Jamie writes:  If you can’t afford art school and are going to be an autodidact (a self-taught person), how many hours do you need to practice each day? Is 2-4 hours enough each day?

How many hours are needed at minimum to learn and practice so you can be a successful artist one day?

That depends, how fast do you want to improve? 2-4 hours is good. 6-8 is better. 25-36 would be amazing. Hey! There are only 24 hours in a day. Yeah…I know. I was making a point. The more time you can spend the better. Realistically there will be days where you only have 15 minutes to draw. Paint and draw as much as you possibly can! If that is 15 min one day and 8 hours the next, that is fine.

While there is no set “you must spend this many hours a day to be successful” rule, there is a giant tip I can give you… Don’t just focus on the art. You have to work on marketing and business as well. Make sure you’re reading blogs for entrepreneurs and watching videos on marketing advice. It doesn’t matter how awesome your art is if you don’t know how to market it or yourself. I can’t even begin to tell you how many amazing artists I know of who are not at all successful in their actual art business. YAY you painted an amazing piece…but now what are you going to do with it.

You have to learn how to build a name for yourself and a following for your work.

Another big piece of advice I have for you is to know that if this is something you want, you will have to sacrifice other things to make the time needed. As I’ve said, you don’t just have to learn to paint well, you have to learn to market well. That’s TWICE as much work as you thought! This may mean that you don’t go out with friends as often as you want, or play video games *miss you world of warcraft raids*. When you are working towards something it’s easy to say “well I want to watch these 5 shows on tv tonight, and go out to dinner with my friends, and I need to walk my dog. I would also like to start this puzzle OH and I’m playing world of warcraft from 10pm-3am”. We can so easily fill our time with things that are not getting us to our end goal. You will have to figure out which things are most important to you so that you will have enough time to make them happen.

If you were going to school for something how many hours a day would you be putting into school? How many more hours would you put into homework? Probably a lot more than 2-4 hours a day if we’re going to be realistic..unless you want to graduate in 30 years.  It can be hard to stay disciplined enough to put the work needed into reaching our goals. They say that it takes 10,000 hours to master something (blah blah, but I read an article that said you only need 20 hours…yeah, that isn’t how it works with art). While there is no way to know exactly how long it will take someone to master their skills in art, it’s a lot. If you have to put in 10,000 hours, that’s going to take you a very long time if you’re only working 2 hours a day vs 8 or more. It’s all up to you in how long it will take you to reach your goals.