Part Two: 8 Tips We’d Share with Teen Artists

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Rob Joseph

This is Part 2 of the AWESOME feedback Concept Artist and Illustrator Rob Joseph shared with me to pass on to the next generation of creatives!

As mentioned in Part 1, I have the honor of being on the Advisory Board of one of our local high school’s School of the Arts and Humanities.

To connect the students with creative professionals, I sought the help of my friend and one of the most talented Concept Artists and Illustrators in the industry, Rob Joseph.


See more of Rob Joseph’s work at

I asked Rob the following question:

“What advice, tips, best practices, warnings etc. would you give a talented junior or senior Art/Design student?”

This is the second installment of his advice. Part 1 can be found here>> (I am passing this feedback on the the Dean who will share with the students):


5. Focus Your Work

“Five goes along with both 3 and 4 and that is when you are marketing yourself online, only post things that are relevant to the kind of work you want to get. A lot of the time I will post something on Facebook and get a message on my page ( about someone wanting to hire me for a certain freelance job which usually has something to do with what I just posted. Sometimes I get the occasional “do you do logo work”, which I can and sometimes do, but I don’t really like doing it. It’s not as fun as painting an epic battle between a wizard and a demon in my opinion. Or designing a character or environment concept. That’s what I like to do, so that’s the kind of stuff that I usually post. When you first try to get work you will be tempted to jump at any job that comes your way, I did, and I can tell you that it is sooo much more fulfilling to take that jobs that interest you, not just what is going to pay you the most. Your enjoyment will come through in your work as well, and it will look inspired which will cause others to really like it. If you don’t like what you’re doing, don’t expect others to like it either.”


6. Get Understanding

“Six…Get understanding. If your heart’s desire is to design cars, then using reference and other materials seek knowledge on the subject. Research how cars are put together, what are the parts called, learn the car’s anatomy so to speak. Always use reference and build up your visual library. If a company approaches you about doing a logo and this is what you want to do, then try to get as much understanding as to what the company is and what their mission is. How would they describe themselves and if a few words. This will help to squeeze everything that company wants to be in a simple and appealing format that will speak volumes.”


7. Embrace Resistance

“Seven is to embrace resistance. That sounds weird, but when you apply for jobs and get no after no after no, you are encountering resistance. When you try new things artistically or maybe a new design approach and you realize how bad you are at it you are encountering resistance. These things are not pleasant at first, but are in fact designed to make you better. in this life the more resistance the stronger you become. When you go to the gym and work out with light weights you might be toning up a little, but you aren’t building any real strength. Once you increase the weight though, the resistance increases, and you become stronger for it over time. It is no different in art. Many times artists will shy away from drawing hands and feet, or drawing females because they aren’t very good at it, but that is just going to hurt in the long run. If you keep at it, and push through the resistance, you will be able to conquer these things, and now what was once your weakness might actually turn out to be a noticeable strength.”


8. Never Work for Free

“Finally…NEVER work for free. People may approach you to do jobs for them for free or very little compensation. They will use words like “exposure” and “getting your name out there”…don’t fall for it. These people are just cheap and don’t want to pay you for your hard work. It is wrong, and those kinds of people should be ashamed of themselves. Not only is it wrong for them to try to get you to do work for free, but it’s wrong for you to accept. In working for free you perpetuate the idea that artists are not worth getting paid well for their hours upon hours of hard work. This in turn hurts every other artist out there looking for work with wages that will help them feed their households. This is not just a hobby anymore, this is your livelihood, and you are worthy to be paid well for your work. Don’t work for free.”

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