Ep.197: How Evolve Artist Program students achieve success with Kevin Murphy

Iva Mikles
Ep.197: How Evolve Artist Program students achieve success with Kevin Murphy

Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Kevin Murphy, an internationally recognized award-winning portrait painter and illustrator.

We talk about his art education program Evolve Artist, a comprehensive home-study art program that gives students a clear path to artistic mastery with oil paint.

FREE Training from Kevin and the Team

If you want to try parts of the program, click on one of the following options:

At a fraction of the costs, it challenges the traditional Art schools education and delivers consistent results to the students over and over again.

Understanding that technical proficiency is the underpinning of all good art, Evolve offers a rigorous program to develop these skills. Employing a unique approach of contemporary methods built upon the traditions of the old masters, Evolve provides an education that quickly delivers results to its students.

Special thanks to Kevin for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Kevin Murphy, used with permission.

Best art supplies and art tools for oil painting:

Interview Summary

Welcome back to another exciting episode of “Art Side of Life.” I’m thrilled to have Kevin join us today as we delve into the fascinating topic of the New Age of Education online. It’s an era where everyone has a better chance to choose courses that align with their passions. 

But before we dive into that, I’m eager to hear more about Kevin’s career journey and how he found his way into the world of traditional paintings.

Kevin’s Artistic Journey

Kevin’s story begins after high school, where he wasn’t the most enthusiastic student. He found himself in a construction job, enduring early mornings and freezing winters for about three years. However, during this time, he developed a deep love for the art on science fiction and fantasy book covers. Inspired by this art, he made the daring decision to pursue a career in traditional painting.

Leaving behind his construction job, Kevin embarked on a journey to the School of Visual Arts. Unfortunately, he soon realized that the education he desired wasn’t easily accessible there. Undeterred, he took matters into his own hands and sought guidance from renowned illustrator Dorian Vallejo, whose father is the world-renowned artist Boris Vallejo.

Kevin had the opportunity to observe Dorian at work, gaining insights into the foundations of painting and the level of quality required to be considered in the industry. He humbly acknowledges that his initial perception of his own skills was far from the reality of what the professionals were producing.

After a year of dedicated work, Kevin landed his first commission for a book cover from a major publishing company. Although he admits there were challenges and imperfections in his early paintings, he persevered and gained more projects over time. For the next eight years, Kevin found himself fully immersed in the world of book cover illustrations.

His career took a fortunate turn when he worked on the Rolling Stones cover. The opportunity came about because of his reputation as someone who could deliver exceptional work without complaints, even under challenging circumstances. Kevin emphasizes the importance of being easy to work with, meeting deadlines, and consistently producing amazing artwork. Building relationships with art directors also played a significant role in his success.

Eventually, Kevin transitioned into teaching and opened his own school. Reflecting on his own experience, he realized the difficulties aspiring artists face in finding clear paths to the education they need to pursue their dream careers. Many art colleges offer a vast array of classes, but it’s often challenging to determine which teachers can provide the specific insights and guidance necessary for success.

Kevin observed that most art instructors lack the professional-grade skills needed to thrive in the competitive industry. He believes that students should be taught by top-notch professionals who can share real-world knowledge and elevate their skills to meet industry standards. To address this gap, Kevin established his school – Evolve Artist Academy to provide aspiring artists with the practical education and mentorship they need to succeed.

About Evolve Artist Academy Program

Are you an aspiring artist looking to make your mark in the art world? Do you dream of creating breathtaking masterpieces and living a fulfilling life as an artist? If so, then the Evolve Artist program might be just what you need. 

Developed by Kevin who has dedicated his life to mastering the craft, this program offers a unique approach to art education that strips away opinion and focuses on analytical learning. 

In this part of the interview, we’ll explore the key insights shared in a video interview with Kevin, the program creator himself and shed light on how the Evolve Artist program can help you embark on your artistic journey.

A Different Perspective on Art Education:

Kevin challenges the traditional approach to art education, highlighting the importance of intense dedication and a mindset focused on excellence. He emphasizes that aspiring artists must be willing to fight for their dreams, taking every opportunity to learn and grow. The Evolve Artist program aims to instill this intensity and intent from the beginning, providing a roadmap for success in the art world.

