Whether you have been creating art for awhile or are just beginning, I’m guessing you have what I refer to as having a “fire in the belly” for creating art.
That is akin to having a food craving (like my frequent chocolate craving—has to be dark, though, not the milk chocolate, lol, but I digress!). What I mean is you continue to get drawn into another session (see what I did there? 🙂 ) of expressing yourself time and again.
But what brought you here to this post may be a dissatisfaction of sort—you’ve reached a plateau and want to start climbing again. Well you’ve come to the right place if you are looking for great suggestions for how to improve your art skills.
1. First Things First: Negativity Needs to Go
Negative thinking is our number one enemy. It keeps us from trying, from believing in ourselves. And trust me, you will never improve your art skills if you don’t believe in yourself.
Think of it this way, a part of you (the positive side) already believes you can do it or why would you keep creating and why are you reading this? This is the first step—believe for once and for all that your art is good enough to keep learning and improving. Yes, you do have potential; kick the negativism to the curb for once and for all.
So, do you believe in yourself? Yes or no? If no, then stop reading. But if yes, then congrats! You accomplished the first hurdle!
2. Make a Commitment Today
But first you have to make the commitment. Really commit to improving your art. It needs to be a conscious decision that you make to improve your art.
Put a date on that commitment and stick to it. If you hold yourself accountable like that, you’d be surprised what you can accomplish!
3. Become a Master— not a “Jack of All Trades”
This means that the art course you took in high school taught you a lot about many different mediums, am I right? But Ithink they are designed to help you “discover” what mediums you’re drawn to (sorry, did it again!) that you’ll master later on.
So my advice? Focus on one thing for a while (maybe a long while) to really master the skill, instead of trying to be a jack of all mediums.
If you constantly jump around with different mediums (maybe just because you get bored), it would actually take you much longer to get great at just one because jumping around takes your “eye off the ball”, so to speak.
If you do colored pencil for one day or a week, then watercolor, then acrylic, then graphite or charcoal drawing, you will lose the continuity of the learning process for each one.
(Pictured right is “Oarsmen at Chatou” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir)
Stick with one. If it’s colored pencil, then have at it and avail yourself to everything having to do with colored pencils before moving on to another medium. (I recommend at least a year.)
4. Ask for Feedback
From another artist:
If there is another artist you know whose work you admire, I believe it may be helpful to ask them for an assessment of your art pieces. You may glean some ideas about areas for improvement. Also, if they do a particular subject well like clouds or leaves on a tree, ask for advice on technique.
From family or friends:
Also, I have done this before many times in the past: I’ll be working on something and may struggle with a certain part and can’t pinpoint what needs improving; I will ask my husband, son, daughter, etc. for their input. Even though they are not artists, they often times can offer something pertinent I may have overlooked.
Don’t underestimate how helpful it can be to ask for and receive feedback. This can be truly helpful and give you insights you never thought of.
BUT you have to be prepared to take criticism. That person could point out something that took you hours to do and now you may have to do it all over again. Or you thought you knew what you were doing only to find out you missed the boat. Still, wouldn’t you like to know that so you can learn from it, make it right, and improve going forward?
5. Choose The Best Instruction To Meet Your Needs
So, you decided on a medium to give your full attention to, now what? Well, you really need to find some good instruction.
Before the days of the internet, one could take an art or drawing class through their local school district’s continuing education program. And you still can.
But given what we’ve all been through this spring and summer of 2020, we have become best friends with the internet, and quite adept at surfing it!
As you probably have guessed, there are tons and tons of instructional information on the internet for how to improve your art skills and much of it is totally free. You can literally self-teach with all that’s out there.
If you like to learn by reading, art blogs like this one have many articles regarding techniques and materials reviews—all very helpful. Social media like Pinterest and Facebook can link you up to many blog articles, or you can simply do a search.
You-tubehas many artists that happily show you their You-tube art videos that you can learn different techniques/stylesfrom.
Some will charge a nominal annual fee to join their site, but then you have free access to all the
videos and information. The Virtual Instructor is one. (I happen to belong to it and enjoy watching his tutorials.) He’s a great instructor and artist!
Art Tutor is another great site with loads and loads of classes and videos that charge per class. Some tutorials are free as well.
