What drives an artist to create? And are there common traits that successful artists possess? In The Making of an Artist, Kristin G. Congdon draws on her years of studying and teaching art at all levels – from universities to correctional settings – to identify three traits that are regularly found in successful artists: desire, courage, and commitment. In this collection Congdon explores each of those traits, as well as giving ethnographic case studies of six visual artists from diverse backgrounds whose practices embody their personal and cultural heritages. Marrying the work of biography, journalism, sociology, and psychology, the book opens up the often mysterious process of making art, showing us how those characteristics play into it, as well as how other factors, such as trauma, madness, class, and gender, affect the ways that people approach the creative process. Powerfully insightful and fully accessible, The Making of an Artistwill be an invaluable resources for practicing artists, those just setting out on artistic careers, and art teachers alike.