New Year Thoughts: Improving your art


Last time I wrote about the possibility that many artists may choose to settle within their comfort zone, call it their style, and not improve beyond that when they actually have better potential.  This time I’m going to say a few things about getting beyond that point and improving your art, whether it’s visual, auditory, dance, writing, woodworking, or whatever it might be.

I admit it, I’ve been sloppy with my art. Too many times I’ve phoned it in, metaphorically speaking, because I could get away with it. So I am working now on improving my style, my precision, and the quality of my lines. I can be as sloppy as I want in pencils, just as gestural as I choose. But when it comes to the inks, it had better be accurate!

Pen and ink used to be that Thing I Couldn’t Do.  But now I can, at least somewhat.  It helps me most to relax while still staying somewhat alert, and think of drawing all those finicky lines as a meditation. Especially when I am creating shadow, which consists of many, many finely seperated lines. I’ve done a LOT of inking for a recent project and I know it’s been good for me. I’ve noticed that having high quality pens and paper makes a huge difference, if I respect them and use them as they were meant to be used.

For you inkers out there, here’s something else to remember:  With pen and ink, less is more. It’s easy to clutter a scene. Also, it is helpful to make reference lines, erased later, so I don’t go over borders or make things look sloppy. The biggest rule? DON’T GET IN A HURRY.

The main obstacle between me and better art is patience.  You may have different obstacles.  In fact, you probably do.  It’s important that you understand what they are.  Then you can think of ways to overcome them.  For example, I used to have two main obstacles.  The other one was poor materials.    I found ways to buy better materials, made connections, found the best retailers.  So now I just have one thing blocking me and I’m working that.

Good luck to you in the coming year!

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