You know your teen has serious artistic talent. In fact, he may have expressed an interest in sharing his passion for art out in the “real world.” Perhaps he even wants to pursue a career in which he can use his artistic abilities while creating a sizeable income.
So what’s an awesome, supportive parent like you to do?
THE most important factor in your teen’s success is you.
Obviously, you want to be his BIGGEST fan ever.
Praise him, not only for his achievements and triumphs, but also for his attempts and efforts. You’ll want to offer tons of encouragement, as well as any help, assistance and counsel that you can. But how do you help if you have no art skills or any idea of what it takes to pursue a career in art?
Well, it’s your lucky day, because I’ve compiled a list of…
10 ways to support your emerging artist:
1. Take him to your local art-in-the-park, art festivals or juried art shows. This will open his eyes to what other local artists are doing with their talents, how big of a “body of work” he’d need to have to enter something like this, the costs and work involved, and whether or not this is something he’d like to try.
2. Introduce him to local artists. While at these festivals and shows, introduce yourselves to some of the artists – particularly those whose style resonates with your teen. Ask them questions. Grab their business card. Perhaps schedule a time to sit down and chat over coffee or tea so that your teen can really gather a greater understanding of what this type of career (or hobby) entails.
3. Visit local art galleries. Take your teen to local art galleries that sell fine art from artists all over the country. How do these pieces differ in quality than the art pieces you saw at your local festival? Speak to the gallery’s art dealer. What standards and requirements do they look for in emerging artists?
4. Visit art museums. This one’s a “no-brainer.” Obviously, you need to expose your young artist to the great masterpieces as much as possible. There’s nothing like standing in front a 400-year old work of art and seeing the immense detail that the artist labored to give it. Blood, sweat, tears — maybe a few hairs pulled out of the head or beard too. Art is work!
5. Provide him with quality art lessons. Try to find a local art teacher to give your teen advanced lessons if possible. Search the internet for online art courses, free YouTube videos, and even blog posts with written lessons and still shots of the process. Try to find a variety of instructors and styles for a well-rounded education. Check out some of my lessons here.
6. Provide them with quality art supplies. This is of utmost importance! The quality of the supplies used will affect the quality of the final piece. With some supplies it’s fine to buy the cheapest, but there are others that really make a difference. See my list of essential art supplies for your creative teen to know which products you can skimp on and which you really shouldn’t.
7. Buy books (or check out the library) on art techniques, art genres, lives of famous artists, etc. If you’ve homeschooled for any length of time, chances are you have loads of these books for younger kids. Don’t get cheap on your teen now. Find books written for teens and adults that will really advance his knowledge in the areas he needs help.
8. Encourage him to enter art contests or even art shows. Remember you’re his number one fan, right? So encourage him to enter art contests with art supply companies, local art stores, or even submit a portfolio to enter regional art shows. Search online to find ones that might be a good fit for your teen.
9. Post their artwork on your social media outlets, praising them for their efforts. And in keeping with this number one fan thing, why not brag on your teen via social media. You never know who might see it and want him/her to create a commissioned piece for them. Plus, you’ll help your teen feel validated as a “real” artist.
10. Explore other ways to make money with art. The internet offers amazing opportunities for emerging and fledgling artists. Consider starting an online shop and selling on Etsy, Society 6, Store Envy, Zazzle, Big Cartel, Red Bubble, or Cafe Press (just to name a few). What about face painting at local events? Selling art work at your local farmer’s market? Graphic art for blog designs? Teaching younger kids at a local co-op? Holding paint parties where your teen is the teacher? The possibilities go on and on!
As a parent, you have the ability to help your teen succeed in life. Do all you can to support your emerging artist and help him achieve his dreams.
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Alisha Gratehouse is an artist, art instructor, minister’s wife, and homeschooling mom of three. Her days are filled with creating, painting, writing, drinking lots of tea, laughing with (and at) her family, and spontaneously bursting forth into song. Alisha is the author of several books including, A Life That Flourishes.