As artists we seek for constant improvement. We learn, we strive for perfection, we fail and we keep doing things we love to do - here are my thoughts about the topic and I hope that they might be helpful.
1. Take notes
If you read something useful and inspirational - write it down. In journal, sketchbook - anywhere. Sketch something, put some lovely quotes - the information you'll see on tutorials, books and articles. You can't remember everything, so if you take notes and write the most meaningful things and then look through them - you'll learn more effectively.
2. Get out of the comfort zone
Learn something new with every new artwork you make. Challenge yourself, don't be afraid to study new things and push the boundaries of what you know. It feels so safe in comfort zone, but you won't improve if you stay in one place and do repetitive work.
3. Change the perspective
Show your art to others, seek for feedback and critique. There are so many places online to publish your works and don't be afraid or discouraged about what may happen. Look for different opinions, but stay true to yourself and work on your weaknesses. Also after finishing an artwork - take a look at it in the next day, flip the canvas (digitally) or put the the art facing towards the mirror, take a look at it from far away - maybe you'll notice something that you can improve on.
4. Try different mediums
Traditional and digital art - both of them are good to experiment and make some lovely artworks. There are so many ways to express yourself and getting to know as many ways as possible can influence your workflow and choose the most suitable medium for art you make. Watercolors, acrylics, oil paint, charcoal, pencil, ballpoint pen - there are so many options and if you try them, you'll eventually see what works best for you.
Let the happy accidents to happen - change your way of working - indoors or outside, in the early morning or late night, alone or with other artists, small canvas or huge ones. Limit yourself to few colors, on set timeframe, make daily sketches, discover new music, books, travelling and let them to inspire you.
6. Join some contests
Participate in as many as you can - you'll never know what may happen. You'll be motivated to finish artwork in limited time and you'll learn so much in the process.
7. Be ambitious
Start a daily challenge, make some speedpaintings and studies every single day, don't be afraid of projects of things that you always wanted to make, but was afraid that you were not good enough. Just do it and have some thoughts about concept of your artowrks, ideas, stories - what makes you stand out from the crowd and work hard on your goals.
Learn from books, art magazines, interviews, podcasts, blogs. Learn from life around you - how things are made, how colours, materials, shapes look around you. Learn fundamentals - composition, light and shadow, proportions, anatomy (great journal about the topic by Goodnight-Melbourne).
9. Focus on a certain subject at a time
If you lack the knowledge about certain things, focus on that and do studies, learn about that for a while. It's so easy to get overwhelmed by how much there is to learn. Avoid disctractions and just put all your effort and attention to one thing at a time- a book, artwork, tutorial - to be the most productive and avoid procrastination.
10. Draw and paint a lot
Practice, practice, practice. Your arm needs to get used to work freely, the more you put an honest effort, the more you'll be better at the chosen medium and you'll have gain the experience and skill. Also paint and draw what you like and enjoy the process. The journey matters.
It's important to see your own improvement over the time and take a look back, to compare the changes over the years. (as you can see, I painted a 1967 Chevrolet Impala few times in the past - in 2011, 2012 and 2014) It's suprising how only after certain amount the time we can really see a difference and it serves to us as a motivation to keep moving forward and put a lot of hard work on things that matters so much to us.
So, how about you - what are your favorite ways to improve?
This week I found some lovely resources - great tumblr post about how to use a tablet without hurting your wrist, art fundamentals by jonone, taking a walk digitally in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, reference site referencereference.com/for artists of people, animals in motion , would suggest watching amazing tv series - "In the flesh" - It's something between Supernatural and Shameless - with great storyline, mesmerizing mood and soundtrack. (The series won the BAFTA for a Mini-Series in May 2014) (take a look at this list of reasons why more people should watch it) and this game - "Loved" by Alexander Ocias - about decisions, will and order, disobeying and emotions.
Have a wonderful week!
""I don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be."