Direct Access to the Source of Experience:

One of the standout features of the Evolve Artist program is the direct access students have to Kevin and instructors. Unlike traditional art colleges, where access to professors might be limited, the Evolve Artist program ensures that students can reach out for assistance whenever they need it. The instructors, who have been trained from the ground up, are readily available through live chats and email support. This accessibility allows students to overcome challenges and receive guidance, fostering a supportive learning environment.

The Online School for Art:

The Evolve Artist program follows a correspondence school model, which means students work at their own pace while receiving regular assignments. Students capture their work through photographs using their phones and submit them through the program’s homework tool. Each submission is reviewed by knowledgeable instructors who provide feedback, highlighting areas of improvement and suggesting the next steps. This personalized feedback loop ensures that students are never left alone in their artistic journey.

Breaking Down the Language of Art:

Art is often likened to a language, and the Evolve Artist program takes this analogy to heart. Kevin stresses the importance of starting from the basics, just like learning a new language. By breaking down art into its fundamental components, such as color temperature, composition, and object placement, students gain a solid foundation for their artistic expression. The program’s analytical approach ensures that students understand the underlying principles before diving into more complex techniques, fostering steady growth and progress.

No Talent Required, Just Analytical Learning:

Dispelling the notion of talent, Kevin emphasizes that the Evolve Artist program is accessible to anyone willing to put in the effort. Students who have never painted before can achieve paintings of equal quality to experienced artists by following the program’s analytical rules. The focus is on learning and understanding the rules of art, enabling students to develop their creativity within a structured framework. By approaching art as an analytical endeavor, the program empowers students to harness their artistic potential regardless of their prior experience.

A Teacher’s Responsibility:

In the Evolve Artist program, the responsibility for success lies not only with the students but also with the teachers. Kevin believes that no student can fail as long as they are putting in an earnest effort. If a student doesn’t grasp a concept or struggles with a particular technique, it is the teacher’s duty to find alternative ways to explain and ensure understanding. The program’s commitment to providing support and guidance to each student reflects its dedication to their success.

Kevin emphasizes the importance of tradition in the art world. Artists have been passing down their skills for generations, and Kevin feels it is his duty to continue this tradition by sharing what he has learned. He believes that no knowledge should die with him and that sharing is key to the growth and development of the art community.

Making Money with Art:

One common obstacle for aspiring artists is the fear of leaving a stable job and pursuing their passion. Kevin acknowledges this concern but also highlights the value of transforming one’s life into something fulfilling and enjoyable. The Evolve Artist program is designed to help individuals step-by-step, from learning essential skills to breaking into the art industry. It offers a chance to start a new career and a new life doing what you love.

The program covers a wide range of topics, including drawing, painting, panel preparation, canvas stretching, and even photography. It doesn’t assume that students have access to professional equipment, teaching them how to do a photo shoot with just a cell phone and available lighting. Kevin and his team provide comprehensive guidance on building a successful art career, dispelling misconceptions and helping students navigate the art industry.

Many people mistakenly believe that a career in art means financial struggle. However, Kevin challenges this notion. While breaking into the high-end art market may be challenging, the reality is that 70% of all art sales are under $5,000. Making just one sale a month at this price point can bring in $60,000 a year. By gradually increasing prices and building a client base, artists can achieve a comfortable income.

Determining the right pricing for artwork can be a common concern for artists. Kevin simplifies this by encouraging students to consider the value of their time. For example, if you make $10 an hour in your current job, it’s more worthwhile to paint at $10 an hour and further your artistic skills. Similarly, if you make $40 an hour, selling a portrait for $400 (taking 10 hours to create) is a reasonable and rewarding transition. The key is to find joy in what you do and not be part of the statistic where 80% of people in the US dislike their jobs.

Kevin emphasizes the importance of having a solid plan and understanding the business side of art. Many artists focus solely on their craft without developing the necessary business acumen. As a result, they often rely on agents or galleries, giving away a significant portion of their earnings. However, Kevin believes that artists can take control of their careers, especially with the advent of the internet. With creativity and strategic thinking, artists can establish their own paths, whether locally or globally.

