Why am I not improving at drawing? Improving drawing skills Tips

Don't cry and follow these tips for improving drawing skills
Not improving at drawing can be frustrating. Improving drawing skills takes a lot of time indeed. Please don’t cry Lolita~

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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Books you may find useful, check them out:- :)

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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.

The problem

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~

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See Also

SweetMonia
I am an anime artist, and huge fan of digital art. I love drawing with pencils too. But I rarely do that anymore nowadays. Since some aspects of digital art can be tricky, I try my best to explain the concepts as easily as possible.

16 Comments

  1. I find that the best tip is to just be practicing. I had a lot of trouble drawing manga in the beginning, and I realized I just need to relax and keep practicing, and I especially had trouble with expressions so I took a guide like painterartist and followed the steps, and I did that several times before I learned the lines and everything, and now, I have no trouble! :)

  2. nice article, it’s so depressing when it’s been 2 years i learned art & then found out i’ve been doing it wrong, 2 years learning & still don’t know how to use composition, perspective, value & other fundamental aspects

    1. It is nice you discovered that eventually, learning about all these things can easily make your drawing better, as long as you know how to incorporate them into your drawings. :)

      Not knowing about them is partly why some people complain they never get good, then they blame it on the lack of talent.

      1. fair enough, but talent does matter, & art in fact isn’t for everyone (it depends though). But whatever, i’ll keep doing this even though it’s very long to improving (probably not improving) , at least i have something to do hahaha

  3. Nice tips really. I too started drawing about a decade ago. That time I used to do it for fun. Tried to draw characters that i really like. I was encouraged and the passion was uncanny. Drawing over and over again, making comics and showing to my friends. They even liked it, and take the comic to their homes and review me the next day. Everything was going so good. But when I was aware of my mistakes,about how much time I wasn’t aware that there are rules in drawing which needed to be learned. It was frustrating, just wishing to turn back time and start over with rules again so I won’t stuck here. I am 20 now, but i didn’t improve much I should have. Reading your article makes me feel like that I should not be disappoint because, there will be always someone better than us, and I guess I will try to work out my own pace. Thanks

    1. Hello Marshal,

      Yeah, I wasted some time without knowing these rules myself, but I am glad I knew about them immediately. There are people who never knew about them, which’s kinda sad.

      I am glad you find my post useful, I am thinking about posting more things like it in the future.

  4. About 6 years I drew something for the first time, like I have drawn before that, but I put effort into it and treated it like an art piece. And I was really proud of it, so I thought to myself, maybe I should give art a go, so I did. And I really regret that decision so much now, I haven’t improved at all over those 6 years and I have practiced daily since then, I recently took a break though, a month long break. I want to do something with art in my future but I am giving up now, in 6 years my best art piece is still my first one. I’m not proud of any of my art now and I don’t enjoy it anymore. I have tried tutorials on youtube. Looking at references. Nothing seems to help. And I can’t teach myself because you can’t teach yourself something you don’t know. It feels more like a a taks than a fun hobby, I feel like I HAVE to draw just to improve, but in 6 years and I am still where I was. I don’t know how to improve. I have no friends and no family so I can’t ask someone personally. I don’t want to give up because I once enjoyed this and I was once proud. But I also know it’s the right thing to do, I have given it so long and it isn’t working out, I don’t have a talent for anything else so I have nothing else to move onto after art, but I guess I will just have to wait and hope something happens.

    1. In all honesty, practicing for 6 years without improving could mean there’s something wrong with the way you are practicing. Have you tried showing your drawings to someone?

      Also, practicing by copying others’ drawings can be a good first step if you’re not dong that :>

      I hope that helped~

      1. Ay strted to draw like a month now not much improvement dont know where to start, shall i start on anatomy if so which website or YouTube video someone can reference me to question learning anatomy would i be able anime characters thank you for a reply

      2. I’m back and I have been putting more effort and been drawing for a solid 18 hours in the day now and it’s at the point where I have decided to just give art up, there is no improvement and it’s only adding more problems onto the ones I already have, I don’t want to because I once enjoyed it but I accept that I can’t learn art and it’s for the best I don’t torture myself over it anymore, thank you for the reply though, sorry my reply is incredibly late.

        1. Hi Santik,

          I am very sad to hear you’re quitting (You are yet to tell me how you were practicing your drawing). But if it’s making you sad, then maybe that’s the best thing to do… I really hope you find something you continue to get better at, whether it’s writing, coding or anything really.

    2. Oh my… are you me? Because you do sound like me. Same problem. And I’m tired after years of practicing, keeping head up, observing all my friends getting light years ahead of me, and being generally a drawing failure.

      1. Hello Sarah,

        I think the main problem is that some people just can’t improve on their own, and they need the help of someone to set them on the right course. I highly doubt you lack the ability to become better if you really want to.

  5. I’ve been drawing ever since I was 8 years old and I’m now a sophmore, and I’ve seen all of this stuff about perspective and anatomy and no matter how hard I try to think about it and apply it to what I’m drawing, the result is typically me just sort of copy-pasting something from memory and I hate it. I hate how I try so hard to imagine something and put it on paper and the result is something a chimpanzee could do. The truth is my imagination lacks creativity and for years I tried and tried to get around that but I’m not able to. I just don’t understand, so thanks for the story that inspired me for a year but just like Happy, I’m leaving art behind while I find something that I might be talented at.

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