The year has passed, and now 2022 is here. For those of you who are reading this article, congratulations! We made it through 2021 and it’s time to recharge so that we can return to our activities with full energy this year.
Have you decided what to do this year? Is it a routine, a new challenge, or a wish list that you want to cross? Or are you just thinking about it? Of course, it’s never too late to start something. The most important thing is to take action on all the plans you have made.
I myself plan to continue some of the goals from the previous year, such as making YouTube videos, writing art journals on this site, and completing ongoing personal projects. And most importantly, I want to improve my art skills.
But How to Do It?
We all know that improving skills both in the arts and in other fields is not easy and takes time. Sometimes we fail or can only achieve half of what we imagined. But that’s what makes us grow. Success is the fruit of the failures we have ever made.
For so long trying to improve my art skills, there are several things that I feel are very helpful in my development.
1. Focus on Main Goal
Of course, the purpose of our study is so that we can improve our skills, make higher quality art that closer to our ideal. But after you succeed, what do you want to achieve with the skill? Do you want to find a job or continue your education with this portfolio, or do you want to make a commercial product or work such as comics, videos, animations, and games?
By making a main goal, you can focus more on choosing the learning topics to improve your skills. For me, I have a desire to write stories. And I want to be able to draw illustrations so that I can convey the stories better. I think it’s enough if I can make people understand the essence of the story I want to tell. Making beautiful work that looks like a masterpiece is a side goal, if it hasn’t been achieved, that’s okay. By setting a main goal, we can determine exactly what we need to achieve that goal.
2. Evaluation of Previous Works
After determining the main goal, collect your previous best artworks. Observe them again and think about what can be improved. In terms of illustration, it could be in the form of body anatomy, dynamic poses, composition, or color selection. As time passes, you will see many things that you can improvise from the work. Take note of the points, and begin to review them one by one. There’s no need to rush, you can just finish learning one thing and then come back to learn it again. There is no order you have to follow in learning it.
3. Observing the Environment
If I was asked what is the most important skill when studying art, I will answer the skill to observe the surrounding environment. Yes, maybe many people think that art only comes from someone’s imagination. But actually, most of the imagination comes from observations.
We know what a tree looks like because we have seen trees. How the roots support the trunk, the rough texture of the wood, and whether it has lush leaves or the leaves are starting to fall off. By paying close attention to the environment around us, we will store the data in our minds and then pour it back into the work of art after processing it with the imagination and the impressions that we get. Are you aware that even art that looks abstract and unrealistic has at least one element that we can relate to in real life?
4. Doing Sketch Routinely
The sketchbook is the place where we pour all the ideas from our brains. That’s where we play with our imaginations. You can make a sketch of an object of observation at the time, such as the room you were in, today’s lunch menu, an idea for a work of art, or even just an abstract form of what comes to your mind. Since sketches don’t have to be perfect, feel free to use pencil or ink in your sketchbook. With regular sketches, you will remember and understand more deeply about an object and topic. You can also look for references from photos for sketches if there is a certain theme you want to learn.
5. Learn from Various Media
To learn more deeply, you can look for learning materials and references from various media. Starting from books, courses, even internet sources. Many forums and sites provide tips and tricks, you can search for them according to your interests. Learning how other artists make their work is also very helpful. Sometimes there are small things that we can learn from the process of making their work.
There’s one thing I’ve come to realize after seeing a lot of different artists’ processes. They have different processes, but sometimes the results are more or less similar to each other. As the saying goes, “All roads lead to Rome”. We can choose the path that we like and which is more effective for us, so the decision is up to each one of us.
6. Experiments to Enrich Creations
I think the most interesting part of the journey to improve skills is experimenting with new things. You will be surprised how much fun it is to try new things like using other mediums for drawing or trying new angles when drawing character poses. This challenge will stimulate your adrenaline and open the faucet of your imagination when creating a work of art. And yes, to get rid of boredom when you are stuck in a boring routine.
Of course, trying new things means you won’t necessarily be good at them right away. But this is worth a try because you might find interesting things that you can use when making your next work.
7. Exchange Opinions with Friends
Sometimes there are some things that we missed when we’re doing things alone. Discussing and exchanging information with friends is very helpful in this case. Everyone can have different views when looking at the same object. Criticisms and suggestions will help you to develop further. What’s more, you can collaborate and create truly amazing works. Of course, the work will feel more fun when done together.
8. Finish is More Important Than Perfect
Lastly, the thing to remember whenever you go on this journey is “Done is more important than perfect”. You’ve accomplished something, and it’s worth celebrating! How often do we stop in the middle of making an artwork because we feel it’s not good enough and different from what we imagined? If you do this often, you can start right now to be determined to finish what you’ve started. After all, it is very difficult to make a masterpiece in one try. After successfully completing the artwork, you can look back at it later and improvise. There is always room for improvisation, right?
There is much more you can do to develop your skills. The most important thing is not to be discouraged to keep trying. If you are in doubt, take a break and take a look at the work you have created. How far have you guys gone? You will be surprised to see the development of your skills. Yes, we all start from a blank sheet and the process does look awful. But we’ll definitely go through all of that and reach an unlimited possible good ending. Hopefully, this can inspire you to continue working.
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