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15 Survival Tips Every Art Kid Could Definitely Use

The struggle is real.

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Chris Ritter / Buzzfeed

1. Prepare to break your parents' hearts when you finally tell them the truth.

In the end, this will make you stronger, better, and, dare I say it, an artist of unsurpassed skill. Shed your fake skin – it's time to embrace your calling!

2. Tell everyone you love that it's OK and you'll get through this.

There will be a lot of speculation on the validity of your choices, post-grad options, and general name-calling. Know that this is all a part of the process.

3. Rise above the urge to commit acts of violence when your lifestyle is mocked.

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A true art kid learns at a young age that the term “starving artist” is a cruel one, but maintain your composure and have faith. You will not starve, my friend. "Life finds a way."

4. Ready yourself for the onslaught of near-death experiences.

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You will navigate toxic thinner fumes, X-Acto blade injuries, and the inevitable "almost drank the water from my paint mug" incident. Learn from these moments so you may ascend from the ashes like the resplendent phoenix you were meant to become.

5. Gather your supplies and keep them close to you at all times.

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You never know when inspiration will strike, and it is of utmost importance that you're always prepared for the chance that it will. Supplies will disappear right when you need them most, so empty your bags of the more trivial items. Keys, checkbook, wallet — forget those. You need room for all of your sketchbooks, pens, markers, and really, whatever else you might use to create your next masterpiece.

6. Do away with traditional forms of vanity.

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Your uniform will forever be paint-covered jeans and a sweatshirt, there will always be a thin layer of charcoal on your skin, and you will long for the days that nail polish becomes a real possibility. Forget the life you had. This is your life now, and the only beauty you need is in your work.

7. Self-deprecation is your new normal.

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Now that you're an artist, you will become so accustomed to critiquing your work that this will bleed into your everyday life. You will no longer be able to accurately judge your own appearance, humor, or social relations without the same high degree of criticism. The social awkwardness that was once cute to others will become debilitating and frankly painful to witness.

8. Brace yourself for the challenges ahead.

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Challenges like perspective, anatomy, and accurately mixing paints to produce exact colors. These hurdles are not to be taken lightly and should be afforded the same respect one would give to defusing a bomb or parallel parking. It is often said that no one has ever been able to master all three of these skills to perfection. This is true.

9. Acknowledge the moments of non-inspiration.

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In these trying moments where truly nothing can compel you to put pen to paper, do your best not to dissolve into a puddle of despair. Instead, try to do the things you truly enjoy, like nap or browse the internet. This might be your only moment of peace. Enjoy it while you can.

10. Come to terms with self-sacrifice.

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Sleep and a social life are no longer a given. You will be forced to choose between completing a piece before a deadline, hanging with your friends, and a normal sleep schedule.Many artists choose to give up the latter option and so are afflicted by certain personal dilemmas such as anxiety, jitteriness, and oftentimes slow reflexes.

A simple, often used remedy to this problem? Coffee.

11. Get comfortable with clutter.

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Again, this is not glamorous living. There will be ink stains, paint stains, and stains whose origins remain a mystery, on anything and everything. There will never be enough room for the countless canvasses, papers, drawing boards, and paints that you will soon accumulate. All attempts at organization will be futile.

12. Adjust to a more humble lifestyle.

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Thanks to how expensive art supplies can be, you will find yourself weighing options that, under normal circumstances, would be deemed absurd. Having to choose whether to eat a decent meal or to buy oil paints is not a decision one can make lightly, but as you have now elected to follow a more spartan style of living, be prepared to give up basic small comforts.

13. Feelings of inadequacy are normal.

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An important part of becoming an artist is acceptance. You will have to accept that there will always be a better artist. But rather than staring at their art in agony and on the verge of tears, learn from them. Study your superiors' art so intensely that you absorb as much of their skill as possible.

14. Come to terms with the fact that people might never fully understand what it is you do.

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Instances will emerge, sooner or later, where your work is underappreciated, underpriced, and generally misunderstood. This is normal. Recognize that you should never undervalue your skill set. Instead, persuade, coerce, and rationalize with every client you come across. You must let it be known that you will not take no for an answer. Do your best to mask your desperation. You must be stronger than that if you want to succeed.

15. Know that it's possible to make it in art.

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All too often you'll be told that it's impossible to make it as an artist. These are all lies meant to deter the weakest of you from the path of creativity. You can and you will succeed, so long as you maintain the strength of conviction characteristic to those of us who've decided to give our lives to the arts. Don't be fooled by the naysayers, my friends. You'll make it because losing is not an option for you: You have student loans to pay.

Thumbnail image: PBS

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