100+ of the Best Art Tips
We asked artists "What's the best piece of art-related advice you've been given?" and received an incredible amount of valuable feedback that's worth reading through. You may just find the inspiration or breakthrough tidbit you've been looking for.
There were many themes that repeated themselves, so first we pulled out a few of the main highlights.
- PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE: Draw something every day, even if it's just a doodle. Keep all your artwork even if you don't like it so you can see the improvement over time.
- DON'T COMPARE: Looking at other artists for inspiration is great, but don't compare your work to others and let it get you down. Everyone has their own unique, individual style. Everyone is also at a different stage in their artistic journey.
- USE QUALITY MATERIALS: Practicing and developing art skills is important, but to take artwork to the next level, make sure you're using quality materials and the right mediums on the right surfaces. It will make a difference in the outcome of your work. See our helpful Paper Media Guide that tells you which mediums work best on which papers.
- EXPERIMENT: Try different styles, mediums, surfaces and subjects until you find what works best for you. Once you find your groove, you'll enjoy the process of making art more which will be reflected in your work.
- BE PERSISTENT & DON'T GIVE UP: This can be tied to the first piece of advice about practicing, but the more you keep at it, the better you'll get. Not every piece you make will be a masterpiece, but keep trying and you'll see improvement over time. Also don't give up on a piece. You may think it's not working, but often it's just not finished yet. Don't be discouraged by the early stages!
- DRAW FOR YOU: Draw what makes you happy and what you're interested in, not what you think others want to see. Sticking to subjects, themes and mediums that are appealing to you will result in a more enjoyable experience.
- HAVE FUN: Art is fun! Enjoy the process!
Without further ado, here is the full list of advice we received:
Take your time.
It’s the process, not the product that counts.
Always make time for your passions.
I had a teacher that told me to stop outlining everything.... I chose to ignore and still outline to this day.
There are no mistakes in art if you're happy with the product.
Don’t give up even if you think others are better than you. Your style is unique the way it is because it doesn’t look like anyone else’s.
Are you drawing to please other people or are you drawing what you feel, for yourself?
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
Work big and use all your space!
Comparison is crippling.
Don’t compare yourself to others, everyone expresses themselves differently.
Create what you want to create and find a market for it. Do not create to fit the market. This goes for everyone who creates.
Keep going. The only thing that can make you improve is you. And don’t be afraid to try new things!
The best way to learn to draw is to start drawing.
My father always said "it's not the tools that makes the artist. The Artist can make art out of anything" Although tools certainly help!
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” –Walt Disney
Draw what interests you, you'll improve much faster. Don't just draw what you think will please others. Also don't compare your start to someone else's finish; you're at different points in your journey, so of course your levels will be different.
Practice. That simple.
Progress does not make perfect. Perfect is never accomplished, improvement is always possible.
Don't be perfect. Enjoy the journey. And volume, volume, volume.
When you find a paper you love, buy as much as you can afford! There's nothing more frustrating than finding the perfect surface, only to find out you can't get it anymore.
Don't compare yourself to other artists. You can never be them, because they are unique, as are you. You will develop your own style with practice.
An artist creates art first and foremost for him/herself. So create, create because you must and create because it's who you are.
Art is like a puzzle, you need to fit all of the pieces together to create the final image.
Where is the light coming from? Draw accordingly.
"Try it"...and I love it! I have changed a lot in my technique over the years...all because my dad told me to try an art class that I felt was above me. I'm glad I listened. It only helped me!
There are no rules in art!
Find inspiration, but make art your own.
It's not what you can make; it's what you can fix.
Even a 15 min sketch a day will help you improve. 15 minutes is nothing if you really have the passion for this.
As basic as it is, practice! Also, don't be afraid to set one project aside when you’re feeling stumped... work on several projects and keep switching whenever you feel discouraged. Once you come back to it you'll feel refreshed and can look at it with fresh eyes!
Never stop making art!
Always make a swatch for every new paper you get.
Create the things that you wish existed!
Comparison is the thief to joy.
Inspiration is everywhere. You don't need to search for long and follow your gut feeling when you get the urge to make art!
See mistakes as happy accidents that challenge you to incorporate them into your work.
Learn to draw basic shapes in space accurately.
Nothing is a mistake, only happy accidents.
Finished, complete, and perfect are all different goals.
Always go for more expensive materials. I used basic paper and pencils for years and it was only when I went for higher quality materials that I realized my own potential and how much easier I could make it for myself. You get what you pay for, as they say.
1. Experiment. Always. Try all different tools and surfaces until you find the best fit for you and your art. 2. Don't overwork pieces. When your gut first tells you it's done, it's probably time to put the pencils/brush down. 3. Don't be too hard on yourself and measure your work by artists you admire. 4. Enjoy what you make.
A Professor told me once that 75% of the time spent on a painting should be looking at your subject and "seeing".
1. Work, work, work. Improvement doesn't come over night but through hours of work. 2. Sometimes you need to be ok with sucking in order to get better. 3. Don't get too caught up in details that you miss the overall composition/concept. Your composition needs to be interesting in order to draw the viewer in. 4. Put yourself out there. Try new things and don't get stuck in a style early on in the game. Emulate other artist's work and figure out what works for you. 5. Reference, reference, reference. I used to think I was a bad artist because I couldn't draw without reference. Come to find out that using references is vital to making your work come alive and bring accuracy and realism into it.
