tips on making my art better

Posted 1 year, 10 months ago by straycats

idk, I just feel like i'm seriously... under-preforming?? loads of other people my age (15) make much better art than me and it kinda makes me self conscious and jealous I guess. and ik practice is important but I guess this is more or a critique thread so I can figure out what exactly i need to target and get my butt in gear so i can start feeling good about myself

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tldr but I hope you find this useful;

You shouldn't feel like you have to be up to a standard! Your art is cute and lots of people work at their own pace to improve, and you should too because tbh y'all these standards are all in your head- and it REALLY just depends on the person. Like.. obv i'm sus to think that way too (ie: i'm not good enough, people my age are LOADS better) but honestly. Just keep practicing and seeking out your style if you haven't gotten one yet. Drawing every day even if for a minute actually helps it's horror fuel but don't tell anyone lol.
A few things i'm spotting is a bit of stiffness in your figures. You have nice and dynamic poses but some placements get a little awkward/locked up. It's a common opinion imo you shouldn't sweat it too much, it's just a matter of studying anatomy. Idk if you're having trouble with a tyle but I'm gonna give you some deets if you ever feel like experimenting
Some nice pointers to develop a more rounded style is to look at some of your favorite artists/good in general and take some aspects of their style and try to apply it to yours- it doesn't have to necessarily work and trying to see how it'll fit in is better than keeping things the same and not improving at all. You could also alter the aspect you'd like to try so it does mold into your current style. Also if ur like me.. Parts of my style changes a LOT/ i have a few different styles and tbh that's okay.
If you wanna improve your anatomy, I usually go on pinterest.. tbh.. if the right person posted it, the examples you find can link back to the artists social media and you can find more things to study from their profile, or pinterest suggests some hella stuff. Basically I search things like 'animal anatomy' and use things like this or this to help my better my forms or dynamics.
If you have a hard time eyeballing, basic shapes and forms really help mesh out a final trace. It's also helpful to try out 'skeletal structure', for example, the pelvis can be reduced to a triangle, joints to circles and such. You probably know already.


Alrighty! So, first off, I have to agree- your style is very cute, and I'd highly recommend you embrace it. Keep your lines mostly rounded, with not too many sharp angles, and the cuteness levels will go up. (Related note, if you wanna go edgy... literally go edgy).  The designs are also adorable- my personal favorites are the halloween cat and the purple and yellow doggo next to them!

So, there are a few things I can help you out with. First, as Spicy brought up, posing is a little stiff at times- however, that's a relatively easy fix! Here are a few things I'd suggest you try-

  • First off, research line of action. It's a very common technique in cartoons which can add... well, character to your character. You don't always need it, but it's a good thing to keep in mind. Here's a good starting source!
  • Practice studies of poses. For humans, you can use this site to practice posing- it's also helping to practice gesture drawing, which can be extremely helpful to getting to figure out a composition. For ferals, I'd suggest just sitting down, looking at references of actual animals doing their thing, and draw what you see. 
Anatomy was also a little rough at times, and that's mostly a lack of practice. (Don't work yourself up over it, though- this is probably one of the most difficult parts, as far as I've seen!) The funny thing about anatomy is that, with a cartoonism style, it appears that you're throwing it all to the wind- really, what you're doing is manipulating it to be more aesthetically pleasing to your eye.  However, in order to manipulate it, you first need to know the basics.
  • Look up the anatomy of whatever animal you're drawing. You don't have to watch a dissection or something- there are plenty of charts and graphs showing the anatomy you need!
  • Play with the skeletal structure. Learn how to draw a very simplified skeleton and then sketch on top of it! This can be done with construction lines as well.
  • Play with realism! Try to look at a reference picture and recreate it. They often don't look that amazing in the end, but still try- what you learn from it is what's important.
  • This... might just be a me thing, but one of the best things I've found is comparative anatomy. If you learn the basic mammalian muscle structure and learn how the muscles change by species, you can seriously learn how to draw a deer by looking at the anatomy of a lion.
The last thing I'm really gonna talk about is value/shading. Your main problem is that you don't do it all too much (tbh, I feel that very hard)
  • Make sure that you always have a defined light source! On your sketch layer, just draw a little white/yellow circle for reference, and have the light come from that. Although it's fun to play with different light sources, even one directly on top looks nice.
  • Try not to use the airbrush all too much. The best thing for your style right now is probably to try to do cel shading/hard shading.
  • Don't shade with black. I personally use a navy blue on a 50% multiply layer (but can change it based upon character design/mood)
There are also a few general tips for improvement I can give- for example, practice every day. Even if it's a little headshot doodle, it'll get you into practice for drawing every day as a habit. Also, watch tutorials and videos by art Youtubers! Even stuff that may not directly apply to what you do can give you an idea or push you a little further than you already were. Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone- when you're feeling especially adventurous, try drawing something you haven't ever done before or are aware you're bad at (for me, this is bgs tbh) and don't be afraid of it turning out as a train wreck. Every garage fire is simply fuel for improvement! Although it's difficult, try not to compare yourself to others- everyone moves at their own pace, and that's fine! 

thanks you guys for the help!

still kinda looking for critique? I've added more examples to my gallery.