Choosing a specialty as a professional muralist will do several things for your career. It will help you to focus your advertising efforts while allowing you to paint in a consistent style that over time will be recognizable by the public. People will automatically know what to expect from you as an artist and will be more comfortable purchasing a mural from you. Once you have made a good number of murals, you will have an idea of what subjects you prefer to paint and to what clients your style is most suited.
Personally, I chose to concentrate on children’s murals because when I pick up acrylic paints, which are my preferred medium for murals, I tend to paint larger, and in a more simplistic style. For my painting style (simplistic, contemporary, impressionistic), I feel the medium is better suited to large, bright colorful images. My personal taste and the fact that I prefer to do smaller areas and take no more than a few days in any one house, helped me choose my specialty. It does not hurt that parents are more adventurous when it comes to painting murals in kid’s rooms and therefore there is generally more work available.
To choose your specialty, you should look at:
Your painting style:
Muralists are expected to paint in a realistic style. How realistically you paint will help determine your specialty. Less realistic styles, can work well in kids areas, while very realistic styles work anywhere and work great in formal areas. Abstract artists are more suited to doing faux finished.
Your attention span or the amount of time you want to spend on any one project.
You must seriously ask yourself how much time you like to spend on any one project. Some people prefer quick results, and want to finish a mural in one to two days. Parents prefer their kids’ rooms be completed quickly. Other artists are content to wait for the slow reveal and enjoy taking weeks to months to finish the mural. Such an artist may want to specialize in commercial areas or large outdoor murals.
If you prefer to paint large or small:
An artist who paints large will do less detailed murals and will enjoy painting large flowers, space ships and cartoons, in kid’s rooms. An artist who paints small will love doing details involved in floral vignettes in breakfast rooms, or reproducing a vineyard on a dining room wall.
If you have never pinpointed your painting style and have not decided your preferences, you should spend some time painting in different styles and themes. Paint kids room murals, floral vignettes, faux walls with vines, and whatever other subject matter moves you. It will not be long before you decide what is more natural and enjoyable for you to paint. Once you know what you paint best and enjoy the most, you will have an easier time deciding on your specialty.