7 sins of a beginning artist!

sins of an artist

Typical mistakes made by beginning artists.

Any activity seems difficult at first, but the problem with drawing is that here nearly everyone thinks he is an expert. Drawings can be obtained or not, but we can not blame the artist, because the whole thing is solely in talent, right?

Of course NOT! If you do not see your own progress despite the long hours of practice, this does not mean that you have no talent. This means that you are training incorrectly! You do not believe me? Let me describe the most common mistakes made by beginning artists. Try to avoid them, and your progress will rush with a furious gallop.

  1. I draw everything and anything

You draw because you have a passion for drawing – it is simple. Even though your skills are still limiting you, you don’t feel like limiting yourself – there are so many things that urgently need to be drawn! Today you are drawing a dragon battle with robots. Tomorrow you are working on the landscape. The day after tomorrow you exercise in perspective to depict the whole city. Inspiration does not leave you, the experiences are wonderful. If only your hands would obey you…

What’s wrong about it?

Drawing is not a single, integral skill. And although in fact each drawing is a set of lines made by simple movements of the hand, important is what happens at that moment in the brain. And the processes in the brain are always different for different types of drawing.

Think: what is the difference between drawing and writing (in technical terms)? Could it be that writing is understood as a certain way of drawing (drawing letters)? Forget about the instrument for a second; you can draw with a ballpoint pen (and write with a simple pencil). Therefore, if you can write, than you should be able to draw. And even more, you have your own style!

The difference lies in the intention, not in the final result.

Different parts of the brain are responsible for different intentions – different goals. A written word can consist of the same number of lines as a sketch of a horse, but for our brain, their creation activates completely different processes.

For instance, to draw an animal, it is important to feel a sense of proportions and body size. You only need to catch this feeling and put it in a line. On the other hand, to draw a city requires mathematical thinking: too short line, an incorrect angle will ruin everything. Drawing a landscape is not even connected with drawing lines: here you need to be able to focus on light and shadow, to be able to convey them on paper using a series of sketchy strokes.

Trying to draw absolutely everything that comes to your mind, you yourself unknowingly complicate your task. You can draw cute cats, but this does not mean that you can just as easily portray the background for them. And building a human body for your mind is not the same as building a spaceship.

How can you improve that?

By drawing on many different topics, you boost your common drawing skill (B). This is a huge integrated skill, as it includes all the small skills and topics that you are able to draw, and therefore it improves very slowly.

Instead of trying to boost it 100%, focus on smaller skills (A). For example, boost 100% your skill in drawing cats!

You should decide what you want to learn to draw first. Instead of trying to mix a bulldog with a rhino, focus on one thing. Don’t jump from topic to topic simply because you are so impatient.

Try to progress in one topic at a time and, more importantly, do not consider all your work as indicators of the development of your “common drawing skill”. If you are good at drawing cars, no one will call you a bad artist just because you have imperfect lions…

  1. I know how to draw it, just give me a try!

Surely you have seen thousands of dogs in your life, and you know exactly how they look. But the hand, “damn me”, completely does not want to understand what you want from it. You try to draw the paws, and they look at least strange, not like they should. You know exactly how they should look, but why they doesn’t?

What’s wrong about it?

In fact, you don’t know how those “damn” paws should look. Otherwise, drawing them would not have been difficult. You do not believe me? Come on, describe them to me in great details. No, don’t draw. I understand the temptation is great, but wait a bit. Imagine that you have already drawn them. What do you see? Describe it.

In most cases, you will find that you can say very little about the object you are about to draw. You have confidence that you can draw it in all the details, but suddenly it turns out that you cannot even plainly explain where all these details should be located.

Yes, the rhino has a big head with a horn on it… or maybe two? And also small eyes… also somewhere on the face… and mouth… where?

The more questions you ask about a drawing object, the better you will understand why nothing comes out. You don’t know very well what you are trying to draw. And you are able to understand whether this is really what you wanted when the drawing is ready. So you try again and again. Each time you adjust the details, but this does not mean that you are approaching your own vision. You play a guessing game!

