söndag 13 mars 2016

Improving your art

Earlier this week, I was asked to give some advice on how someone who's just recently started drawing could improve their art.

First I'd like to point out; It's hard for me to say how I started, and teach someone from scratch, as I've drawn basically all my life. When I was little I had lots of books with paintings by (among others) the Swedish artists John Bauer, Lena Furberg, Sven Nordqvist and more, I decided already at the age of 4 that I was going to become an artist like them. 

I'd say the best advice I really have is, practice, a lot! Don't try to make every painting a finished piece, instead, "sketch for your traschcan", draw a bit every day and feel no pressure, it doesn't have to be perfect or good at all, you're just supposed to play around and learn from it, you'll still improve! :)

 I also believe many artists rely a bit too much on using references. By this I mean, if you draw from a photo, you learn to draw just that motive from that specific angle. But you don't get "understanding" of the motive, which is needed to be able to draw on freehand. (I also believe that by tracing an image and just drawing the same lines over it, you won't really learn much and improve veeery much slower)

For instance, how I've learned most is from when I had a horse I took care of every day. I would sit down in the meadow with my sketchbook and just draw quick sketches (from 30 seconds to a maximum of 5 minutes, and tried to capture as much as I could  in each sketch) of her while she was eating, walking around etc. I still bring my sketchbook when I go to watch others ride on competitions etc. I learned super much from studying croquis in artschool, before that I could barely even draw humans at all and less then a year later I had no problems with it! By practicing on drawing "live" like that you get better understanding of both how things work, how they looks when they move, and how shadow/lightning changes on different textures (such as fur etc). When it comes to animals, if you have the opportunity to meet them, touch the parts of the animals that you find difficult to draw (for instance the legs, paws/hooves etc) and try to memorize what they feel like. When you draw after that, you might not exactly remember what that part looks like, but if you remember how it feels like you can sort of "sculpt" it into your drawing. You'll have to remind yourself that even if your painting is flat, you're actually painting a 3D object.
I've also bought wooden figure models of both a human and a horse, I find that such tools can help if you find the anatomy tricky.

When it comes to digital art, well, I'm self taught in that so I'd say I've learned by just experimenting with different tools in photoshop, and over the years figuring out which I prefer, what I thought looked best and by that, what my art style was. You can see a very small part of my digital art-journey (2007 to 2013) here; http://lambidy.deviantart.com/art/Improvement-meme-2007-2013-364999637
Again, the only thing to really do is practice, practice, practice, and draw a lot. And dare to experiment with your art, of course you can admire and be inspired by other people's artstyles, but it's by experimenting you'll develop your own personal style! There are no "cheat ways" to get around that sadly, it will take time. Over the latest 5 years I've drawn almost every day, and I'm still super far from how good I want to be!! + I'm currently applying to a couple of different universities where I'll be able to study Illustration etc too.

And, perhaps most important; don't be afraid of being in the learning phase. Don't try to become a "great artist" in just a week, you have time i promise! I honestly think all artists always will be in the learning phase, because no artist will ever consider themselves a "finished, great artist with no need to get better", they'll always continue practice to become even better. Try to make that your motivation!

I might do more posts on this, and I'll definitely upload more tutorials, but I hope some of this can help you improve your art! :) 

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