"How do you become a better artist?"
Artists are always looking for ways to improve their art. There are many ways to become a better artist. Some take some time, but some will help you instantly. In this blog, we'll give you 6 tips for becoming a better artist fast.
You might be wondering: is it OK to learn from copying art? The answer is yes! However, don't trace. The way copying is going to help you is if you start studying reference pictures. Try to redraw the picture by looking at it. Think about it this way: if you've never properly looked at a cow, will you be able to draw it correctly? Probably not. Looking up pictures and using them as a reference to draw the cow will teach you how to draw cows without references in the future.
'Don’t compare yourself to others'. Does this sound familiar? Almost everyone has heard this from their parents, myself included. But remember when you brought back bad grades and the first thing they asked was: “How did *your friend* do?” Like, mum, I thought I was not supposed to compare myself to other people. Then she said: “You shouldn't, unless you can learn from them!”
Another pro tip when it comes to improving your art in an instance is flipping your drawing. Now you're looking at a mirrored image. This makes you see the drawing from a different "viewpoint", and you might be able to see mistakes you did not see before.
Magic mirror on the wall, which drawing is the most beautiful of them all?
There are different ways of doing it and different means to do it. One of our favorite applications for anything, from drawing to animation, is Procreate. Here is how to mirror images/sketches in Procreate. Another popular drawing application is Adobe’s very own Illustrator. You can check out how to mirror with Illustrator here. And last but definitely not least is our second favorite drawing application so far, Affinity Designer. How to do it on there you can find here.
The bigger picture
Sometimes it is crucial for artists to take a step back, take a big breath and take in the entirety of their artwork. Be your biggest critic when it comes to finalizing your work. Try to be playful when coming up with ideas and enjoy the “fuck-ups” as much as your favorite artworks. Aside from mirroring an image, the human eye is easily influenced by perspectives, angles, and range towards any kind of artwork. This is why taking a step back to see the “bigger picture” is one of the best ways to improve your artwork.
They say the devil is in the details. This is more than true, even though this proverb was not intended to make sense in our situation, it does. In fact, any artist should take the time to look at their artworks from different angles, distances, or perspectives. Not only do you see things you might have not seen before. But also you realize which details are worth refining and which ones are unnecessary to.
Another helpful trick is squinting. It sounds very funny, but when you are squinting, your eyes have a natural “blurry filter” over them. This enables you to focus on the most important visual statements in your artwork. It is also helpful to blur out the details, in case you want to oversee them and focus on the “bigger picture”.
Take a breather
With the plethora of creative outlets available nowadays, there is so much one has to bring to the table with each different activity. Not to mention that there are so many differences between each of the artistic activities that there is no way that you can know about every single one of them. Luckily there are some things that never change, no matter which activity you are pursuing.
The most important thing to remember, for any creative activity, and one of our number one tips when it comes to improving your art is: To take a breather! Especially when you have come to a halt in your drawings or you are simply burned out on your work. It seems very simple and almost too obvious to mention. But from my own experience, there is this deeply rooted ambition in some artists to finish a project at all costs. This kind of behavior might lead you straight into a mental asylum or at least burn a lot of brain cells that could have been saved.
So taking a break IS of extreme importance if not mandatory. Of course, there are artists that don’t need them on a special day/occasion. But it is almost impossible to perfect your drawings in one session, and I am certain that most professional artists would agree on this. A lot of artists get frustrated when that happens, even though it is perfectly natural. Sometimes your brain needs time to adjust to changes or to realize new ones. Don’t force yourself to make progress, because that way you won’t make any.
Make it your playground
This should be easy, as most artists draw/sketch/animate because it is their passion. For some of them it is even their way of escaping reality for a moment. Not every artist needs art to escape reality though. Photo-realistic illustrations, for example, are artificial images that are shockingly close to what we see everyday with our bare eyes. But most artists definitely draw/sketch/animate because they love it and are steady trying to improve themselves.
A real artist’s journey never really ends. In fact, in this age of constant innovation and novelties there is an almost endless amount of new possibilities that artists can improve upon. The goal for many professional artists is to find their own techniques and not be limited by their own disabilities. Which means that improvement should be a constant in every artist’s vision.
Thus, use your imagination and experiment, explore and create as much as you can. There are no boundaries when it comes to your imagination, that are not imposed by yourself. Which means that you are your biggest obstacle when it comes to improving. Stay open-minded, stay hungry for more and explore, explore and explore. You never know, if you simply haven’t found your own drawing technique yet.
I think, therefore I am! This is Descartes historical tutorial on how to realize that every human being that is capable of thinking is capable of creating. Or more generally, it means that you shouldn’t doubt yourself, for doubting is the reason you are a self-actualizing, competent human being. You are able to think and create whatever you want to.
After grasping this, you will slowly be able to turn this bud of ideas into blooming flowers of creativity. Like the infamous philosopher Immanuel Kant once said, “Sapere aude”. Which is roughly translated into “Dare to know”. Meaning that you should have the courage to use your own understanding in all situations. This translates into your creative output as well. Be brave enough to dig up your deepest desires, dreams or secrets and transform them into art.
As soon as you have mastered the art of imagination and transferring it into tangible art, you will most likely have experimented with a lot of different drawing techniques up until that point. A lot of artists find it difficult to find their favorite way of expressing themselves because of the large selection of drawing styles out there. The truth is that the market for artists is constantly reaching a new level of saturation, where new drawing styles almost come as fast as they go. The secret to being indistinguishable is to simply practice and someday make your drawing style your own.
Now it is your turn to utilize these tips and evaluate their effectivity on your own. Make sure to let us know whether you found these tips helpful and feel free to share all of your progress and improvement by using the hashtag #madewithapentip. Or if you are looking for other ventures to help you improve on your drawing skills, you should join the PenTips Buddy Program.
Do you have other valuable tips for your fellow artist? Do you disagree with a any of the tips? Or do you just want to tell us the name of your favorite pet? You can do all of that in the comment section underneath this blog post, on our social media pages or via email.
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