5 Habits To Help You Grow As An Artist

Perhaps my biggest passion since the age 9 has been drawing. Since then I've always had a love for art and from there anything creative. These days, I mostly find myself doing digital art and I've narrowed myself into a corner, meaning that I tend to just draw my own characters. While I dabble in acrylic painting, watercolor and even use to sew plush dolls, I haven't done much this in the past few years. When it comes to growing as an artist I've come to a bit of a stand still but I have full intention of changing that with help from this blog.

Before I start on good habits every artist should adopt, I'll start with the biggest mistake we can all make. One that I'm very much guilty of, and that's the lack of practice. I follow a handful of young artists on sites like Deviantart who when I first met showed real promise. It's the ones that I see producing new consistent pieces of content, from 4 to 10 or more, a week that I've seen grow exponentially. At times, I find myself rather jealous of their growing skills but know I can only blame myself and lack practice.

So these five habits I'm going to share with you are ones I've learned from myself, and I'm looking to reapply or take up for the first time because I've seen first hand how they've helped others.

1.] The first habit is very easy. Look around you. Throughout the day make a point of looking at your surroundings, whether that be at school, work or on the street. Look at objects, at people and their faces. Visually break down what you see down into components and think about how you would put it all back together on paper. Watch for body movements and posture to the way wrinkles form on people's clothes. What’s everything you can learn from them visually? Emotions, age, background, etc. How can you replicate all that in a drawing, painting or animation? You can learn so much by just being aware of everything around you and studying its details.

2.] Sketch every day and every chance you can if possible. Doesn't matter if it's on a sticky note, napkin or in a sketchbook you carry with you (and you always should carry one). If you have to set aside at least 10 minutes to sit and draw. And draw anything. The important thing here is to keep yourself in practice. Even if all you drawing each day are little doodles, this habit more than any other I think will help you improve the most. An added note, try to always carry a sketchbook with you. Carry it like a lifeline. You won't have the excuse of not having anything to draw on and it's a place to jot down ideas or reminders. I always carry a sketchbook or notepad of some form. I even have a couple small ones to fit into my back pocket. Carrying a pen is the real hard part, surprisingly.

3.] Put the pencil down and sketch with ink! Hide all your pencils and find a pen you like. I learned this one from an old friend who would only draw in ballpoint pen and he explained it to me when I finally asked why. Drawing with pen means we can't erase any mistakes, and that’s exactly why you should draw with it. It forces us to work with our mistakes by either changing the drawing to cover it up or making it look intentional. I think after time it also helps us become more confident in the lines we put down because we're less afraid of making those mistakes.

4.] Horde reference material like a dragon and use it. If you're working on a piece, having reference for anything from lighting, color, anatomy to composition will increase the quality of you final product ten fold. You learn so much from having solid reference to work off of. I suggest compiling a folder or some kind of collection for the thing you like to draw and especially for the things you really struggle with.

5.] Which takes me to my last point, face your fears. By that, I mean any fears or hesitation of drawing things that are difficult. Anyone else hate drawing feet? Why are they so hard to draw?! To combat this I'm going to put aside time to just draw feet. Feet and anything else that makes me pull my hair when I draw. I suggest you do the same. I had a teacher once tell me he hated drawing wrinkles on clothes. So he took an old fat Macy's catalog and sketched every item of apparel in it until he was confident he had mastered wrinkled clothes.

Some of these you've probably heard before and you're seeing them again here because they really do work. It's just a matter of how determined you are to put them into practice.

Have any another habits or tips you want to share? Comment below or tell me about that on Twitter @DeadEndReyes, I’d love to hear them.