Written by Bryce Darrow
Improvement is very important to me as an artist. There is nothing worse than meandering at the same level for an extended period of time. This blog post is designed to help you improve your artwork through discipline, objectivity, and patience.
I must preface this article by saying that this is not the only way to improve. I am by no means an authority on this. This method works for me and I’m hoping it will work for you as well!
Firstly, remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. You won’t show improvement in one day of doing the things I suggest. That being said, you will never master your art. I know this may sound cruel, but the idea of mastery is a false notion. Most masters do not consider themselves masters. As you gain more understanding of your craft, you’ll realize how much more there is to understand. This is the conundrum, but also the beauty of art. There will in turn, ALWAYS be someone better than you. That’s ok. Instead of resenting them, reach out and ask them about techniques and mediums. You’d be surprised by their kindness. Realizing that there is no finish line is a necessary way of thinking for an artist.
Draw everyday, period. This is the most important rule to follow. That’s right, I said “rule.” There are no excuses. Bring your pen and your sketchbook everywhere. Draw your toes, draw your phone, draw anything. This is the best way to build up mechanical drawing skills and a steady hand.
Copy your influences! I am not saying steal the style of people that inspire you, but rather, copy line for line the things that they’ve done. Master copying has been taught for centuries in art schools across the world. Why you might ask? Because it works. ALWAYS give credit to those you are copying from. There is nothing worse than an idea pilferer. Comparing your work to the real thing is a great way to stay objective and improve. Who knows, you may even pick up some new techniques along the way!
Stay objective. This can be hard for most of us. How many times have you drawn something and thought, I hate it. This happens to me all the time, but you must ask yourself, “why do I hate it?” Is the nose too long on your portrait? Are the leaves on the trees not matching what you see? Identify the problems that inhabit your work and fix them. You will never improve if you habitually make the same mistakes.
Lastly, have fun. You can toil away in your cave practicing noses all day, but also draw stuff that makes you happy too. This is why the sketchbook is so magical. The sketchbook should be a place where anything can exist without scrutiny. Draw a pig-man, make a demonic gremlin, sketch a snake eating cheese. Who cares! Just make it fun for yourself. If you don’t have fun it will show in your work. I hope these things will help you improve. If there’s something here I didn’t mention (I’m sure there is), please post what helps you improve as an artist. I look forward to your comments!
Follow Bryce on his Instagram @brycedarrowart