7 Tips for practicing art: work smart as an artist

3 min

We all heard that phrase – practice makes perfect. But practicing art the wrong way does not take you so far. So, artists also should work not hard, but smart. If you choose the right way of practicing art, you will succeed in your goals in a shorter time.

1. Choose your path

“ The world stands aside to let anyone pass, who knows where he is going ” – said, David Starr Jordan. Before starting to practice, choose what you want to become at the end. Find out what to draw/paint you enjoy most – people, creatures, or environments? It is important for defining what to focus on more while practicing. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

person practicing oil painting with a colorful palette in his/her hand.
Photo by Ahmed Raza Kz on Unsplash

2. Study fundamentals.

Start by building the foundations properly. You have to learn the art fundamentals because every artwork you are to draw will be based on them. Learning art fundamentals makes it possible to draw from your imagination and without references. Because you have chosen your path, you can focus on the basics you need most.

Practicing figure drawing in a sketchbook
Photo by Lavi Perchik on Unsplash

3. Use references properly.

Once you have sufficiently developed your mental library, you can start drawing from your head. But for now, it is better to use references. The important thing is to use the references correctly. Just by copying references, you can not learn for the long-term. Try to analyze them, apply the fundamentals you learned. Don’t stick to one reference and try to combine at least two. Otherwise, it will take more time to create authentic, unique artwork.

Man practicing drawing eyes.
Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash

4. Quantity above quality.

When we practice, we aim to automate something for our brains by doing it a lot. It sounds time-consuming. But the truth is, we do not all have plenty of time. So if we only have a few hours a day for art, how can we use it more efficiently? Prefer volume to quality. Many beginners make this mistake: they spend hours concentrating on just trying to make one artwork perfect. But at this stage, all you have to do is to draw a lot of examples of the same task. For example, if you are learning to draw eyes, instead of drawing one perfect eye, draw eyes in ten different ways, from different angles. It will add more to you.

Nose sketches by Gulnar Mirza

5. Do life drawing.

“Carry a pen and paper with you.” You have heard this advice before, right?! So you should follow it. Wherever you are, never miss a chance to observe what surrounds you. Take notes, do some quick sketches. If you can afford it, attend life drawing classes.

A sketchbook in a person's hand in a field.
Photo by Kristaps Ungurs on Unsplash

6. Challenge yourself.

After having some basic skills under your belt, you can start personal projects. This could be drawing an illustration for a favorite fairy tale or designing a character from scratch. The purpose here can be to step outside of the comfort zone, notice your weaker points, and repeat what you’ve learned recently. While creating projects, be realistic about your abilities.

Man drawing doodles on the wall.

7. Be consistent!

Most crucial, but the hardest at the same – keeping motivation to draw every single day! Okay, you might miss a day, but don’t let this happen twice in a row. Consistency is the key. Always keep an eye on the things that motivate you. Find artists that inspire you, follow them on social media. It will help you to remember your goals, the reasons for practicing art.

A person practicing digital painting on his tablet.

So how have you been practicing art until now? Share your experience in the comments below.

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