I’ve been doing a lot lately to improve my art and make the best work I can, and I’ve compiled a list of things that have really helped me on that journey. I thought I’d share those tips with you today!

  1. Get inspiration! Use reference! It’s totally okay to scroll through Pinterest or Instagram to find inspiration from other artists or reference pictures to practice drawing something. I like to use social media like this to practice different styles of drawing or incorporate something I like from one artist’s style or work into a piece. I also like finding photos of people, animals, or places to practice drawing something a little different from reference if I’m stuck.
  2. Get out of your comfort zone and try new things. If you find, like me, you end up just drawing portraits of girls, try doing something else! Use a different medium, try drawing different types of animals or people, or try an art challenge, like a 3 marker challenge. This goes hand in hand with my last point. Find new things to draw and draw them! You can fill pages in a sketchbook just drawing plants or
  3. Come up with a story and use your art to tell that story. This will help create more dynamic and interesting art and might help you get out of artist’s block! This can be such a fun way to make characters and maybe a series of pieces.
  4. Flip the canvas/image. You can easily do this whether you’re a digital artist or a traditional artist. This is such an easy way to see if your composition is imbalanced or if your anatomy is wonky. Errors will stick right out to you! If you’re using Photoshop or a similar program, you can transform the image and flip it horizontally. For traditional art, I like to use the app “QuickFlip.” It’s free on the iTunes app store, and you can find similar ones on the Google Play store. You just take a photo of your art and you can flip it horizontally in the app to fix any errors.
  5. Make it greyscale! By putting the image in greyscale, you’re able to see your values more accurately and get better shading and more depth overall to your art. You can do this in Photoshop using adjustment layers, and for traditional art, you can take a picture of your art and add a black and white filter from your phone.
  6. Come up with and stick to a color palette. This will simplify your work in terms of color and make it much clearer. Doing this forces you to think through your color choices and use them wisely. It also makes your piece look way more put together.
  7. Step away and look at the big picture. Put some distance between yourself and your piece. You’ll be able to see it from the perspective of someone who is just viewing your art instead of from your up-close-and-personal view.
  8. Walk away and come back to it. Leaving your work can be hard, but it’s necessary if you start to get frustrated or feel like it’s not going anywhere. When you come back, you’ll be seeing your art with fresh eyes and you can continue to improve it.
  9. Keep practicing! Draw all the time. Sketchbooks can be very nice and helpful in keeping track of your work and seeing yourself progress, but they can also be strangely stressful. Some of my favorite drawings have been done on post-it notes and scrap paper, and I’ve done a lot of learning on plain printer paper. It feels like there’s a lot less pressure, and if you don’t like something, you don’t have to rip it out of a beautiful new sketchbook!
  10. Take progress photos. Whether you’re working on a large, elaborate piece or just a small doodle, always take photos of your work through all the stages. I find it really encouraging to see a piece come together from scratch.

I hope these tips help you and that you take them into consideration the next time you sit down and get creative!

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Posted by:neatohollo

I'm Holly, an 18-year-old college student from the greater Cincinnati area. Cat mother, dog lover, artist, pastel enthusiast.

4 replies on “10 Art Improvement Tips: Fix the Biggest Problems with your Art

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