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3 Ways to Become a Better Artist

A couple years ago, I decided to apply to a few arts programs at a variety of Universities. Each application required different things: some required an art portfolio, some required a bunch of essays, and some required both. The task of independently creating an art portfolio was a very challenging task since I was self taught, was a full time student (taking no art related courses), and had about three months to complete it. Through the creation of my application portfolio, I was able to unlock a few (somewhat obvious) secrets on how to become a better artist. Today I will share three of those with you!

Before I get into them though, I want to talk about what "a better artist" means in my mind. Doing these things will not cause you to create million dollar paintings overnight. But by using these practical tips, you should be able to improve your speed, creative process, consistency, technical skills, and accuracy when creating artwork.

#1 Just make art... a lot of it... all the time.

This tip can hardly be considered a tip at all because it is so obvious; But really, it is probably the most important of all of them. I have a simple question for you: How do you expect to get better at art if you don't make it? I totally understand that life can be busy at times, and it can be really difficult to carve out time to make art, but you have to if you want to get better. When I was making my art portfolio, I literally had to spend at least 4 hours a day working on my artwork. That is a lot of time, but I definitely saw the results. If you can't commit that much time to making art daily, maybe set aside an hour a day, or a couple hours a week. Making art a consistent part of your schedule will help you improve. It takes a while, but you will see the results! Just remember, if you want to get better at art, you have to commit your time to it.

#2 Get feedback.

Of all the tips I can give you, this will likely be the hardest. Showing people my artwork used to be a major fear of mine because I didn't want them to pick it apart. However, it is so important to understand that when people critique your art, they aren't making digs at you as a person... so don't react like they are. All that to say, you do not need to take the advice of everyone you know. But when you ask people you trust to give you pointers on how to improve your art, you are giving a second pair of eyes to your project. Even if the person you ask isn't an artist, they will be able to point out things that you might not be able to see. Sometimes when you are working on a piece for hours on end, even the most obvious mistakes might not seem obvious. So the bottom line is, if you want to take your work to the next level, ask someone with fresh eyes to take a look. It might be scary at first, but it will help you in the long run.

#3 Always be learning.

Sometimes it can be easy to fall into the trap of never learning anything new. This can be for a few reasons: Maybe we are content with the artistic level that we are at, we don't know where to start, or we feel like we already know it all. Well, I'm pretty sure that it is impossible to ever "know it all" when it comes to art... and that's ok! One fun way to keep things fresh is to choose a new artistic medium or set of techniques to explore every year. I've done this for the past couple of years, and it has really helped me to grow a lot. Since there are so many bridging skills between mediums, you can still be building up your skills even by doing something completely new! For example, I use a lot of paint-like techniques when I use pencil crayons. Just the act of creating helps you grow... even if the art doesn't look that great. I could get into the technical brain elasticity theories as well for this idea, but I feel like that is a bit out of my expertise.

Some ways you could practice the art of constantly learning are:

- Picking a new medium to start learning every year or every few months

- Watch some instructional videos or take online classes for different art techniques

- Try participating in an art challenge

- Incorporate a new technique into your art pieces.

Regardless of how you decide to approach this idea, the point is that you are shaking things up! By changing up the way you do things, you are adding variety and curiosity to your artwork. This can also help with the consistency part of art since it is harder to get bored when you are constantly exploring different things.


I hope that you will implement these three tips in your everyday practice! If you are anything like me, they are sure to help you grow as an artist. Just be patient!

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