Supportive Community:

The Evolve Artist program aims to create a supportive environment for students. Through chat rooms and shared experiences, students can connect with fellow artists around the world. They can work together, ask questions, and learn from each other’s mistakes. Kevin and his team offer regular lectures, Q&A sessions, and one-on-one chats with students. They are dedicated to ensuring the success of each student and even offer a money-back guarantee if the program doesn’t meet expectations in the first block.

Evolve Artist Program Supplies:

A standout feature of the program is the inclusion of high-quality materials. Half of the program cost covers these materials, sourced directly by Kevin. The program partners with Old Holland, the oldest paint manufacturer in the world, used by renowned artists throughout history. Using top-notch materials is essential for effective learning, as poor-quality materials can hinder progress. With Evolve, students receive a box of materials at their doorstep, eliminating the need to shop for supplies.

Kevin’s Vision for Evolve Artist Program:

Firstly, let’s explore Kevin’s vision for the program. He sees it not merely as an education platform, but as a powerful movement. Kevin believes that our current education system lacks proper emphasis on art, and he envisions Evolve as a way to change that. Imagine a world where high school students receive the same level of respect and attention in art classes as they do in math or science. By providing access to art education for all students, Kevin believes we can foster a greater appreciation for the labor and skill behind creating art. He dreams of a society where people possess basic art skills, allowing them to express their creativity and adding beauty to the world. Kevin’s goal is to spread the program across the United States and eventually the rest of the world, creating a global movement.

But Kevin’s dreams don’t stop there. He’s eager to get back to painting for himself. Throughout his adult life, he’s been painting for others, working on commissions and portraits. However, he yearns to create paintings that are purely personal and reflective of his own ideas and inspirations. He envisions building a collection of art by other talented artists and wishes to be surrounded by their genius. Additionally, Kevin plans to combine his love for art with his passion for traveling. He envisions organizing seminars and workshops worldwide, spending a month in different countries, immersing himself in diverse cultures, and sharing his knowledge with eager learners. The freedom to explore and appreciate art globally is a dream come true for Kevin.

Evolve Artist Student’s Testimonials:

Now let’s shift our focus to the students of Evolve and their dreams. Each student brings their unique aspirations to the program. One student, filled with enthusiasm, wants to create fabulous portraits and share them as heartfelt gifts for their family. Their art style ranges from integrating anime elements to exploring realism and experimenting with various imaginative concepts. The sky’s the limit for their artistic journey, and they feel confident in pursuing any direction they desire.

For another student, Evolve has exceeded all expectations. They express sheer joy and contentment, stating that everything they’ve learned in the past three months has been fabulous. Their passion for art has led them to cancel other commitments, as they now want to devote themselves entirely to their artistic pursuits. The program has opened up a whole new world of opportunity for them, and they couldn’t be happier.

Art holds different meanings for each student. Some find it to be a fulfillment of a childhood dream, taking them back to the days of coloring books and captivated museum visits. Others view it as an escape plan from their corporate careers, seeking personal growth and the ability to share their creations with loved ones. It’s about putting their ideas onto canvas and framing them professionally. Evolve has provided the tools, community, and support they needed to embark on this artistic journey.

Speaking of community, that’s one of the remarkable aspects of Evolve. Students highlight the immense value they find in the program’s supportive and enthusiastic community. They cheer each other on, regardless of skill level or obstacles faced. The joy of sharing their successes and receiving encouragement from peers fuels their passion and motivates them to continue creating. It’s not just a program; it’s a vibrant community of artists supporting and inspiring one another.

The students also emphasize the program’s approachability and its ability to make realistic art achievable. They appreciate how Evolve breaks down complex techniques and guides them step by step, from the very basics to mastery. This approach gives them confidence and allows them to believe that anyone can learn and create remarkable art.


Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am a full-time self-taught artist behind Art Side of Life® and a Top Teacher on Skillshare. I have 15 years of experience in the creative field as a concept designer, illustrator, art director, and now freelance artist, content creator, and art instructor. My goal is to help you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art through practical classes, tutorials, Procreate brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies and resources. About me »

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Hey there!

I am Iva (rhymes with viva), and I'm the artist behind Art Side of Life. I'm all about helping you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art! So on my website, I share Procreate classes, tutorials, brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies, and resources such as these interviews. Ready to create and make amazing art? Then explore, join and have fun ♡

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