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7 Tips for Aspiring Digital Artists

Michael O is a professional digital artist whose work has been featured on several covers of Advanced Photoshop magazine, as well as various book covers and movie posters.


Model: Shannon Shhhhh; Digital Artist: Michael O

We interviewed Michael O and asked for his advice for those who are looking to start a career as a freelance digital artist.

Learn Traditional Art Skills

I would first recommend honing your traditional art skills to a level you are happy with before making the transition to digital. The methods are the same and the knowledge you gain from traditional rules (like composition) will pay off when it comes time to go digital.

Location, Location, Location – Not for Digital Artists

No client has ever cared where I live. As long as you have an internet connection, you can live wherever you want.

Program Learning

For program learning, I would recommend The Gnomon Workshop DVD tutorials. They have plenty of step-by-step lessons focusing on all aspects of digital art. But, if you are more like me and not interested in this teaching method, I would recommend a few years of trial and error and a lot of elbow grease!

Business Skills

For real professional artists, skill in art is only half the battle. A strong understanding of modern global business practices is necessary in order to find clients and keep them. Things like missing deadlines and making excuses are not tolerated.

Online Community

Get your work onto as many community-based websites as possible. You never know who might see your work there. That is actually where most of my clients first saw my work.

Prints and Merchandise

Do not expect to get rich by selling your work in a gallery. With digital art there is no original piece of art so the best you can do is sell prints or merchandise.

Develop Your Own Style

Lastly, find your own style that suits your artistic desires. I do not believe I would have any satisfaction with my own art if people told me that it looked just like someone else’s.

Read the full interview with Michael O.


Digital Artist: Michael O; Model: Mariel Zagunis (Two time Olympic Gold Medalist)

Michael O

Michael O

Michael O is a professional digital artist from central California. His work has been featured on several covers of Advanced Photoshop magazine, as well as various book covers for Macmillan and Little Brown & Company publishing companies. His website is www.bymichaelo.com.

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