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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

I’m An Artist, But I Don’t Make My Living That Way

There was a point in my life where I wanted to make my living as an artist. My intention was to sell my paintings and illustrations.

For people to know my art existed, I knew I needed a website. I created one and sold my artwork directly from there.

I soon realized that I needed to do marketing to direct people to my website. This led to creating social media posts and YouTube Videos. I also pitched my work to local galleries, coffee shops, and the like.

A pencil illustration by Art Therapist Jackie Schuld of her artistic self
Self-Portrait by the Artist

People began requesting specific artwork, so I started doing commissioned work. I completed projects for individuals making workbooks and children’s books (you can see illustrations I made for children’s books here).

While this was happening, I needed more money to support myself and began teaching painting classes at a local paint and sip business. When I came home, I’d try to work on my paintings, my upcoming book (Grief is a Mess), commissions, and marketing.

It was a lot. Very little of my time was devoted to the art that I wanted to make.

When I did have spare time to make new art, it was hard to not be swayed by what I knew would be “popular.”

I also struggled with commissioned work. I’d think an illustration was wonderful, and then the author would request multiple changes that would result in me needing to start over and take away from my original vision.

When I would reach lulls in my income, more of my time became devoted to social media marketing and all of the tips and tricks.

It didn’t feel good to my soul.

Luckily, I listened. The next year I started a job as a high school art teacher. As I worked at the high school, I went to graduate school to become an art therapist.

I am now an art therapist in private practice. My practice provides for all of my financial needs. I am also able to work at a pace and schedule that works for me. I see 2-3 clients in the afternoons Monday-Thursday.

The rest of the time is MINE.

I make more art now than I have ever created in my life. I fill my mornings with writing essays like this one. In the evenings and extended weekends I paint large abstract paintings, paste together collages, and draw silly illustrations. ALL FOR FUN.

I no longer sell my work, showcase my work, or do commissions.

Everything I do is fueled solely by what I feel like creating. AND IT IS GLORIOUS.


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1 Comment

Maggi Colwell
Maggi Colwell
Aug 18, 2022

I have a pretty similar attitude toward my art. I consider it a conversation with my soul and don’t have to have it relate to the market.


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