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Crits and Question: How do you improve?

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:37 pm
by ZellyInk
Hi All,
I am self-learned and have loved to draw since my earliest memories. The problem is I have trouble sticking with it. I want to say I started taking art seriously two years ago in 2016, but the sad truth is there was a long period (almost a year) in the middle of this that I did not draw or sketch anything... Could I ask, what keeps you disciplined? And, what resources do you use to keep on improving? I typically go on artstation to see what artists are doing and to get inspiration. It remains a mystery on how to get that good though!

Here is something recent that I painted 2 days ago. I can tell that the anatomy for the hips and legs are not so great, and the shading is rough, the face is dark, etc. But overall I'm rather proud of it, and think it shows what style/direction I'm gunning for.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Re: Crits and Question: How do you improve?

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:07 am
by sampetersonart
I answered a question very similar to this in my Discord so I'll just copy and paste it.

For me it's usually a few things:

1) Thinking in terms of long terms goals. What do I want to do? What do I want to get good at? What kinds of projects do I want to create in the future that excite me? Once you figure out some big goals and directions for what you want you just have to figure out the steps to get there and that excites me to work towards those goals. Maybe that involves working on anatomy, costume design, perspective, etc. Having short term attainable goals to work towards the long term goals is extremely important too.

2) Looking at other artists online. Looking at other artists who are doing awesome things (characters, illustrations, etc) makes me want to do something like that. Maybe I saw a cool battle illustration and it made me excited to try some large scale illustration with multiple figures, or maybe I saw a really cool style that got me excited to try something different in my work flow.

3) Mixing it up. Taking a break and getting out of the house, or playing a game, or reading a book, or going for a walk can sometimes help reset your mind and get you back into the groove. Maybe try another medium or paint/draw something different. You could try sculpting a little, maybe try watercolor, or just sketch in your sketchbook. Maybe you've been drawing nothing but characters so maybe some environments, or creatures, or vehicles could be a nice change of pace.

4) Develop a solid routine and habit. We all have bad days, but if you develop a strong daily routine and work ethic for art those "bad days" aren't a big deal. Either way you just develop the discipline to work during work hours. Treat it like a job. Discipline is there when motivation is lacking. And this step kind of relates to step 1. If you know what your goals are, you know what you should be focusing on, and hopefully it keeps it fun and exciting. "Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just get to work"

As far as resources go I learn a lot from looking at other artists' work. Doing studies is huge of course as well, and primarily how I improve. Photo studies, master studies, studies from life, etc. Youtube videos and Gumroad tutorials can be great as well. I was actually recently saving a list of a bunch of Gumroad tutorials I'd really like to buy to get better at at more environment oriented concept art. You can fine a good comprehensive list at the link below:

Re: Crits and Question: How do you improve?

Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:43 pm
by ZellyInk
This is great advice, thanks! I think sticking to a routine is the hardest thing at the moment, maybe I should make a daily log of the #hours spent drawing. In the long run, I'd like to make a loose graphic novel of some sort, that's more of a series of paintings that can be strung together with the general impression of a story. The hard part is getting good enough to be able to handle the type of illustrations that a project like this would require.

Thanks for the Gumroad links! I've heard about it but haven't actually used the site~Also, do you know about There are some nice classes on there, including some for composition or environmental design. I recently signed up for the environmental one.