig as a professional caricaturist and I was familiar with drawing pictures of people with a crowd of onlookers while under pressure because of a time limit. With live event painting, where you have hours to finish just one work of art, felt a bit like a leisurely walk in the park compared to the intensity of caricaturing large events. If you've any experience with public speaking or performing, that's likely to help. While you aren't necessarily talking in front of a crowd when you live paint you are still communicating the an audience. Being aware of your body, your expression, and how others will interpret that information while watching you get into a flow is part of what will keep the guests of the event, your audience, engaged in more than just the image on the canvas. You want them to feel the creative flow for themselves; to experience the excitement that comes with the unpredictable magic of unfolding work of art. The third most important aspect of being a successful live event painter is more behind the scenes. It's about your experience in business. Thanks to my smaller business as a caricaturist, I was familiar with more of the business aspects of working as a live event painter than I would have been otherwise. I understood some basic marketing techniques; I already knew how to make a website that gets peoples attention and how to use social media to get gigs. I had written and negotiated contracts for events. I had already been doing my own basic book keeping. And of course there are basic business skills such as being able to communicate in writing, maintain some control your public image,and knowing how to use technology. If you feel a little behind in the business aspect of being a professional artist, there are plenty of basic business courses offered at local community colleges or small business coaches online. I can also help you start to finish with setting up your brand as your live painting coach, and I will give you business lessons that apply specifically to live painting. Being a live painter is the best job on the world, but it's not the easiest job to launch. Contact me to discuss my live painting coaching programs and I can be by your side the whole way.