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Five Signs You Might be.... an Artist!

Updated on January 24, 2013
Dbro profile image

I am Diane Brown (dbro), an artist and illustrator living in Texas. I enjoy all phases of the creative process. Enjoy and comment!

Ol' Sol, Watercolor, 8 x 10"
Ol' Sol, Watercolor, 8 x 10"

Before I launch into the five signs I will be writing about in this article, we need a definition: art•ist \'ar-tist\n :one who practices an art: esp one who creates objects of beauty. (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary). This definition will come in handy later, so keep it in mind.

I have drawn and painted all my life, but only recently become comfortable with referring to myself as an artist. Somehow calling myself an artist seemed presumptuous, even bordering on arrogant. Now I understand that my interests, abilities, and "talents" speak more to who I am than necessarily what I do. I believe that many artists share certain characteristics and interests that set them apart. Being an artist is a great thing, though the world does not always recognize and value artists and their contributions. This lack of recognition and value has proven costly on a personal level for many people, but has left the world poorer for it as well.

In my exploring and thinking about this topic, I have identified five "signs" that may reveal that you, too, are an artist. See what you think....

1. Office Supply/Art Supply Geek

You are a person who loves a new pen or marker. You take pleasure in using paper and pencil to express your ideas. The physical action of creating lines is in itself rewarding. For you, using office supplies to modify and manipulate paper (stapling, cutting, taping, etc.) is fun. You experiment with different styles of handwriting. You see a blank sheet of paper as being full of potential.

You may also have discovered the joys of art supplies. While you may or may not have been trained in their use, the variety of colors of paints or markers attracts you. Your interest may also be in three-dimensional media. Perhaps you have fond memories of clay in school or of play doh as a child. These preferences or interests may be a sign that you are an artist.

2. Doodler

You have always been a doodler. Whenever you have time to spare (waiting on hold on the phone, sitting through meetings at work, etc.) you fill the margins of your paper with your own brand of doodles. While it probably isn't an activity you take seriously, it is an enjoyable diversion.

You may have actually taken the step beyond doodling to drawings. Perhaps you loved to draw or paint or color as a child, only to have someone's unthinking criticism or description of the activity you enjoyed so much as a "waste of time." I think that such negative comments have discouraged many people from their artistic destiny.

3. "Visual" Learner

You have always been a visual learner. Before a concept can be firmly grasped by a visual learner, he or she must be able to "see" it in his or her mind. This type of learner studies best with visual information - seeing words to learn their spelling rather than hearing the words being spelled, for example.

Visual learners love illustrations, photos, graphs, tables, and charts. All of these formats present information in highly visual forms. Visual learners say things like, "I see what you're saying," or "Let me look into the problem."

You have always had the ability to visualize scenes from a book. Descriptions in text become vivid in your mind's eye. When presented with a problem, you tend to visualize a solution, perhaps drawing images that help lead to an answer.

4. Fascination with Color, Line, and Pattern

You are a person who notices things like color, pattern, styling, and design. You may have been told you have an eye for color. You are pleased by things you find to be symmetrical, balanced, intricate; in a word, beautiful.

You notice the beauty of a sunset, while most people fail to look up. Similarly, you take note of "small things" others overlook - the play of light on the water, the graceful curve of a table leg, the intricacy of a seashell. Which brings me to sign number five...

5. A Sense of Wonder

Unlike most of your contemporaries, you still have the sense of wonder we all had as children. You are still excited by the things you encounter in your everyday life, though you may have learned to hide or muffle your enthusiasm to better fit in this jaded world. Though everyone around you seems to have lost it, you still see the world as a beautiful and magical place.

"Risen Indeed!" Watercolor 10 x 8"
"Risen Indeed!" Watercolor 10 x 8"


All of these "signs" may point to the fact that you are an artist. Life may not have been conducive to you discovering and nurturing this aspect of who you are, but it's not too late!

I am not suggesting you quit your job and sequester yourself in a studio somewhere, though that may be the path you determine is best for you. While I declare and testify that being an artist is a wonderful thing, there are challenges and trials involved.

What I do suggest is that you accept and seek to develop yourself in your artistic life. You do not have to make your living as an artist. Precious few of us are lucky enough to be able to do that. You do not have to have a degree from an art school, or validation from some other person that you are, indeed, an artist. You can, however, allow yourself to explore what being an artist might mean for you. It may mean taking an art course. It may be taking up those pencils or paint brushes that fascinate you or were set aside long ago. The goal may not be to create a great masterpiece, though that may be what happens. The goal really is to find, develop, and celebrate your true self. As our definition at the beginning of this article intimates, your very life, if lived as your authentic artistic self, could become an "object of beauty."

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." - e.e. cummings


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    • Dbro profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Texas, USA

      Absolutely she can! I understand the pull of the two, seemingly disparate calls. Many people have the same dilemma. I did when I was your daughter's age. I can say that the engineering/scientific end of things is more valued monetarily (for the most part) by society. Whatever works out for your daughter, I hope she will be able to celebrate both sides of her nature. That's what it means to be a well-rounded individual, and that's what we all should aspire to.

      Thanks for your comment, FlourishAnyway.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      This is my daughter, an odd combination of creative/aesthetic and practical. Right now, she is in a pre-engineering high school program for the gifted but art tugs at her as well. Thanks for showing the signs; I keep telling her she can do both engineering and art.

    • Dbro profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Texas, USA


      I'm overwhelmed and humbled by your kind comments. I appreciate you taking the time to write such a thoughtful reaction to what I've written. I'm proud of your shameful secret - I must say you have lifted me up by what you've said here. Thanks so much! I'm heading to your profile - I will not be surprised to see you're still doing what you can to lift all people up!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear Dbro,

      Great read. This one spoke to me. As a youth all I did was draw and in school, I admit this shameful secret, I drew photos of Jesus in the back of my books to the next person who got the book might be lifted up.

      Anyway about your hub . . .I really love this hub. And here are the reasons why:

      1. This is an excellent piece of writing. Honestly, it is amazing.

      2, I loved the way you worded this hub.

      3. Graphics, superb.

      4. This hub was helpful, informative and very interesting.

      5. Voted Up and all of the choices.

      6. I loved your topic of this hub.

      You are certainly a gifted writer. Please keep up the fine work.


      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

    • Dbro profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thanks for reading, Little Grandmommy! Yarn and fabrics are a great medium! I do a bit of quilting myself. I'm not sure if you have ever considered yourself an artist, but I'd say you are!

      Thanks again for your comments!

    • Little Grandmommy profile image


      5 years ago from Small Town Tennessee

      I have the signs, but my tendencies lean toward yarns and fabrics. Good hub!

    • Dbro profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas, USA

      Why, thank you, Stephanie! I'm glad you enjoyed this hub and recognized yourself in these "signs." I think it's a shame that so many people miss or are openly discouraged from this major part of who they are. Thanks for your comments. They are encouraging to me!

      I'd love so see some of your work. I'm guessing you write hubs about your art - I'll check it out!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      5 years ago from USA

      I have all the signs, and you've even quoted one of my favorite authors! Like you, I always hesitated to call myself an took me years to become comfortable with that. I think that there are many latent artists out there who have all the signs, but haven't allowed their creativity to really blossom. Nice article, and encouraging, too!


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