How to improve as an artist pt2: Practice

how to practice art

This is part two of an article series I’m doing. I’d love it if you checked out pt1 first.

Now that you have a process, it’s time for you to think about how to practice art.

You will only get better at drawing by drawing. Full stop.

You know this. But the next question to ask is “how to practice art”.

This is a pretty loaded question as a lot of people have a lot of ideas about this, but we already have a framework. We have a drawing process, and we’re going to use that process to practice.

How should you practice art?

There’s generally two methods that can be used to approach the question of trying to practice art.

You have to start by practicing just the fundamentals. You can’t get away from that, and it’s the only way that you’re going to produce anything decent just to start with. But what next?

You should draw things you care about, and you should strive to do better each time.

What do I mean by that?

Marc Brunet, in a video that I can’t find anymore, has gone on record as saying that the best way to practice is to solve problems drawing things that you like, and figuring out how to make it better each time.

You can do any number of things better in each successive illustration.

  • You can do stronger figure drawing
  • You can do trickier perspective
  • You can do fancier lineart
  • You can do more vibrant colors
  • You can do more impactful lighting

You can do any of these things just as long as you do something better in each new drawing.

Drawing anything at all, observing what you can do better, and just doing it better is how you practice art!

Art is just like any other skill. You repeat the task multiple times, and you don’t repeat a mistake. If you can see a mistake, fix it before you move on. If you notice a mistake after the fact, just fix it next time. If you’re looking for critique, ask for specific feedback each time you ask for help.

If you can’t figure out how to make something look right, grab a reference! This is the 21st century! You live in an age where any reference you want is always available! There are photos, books, figures, software! You don’t have an excuse to not get a reference and instantly level up your drawing!

Finish more drawings of what you love, and do it better each time. Repeat as necessary until you have achieved desired results.

Now, if you don’t know what you are looking for in your art, you’re not going to know what you want to do in terms of direction. We’ll talk a little bit about purpose in your art right here if you’re ready for part 3.

In the meantime, I hope this article was helpful. If you have some thoughts or questions, I’d love to hear from you.

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