Five ways to improve your art game

So, you have been sketching/drawing/painting for a long time. Painting is life-affirming to you. But you feel that there’s room for improvement. If you feel that way, read on.

 You are self-taught, have some great ideas but are wondering how to bring it to life on canvas, read on.

When you try a painting, it is somewhat okay, but it is not quite what you visualised in your mind. Believe me, I feel like that all the time.  Read on.

I am by no means an expert artist, and I am learning every day, but I would like to help you with some information that I have gathered over my lifetime of painting, and past five years in a professional art career.

Having been in a corporate role, I plan to organize this blog post into functional, simple, straight-forward action-based tips and tricks.

No matter what subjects, mediums you work on, here are five actionable tips you must work on if you want to improve your art game.

  1. Drawing  

Drawing is the basement of the house of your painting. Drawing is the most important feature. As a painter, (not a sketcher) I find the drawing stage annoying, but I ensure I use all the tools to help me draw with perspective, scale and symmetry.

  • Scale – If you draw from a reference, use the grid technique or the doodle scrawl technique – for proper replication of scale and perspective.  If you are drawing from imagination, ensure the rules are followed, especially with Anatomy and geometry rules for flora/architecture. All these rules are freely available in google or you can purchase art textbooks. Some sample rules – A nose cannot extend below the ear ends, the distance between the tear glands must be equal to the eye width, etc.
  • Perspective – Drop everything and learn single point, 2 point and three-point perspectives. These are especially important to ensure your drawing looks dimensional. All these rules are freely available in google or you can purchase art/engineering drawing textbooks.  
  • Symmetry Do not draw asymmetrical works unless it is intended (like Picasso). Measure with your thumb and forefinger or a caliper, and replicate similar lengths as needed. If you don’t like doing it, as it will intrude your flow, at least step back from the drawing, view at it from a distance, and then adjust measures.

      Keep a sketchbook and draw everything you see. That’s one idea that always works. If you are lazy to practice, forget bettering your game. Painting is laborious, time intensive process that’s exhausting physically and mentally. But the rewards are superlative. Remember, painting is 80% planning in your mind, and 20% execution. If you are ready to put in 80%, 20% will automatically happen.

  1. Palette

I cannot stress the importance of a clean palette. If you have a palette that has not been washed in years, if you can’t make out the colors you are mixing, your painting will also go to an unknown destination. I suggest buying peel-off palette sheets– that is the easiest to use and clean. If you use any other palette, clean it regularly. Washing brushes and palettes take up most of my time, and I employ my husband and daughter to do them if I am not feeling up to it. In any case, before starting a painting, everything you use MUST BE CLEAN.

Keep plenty of fabric to wipe your brushes (especially if you use acrylic). After every water dip, your bristles will be loaded with water, so they won’t load the paint pigment properly. So, keep it clean and dry, folks. Also, Dry brush technique in acrylic is mesmerizing, so keep drying it!

  1. Intention

At the risk of sounding like a Baba, here’s a tip. Before you start, sit for 5 minutes, watch the surface you are about to paint. Bring your intention to it, ignore every single emotion about other things, just imagine you are another brush, painting the will of the Universe/God/love whatever you believe in. Do not have even a shred of ego that you are painting a masterpiece. You are simply following your intuition, the source of which is unknown and unfathomable. Let Go.

  1. Mistakes

       Do not panic if you make mistakes. I have made a career out of my mistakes, frankly. Welcome the mistakes, see how it adds to the narrative or takes away from the painting, and adjust accordingly. Some mediums are easy to correct, like acrylic. With oils, you can simply paint over, or wipe with turpentine and start again. Some mistakes are happy accidents that would lend a beautiful new meaning to the painting. So, open your mind.

  1. Critique

Negative feedback is a sketchy topic. But let me tell you why inviting critical feedback is important in your early career. It helps you focus straight on the problem and elevate your future artworks. It helps you become humbler, as humility will make you more open towards new ideas and perspectives, which will result in a richer art journey. Yes, your ego will be hurt. Yes, no one knows your painting like you do. Yes, you have painted for weeks and someone says something really mean. But yes, but it is also not yours to own. Yes, it is also your contribution to the world. Yes, it should also be as perfect as you intend it to be. I have a simple rule for critique. I don’t listen to the person’s tone; I simply listen to the content of the feedback. I think about it, give it enough time, and if it makes sense, I will make changes. If it takes away from the original idea behind the painting, I will respectfully disagree/ignore the feedback. If you want to grow, you must share your work, with all imperfections, and be willing to listen to critique.

So these were my top 5 tips.

If this blog helped you in anyway, I would love it if you can share it in your social media pages and direct people to my shop/gallery. I am very new to this blogging works, but I have some blogging aces like preethiprabhu.com and artsycraftsymom.com as my friends, so I am hoping this blog would become more and more beneficial and engaging going forward!!

Let me know in your comments if you liked this blog and would like to see more topics like this. I would love it if you register on my website, and you would get a 10% discount on my artworks and art prints!

Until my next one, stay weird, make some art.