5 Myths about Being an Artist — Debunked


Myths about what it means to pursue the artist’s path have been around for as long as artists have been creating. From their perfectionist tendencies and eccentric personalities to the moody temperaments and chaos that can inspire (and also derail) their forms of expression, these stereotypes persist despite the diversity of artists working today and the many insights into their process that they willingly reveal.

Lisa and Robert Papp have heard their fair share of such assumptions. Both successful artist who live in Bucks County — Lisa is an author and illustrator and Robert a fine artist and illustrator — the husband and wife have, in forging their individual career paths, disproved perhaps one of the most popular myths, that of the starving artist. 

Here, they share, and counter, five of the most common misnomers they’ve heard.

  1. You were born talented (usually followed by, I can’t even draw a stick figure!) Hmmm, born with an interest in art, maybe, but it takes years of practice and dedication to become good at any craft.
  1. This is your second job, right? As in, you do something else for money, right? The truth is you can make a very nice living from art IF you are dedicated and professional. Art is a big field with many avenues. You can excel if you’re willing to work and willing to adapt. You never stop learning.
  1. Your life is so easy. No, my life is full of faith. Faith that the next job will come, that I’ll feel creative when I have to create the next sketch. Faith that I’ll find some part of me to share with the world. Faith that this little job will lead to a BIG job. Faith that my heart’s leading me in the right direction… An artist’s life is a circle of faith, trust, action…faith, trust, action… (Rinse and repeat)
  1. Artists don’t work, they play all day. Wish this one were true! I would like to live up to that. But alas, there is work to be done.
  1. Artists are not business people. Anyone self-employed must have some sense of business or they would be out of business. When not creating, we’re tackling our taxes, checking that our websites are up to date, scheduling book signings, writing bios, entering contests, giving presentations, making new connections, etc. etc.

madeline-finn-and-the-library-dogJoin Lisa and Robert as part of a very special panel discussion and presentation, “How Not to be a Starving Artist,” sponsored by the Scatter Joy Center for the Arts on Oct. 29. The Papps will be joined by Kathy Davis, founder and chief visionary officer of Kathy Davis Studios; Sarah Van Aken, president and chief operating officer of Kathy Davis Studios and founder of SA VA; and Amy Voloshin, founder and creative director of Printfresh.

The event takes places at the Horsham Library, 435 Babylon Road, Horsham, Pa., from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Admission is $25, with proceeds going to donate art supplies to children in need ($10 for high school and college students). cooks

Lisa Papp paints art and writes for picture books. Those have included “One for All: A Pennsylvania Number Book,” “My Mom’s Wedding” and most recently “Madeline Finn and the Library Dog.”

Robert Papp has had his art featured on countless book covers, in Time Magazine and the U.S. Capitol building. He is especially known for his artistic renderings on the covers of Cooks Illustrated Magazine.

He and his wife have collaborated as co-illustrators on “P is for Princess: A Royal Alphabet” and “The Town that Fooled the British: A War of 1812 Story,” which she wrote and he illustrated.