You do not know exactly where the eyes should be located – you can only say if it looks good enough when it is already painted.

How can you improve that?

Of course, there is a possibility that sooner or later you will still guess the right combination of lines. But why? To convince yourself that you can draw it using only your imagination, without any help? If this is your goal – go ahead. Then do not blame the lack of talent for your failures. You yourself have chosen this most difficult level of the game, so don’t cry that it’s hard to win.

To draw something from the head, you first need to put the necessary knowledge into this head, draw up a recipe (model) in your mind. Just remembering a dog is not enough – you need another form of memory to transform it into lines. It’s like a photo of a dish and a recipe – it is almost impossible to restore a recipe from a photo if you are new to cooking.

The image of the object of drawing in our mind exists approximately in the following form: “body; four legs with hooves grow out of it, a long hairy tail, a long neck with an elongated head on it”. This information is enough to recognize the horse on the drawing, but this is not enough to draw a horse realistically. This is a description of children’s doodles!

The image in the head should be much more detailed. It should contain the proportions of the legs and body, clearly indicate where the legs are bent, determine the type of ligaments in the places of the bends. He should not only indicate that the horse’s body is covered with short smooth hair, but also indicate the direction of growth of the coat.

Therefore, the information in your head should look something like this:

There are three ways to build such a model in your head:

  • draw the same object many times using a variety of references – your mind will notice the nuances so that you can draw faster each time;
  • analyze various object references in order to create an actual model for yourself (a brief guide), and exercise with it until you learn it;
  • find someone who has already compiled a similar quick guide and practice with it until you remember it (be careful here – you can memorize other people’s mistakes).

Before you start drawing, make sure you have an action plan. If not, and you don’t want to work on it, just use the references. This is not a skin-game! Of course, it’s cool to draw something from memory, but first you need to remember the necessary information.

  1. I will never give up!

It’s not easy to draw, and you know that. For example, you sketch a dragon, and every couple of minutes you stumble over another mistake. These mistakes still arise, but you persistently move on, because after painting no one will notice that there is something wrong. Moreover, you can no longer stop after so many hours of drawing!

What’s wrong about it?

As a rule, we try to decorate what is broken. Even if at first it looked promising, there is no doubt that now something went wrong. And don’t pretend that you can fix it just by adding colors – it’s not so. If the bend of the leg looks unnatural, and you cannot or don’t know how to fix it, why are you still trying to finish the drawing? Even if you will overlay it with gold, this will not fix this anatomical nightmare!

How can you improve that?

If you see that the drawing fails, just stop. It doesn’t matter how much time you have already spent on it, you can still save it a little if you stop right now. Very often, re-creating a job requires less effort than fixing errors.

If you are afraid that you will not be able to draw it so cool again, this is a more serious indicator of the problem than just an incorrectly bent leg. You are not confident in your abilities, which means you need to practice well before spending your time on one serious art.

You want to show the world how cool you are – this can be understood. But the truth is that right now this is not so. Do not dodge the truth, pretending not to have made mistakes. Just learn not to commit them later.

  1. Each drawing is sacred!

You not only bring to the end all started drawings. You also do not forget to put everything on the network, for your friends and fans for review. And it doesn’t matter what it is: a masterpiece, a sketch or a draft brought to perfection – you share everything. You are such a human!

What’s wrong about it?

At first glance, it might seem that there is nothing wrong with that. But the problem is deeper. When you are aware that someone will see your work, you unconsciously begin to tailor it to the tastes, interests, and needs of the audience. This drawing should be perfect! And since you post each drawing, you are not allowed to be mistaken. At all. Never.

Mistakes are a completely natural and inevitable side effect of learning new things.

If you want to avoid them – do not try anything new. Every man has a fool in his sleeve. And what can happen to you if you put online each of your drawings: even filling out the sheets in the sketchbook with drafts, just to get hand in drawing, you will choose simple poses which work well. Just in case your fans will notice your mistakes, this is horror!

