I improve best by:

8 Votes Asking my friends for critiques
1 Votes Asking strangers for critiques
29 Votes Working on improving what I think I need to
16 Votes Looking at other people's artwork and emulating it
0 Votes Writing other people's work and seeing what works
4 Votes Other

Just curious, I know they say that in order to improve you have to put yourself out there, but I know quite a few people don't like that. 

So what method have you found works best for you?


Any general tips you want to leave for others too?

ChosenUndeaad

I always tend to look at my art and see where I could improve most, but generally, I do ask for critique to anyone. I go to an art school so I have teachers pointing out mistakes and helping me where I need, but besides that, I also ask a few friends to review my art pieces!

I don't like to look at other people's art and emulate what they do on their stuff because I know I might end up doing their same mistakes and I would prefer to avoid that. Tutorials are the only exception because when I learn how to do something I always try to work on it and make it more personal.

Wicked

usually a combo of asking for friends & just... deciding what i want to improve on? i think i am somewhat decent at determining what i want to work with. being able to be honest with yourself with your own work and determine what you need to improve on is an important skill, if someone isnt able to do this then... they should probably work on it! nothing we make is perfect you should always be able to find improvement goals

i think insight from others that you are somewhat familiar with is the best but also its hard to find friends that will be really honest with you? cuz lots of ppl just wanna be "nice" & aren't willing to give meaningful critique cuz they think it's too mean. it's nice to establish relationships with other creative friends where you are willing to share & really take in each other's work to give meaningful advice.
insight from strangers is... luck of the draw. can be useful but lots of ppl dont know what they're talking about which makes their advice kind of useless. i think advice from ppl you know about is a big more useful cuz you know their background... like i wouldn't ask my friend who only ever eats cereal and unseasoned chicken breasts for opinions on the flavor of something im cooking LOL

I personally dont think emulating someone else's look is a great method unless its just for experimenting/a practice exercise. I dont think its bad for practice but I've seen ppl try to improve their art by just copying popular artists style and like.. this stops them from developing our own style. Trying a variety of things is good, trying to be someone else is not ya know

Pepperly

I have only one artist friend who is normally too busy for feedback, or just doesn't give me any in general, so it's fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants. I need improvement everywhere and I'll do random studies just to level up some stat a point or two.

RU-HX

I self-analyze a lot. I identify 4-6 problem areas and work on them throughout the year. I'll typically do this at the start of the year and half way through the year. 3 of those points are ongoing problem areas I'm still working on because I feel it's needed and not something I can rotate around.

I do study from artists on youtube because I am very visual and learn best when I can actually see how something is done a certain way and why. Proko is a favorite, he's a goldmine for anatomy resources and a good match to my learning style. The humor can be grating but the videos are short enough it's not over-whelming and if I want a refresher as I'm drawing something it's not gonna take too much time away from drawing. I also like to look at speedpaints because sometimes seeing how other people work can help solve issues. I wouldn't copy a technique outright but I may try how that person constructs heads and see if I could apply it to my style then find actually that works better than what I was doing previously or I may try how someone uses layer styles to shade and find I'm better off with the technique I'm currently using.

Sometimes I find just changing how you think can help. Lately I've tweaked how I think about faces when I draw, I'm now looking at how a character's face shapes relate to each other and getting rhythm lines in the right places rather than trying to make sure Jasper's face is 100% on-model and I do kinda feel I leveled up for that? Also in a stream I was in we were talking about shading and someone said shading was like sculpting which really hit home and made shading the drawing I was currently working on much easier when I started thinking about it like that.

Truth be told I actually don't know how to study/practice art effectively so if something needs working on I'll generally find ways to incorporate it into whatever I'm drawing. I might end up doing a few drawings that force me to work on that issue. Say I wanted to work on hands, I'd then go out of my way to have my OC's doing stuff with hands.

Mercenary_Ike

*stare at my art*

*Hate it*

*Promise to do better next time*

*Try as hard as I can*

*Still hate it*

Rinse and repeat. 

Kadrina

Thanks so much for the helpful advice! It is interesting to see everyone's process.

Gentle reminder, this thread is meant to HELP others. Self-deprecating comments are neither funny nor helpful. In fact, it is harmful for new creators. Please keep it to a minimum. Thanks.

dogstarlite

Kind of a combo of the first, third, and fourth options... that said I don't "emulate" others styles, I just see what they do and it helps me figure out how to I should do things. And I sometimes try drawing things the way somebody else does, but like. A little from here, a little from there, etc. I just have fun experimenting and trying new things.

Caine

I picked "Looking at other people's artwork and emulating it" but it's less about emulating and more about studying it? I really like to look at the works of old school mangaka in particular and analyze what exactly I love in their style and how those things are constructed & what kind of stylistic choices they use. Likewise I like to look at real life photos to try to understand how something like half opened eyes work so I can use it for my own art and understanding better what exactly I'm doing. 

That being said I do enjoy copying styles too for practice! Like drawing my OCs in the style of some popular game or something since I personally steer away from "independent" artists and stay within "known media" like Professor Layton or Pop'n Music. Breaking out of my usual stuff usually helps me see my art progress from a different angle & sometimes I notice I was drawing something all wrong and the style copying practice actually helps me notice that. 

