When asked about art with questions like how I can get better or how can I become an artist I am not that privileged to know the exact answer for each person so I offer this only as advice.
We live in a very high technological time in our lives. Everything is so instant and fast. Most people have smart phones and computers that provide us with so much in our day-to-day life. Scenes and ideas are just a click away with so many artists and workshops available at our fingertips to help show us, guide us inspire us and teach us.
With all that nothing beats the basics that have stood the test of time. From the early caver drawings to youthful scribbles on pieces of paper. Try never to forget how easy and simple it is to learn from your everyday surroundings. Breathe in and take in the air and view of life around you. You see it every single day way before you log on or turn on an electronic devise. As a matter of fact, those devices are visual in that you can see them, draw them, and paint them as subjects for study. As an artist I would strongly suggest that you try to draw and paint each day from real life. The practice has been around for centuries taking from observation and placing them in a journal for practice and study can be quite liberating and inspiring and well as a great teacher.
Drawing from observation unlike drawing from photographs gives you more of an opportunity to learn to see actual form, lines, light, color, and subject. A photograph can be quite vague in providing all that depending on how the picture was taken. It could reference things more in a blur or to clumped together not allowing you to see things as they are. They are quick capture of reality as seen through the eyes and the lens of the picture.
When drawing or painting from observation you get to study some of the most simplistic of things. You can start by looking at things around you like one piece of fruit or a glass object, a piece of clothing, furniture, or groceries. Work from real life and you will see sense and feel more directly than from those patches of color and distortions in a photograph.
It’s not about being perfect it’s about you are catching the lively spirit of the items you can see in front of you or around you. In most cases you can touch feel and even move those objects so you can get a better understanding of the texture and dimensions.
Next, I would suggest you keep it simple so you can learn the geometric shapes. by taking simple things you can learn cylinders, boxes, rectangles, and speres form single isolated objects. One apple, one orange or one prism shape packages. You can start with a roll of paper towels, books, glasses, bowls, and things like that. These simple objects and others can be great preparation for you when you’re ready to take on harder objects like landscapes, seascapes and even portraits. Start simple and then add more objects for size relationships and perspective. Most master art classes always have clusters of fruits, wine bottles and things like that for that very purpose.
In conjunction with keeping things simple try using dry mediums like pens, pencils and markers before you branch off into wet mediums like watercolors, acrylics or oils. This is not to say you can’t be doing them all but try to spend some time homing in your skills with dry mediums and it will help and improve your overall performance with the others. Use graphite pencils like 2b, 3b or 4b even color pencils so you can learn to blend erase if you have to and learn to really see and put what you see down with some accuracy while you learn to see. I recommend this no matter the skill levels you have. it’s a great way to practice and improve your artistic ability.
Lastly make it easy for yourself do not push yourself to fast or too hard. Do not hold yourself to others around you, in your class or who you see on YouTube or social media. Try not to compare yourself to others and learn to be as basic as you need to be and allow yourself to grow without the pressure of comparison or harsh criticism. Everyone starts in the same place no one starts high, so we are all the same in the beginning. Do not buy a lot of art supplies and think you need to devote hours and hours each day. We have busy lives and all you need to do is carve out like 20 mins or so each day to just have some fun taking it easy and develop your skills. If you really want to improve your art skills try to have a consistent habit or 20 to 30 mins each day or an hour if you have that kind of time. It’s the consistency that will pay off more that you trying to overdo the time based on your busy life and obligations.
In closing try to keep it all simple. I know it’s hard and we want to really buy into the notion that we need a big studio and lots of equipment painting the most enlightening of subjects. None of that is true. Van Gogh worked more with charcoal and paper than he did with paints. Leonardo Di Vinci fill created hundreds of thousands of observation sketches and studies. All artist from the average to the masters has to start somewhere and find a routine and materials that work for them. To be a creative does not require a ton of money or skills its time, observation, and use of whatever materials your able to have that will allow you to grow as an artist. Understand things from your own senses and practice with things you already have around you, that you pass or see every day. You do not have to fly to some exotic location and spend more than you have to be an artist. Remember we all start from 0 every single person you see that does art was not always as good as they are now. Each and everyone start at the same place. Interact with the materials yourself. Every artist to include myself when talking about art or materials is from my interaction and my perspective which may not be yours at all. So, when it comes to learning you are your best teacher everyone and everything is simply a guide, inspiration, or motivation for you to find your way through this maze we call art.
You learn a lot from your own hands-on experience. Often it is hard to explain or put into words those things we do as artist to create an artwork. For example, to say to make orange you mix red and yellow but how much red or how much yellow, what is the ratio. It depends and often no matter what you do the mixtures may not be the same. To really understand you must take all the basics into your own had for your own experience so you can understand how it will all work for you. We all see life through a different lenses or perspectives. Our backgrounds, surroundings, education to name a few all lend to how we each see the world and while we share a lot of commonalities when it comes to art, we all see things differently.
For the creative experience we must see things for ourselves. Spending a little time finding some value doing art to slow down, meditate on our surroundings and find that inner peace being a creative is an individual journey. Think that some time away from our phone’s family or friends for as little as 20, 30 mins or even an hour is not enough look at the accumulative time when you put that into a routine. if you have more than do more but the key is to just find out what works best for you be dedicated to that and you will be fine.