If you have your own audience that monitors your every move, you are less likely to take risks. If there is even the slightest chance of defeat, you would prefer not to play and pretend that you could have won if you wanted to. You are depriving yourself of the opportunity to learn something new, to learn a lesson from losing, simply because you do not want others to see this loss.

How can you improve that?

Here you have two options. First: draw for yourself. And share only the most successful drawings, others put inside the table. In the process of studying the topic, do not think about how cool it would be to show others a whole sheet of sketches (“See how productive I worked today!”). At the subconscious level, this will make you to try better, but also to avoid experiments at the same time. Exercises are needed in order to learn, and not impress others.

If you really want to boast of your productivity, stick all the exercises into one big canvas. So your unsuccessful experiments will not be too noticeable.

Or, thre is another way. Just relax. Learn to feel comfortable despite the fact that someone there sees your mistakes. Allow yourself to be imperfect. It’s better to put on display all the drawings, both good and bad, than to draw only what you do well.

When you are a beginner, each of your drawings is very dear to you. You start to draw, and it seems that it is by all means necessary to finish, and then also surely to show to others. But it’s not the case! Come on, try it – sketch something and tear the sheet to shreds, just like that! This is not the last drawing in your life, and not the best of all that you have drawn. If you will get attached to your works, it will be more difficult for you to change something and learn.

Mistakes are inevitable. And don’t pretend you never have drawn badly. Allow yourself to be “not good enough,” then find the mistakes and think about how to avoid them the next time. Draw to be better, not to be praised.

  1. I draw only what you want to see

You may not be the best artist, but something you can do very well. For example, people like your ponies. Every time you upload another pony to the net, a shower of enthusiastic reviews rains down on you; it’s great. Once you drew other things, but you didn’t get a response, and therefore abandoned this action…

What’s wrong about it?

If only someone’s praise makes you feel good, it is natural that you try to create what the public wants to see. The problem arises when this need becomes pathological – you cannot create something new out of fear that it will not be accepted with approval.

That’s how you become a slave to your audience. Your desires are no longer important: your mission is to entertain them. In return, you get praise, but isn’t it better to be praised for choosing your own paintings?

Fan art is cool, but make sure it’s not the only thing you are allowed to draw.

How can you improve that?

Follow your heart! If you like to draw ponies, great, but don’t do it just because you think it’s the only thing your audience wants to see. If you want your creativity to have fans (and not your style or theme that you draw), you really have to create something of your own. Fan art can be a great way to attract attention, but it should not be the only way to keep the audience.

And sometimes it’s better to have some real fans than to serve the crowd, which fundamentally do not care about you.

  1. Maybe i should circle a photo?

You have a bunch of ideas, but you don’t know where to start. And you circumvent the problem using line art and the databases of other artists, and sometimes you simply circle a photo to create your own line.

What’s wrong about it?

It’s not scary if you draw just for fun, but if you want to be a really good artist, this path is not for you, it will lead to a dead end very quickly. Furnishing a house is not the same as building a house, and you cannot be considered a builder if you just put a sofa in the living room. By analogy, you are not an artist, if you can only finish other people’s work.

And the matter is not only in definitions of certain concepts. Starting a drawing is the most difficult thing, and you will never learn this, just avoiding this stage of work. People who created this line for you first learned how to do it. And since they succeeded, you will succeed too. Unless, of course, you stop looking for easy ways.

But the worst form of this “sin” is if you circle and use ready-made bases, but pretend that you don’t. It’s like taking the last step of marathon on the bus. And even if everyone congratulate you, this will not change the truth – you are not an artist, and it does not matter how good such drawings are in the end.

Here the problem is not in the end of result, but the path of execution that led to it.

How can you improve that?

The solution here is very simple: if you want to grow and develop, do what seems complicated. If this is difficult, then you can’t do it yet, but you’re working to make it easier, which means you’re getting better. The avoidance of difficulties works exactly the opposite: returning to the complex is much more difficult if you have learned to avoid it.

You can deceive yourself indefinitely for the fact that supposedly talent can make any business simple, and justify your own scam with this, but the whole thing is in your laziness! People spend a lot of time learning how to draw, and you just say to yourself, “OK, I have no talent, so why don’t I… help myself draw something”.

