There are Two Ways to Find an Artistic Mentor

Both will work. Neither are easy.

The first method is to figure out who you want as your mentor. Make a list of five or so, just in case the first few say no.

Start with your first choice, show up at their door, and start working for them. Tell them that you want to have them as a mentor one day, but before you ask for that you’ll spend a full year working for them unpaid.

Not only that, you’ll work harder and deliver better results than anyone who has ever worked for them before, paid or unpaid. You’ll develop a deeper understanding of their needs and their process. You’ll be more attentive, thoughtful, and ready to learn.

And you won’t complain, ever, about having to do something difficult or unfamiliar. You’ll show up every day with your best energy and a smile.

If you do all that, then your mentor will have no choice but to repay you with their guidance. If they somehow still say no after all that, congratulations: you’ve found one more authority figure you can safely ignore. Move on down the list.

That’s the first method. The second method is much faster and much simpler. It’s not easier.

The second method is to find someone who’s offering paid mentoring, teaching, or coaching, and pay them.

This will cost you significantly more than a how-to book or a pre-packaged course, because the value of mentorship far outweighs the value of mere information.

The value of mentorship comes from seeing how a successful artist thinks. Which ideas do they throw out? Which ideas do they pursue? How do they decide when to give up on a project and when to persist? How do they talk to themselves when the work is difficult?

Mentorship takes time and emotional labor from both sides. You already signed up for your end when you decided to become an artist. Now you need to use one of these two methods to make the investment worthwhile for your mentor.

You deserve guidance. You have the potential to create the art and the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. Now do the work — all of it.