Another is Artists Network that has many free and paid art education. And there are many others. You only need to search to find them.
Private Lessons/Classes On or Offline
If self-study is not your thing, and you’re willing and able to invest financially, there are a number of resources for private lessons/classes as well as degreed collegiate-level programs online.
You can also search for artists in your local area who give private lessons. Take it from one who knows—there’s nothing like one-on-one if you can swing it financially. I learned so much from my private mentor.
6. Set Achievable Goals – Break Down Learning
If you found plenty of instructional info, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Well, it’s helpful to break down your learning into smaller steps, and learn them one at a time.
You can learn a lot by watching an artist at work, but maybe you’re struggling with one technique? Then find instruction on that one particular thing and master that.
For example, you may be very familiar with using colored pencil but never quite mastered blending techniques. So instead of wasting a lot of time watching videos on how to use colored pencil, look for instruction on just blending. See?
Speaking of which, I wrote an article on that very thing. Click here to read “6 Ways for How to Blend Colored Pencils”.
Or break it down by subject. Maybe you love landscapes with trees and woods but feel daunted looking at an instructional video of a landscape painting. Instead, take the time to break it down in just learning to draw a tree for example.
My post, “How to Draw a Tree Step by Step”, can help you do just that. Go Here to read the article.
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7. Use Good Materials
If you began using the most economical materials for a certain medium because you didn’t want to invest a lot in case you didn’t like it, you may still be using them and frankly, well, your art could be suffering as a result. You may want to consider upgrading.
Inferior materials may be less pigmented and have more binder making colors look less than vibrant and giving your art a “lack-luster” appearance.
Also, lower quality products may not perform as well, making your job of doing certain techniques unsuccessful or more difficult than it needs to be.
For example, layering and blending is everything in colored pencil. If you like colored pencil art but are using a brand that doesn’t layer well and fights being layered (not mixing well with the layer below) or blended, then it may be time to invest in a higher quality.
My recommendations for colored pencil are:
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils (wax-based pencil)
Here are my reviews on each:
My point is, it may be time to play in the big league and buy yourself the best you can afford. I really wanted a set of Faber Castell Polychromos as I had heard such good things. Buying a small set to start with worked out well. I got hooked on them and began saving for a larger set which I purchased months later.
I still like Prismacolor (they are nice and soft) and Koh-in-Noor (because they are woodless), but I really love Polychromos.
8. Strive for Daily Art
Daily drawing or other artwork—yes, even if it’s just a quick piece or sketch or just practicing a technique—is a super way to consistently keep improving.
Ok, do I really mean every single day of your life? Well no, not exactly, but it should be a part of your regular routine if you really want to improve.
Believe me, the “rust” starts developing so quickly if you leave art for even a week or so!
9. Be Patient
Some people are more patient than others. Guessing you’re already a patient person if you’re doing art because well,frankly, it’s required!
But some are way more patient with other people than they are themselves. Give yourself the patience you deserve when you’re learning something new.
It takes time to learn and master any new skill/technique etc. and art is no exception! Take time to learn it.
Remember anything that is worth doing is worth doing well, so don’t rush your learning—go at your own pace and never feel bad if it takes you longer.
10. Stop Comparing Your Art to Others!!
Easy to say, I know. We all do it. We compare our work to someone else’s and nine times out of ten, I bet that negative speak starts running in our heads. STOP!!
We work in an industry that has A lot of leeway. Undoubtedly, you’ve heard of “artistic license”, right? Art is so subjective and unique to each individual as we bring our own interpretation into expressing and creating.
You have your own style, so appreciate that. If you need to improve, then make that your goal.
It is ok to compare your work to earlier work you did, however, to check if you are improving. 😉
Improve Your Art Skills
I’m really hoping the ideas discussed in this post about how to improve your art skills will help you do just that. Remember to just make that commitment, break it down into workable goals, ask for feedback, and stick to it.
Then please come back after you’ve achieved what you set out to do and let us know. We all love success stories!
Here are more helpful articles to improve:
==>Go here==< to improve your colored pencil art.<==
Looking for other ways to learn to draw? ==>Click here <==
Unsure about mixing colors? ==>Go Here<== to learn about color theory
All the best to you always. Thanks for stopping by and have an artful day!
P.S. Comments are always welcome and I never will share your email address.