Recently I got out of an artistic rut. Now it seems like I've been creating something every day for the past few days, which is great... hopefully over the next few days I'll keep this up!
Anyway, these are some things I remembered, practiced and/or realized that helped me to get over my rut and have a little more art confidence.
Some things I learned in school, some from internet articles, and some just from trial and error of my own doing.
Maybe this stuff can help you guys too...I've been feeling kind of down lately on top of it, so in an effort to make myself feel a little inspired, I thought it was a good idea to share. :3
I'd also really like to hear ways that you guys stay motivated, encouraged, and how you get out of a ditch. NO SHAME IN YA' GAME~~
One thing that can keep you from really drawing is, believe it or not, having stuff to draw. I fall victim to this A LOT.
If you're anything an artist like myself, you take requests (or commissions), make friends and promise them birthday gifts, only to start them and never finish. You don't want to post a crappy sketch of their gift, and you don't want to let the person down, but you just don't have the drive to draw their piece. However, you periodically get the motivation to draw random things that you love but you don't draw them... even though you are motivated to, you feel like you can't because you have overdue gifts and things you feel like you HAVE to draw. BUT lemme tell you a secret I had to learn myself, YOU DON'T! Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to ignore and neglect all your friends, put them on the back-burner and not do nice things for them.. that wouldn't be right, BUT it's important to remember: All art is good art. Practice is practice.
If you get motivation to make art, then make art! Don't let any feelings of hesitation or random guilt stop you! You have the right to cultivate the motivation you get and to draw whatever you're inspired to. Don't hold back and don't neglect to give yourself any and every practice you can. Even when I post art that I didn't plan to draw, I find something new to try with it.. maybe a new coloring technique, difficult pose, different environmental elements, you name it.
It took me a long time to realize this because it felt like I was neglecting obligations, but besides the few art things I promised, nothing was set in stone and when art is forced, it doesn't look as great as it does when inspiration strikes.
So don't try to force it.HELPFUL HOARDING~~
I know, unlike myself, not everyone has the time or patience to organize their Deviantart or browse art, but even for the busy, it's always good to collect inspiration.
Make a new folder (or collection as dA calls them) in your favorites and call it Inspiration and Resources, or whatever. Begin to collect things. Collect tutorials, textures, brushes, backgrounds, stock art, cut-out stock objects, other people's expression sheets, character designs, landscape art, gesture studies, form studies, perspective studies, and among the more important things, other artist's step-by-step process(I'll tell you why in sec). Add as many resources, tutorials and helpful things as you can, either by binge faving, or adding things periodically over time. I started doing this a few a years ago and my folder
has been growing ever since.. it's huge now, with a lot of resources and inspirational material that I use frequently (or saved just in case). I even have a tag on my tumblr
to collect things from there that serve as inspiration.GREAT ARTIST'S STEAL~~
"Good artists copy; Great artists steal" is a common misunderstood quote. It's way less literal than many think.
Why are these things important? Recently I had a conversation with a friend about using drawing from resources and "stealing" other people's art techniques (not gonna call anyone out, I'm just using this as an example for my point). They felt like, when drawing, the less resources, the better. However, I was a bit shocked at hearing this because I've always believed the opposite. The more real-life and artistic resource material you use, the more helpful. There should be no shame in using resource material. An artist who doesn't use it is not any better than an artist who does... in fact the artist who does has a better chance of improving. It's proven
. You can't be scared to reference a pose.
Everything we draw has basis in the world we live in, and you have to know where you came from, before you go where you need to.
Another thing to do is look up step-by-step process break downs of other artists(like this
, or this
). Imagine a magician is doing tricks and you are in complete awe. He takes you back stage and reveals to you his secrets. You learn how all his tricks are done, and while the trick is still magical to you, you know how it got to that level.
Art is very much the same. When an artist draws something impressive, many times you feel like you can't do anything on that level..ever. But when the artist posts a step-by-step, it's like the magician, showing you the secret to his tricks. You learn from the bottom up, how the drawing was constructed, sketched, planned, colored, lined, how effects were added, ect.
