You can learn almost anything you want on the internet. It’s a perfect vehicle for artists of all kinds to learn how to improve: drawing, painting in all media, woodburning, crochet, pottery, writing, you name it.
But be careful. While you’re learning how to achieve your very best work, it’s very, easy to get sidetracked. Here are some things I’ve learned.
- Before you realize it, you may look back at the end of the day and realize that you really haven’t accomplished as much as you could have. Tutorials are the best but watching too many tutorials can eat up precious time that you should have spent practicing your art. Watch, yes. But then focus on doing! Hands-on practice is the only surefire way for you to get really good.
- Likewise, remember your task is to develop your own style and tell your own story in your work. Avoid copying the work of others if you want to make real progress. Creating has to come from inside….from your own experience and your own imagination. When you copy another’s work you risk being guilty of copyright infringement AND you stifle your own creativity.
- Early on, you want to establish a working system for keeping your tools, your workspace and your finished products in order. If you’re practicing your art properly you will soon find that your work will grow. Before you know it, you’ll have more finished projects (or works in progress) than you know what to do with. You can, of course, store them…Get creative, drawers, shelves, standing on end in a corner of your workspace, it’s all good. But the point really is to get your work in the hands of an appreciative audience, right?
- Eventually, you’ll want to decide what to do with those masterpieces you’ve completed. Perhaps you’ll start giving away your work to family, friends and acquaintances. You may want to enter contests and start finding ways to sell your work. It’s a good idea to include this kind of planning while you’re creating your masterpieces. Making art for a specific use, time and place adds a special dimension to your work. It gives your creativity purpose and energy beyond just doing to do and filling time.
- And this all leads to what I’ve discovered is critical to continued growth in your chosen area of expertise. Record Keeping!! Before you know it, you will lose track of your purpose. You may go off in all sorts of directions, always looking for a new technique or subjects even before you’ve perfected what you started learning to begin with. You may give away or sell a piece of art and forget about having done it. And, you may well forget just exactly how far you’ve come in your artistic journey…how much you’ve learned and improved can get lost along the way. It doesn’t matter if you do this part of your work all by hand or if you use a computer. What’s critical is that you keep records – even photos – of all your work. Other records, include, where those works went after you’ve signed them…who you gave them to, what contests you’ve entered them in, what galleries or stores you’ve approached or would like to approach for distribution as well as where they finally found their forever homes.
The devil’s in the details. First of all, remember to focus on the joy and passion of your art. Do it because you love it – or do it because you “must”. No matter. Just remember to honor your work. Treat every accomplishment with pride and handle it with the care a valued work of art deserves. Your work represents a part of yourself. Once you release it into the world, just like a child reaching maturity, you never know who your masterpiece will inspire or what it will accomplish. so be sure to do your homework while you’re nurturing your creative genius.