Maturing into a fine artist takes years of dedication, patience, passion, energy and time. Here are a few tips to send you in the right direction.
Tip 1: Learn the Importance of the Sketch
Sketching is one of those things that every artist MUST do and do often. Sketches don’t have to be perfect, nor do you have to show them to anyone. They can be as rough or as scratchy as you like but the thing to keep in mind is it’s readability. The purpose of a sketch is to quickly illustrate or develop an idea you have, to capture or study some form of reference so that it can be worked on at a later date. The sketch only needs to convey the right information to you and you alone (unless you are drawing an idea out for a client then the message needs to be crystal clear) because of this.
Tip 2: Draw, Draw and Draw Some More!
This is a similar tip to the first but what I mean by this is draw anything that comes to mind or visually interests you. Sketch on the bus, train, in bed and even on the toilet. Literally! The more you draw from your mind and from reference, the better you will become and the quicker your skills will develop. Take the time to doodle lots of different subjects and in lots of different environments as this will all help build up a mental catalogue of images to draw upon later when you may become stuck for ideas or inspiration.
Tip 3: Explore Different Mediums
Despite the fact that I favor oils I force myself to use all mediums and explore. This is when you take an idea from sketch to final painting. Exploring other methods of creating that end piece can really yield some unexpected results and challenge you to push yourself further into new situations. Exploring with different types of paints such as oil, acrylic, water colour or gouache are the options most people would suggest trying. Try charcoals, pastels, or taking the leap into digital art and painting. All these different mediums have their strengths that you can harness but you will never know them unless you try them out.
Tip 4: Use a Variety of Tools
I love my paint brush but am very fond of using my fingers. You heard right I love using my fingers when I do pieces in oil and chalks pastels as well as charcoals. Nonetheless, I have to be strict when it comes to paints such as oils and acrylics and use a brush or other tools. Use sponges, cardboard, toothbrushes and other various tools. This can be the fun part. Be creative!
Tip 5: Build a Reference Library
This is a great tip that I learnt from years back. As you begin to fill sketch books with illustrations of ideas and reference material, you should build up that stack of books with more books. By this I mean buying art books, books on a variety of things, various people, other cultures, animals etc. I invested in a few art books years ago and it was one of the best investments I have made in life. I also recently purchased the book called, "Coffee with Hemingway: Kirk Curnutt and a forward by John Updike. This book to me is outstanding and very inspirational.
The list of what you should look into is endless and should extend beyond your general interests. It mustn’t stop there. Take photos of things you see if you don’t have time to sketch them. The purpose is to have a nice big collection of images that inspire you, ignite your imagination and, more specifically, if you need to draw something right, having the material there to draw from will add realism and clarity to your work. Utilize the internet for referencing also. There is an endless abundance of information to be found online. Learn from other artist. Get involved in forums online and soak up ideas and information whenever possible.
Tip 6: Learn Some Colour Theory (At Least)
This is a big one. Colour theory is an immense subject. I will have to write a post on it later. Even learning only a bit, will help your work massively. The more you push yourself to learn, the better and better you will become.