Becoming a Professional Artist: How to Create a Series

By Milan Art Institute on March 12, 2021
Becoming a Professional Artist: How to Create a Series

Photo caption: Creating a series of paintings is one way to ensure that you have repeat sales from collectors. Photo courtesy of the Milan Art Institute.

Here’s a potentially million-dollar question for you: What’s one thing you can do that will practically ensure that you make more art sales? If you said, “Create a series of paintings,” then you’d be correct.

In fact, it’s not too much to say that if you’re on the path to becoming a professional artist, then you’ll want to seriously consider painting a series of paintings. However, if you’re just starting out as an artist, you may not know how to start a series.

Fortunately, it’s a topic that Dimitra, Dafni and Elli Milan tackled recently in our Milan Art Community. They had a great deal of advice for artists who want to start a series of paintings. Here are some of their top tips.

How to Create a Series of Paintings

Here are the top three tips that the Milans offered in their talk on creating a series. While it may require plenty of drive, as well as a certain amount of adeptness, it’s always worth it to start a series. 

1. Go Beyond the Obvious

For many beginning artists, a painting series might consist of doing a series of seasonal pictures, one for spring, summer, fall and winter. While there is nothing wrong with taking that approach, it doesn’t always allow an artist to really grow. 

One of the reasons why artists create a series, besides as a way to sell more art, is to really hone their skills and their voice. Part of growth involves taking risks and trying out new techniques and themes. 

As such, it’s worth the perseverance it takes to dig deep and really come up with an idea for a “series within a series,” as Elli calls it. 

2. Have a Unifying Element

For Dafni Milan, adding patterns and colors are ways to create visually-unified paintings. For other artists, it may be a repeated theme. Having a thematic element that unifies the series is one way to ensure that they all look like they go together. The photograph of Elli Milan at the top of the page demonstrates this concept.

Patterns or themes are a particularly good way to visually unify a series of drawings, given that these are often grayscale images. Using the same art materials and techniques can also provide visual unity in a series, an option that’s also available to artists who employ drawing as a part of their creative process.

3. Paint Several Paintings at the Same Time

If you’re using color and other elements to unify the visuals of your series, then it makes sense to paint on a couple of paintings at once. Students in MAI’s Mastery Program are very familiar with this concept and are taught to always be producing more than one painting at a time. 

This ensures that they’re painting enough to make a steady amount of sales, and therefore, create a sustainable art business. This is all part of becoming a professional artist.

There’s also a more rudimentary practical reason for doing this. If you have a unifying paint color on your brush, once you lay it down on one canvas, you can then put splashes of that same color on additional canvases in the series. 

Video caption: If you want to learn how to mix vibrant colors to give your series a more unified color palette, then watch the video above about mixing paint colors.

Why a Series of Paintings Means More Art Sales

Over the years of working professionally, we have noticed a few things. 

First, it only takes about 100 true fans to make an art career. Once you have those 100 people, you have enough interested collectors to keep your art career going, so it’s worth cultivating that first 100 people. It’s all part of the process of becoming a professional artist.

Second, we’ve noticed that collectors will often buy more than one painting from an artist they love. Creating a series is one way to entice your collectors to buy multiple paintings from you. 

A series provides visual cohesion, so if your collectors want to hang more than one of your paintings in their living room, they can if those paintings are part of a series. They look like they go together. Because of this, collectors feel motivated to buy more.

Final Thoughts on Creating a Series of Paintings

While it’s true enough that building a professional art career requires hard work, determination and an exceptional mastery of skill, it also requires you to take some more practical steps. These steps include planning and some marketing savvy. Painting a series allows you to check off all of these boxes and can send your career into a new level of development in the process.

Follow this link to join our interactive Milan Art Community, where you’ll find more resources to help you on your journey to becoming a professional artist, including connections with other artists from all around the world!

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Milan Art Institute
Milan Art Institute

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