Also drawing memes has been one of the most effective way for me to learn?? Because it combines fun, familiarity and anatomy practice as I try to copy the poses of the original (usually) photo. 

Ellteo

Tbh for awhile I tried really hard to do what I thought I "needed to do" to become what I thought a "successful artist" was? So that entailed emulating styles I really admired, trying to do "studies" without really understanding how or what that meant, etc.

For me, I think, it helped to find something I wanted to draw. And that seems really obvious, really it does! But it's more difficult than it's given credit for. When I was first getting into art (and I've been drawing for, what, 9+ years in total, 8 or so on a tablet), within the first like. 4 years of drawing. I was drawing for other people. I drew not because I necessarily liked it, but because I wanted to be admired and I wanted the validation and attention the artists I admired seemed to get. So in all of that time, I tried very, very hard to improve! But that came at the expense of starting to hate drawing as a whole, because none of it was ever for me, and the process itself became exhausting and depressing because I was just never satisfied with the result. I didn't draw as much, then, because it became so wholly un-enjoyable to me, that the thought of drawing tired me out, made me upset, etc.

Improvement happened once I started drawing for myself, had reasons to draw for myself, and allowed myself to experiment with different ways to learn. I created really, really self indulgent characters! I drew them badly again and again and again! I doodled them being stupid and silly and sappy and memes because doing that made drawing fun again. And in doing all of that, I ended up finding different ways I learn.

So instead of doing your typical "study" how people advertise it (sitting in a figure drawing class, drawing people, or going to a cafe to draw people in real time, etc) I've found that it's easier for me to trace photo's of people. I don't share it, but I do it because it helps with the muscle memory and general understanding of "how anatomy works". It works really well for hands, and if I was better about actually practicing (whoops) I think it'd work well for learning muscular anatomy as well. 

I think there's a misconception that there's only one right way to be or grow as an artist, but in reality - once you stop confining yourself to this "what a good artist is" box, you start finding ways in which to learn and grow that you never realized could work for you. And that's really important, has been really important in my learning process: You don't have to do anything. You need to find what makes you happy, to create, something you can continue to do with passion. Progress isn't linear, but failure isn't bad. It's something that, when you embrace it, teaches you more than you might ever realize!

(Sorry I got so long-winded KGJHSDF)

voidofinsanity

1. Identify - Figure out what you need to work on. I highly stress getting a second opinion from a friend or fellow artist. Having a second or third opinion on where you need help will make it easier than you trying to figure it out on your own. Most of the time you know yourself what you need to do, but sometimes you'll miss the simple things you could do to make an art piece better.

2. References - Find pictures of the subject matter you are trying to correct. Notice how the proportions work together. 

3. Tutorials - There are a million and two tutorials on how other artists work their designs. I find these highly useful. Maybe my art doesn't turn out how they did it, but it's my art, not theirs, so really it doesn't need to be exact. Youtube, Pinterest and DeviantArt are places I use often. 

4. Draw. Draw. Draw. - Draw! You won't improve if you don't actually do it. Every time you draw, even if it's a doodle, you're mind is carving out your craft. You'll eventually find you like how something you drew looks, and it will be filed away for later. Then you'll find after awhile that you're using these files in your mind to craft better looking art! 

5. Experiment - Try different styles, try different Mediums. Don't stick to one thing if you're getting stressed out. 

6. Scrap Struggles - If you've been drawing - erasing - redrawing - erasing over and over on a picture. Throw it out, start new. Usually this will spark your mind to do it in a different way and it will come out better.


Honestly there are so many things you can do to improve. This is just a few from my personal experience. 

NoiteAzul

I kind of enjoy practicing more than atually drawing so I might be suspicious but my favorite methods is copying lots of images of the thing I'm trying to improve, until I can draw it from many angles, simplified or detailed. Sometimes I fill 3-4 pages with sketches of the same kind of thing. The main point is to memorize the shape or the general idea of the thing, so when you use what you learned it's not like,, copying from memory or something. If it's boring, try listening to some music or using colored pencils and pens. 

Also these box/geometric methods. I love these speacially for anatomy. Though I think it's better paired with gesture drawing, not to get your poses too stiff.

The last year I've been struggling with what I wanted my art to look like so I started copying (as studies, of course) artists I liked. I had to find quite some new techniques and learned a lot while doing so. It didn't end up looking too much like any of their art but as a mix of all the things I loved.


Also I don't like asking for critique because I always know exactly what I dislike about my art oops

Laneu

I don't have many friends, I always try to ask strangers for art help alot but I never get feedback. I still need a lot of advice  since I can't figure out some of my own issues right away. 

Urielopolus

I improved a lot by asking my friends for feedback, both artist and non-artist friends. For example, I wasn't good at coloring till mid 2018, when I asked my artists friends what I could improve and they said the contrast was almost non existent in my drawings, so I started giving more attention to that.

One may think non-artist can't give useful advise cuz "they don't know how it works", but in my experience they always give objective feedback from a different perspective than artist so it's actually super useful!

I also tend to look at art I like and try to imitate it (mostly just coloring, or specific things like noses) and see what I can take from it to my own art

Also using references for whatever you're using, following tutorials that interest and doing studies reaaaally help