This is one of the biggest things when it comes to doing art that people want to know. How can they improve. There are so many ways to improve your work but you just have to keep drawing and you have to adapt. You won’t get anywhere if you stay in the same spot. Your work and your style will constantly be changing.
I know we have all heard this one before but practice is key. Starting with practicing as much as you can will put you on the path to keep improving. Try to sketch from life. Sketch anything you can in order to work on the muscles used to draw as well as to work on your mind. Sketch from photo references but make sure to indicate that it is a photo study if you post it (and don’t sell it if it is a complete duplication, that is not using it as a reference). Just keep practicing on your work and keep trying.
I feel there is a lot of debate with using references. But references can help make sure you have gotten a solid grasp on the anatomy, shape, and technical details. Often, when drawing from memory, we do not remember with complete accuracy how everything is represented. An example of this is with the “Penny Test.” It is a test where we ask a group of people to draw the face of a penny (mainly applicable in the US but think of currency in general). We all know what money looks like but we don’t know many of the details in what is on the face of that money.
I always remember a project I had in high school but it helps me be able to make work that distinguishes from the original referenced image. It was called the “Six Changes” project. You take a photo and you make six changes to its concept. So, for example, say you are drawing a female portrait. And you have found a reference of a woman. So that will allow you to get a solid grasp of anatomy. But now you must make six changes. Six changes can include adding horns, changing the hair, adding a floral collar to her clothing, adding a different background, giving her tattoos, and changing her eye color. Although a reference was used, now it is a completely different image.
Often I see people use references for poses. Often when thinking of a pose from imagination, we can make the proportions wonky and end up causing a distorted image. Using the image to just get the base pose allows us to get creative with everything else. Similarly, you can use a reference to get the approximate locations for certain parts of the body or face but then apply your own style to it.
This is one many artists don’t really think about but it is something I learned in college. Research will be necessary for many of your jobs as a professional, if you are hoping to work as an artist, whether a freelancer or with an agency. However, if you are solely doing art as a hobby, then you can disregard this section.
This is less about approving your skill with drawing or painting or whatever medium you work in, and more about improving your ability to work as a professional artist. A great researcher will struggle less with finding places to work than a regular artist.
So how do you do research with art? There are so many different ways to form research with art. It depends on the situation. If you are freelancing and working on something such as concept art, you will have to interview your client to discover what they want. If they want something to reflect a specific culture then you will need to research that culture or that area. Especially if you are working for a company, you will need to be able to explain your decisions within your artwork. “I just liked it” or “Thats my style” won’t cut it in the professional world.
Similarly, you will need to research into your audience. If you are creating a project with children, you cannot assume that you can make something that you liked as a child. Children today are different. Same applies when you are creating things for people from different demographics. If a company knows that you are able to do that research to create artwork, they will be more likely to hire you.
DISCLAIMER: None of the content on this site is sponsored. Any sponsored content will remain on social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. I want to solely provide unbiased resources for you to use. Also, much of the content is not owned by me and will redirect you to other creator’s sites. I am not stealing their work not claiming it as my own. I am simply pointing you in their direction.