Someone over on Tumblr asked me an art related question. I feel that it’s important to share knowledge so I’m posting it here too.
Anonymous – I’ve been drawing off and on for years, and still, I feel as though I don’t know where to begin. I’m struggling with art and I want to get better at it, as well as become more motivated with it. Is there any advice you can offer in hopes to get past these issues?
Wow, such a serious question Anon. Well, there are so many possible answers to all those questions, but I can only give my personal out look. I’ll do my best with this but remember, what I do to keep motivated might be different for you.
Let’s start with not knowing where to begin. That can be tough. It’s really a mix of goals. One side has what sort of things you want to draw and the other is the technical side of it. Knowing the kind of art you want to do will help you to start. It doesn’t have to be anything super specific. It could be something like “I just want to draw cool ass robots” or “I want to draw/paint like my favorite artist because I really like what they do”. Both are totally fine places to start. The other is the technical. If you want to draw those cool robots, then look up what robots look like. Look at what machines look like. Use pictures as reference and examples. There is no shame in using ref. I’ve been drawing for decades and I still use ref. My animation instructor in college told us “how do you know how to draw something if you don’t know what it looks like”? You can use this with regards to your favorite artists too. Look at their work, study what they do. I do that all the time with the artists that I admire. It’s the best way for me to understand what others do and how they work.
Getting better is easy… and tough. Just draw. Draw all the time. Draw everything. If you don’t know what to draw at any given time. Draw your own hand. Study that hand. Some say that hands are the hardest things to draw and yet they fail to realize that they can study the one they have at end of their arm. Don’t feel like everything you draw has to be original. Drawing the most common used ideals and visions of things is good. Take a pirate for example. Draw what you know a pirate looks like. Then sketch him/her again based on what society thinks a pirate looks like. Get those out of your system first. Once you’re past them, you can expand on those designs.
Being motivated can be the most difficult. You have to want to push yourself and look at your skill level and know that you can always grow from where you are. But don’t get angry or upset at what you can’t draw. That negativity can be crippling. Understand that not every drawing you do will be awesome. Just have fun drawing your cool ass robots and exploring your own ideas around that theme. Having fun is the most important aspect. If you’re not having fun, then walk away for a bit. Drawings will always wait for you to come back. When you do come back, look at what you’ve done with fresh eyes and understand where you might need to improve and what you like about your art. It’s easy to be hard on yourself, but you also have to be your best fan too.
Finally, understand that it can take a long time to get to the skill level you want to be at. You have to keep at it. Don’t be down on yourself because you don’t think your improving quickly enough. Don’t compare your art to others, but learn from them to help you grow. You’ll be frustrated at times. We all feel that way at some point. What I do is go back and study the artists I truly admire and try to understand what they do. Most of all, you have to love to draw. Love to draw and improve. I hope all that helps. It can be hard to stay motivated, but if you just keep drawing those cool ass robots and have fun doing it, you’ll be alright. ^_^