Hello!! First off, your art is so beautiful. Secondly, I wanted to ask you if you could give me some advice on how to improve as an artist. Lately, I just feel like I’m unable to draw anything more than a sketch, and it’s hard for me to draw lineart and to usually even just make my coloring look right. I also want to try and draw more original things, but I can never really think of any cool characters or just original things to do. Is there anyway you could help me? ;u;
I’ve been thinking for awhile for how to answer this, simply because there’s such a wide variety of ways to improve and I don’t have an example of your work in front of me to give you an exact critique. As a result, most of my suggestions are going to be general purpose!
You’re having trouble finishing work. I know how that is! From what you say this seems to be a recent artistic malaise than something that’s a long-term suffering, so I’m going to guess this is simply artistic block. In terms of having a block, I think something very important to remember is that there is positive and negative stresses that you put on yourself, or is put on you from various sources. What these are differ from person to person, but a positive stress might be urging yourself to do better, or just a deadline - things that help you move forward, and give you a sense of urgency. Likewise, a negative stress is something that creates a mental wall in front of you. Things like comparing your work or another person’s, or convincing yourself you’re not good enough. I know I sometimes get into an overload where after looking at so many other artists’ work, and wanting to try SO many new things, nothing works and nothing turns out right, and I end up frustrated and miserable.
My point is, try to locate whether you’re putting unrealistic standards on yourself. This doesn’t mean “don’t have standards,” it means “understand what you’re doing and don’t be critical on yourself to the point that it becomes a detriment instead of a motivation.”
That said, sometimes things just come out shitty. And you know what? That’s okay. You may not be satisfied with the finished product, but sometimes that happens. Sometimes it’s more important to just finish something and move on, take note of what to do better the next time, and take to the next project than worrying about something being “right.” Sometimes you have to just get the bad, disappointing work out of your system. Sometimes you just need to loosen up and draw a whole bunch of REALLY DUMB, LOOSE SHIT to relax yourself enough to be successful. Case in point:
They’re going to be shit.
The point is to loosen you up and relax you, to make you stop worrying so much and to just focus on your art, your strengths and weaknesses, and nothing else. Going out of your way to compare yourself to others and putting yourself down is a destructive process and energy that could be better used powering through a drawing.
In terms of original things, shit anon, I’m a fanartist. I love original things, but I admit they’re a lot more energy than just drawing a ready-made IP! That said, I think it’s always useful to use references and inspiration at hand to help you think of new ideas. In convenient bullet format, my suggestions are:
- Draw what you know, draw what you love: you’ll be more likely to enjoy drawing if you draw things that you actually enjoy drawing. This doesn’t mean sequester yourself off to ONLY drawing things you enjoy, but thinking about things in terms of what you enjoy vs. what you think is a chore can be beneficial. Find ways to make what you do applicable towards your interests.
- Start a morgue: “morgue” here meaning a collection of references and inspirations. It could be something as simple as an inspiration tumblr where you exclusively reblog things to use for future reference. A lot of artists, including myself, keep these! They’re useful and a good place to go to browse through your collection when you don’t know what direction to take something.
- Use those references: there’s no shame in looking at other things when drawing. It helps you understand what you’re drawing better.
- Seek to understand rather than rejecting ideas or projects. If you’re feeling frustrated, ask yourself why. Locate the source of the problem and deal with it from there.
- BONUS TUTORIAL: I wrote this a couple months ago, it’s a giant tl;dr about how I changed how I see/use color.
I’m sorry I can’t offer anything more, anon! Artistic block hits lots of people for lots of reasons, and it’s hard to offer aid without knowing exactly what the person’s problem is. However, everything I’ve mentioned does tend to help me.
Good luck in your future endeavors!