If you’re trying to learn how to draw, paint, or sculpt in a new style, you’ve probably already taken the time to study some of the conventional materials available to students. However, learning a new art form involves so much more than simply reading a textbook and applying what you’ve been taught. Instead, artists must take a multi-faceted approach to improving their skills to see the fastest and most meaningful progress in their learning efforts.
With that said, here 10 ways you can simplify the process of learning a new art form:
1. Practice Frequently
Of course, the old saying “practice makes perfect” is extremely applicable for any artist who is trying to pick up a new art form quickly. The more you create, the faster you’ll become familiar with all of the little techniques and features that comprise the discipline you’re studying. By building hands-on experience, you’re also going to increase proficiency and speed, which can help you perform impressively when you’re doing live portraits or other forms of live art showmanship. Essentially, frequent practice reduces the number of mistakes you’ll make, leading to a gradual but definite enhancement of your abilities.
2. Use Digital Tools
Even if you don’t plan on using digital tools to create your art, simply learning how to use them will give you the ability to take your imaginative conceptualisation skills to the next level. Some of the best tools to become familiar with include Photoshop, ArtRage, Procreate, Affinity Designer, Artweaver 6, and CorelDRAW. However, the best approach is to ask for recommendations from artists who are experienced in the art form you’re trying to learn. That way, you’ll discover which programs are most useful for that particular style and which features you can use to achieve desired effects.
3. Use the Services of a Tutor
Having an art tutor who is already experienced in the style you’re trying to become familiar with can help tremendously because you’ll be taking advice from someone who already has a fair amount proficiency in the art form you’re wanting to study. You can use Superprof to help you find a tutor from the comfort of your own home and often times, they’ll be more affordable and effective than in-person tutors that you’d find in your area. By opting for an online tutoring service, you can broaden your horizons in terms of service provider selection, as you’ll have access to art professionals from around the world.
4. Join Forums
Joining an art forum is a great way to be exposed to all sorts of new styles and gain access to communities of other artists who can help you with detailed advice. Plus, it gives you an easy way to share your practice works with like-minded individuals who may be able to provide some useful feedback and constructive criticism. Check out a list of the most popular art forums and sign up for a few in your spare time. Once you’re signed up for a forum, focus on building a nice looking profile that explains who you are as an artist and what you’re trying to learn. If you’re active on the forums on a regular basis, chances are you’ll wind up meeting a few peers and mentors who will help you reach your goals faster.
5. Share Your Works
If you’re not showing other people your practice works, then you’re not going to be advancing as fast because you’ll be relying solely on your own opinion as a means of improvement. If you heeded the previous tip, then you should already be sharing your works with other artists. However, sometimes an untrained eye can give you the best advice in terms of pointing out flaws that are negatively affecting the realism or appeal of your art.
6. Watch Instructional Videos
YouTube is a treasure trove of art videos that will teach you techniques and inspire you with amazing time lapses of incredible artistic efforts. Likewise, the site has an untold number of tutorials that you can take advantage of to gain specialised learning experience in virtually every art discipline known to man. Try to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour per day watching and following along with instructional videos from well-known artists and teachers.
7. Focus on Dexterity and Hand Skills
While understanding the technicalities involved in creating a certain aesthetic is certainly important, ultimately your skills as an artist will come down to dexterity and hand-eye coordination, especially when you’re talking about developing speed and accuracy. Try to do dexterity practices that help you hold your hand steady and complete smooth motions without error. With more control over your hands, you’ll be able to bring your imagination to life like never before.
8. Be Your Own Critic
When you’re done creating a piece of art, step away from it for a day or two and then come back with a fresh mindset to ask yourself what you could have done to make it better. While seeking the advice of others is certainly helpful, sometimes you can be your best critic because you know exactly which areas you struggled with during the creation of the art, so you’re in the best position to analyse those flaws from a critical perspective. Plus, others will often be afraid to give you negative criticism, so it’s easier to be honest with yourself than it is to find someone else who will tell you the truth about what you’re doing wrong.
9. Try to Replicate Great Works
While you shouldn’t expect to make an exact replica of a famous piece of artwork to the point of being able to pass it off as a forgery, simply making the effort to come as close as you can will help you learn to think like the greats. You may even want to come back to the same piece and attempt it multiple times, as you’ll notice that you’ll get closer to the original with each attempt.
10. Document Your Progress on Social Media
In the past, people would keep personal diaries and art books filled with their practice works and they would have to dig out those materials any time they wanted to look back at the progress they’ve been making. Today, it’s much easier to just take a picture of every piece of art when you’re done creating it so that you can put it in a gallery on your social media profile. That way, you’ll always have a conveniently accessible way to revisit your old works and share them others.
Accelerate Your Learning by Combining All of the Tips Above
Ultimately, versatility is a trait that every artist should strive to work on, so it can’t hurt to heed all of the aforementioned tips in a well-rounded learning strategy. The more sources of inspiration, instruction, and criticism you’re able to pull from, the faster you’ll be able to become proficient in a new art form. Conversely, if you decide to take a purely self-guided approach, your rate of progress will be significantly reduced because you’ll be operating within a creative bubble. Thus, every art student should take their time at becoming a better student for the sake of growing into a better overall artist.