Never compare your art to someone else's. The road to learning is hard and requires the will to keep at it. Sometimes frustration at not being as good as someone you admire holds you back. That piece of advice freed me.
Darker Darks, lighter lights.
Just create. Set aside time to make something. Make time to be creative.
Use big sheets of paper, draw negative space, practice.
Draw something every day. EVERY day. Dedication is key and practice is what creates an artist.
Do your best, do your worst, just do something.
While I think expensive art tools and materials do make a difference.... always have a large cheap sketchbook or paper. You'll be more inclined to be experimental and think less about money. Also don't point out mistakes after a compliment. Accept the compliment :).
Draw everyday! You'll only get better from where you are now!
When drawing a face look for the darkest parts and draw them first.
There's enough red tape in life, create whatever makes you happy. Don't worry about what other people think of it.
Try quick pen sketches and sketch everything you see in pen.
Learn to draw with your eraser. And one of my life quotes - everyone starts somewhere, so begin where you are.
Art is what you make of it. It's not perfection or being a certain way or using certain materials. It's laying your soul to paper and forgoing the rest.
Try a 5 minute sketch challenge: Draw without lifting up your pencil or using an eraser.
Don't throw any image you create away, even if you hate it and it's terrible. You'll only see the improvements you've made when you look back at them.
I was self-taught, and the most important thing is that practice makes perfect! Everyone has a piece that they end up hating, or isn’t great, but it doesn't mean you’re a bad artist! Art is unique and you have to find what works for you.
Just keep swimming.
Be a CONSCIOUS learner. Really understand what you are doing wrong or right. You won't improve if you keep doing what you've always known how to do. Also if you're good at something, never do it for free.
Never compare your art to other people's art; compare your art to previous projects, that's the only way you can improve & grow, from YOUR art.
Art is not what you see but what you make others see.
The best art advice I've been given so far was to start using the Strathmore 500 Series Bristol Plate. When I started using this, my art changed dramatically. Love this paper for my art.
Study values and shapes of the values.
Become okay with asking for critiques... it will help you become better at what you are creating.
Draw what you see and not what you know. Treat everything you're drawing as if you're seeing it for the first time.
Learn how to see your own art through the eyes of a critic, draw what you see not what you know, don't compare yourself to other people, always keep drawing no matter how many people hate it or how many people see it, always keep improving.
Do not point out the flaws in your work. What you've done is ruin the viewers pleasure of liking the work. They didn't notice it and loved it, now it's spoiled for them. Just smile and say thank you.
There is no box.
Keep going and don't give in.
Draw every day and don't give up!
To improve, increase your failure rate.
Practice, practice, practice.
Don't think. Do.
When drawing a portrait, look at the image upside down or in a mirror to check proportions
Use the best products you can afford.
That Strathmore paper is the best!!! (We had to keep this one on the list!).
Draw what you see, not what you want to see.
Fun is the number one ingredient - it shows in your work.
Do not judge your artwork against others. We all have different styles of art and no one style is better.
Don't pay attention too much on details, "less is more".
Don't compare to despair; admire to inspire!
Loosen up and let it flow ~ don't force your creativity.
Don't be afraid to waste a painting.
Keep going. Sometimes, when I think a piece I am working on is bad, it just isn't finished.
Save your old work so you can look back and see how much you have grown as an artist.
Paint what you see not what you think you are supposed to see.
Don't compare your artworks to others. Everyone is learning at a different rate.
You're only as good as you are right now in that moment, we all get better the more we work, so keep creating more artwork rather than perfecting just one artwork. What looks perfect now may not look so perfect later. Basically don't be a perfectionist.
You can do anything if you try.
Push past the ugly /disjointed stage of a painting... Everything comes together after that stage.
Have a point of view; refine it and defend it. That speaks to me to keep my art authentic.
Practice, Practice. Practice.
Make stuff, fail, try again, practice, repeat. Do it for you.
People criticize my style but it took me years to find it. Don't let other opinions kill you.
Only draw on days you eat.
The real beauty of art appears through imperfections.
It is perfectly okay to create something just for yourself. You have the right to just want that one piece or pieces that are for you and you alone. Sharing it is not obligatory.
Practice, practice, practice. Practice some more.
Not every piece of art you make is going to be a masterpiece and that's ok. Create, create, and create some more.
Never compare your work to others.
Don't wish to be better. Practice!
Whenever sharpening a pencil by hand, turn the sharpener, not the pencil. Save your pencils & your sanity.
Make 100 more.
Just keep making art, no matter the quality or subject. Always keep at it, never stop. Make it a part of your life, like eating.
Look at the spaces between objects in a still life.
Create every day, even if it is merely a doodle.
Take a little from everything that you look at and experience in art and make it yours.
Spend the money on quality supplies- it's not worth it in the end to try and force levels of quality that inferior or cheap cannot give.
Use the tools in combination with the surfaces they are designed for.
Always stand back from your work.
Learn from the artist but never copy.
Draw. Draw everything you see.
Draw every day.
The only thing I was told was to keep doing what you're doing. You have a style that's very unique and don't stop.
Last but not least:
Don't drink your paint water.