• Dan Nelson

What Skills are Needed to Be a Successful Wedding Painter?

Beats me! I'll let you know as soon as I figure it out!

Okay . . . I started this about 12 years ago (2008-ish). I guess I'm a little ahead of the curve. Here's my list at this stage of the journey:

The first one is pretty obvious-- YOU NEED TO LEARN HOW TO PAINT.

But let's unpack that a little.


ANY body who is ANY good at ANY thing started out when they weren't ANY GOOD at all. So the real trick is LEARNING HOW TO LEARN, and that starts with figuring out how YOU learn BEST. Some people are "auto-didacts" -- people who have to figure everything out for themselves. (I'm one of those-- and like everything else, it has it's pluses and minuses!) Other people are book-learners, some are video-learners, while still others need a hands-on live-instructor. Then there are some of us who do great in a crash-course like a four or five-day clinic, and others who do better when the instruction is drawn out for a semester or more. How do you know which one YOU are? Try a little bit of everything, then stick with what sticks. Every learning style is valid. Don't apologize for yours.

Getting a little more specific--


Putting this in the negative: Don't be a snob! The two most common manifestations I see of this are:

1) The artist who has had the good fortune (and dispensable income) to take a painting class from Joe Big-Dog Painter. Then, when they come back to the "real world" in their home-town with "normal" and "local" artists, they are too big-headed to learn anything from anybody who's not a Big-Dog Painter. So they miss the opportunity to learn a lot of good stuff from all the "Little-Dog Painters" that live nearby. Their loss!

2) There are always artists out there in the public eye who's work WE don't love because we are "above that kind of thing." The classic example of this in the past decade or two is Thomas Kinkade. It's almost a badge of honor among "serious" artists to turn up a sneering lip of disdain whenever his name is mentioned in the presence of our fellow-artists. This is foolish. If you are a BETTER painter than dear ol' Tom, then maybe . . . just MAYBE you can turn up that lip. But I've NEVER been in a room where that was the case. You don't have to LIKE his stuff, but if he's a better painter than you (and there's a 99.99% chance that he is) then you can put that energy to better use by LEARNING what it is he does that's better than you. Or anybody else who is good . . . but you don't care for his/her style.

NEXT: Understand that there are NO SHORT CUTS. You've simply got to put in the miles.

And if drawing is your weak suit, then focus more of your time on sketching than on painting. Please don't go into wedding painting because you're not good enough to make it as a "real" artist. Wedding painting should not be a gimmick.

So lets say you've done your learning and your putting in your mileage, what next?


When I started this business (in about 2008) I did SEVERAL weddings for FREE. I had a wedding photographer friend who let me tag along with her and act like I was just part of her entourage. That was a great way to start! Then, of course, my prices started out reasonably LOW, and increased only as I got better and more experienced.


I already blogged about this in my very first Blog. You can read that here:

I'll be saying more about all this in the weeks to come. Stay tuned for more.

Happy Painting to Ya.


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