I’ve been drawing and painting for a good while now, and though I’m not going to pretend my art is amazing, but I feel like I’ve improved a lot at a fairly steady pace. I thought it’d be nice, for anyone else getting started on trying to improve, to have a post sharing all the little tricks, tips and bits I’ve learnt that have helped me to better my art!
Reference Pictures Matter
Most of my art is abstract or trippy in some way, so I spent years being like now, it’s fine! I’ll just draw from my imagination’. Of course it rarely turned out how I imagined. It’s only the last two months or so that I’ve started using reference pictures and it’s made an absolute world of difference, both for my art and for how I see things while creating.
The thing I never realised is that you don’t have to stick to the reference. Like for the picture below, that was just a random model I found on Pinterest and used the reference to get the lines and shading how I wanted it, the. Just veered off on my own path. Having a reference gives you the lines and colours to play with and create your own thing from, you don’t have to just recreate the picture!
Colour Theory Helps
Now, I’m not an expert, and you don’t need to be either, but knowing the basics such as adding blue to shadows or what to mix to get the colour you want gives you the base you need to experiment and change things without having to play a guessing game. I’ve recently figured out that so much of the art I’ve wanted to do what have turned out better, and my current art is turning out better, because having a base knowledge is necessary to be able to play with things like colour and shape.
I feel like this is the absolute opposite of what most people say, but it’s true. I don’t have a lot of money, I’ve spent most of my time making art doing so with very cheap materials, and it’s a great way to learn and experiment, but I can tell you with total honest my art is easier to make, more enjoyable, and turns out more how I intended it when using a good quality sketchbook and Winsor & Newton watercolours than when I was using the cheapest version of both from the works.
I’m not saying this to put anyone off, cheap materials are fantastic to be able to learn and play without worrying about wasting money, but once you’re try to really start improving, I do think investments should be made. You don’t have to break the bank, the sketchbook was about £4 from a shop on Bold Street in Liverpool I don’t remember the name of, and my Winsor & Newton watercolour palette is their smallest one, which costs about £10. I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t love one of their much lager palettes, but even their tiny one is so much better for me than any cheap palette I’ve bought.
It doesn’t have to be good
This is the most important tip I have. If I hadn’t had so many times that I became discouraged by my art not being ‘good enough’ and stopped creating for a while, I’d have been improving like this years ago. Things like this take practice, patience and passion. You don’t just get in a car and start driving, you have to learn how to do it first, and though art is very different, in that respect they’re the same.
I’ve spent hours and hours and hours practicing art at this point, and there’s still thousands and thousands of people making way better art than me, but art isn’t just about being good, it’s about evoking emotion, representing something, creating beauty or horror or whatever you feel, and it doesn’t have to be good to do any of those things, it just has to be honest.
So, they’re my art tips! If anyone has any good tips or art resources, please do leave them in the comments!