If you want to become a good artist, change your attitude and start to dig already. And if you want to be praised, even undeservedly… why do you even read this?

  1. I am an artist, I see so!

It is clear that your drawings are far from perfect, but they look pretty decent. You like it when people highly appreciate the time you spent on being able to show them your creativity. And if not, you will simmer with fury. But how dare they tell you what is wrong with your drawing?! This is your drawing, and you better know how it should look!

What’s wrong about it?

To begin with, let’s define the concepts of:

fact is true for everyone; based on objective signs (“wet water”);

opinion is true for some; based on subjective attributes (“roses are the most beautiful flowers”).

People who comment on your work simply voice their opinion. “How beautiful this is!” not a fact, because not everyone agrees with it. This statement does not “define” your work as beautiful and does not affect its quality in any way. It only means that someone liked it.

Therefore, if someone says: “you cannot draw”, this is only his opinion. And this does not mean that you really cannot draw (based on some objective standards), but only that this someone does not have a very high opinion of your skills. But his opinion does not affect the truth!

The problem is that people often strive to simplify things in order to think and respond faster. Something that everyone agrees with becomes a fact, but “everyone” is often simplified to “everyone I asked”. And therefore, if you ask ten people, each of them will have superpower to create a “fact”, simply voicing their own opinion.

If you accept everything in this way, every comment you hear can be very dangerous. Sometimes it’s better to just turn them off completely (“No comment, please, I’m just learning”). But you won’t get a single positive feedback and you will never know if your work is good. You have two ways to solve the problem:

  • to draw something perfectly to receive only positive feedback;
  • to draw something imperfect, and to call everyone liars.

The first way is unrealistic – it is impossible to please everyone (but you can artificially create a situation in which only favorable viewers will see your work). And the second is simply dishonest: you seem to declare: “only he who agrees with me is right”.

How can you improve that?

Let the opinions be what they are – expressions of personal feelings. If you do not like tomatoes, for example, you should not explain why; they just don’t taste good for you. They are neither good nor bad until some lover of homegrown tomatoes asks you to taste them. Your dislike of them will not make them worse, but an amateur summer resident can be upset.

Everyone has the right not to love your art, just as you do not have to admire Mona Lisa. Someone said that your drawings are bad? Wonderful! There is no more truth in their words than in the words of those who admired your art. Respond to all opinions equally restrained. However, there are quite objective signs by which a fact can be determined.

We distinguish things from a number of other things, giving them definitions.

If something does not fit its definition, it becomes an atypical version of this thing, strictly speaking, not this thing. If you come across a bird that does not lay eggs, then this is not a bird. If you see a horse with wings, this is not a horse. But the horse, whose knees are higher than expected, is still a horse, but atypical.

From left to right: cat, weird cat and non-cat. And you cannot blame anyone for remarking that your cat looks strange.

This means that if someone says: “actually, the wolf has longer paws,” he states the fact, not the opinion. And the mantra “I am an artist, I see so!” will not work here. This will not change the fact that your wolf has paws shorter than a real wolf. And people may not like it (opinion), but the person who pointed out the truth will remain right.

The facts themselves are neither good nor bad – your opinion of them makes them so.

And your rage towards them only testifies to your desire that the facts were different. For example, if someone says that your bear does not look like a real bear (because it has dog paws), you become angry. In fact, you are angry at your inability to draw a realistic animal. But you think that the person created that fact, so you redirect your anger to him.

If you want to become a better artist, be open to criticism. These are just words about your work, no more. You can ignore them or use them as an engine for self-improvement. Ask this commentator why he thinks your bear looks unrealistic. And what shall you do to make him look more like a real bear.

Your commentators often see more than you.

Listen to the facts, learn from them and apply their advice regarding your drawings. Over time, you will receive less criticism because you will make fewer mistakes. Do not be fooled that you are already good, or you will never become one.

The ease of drawing is deceptive, and a misunderstanding of this can easily become a serious obstacle to your improvement. I hope these seven sins will never get in your way!

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