Improving drawing skills takes a lot of time. And doing it the right way is as much important as patience. There always comes a time when you are not feeling like you are improving at drawing. And can makes you wonder if you are doing it right. This post is inspired by a man I met at Reddit. I wrote this story so that anyone who feels like that man can benefit from it. And get some help so he or she can continue their journey to become great artist.
The story About The Man Who Drew
A while ago, I met a person in Reddit(I will call him Happy) who complained about how his drawing is not longer improving. He said he spent 100+ hours and yet he didn’t improve at all. And he ended up giving up on drawing, which is pretty sad honestly. He is very good, I got his permission to write this story about him, but I forget to ask him if I could link to it. I
If you are just like Happy, don’t worry, you are not alone in this, there are many people who had this happen to them.
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After realizing that, I got the idea about making this post. Hopefully to help you overcome this problem, and reclaim the passion you had when you decided to start drawing.
Just like Happy, you like drawing so much, you probably have a passion for it, you want to be better at it and maybe master it. You likely have plans to make your own pictures, Manga or comics someday. You practice everyday, yet you don’t improve, you feel so frustrated, and feel like you are giving up.
Possible reasons why you are not improving at drawing?
The pattern is almost the same for many people, sometimes to the degree that it feels like you are talking to the same person. But getting to the reason of why this is happening is better be judged on a case-by-case basis, there’s no panacea for solving this problem to everyone, but the a pattern of the things people who feel that way do, which could be the reason behind that. If you have any of the problems listed below, you may need to work on these points first.
- The lack of knowledge about art, be it anatomy, perspective, or any other part:- Like I usually like to state. It is important to have a solid foundation about art in order to make great pictures. It may has been fine to not to have any when you were new to the whole world of art and drawing. But sooner or later you lack of knowledge will start to have is impact on the outcome of your drawing, and it is very likely to stop you from improving.
- You don’t not try to observe the world around you:- This is kinda the same point as lacking the knowledge, but because it is super important, I had it in its own point. Observations skills, in my personal opinion, is the cornerstone of drawing. Drawing is all about understanding the object you are drawing, its lines and structure. And you can’t draw what you don’t understand. Observation is all about knowing what an object actually looks like, not what you think it looks like. By observing an object, you mark the lines and shapes it consists of, the distance and the proportions between them. Which is the key to daring them right. Using guidelines is an aide in projecting these shapes and lines on the paper the correct way, without having to erase tons of times.
To give you an example, imagine that you want to draw a car, what does a car consist of? If your answer is tires, wheels, bumpers, windshield, then you are not doing it right. You should think of the car as cylinders, cubes, parallel lines & arcs. Understand very well how they relate to each other in order to draw it well, including the ability to shade them correctly. This pretty much summarises a big chunk of the art of drawing.
- You don’t believe in yourself:- If you have in mind that you can’t draw, them you can’t, if you believed in yourself, then you will do it. I may sounds a bit cheesy here, but It is funny how this is true, but it fortunately is. If you are in this category, then you may be believing in talent so much as well which is a problem in its own right (I have wrote a whole post about it in my A Sweet Word About Talent and how much overestimated it is~ post). And as Denis Waitley once said:- ““If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad”.
- You are too inpatient:- Improving is a slow process, so sometimes you could be improving but you are not noticing it, his is why it is important to show your art to people(either online or offline).
- You keep comparing yourself to other artists:- And there’s nothing worse than doing that. If the person is much more experienced than you, then he or she is definitely better than you, they have spent more time doing this, and they are so likely going to be better than you. Now I can hear you saying something along the line of “But that person is my friend, and she started just along with me”, that may be the case, and she may even started after you did, but she may have spent more hours a days doing so, she may have studied art more, got critiques from other artists, and maybe did try more techniques than you did. We don’t know. Even if we assumed that she did not, so what? Every person should go by their own pace, and so should you.
Eventually, if you are still going to compare yourself to other artists, make it so they inspire you to become better, to make a mental image that you have became just like them, which will happen if you believed in yourself.
- You are not getting critiques from others:- While there are certainly people who are good at self-critique, and you are probably one of them. There may be problems in your drawing that you couldn’t figure out which they are. And others may point them for you. Try to show your art online or to someone you know he or she draw well, they can point out some of your mistake and help you get back on track. If you knew what you are doing wrong, it is a first step toward fixing it ;)
- You are not challenging yourself:- By doing the drawing thing over and, and without trying drawing things that you never drew before. The same can go about trying new techniques and drawing pictures from different perspectives, or not trying harder at drawing the parts you suck at. To tell you a story about myself. I used to be very bad at drawing the hands, even when I made pictures that were so good, the hand were very bad that we can’t even dare calling it a hands. I even drew a hand that had six fingers, and I was told over and over how my hands were bad. Only because I never bothered to try hard and try to actually draw them the correct way. And at the end I only got better at the hand when I actually stated to try to draw them :D
Tips for improving drawing skills
- Talk to other artists:- And ask them for critique or advice.
- Take a break:- Do something for fun, possibly something that you have never done before, give yourself a few days or a week. Then pick up the pencil again and continue drawing.
- Try one of the following tips I listed in my post Mastering Drawing:13 Useful Drawing Tips To Improve Your Drawing Skills post
- Try to enjoy drawing more. And don’t pressure yourself much.
- Never give up:- I have a hunch that Happy may get back to drawing someday, which I hope is the case. I don’t think you will be happy if you abandoned your passion in drawing(unless you have something that you like much much much more than drawing).
- Never be overwhelmed by how other artists are good, they spent a lot of time to get to that level. Avoid comparing yourself to the other artists, yes, use them as an inspiration, but don’t let that destroy you. They have bee doing this for longer than you. From what I know, people don’t compare themselves to their seniors at work the way you do, do they.
And finally, I wish you to get back to drawing. Enjoy it, and improve your drawing skills. And have a lot of fun with it~