Instagram Can Be An Artist’s Best Friend Or Worst Enemy

How my Instagram art account failed, and what you can learn from my mistakes

7 min readJan 7, 2019



I started an Instagram art account six months ago.

After a year without picking up a colored pencil, I’d started taking art lessons with a local artist. The influence of a teacher was beginning to show in my work, and I was creating some of the best stuff I’d ever drawn. I’d never had an Instagram account before — not even a personal one to post sulky, black-and-white selfies on — so it was entirely new territory for me.

My desire to showcase my work to the world coupled with the success of my artist friends on the platform led me to give it a try. Not to mention, there are plenty of websites out there that are shouting about how Instagram is the next big thing for artists. You want your work to be seen? Forget galleries and exhibitions — all you need is a decent photo, a poetic description and plenty of hashtags.

Still, I was hopeful, but not gullible. I didn’t expect to become the next Banksy, but I figured that I could amass a small following, and maybe land a few commissions if I was lucky.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even meet my already low expectations. After a couple of weeks on the platform, I quickly learned that Instagram was a lot like high school. Either you were going to thrive, or you were going to fade into the shadows. It could be your best friend or your worst enemy.

Instagram was my worst enemy

Niches are my kryptonite

I noticed almost immediately that Instagram audiences loved niche artists. People who had a specific style and stuck with it tended to be pretty popular. If you were a color pencil artist, you only posted color pencil drawings. If you liked to draw digitally, your profile was full of exclusively digital art pieces.

It is possible for people to work with different mediums and still get thousands of followers, but I’d argue that it’s exceedingly more difficult. People like consistency, which isn’t a unique trait to Instagram, but it does seem especially apparent in the Insta art community.




When I’m not writing, you can usually find me hanging out with my cats