4 THINGS I WISHED I KNEW EARLIER
The general idea about artists is that we are mysterious individuals born with the talent of slapping paint onto paper and making something beautiful.
And while there are the rare prodigies of the world, for most of us, an artist is the result of an individual who loves to create and puts in hard work to learn their craft.
The truth is, art is like any other craft, if you dedicate time and practice, you can be great. True, there are individuals with a natural talent at art, but there’s also the saying that “ hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. Meaning, if someone who doesn’t have a natural talent at art puts in hard work, they can progress further than someone born with a talent who doesn’t work at their craft.
I didn’t learn this truth ( that art is hard work) until later on in my art journey. The imposter syndrome would kick in hard when I couldn’t get a drawing to look how I wanted it to on the first try. That discouragement caused a major setback in my creative journey, and even led to the abandonment of my craft for years.
Here Are 4 things I wished I knew earlier when first starting my creative journey. I hope these tips help my fellow creatives who are just beginning their art journey and are experiencing similar bouts of discouragement.
1: Practice the boring stuff (the fundamentals)
“Eat your vegetables’ so to speak. Learn the rules and then figure out which ones are worth breaking.
I can tell when I need to revisit the fundamentals when I notice my technique starting to break down. If I’m drawing something new, I’ll dedicate time to studying the subject first before attempting rough drafts. I study by sketching what I’m observing from the subject (or from reference photos). I’ll revisit the techniques I’ll be using, and I’ll look at youtube or skillshare for art teachers who can expand on the subject a little more.
Art can be discouraging because it takes time and patience. Patience is what most individuals struggle with the most. It’s in our nature to want to be good right away. Everyone is bad in the beginning.
“Patience is bitter, but the fruit is sweet”Aristotle
2: Create, create, create.
The process of creating is you go through a lot of bad art before you arrive at the good stuff. It’s not unusual for an artist to make countless rough drafts of the same picture before arriving at the final piece (the most rough drafts I’ve made for a single art piece is seven). Trusting in that process is hard. Through trial and error we learn what does and doesn’t work. We learn more about our style and who we are as an artist, and that is something that can only be learned through the process of creating.
3: Put your artwork out into the world.
Thanks to the internet and social media, we now have a worldwide platform for people to see our art. Which I admit, can be scary. But it’s also a wonderful opportunity to reach a large audience, especially If you want to sell your work in the future. Having a place where people can view your body of work is a must. I also found that there is a sense of accountability when posting artwork onto social media. If my art page only has a couple of posts created over the span of months, it helps me realize I am not creating enough.
4: Keep your head down.
Comparing ourselves to someone further along in their art journey creates so much discouragement. Especially with the fast paced world of social media where we are only given snippets of “success’. We don’t see the process it took for them to get there, only the highlight reel.
A good tip I found for focusing on creating community and encouragement on social media is to leave the screen on the homepage. I found myself looking at my follower count for way too long when I left the screen on my account page.
There are so many resources on the internet to help you along your art journey, no matter where you are. There are a plethora of artists who want to help other creatives and offer advice.
Here’s a list of my favorite youtube artists to follow:
Anatomy: Stan Prokopenko
Running an art business : Fran Meneses
Art inspiration: furrylittlepeach, happy d artist, Cheyenne Barton, kelogsloop,
watercolor: cafe watercolor, Kelly eddington watercolors,
Drawing: Cesar Santos
For all my fellow creatives, trust the process, and keep your head down.
The Strong Happy Artist ❤