So, "good artists copy; great artists steal" simply means, good artists do what is always been done in art (copy
what's expected, tried and true) while great artists take what is expected and what they learn, and turn it into something unique and all their own (stealing
it, in a way). EVIL SCIENCE~~
One time I critiqued a drawing and I mentioned that while the art itself was good, the style was wonderful, and the lighting/shadows were perfection... it wasn't as good as it could be. I suggested the artist try pushing the shading and highlighting more, doing extreme lighting, trying out different colors for highlights and shades, contrasting with skin tones, ect.... to which the artist responded that they agreed, but were scared to try anything new.
This made me sad... not because they weren't straight out taking my advice, but because they were cutting themselves short of the process and improvement they could be making.
You CANNOT be afraid to try new things. As quoted from A Cinderella Story, "don't let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game." Just because you are scared to try a new art style or technique, doesn't mean you have to shy away from it. Look up tutorials, look up videos of people drawing with that technique, look up art basics (color theory, aesthetics, ect).
Even if you don't look up anything, you can't be afraid to try. You've got nothing to lose and only increased skill to gain. Experimenting with art is like being an evil scientist.. you just have to go a little mad and do what you want to do... even if others aren't quite sure. Just go for it. A LITTLE SKETCHY~~
Sketching is important. I had another conversation recently about this. How important and fundamental this can be as an artist.
I was told once that you should sketch one thing everyday for at least 20 minutes. Well... I dunno about ya'll but I surely don't do that. I find it's much more helpful when I keep my sketchbook handy and am able to jot down and draw out whatever I need to, whenever I need to, at the moment I need to.
Sketching people in a waiting room, dogs at the park, foot traffic in the mall, trees in your backyard, OTP chibis-- whatever you can, sketch it. This'll keep you loose and get you into the habit of getting you ideas down quickly and more accurately to what you see in your head.
Then, you can take it a step further, level up, if you want. Give yourself little "rules" to follow when sketching. One sketch you have to finish in 30 seconds maybe, or you can only use straight lines, or you can't go back and erase anything, or you have to draw upside down, or it's a blind contour drawing you you can't look at your drawing while you draw.... there's a million obstacles you can put in your own way. This can help you develop a better method of getting you ideas down for big art pieces and help your process go smoother and faster. SOUND HITS THE CANVAS~~
Well.. if you know me, you know almost all, if NOT all, of my artwork is connected with a story and a song. I always pair my drawings with appropriate music, whether other's listen to it or not.
Why am I saying this? Well I know not everyone is as big a music lover as myself, but there is an important thing to consider here.
When you're drawing a piece, and it doesn't turn out atmospherically, how you imagined, it could be because of the music you're listening to.
Many of my works turned out much better in atmosphere and overall composition, when I was listening to the right music (...Celtic folk music while drawing rolling green hills, or electronic dance music while drawing galaxies, for example). What you hear can affect what mindset and mood you're in.. and the right music can put your mind in the atmosphere that is need to be seen in the art you are working on.
It sounds a little far-fetched, but it's actually something that I find helps a lot. When I listen to the right song, the picture starts to practically draw itself, and certain lines in the song can become the focal point of the drawing (atmosphere-wise) ...hopefully that makes sense.SWAPS, REBOOTS, AND REDRAWS OH MY~~
Some other very helpful exercises are redrawing your old art, drawing screencaps from movies and shows in your own(or a different) style, try imitating a style that is nothing close to your natural art style and rebooting a character or concept. While these certainly aren't new exercises, they are often underrated.
These things allow you to do 4 things:
•See how much you have improved in your own personal art journey.
•Process and find new ways to solve art issues (like redrawing trees so that they still look like trees in the screencap you are drawing from, but in your own style).
•And take on new styles, forcing you to add new techniques and strategy to your process. •Progress can also be slow, so sometimes when you feel like you aren't improve, you actually ARE, it's just slower than you realize, so that's always another reason it's always good to look back at your old art and redraw things.
Annnnd that's all I can think of that has helped me the most.
Obviously I'm not the greatest artist and many of these things are methods that work for ME specifically, so if you differ in opinion, I completely understand.. but if I did help to encourage then that's even better.