Book Review: Art Inc. The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist

Book Review: Art Inc. The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist

Posted by Robyn Wall on

Read time: 2 minutes 20 Seconds

Overall Review - a great read for artists seeking guidance to monetize their work at a beginner level

“You don’t have to starve to be an artist. Build a career doing what you love.” This first line on the back of the book is brilliant, no? Because isn’t it every artist’s dream to have a fulfilled life making money selling their work? 

Art Inc. is a practical guide written by Lisa Congdon, an illustrator, artist, and author who wakes every day and makes art. She wasn’t born an artist, as many of us are. But rather she discovered her creative passions later in life, and yet in a matter of years, she built a business around her art that earns her a very nice full-time income. This makes Congdon something of an expert on the business of being an artist, which is why she wrote this book.

When I got this guide, I was really excited to learn new ways to help my business thrive. The book seemed to brim with quality content from the looks of the chapter titles. Things like Getting Down to Business, Promoting Your Work, and Selling Your Art really piqued my interest, so I was all ready to dive into this one. 

The book is easy to read, formatted well with clear titles, excerpts, and quotes pulled to the side, bullet points outlining subjects, and orange-colored interviews with other artists every couple of pages. It even features cute little illustrations by Lisa Congdon herself, which I think are a charming detail. 

Yet I found myself rather disappointed in the book. The biggest letdown for me was that much of the information was stuff I already knew. Not that it’s much of a surprise as I have been pursuing the business of being an artist for years now, but I was really hoping for some kind of life-altering bit of knowledge from Art Inc. Please don’t assume that the book was not good or useful because it is, and I recommend all artists read it. 

I think the disappointment was of my own creation. My hopes were unrealistically high when I began reading, so I was a little let down by the contents. 

There were definitely still some good things in Art Inc., though. 

The Building Your Vision and Accomplish Your Goals section in chapter two was something I found particularly useful. This process was not completely new to me, but I appreciated Congdon outlined some steps to make the process of concentrating your efforts as an artist easier. 

Preparing a Press Kit was something I knew absolutely nothing about and every artist (and creator) should learn how to put a press kit together. Lisa informs her readers that a press kit is a collection of documents and images, including contact information, your bio, and curriculum vitae, and should be updated and sent out only when you have a newsworthy announcement. 

While I was a touch disappointed that there wasn’t more in this book I didn’t already know, I still found it to be a good read. I learned a couple of things and had several ah-ha! moments while reading. Some of the information seems a little outdated, or more so old-fashioned in the techniques and concepts, but still useful. Artists who are just beginning their journey into the business of being an artist will find this to be an invaluable resource and creators with a little more experience may find a helpful tip or trick stashed away in this easy read.


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