Archive for category advice

Art tip: Sleep on it

[Note: I’m just putting up some random tips & ideas that I’ve had from time to time. Maybe some day I will collect, edit & collate them, & put them in a little book or something.]

I’ve often found that I finish a piece of artwork (or think I’ve finished it) & am not sure if it’s actually done, or even any good. This is partly because I’ve been so focused on the piece for a length of time that I’ve lost all sense of it except in relation to itself…

In this case, the best thing to do is to put it aside for as long as possible. Looking at it again in the cold light of day may be refreshing enough for you to come to the conclusion that, hey, it’s not bad, or it’s really good, or it’s actually not that good at all.

Best of all may be to put the piece out of sight for weeks, months or even years. You may get a pleasant surprise. Or not. You may also find that you are far enough away from the original impulse to easily finish the piece if you finally decide it’s not finished.

Ultimately: some artworks need to be destroyed.

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Advice: How to become a better artist

This is just one of those things I’ve discovered over the years. Please bear in mind that what works for one person may not work as well for another. However, taking Shadow Bay (the post below) as a good example, I’ve found that if you want to learn to do something, the best way to do that is to do it (whatever it is) for real. For example, you want to learn how to illustrate a graphical noir story (case in point), then go ahead & do it. And, if possible, over-do it. Shadow Bay (presuming I finish it) will have something like 400 drawings/paintings (I’m not sure what to call them.) It’s almost impossible to do that many pieces without learning something along the way. Which is not to say that each successive image will be better than the one before; there will be peaks & troughs, but in general, progress will most likely be made.

I think a lot of beginning artists make the mistake of thinking something like, “hey, I’ve done around 30 pieces of art now, that’s enough for an exhibit,” which, to be fair may be true, but maybe they should consider doing an extra 30 & then choosing the best 30 out of that 60…

I guess the moral of the story here is to go the extra mile. Or two. It can’t hurt to have the extra artworks around for your next exhibit (or whatever the case may be.) It’s always good to have something in reserve.

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