I pretty much grew up with a pencil somewhere on my person. As I grew as an artist and continue to grow, I’ve discovered some amazing tips on the way. So here is a list of things I’ve come to discover!
1: Learning Anatomy
Drawing portraits and subjects that include people is my jam. Anatomy however, so frustratingly frustrating. Hands, noses, lips, and feet are the bane of every beginner and even professional artist. There was a time when I was so frustrated with the way the hands I drew came out that I spent a month doing only hand studies. Weirdest sketchbook I think to date….
Anatomy is extremely important in anything. Humans, animals and yes, even plants. Learning how things work and what each muscle does and what they look like gives your art that extra punch. It’s one of those things that I never realized I was missing until I started studying. Try reading anatomy books or watching dancers and people in general. Really focus on the way they move and bend. You will find your art has exploded from there!
2: Studying other artist (and safely mimicking)
Another great way to learn new techniques is by mimicking how other artist work. THIS IS ONLY DONE IN SKETCHBOOKS. This is important and for studying purposes only. I will straight up recreate the exact way an artist does something in my sketchbooks. It’s a great way to mix and match pieces that you like. I’ve figured out a great way to draw lips and noses this way. There are also thousands of tutorials from amazing artist all over the world for free online. Look up some of your favorite artist, past and present, to create new images and discover your own personal style.
3: Draw EVERYDAY
This is so so so so important. I really only started doing this in 2015 and have been kicking myself that I didn’t do this sooner. Just from 2015, I have gotten so much better that it’s almost laughable. Even just a doodle on lunchbreak or some small studies while waiting at the DMV. All of this accumulates in the back of your mind. Your hands become smoother, you no longer have to use a reference for how the face is shaped, coloring becomes second nature; all of this happens because you draw every day. I have every size in sketchbooks now and they are everywhere. I have 3 in my school bag, one in my purse, one for work, and I have and emergency one in my car. Just drawing one tiny thing daily is going to make your life as an artist so much easier. Please for the love of all that is holy, draw every day! My silly mistake could be your growth!
4: Learn to take criticism
This is probably the hardest. Even now it’s still very hard for me to take criticism. Although, it’s good to take a notice to the types of criticism. It’s only helpful if it’s constructive, meaning that you can learn from it. You will always have people who will say, “oh, I liked your older stuff better.” Or “this part loos weird.” This isn’t very helpful. Why does it look weird? < that is helpful.
Because I am a sensitive soul, when I review another artist’s work. I try to use the compliment sandwich. I look at what I love most about it, “I really love the way you drew the nose. The shape is super interesting and I love the way the shadow makes it look real” Then something that I feel they may need to improve, “ I feel that the hair needs to be divided up and sectioned off for shading to improve the shape.” Then a fun little motivational, “I can’t wait to see what your work will look like next week!” I learned this technique in an ethics class a long time ago and it totally stuck. Give me all the compliment sandwiches!
5: Take breaks AND even hiatuses
I took my first hiatus at the beginning of the year for 2 weeks. I had reached a stalemate in everything. I found that I was only getting more and more frustrated, nothing was coming out right, I had art block like nobody’s business, and I was just over all unmotivated and uninspired. So I packed away all of my art supplies and just let go. I pursued other hobbies like knitting and watched a lot of Netflix. After the two weeks I was absolutely unstoppable. Even short breaks are good. Take a bath for an hour, or just go outside and enjoy the sun for a minute. This will refresh your brain and help increase motivation to keep going.
Try out these tips and share any cool things you may have discovered as you continue to grow as an artist. Let’s all help each other out! Art-n-Fly and I would absolutely love to see it! TAG @artnfly and @arlieopal in your social media!