What do all professionals have in common? They are generally known for having very specific subject matter. Beyond style differences, what an artist chooses to draw is an incredibly important aspect of their brand.

You might have noticed some artists only draw certain proportions of humans, drawing one gender exclusively, or even choose not to draw humans at all. This is a deliberate choice of an artist for a variety of reasons.

The first consideration is, obviously, the desire of the artist for the audience. What does the artist want to share with the world? This one may seem simple but the most difficult part is to have artwork that can truly connect to the audience. An artist may often believe an audience wants something only to be met with harsh reality. It, like everything else in art, comes down to execution.

The second is to draw what the artist won’t get bored of. This is an often overlooked aspect as, ultimately, people aiming to be professional would have to put an uncountable number of hours into the craft. The subject matter must be interesting enough for the artist to the point of obsession. I feel that this is the aspect that tests an artist’s honesty, as I’ve seen numerous artists who clearly draw certain subjects for money and not with their hearts.

The audience subconsciously knows when an artist is being honest. Ultimately, you want to be able to transfer passion onto the canvas. People will resonate to your work if you draw what you love, not what you think you love.

The final point is rather an extension of the second. I find that the artist must have an incredibly deep understanding of the subject matter they choose to draw. Perhaps you’re similar to Terryl Whitlatch, a master at drawing animals. Maybe you’re a Jeremy Mann, who understands the urban environment to the T. No matter what you choose, you must be able to have a masterful understanding of the matter at hand.

Again, the audience will know when an artist is lying in their art. If you are self-aware of your own interests, your passion will eventually translate to technical mastery.

Always have time to think about what you’re doing. In an era such as this, there’s less and less time for someone to reflect on themselves. As artists, you will eventually force yourself to dig deep whether you wish to or not. Thus, the top level professionals are not only masters at understanding their surroundings but their own self as well.

Talk about an existential discovery!