Contrary to popular belief, being good at art has very little to do with natural talent. Yes, you can have an eye for detail and a natural interest in aesthetics, but when it comes to creating art, practice and experimentation are the fundamentals of artistic progress.
Practising art doesn't have to be regimented, it can be as easy as doodling something alongside your morning coffee or setting aside 10 minutes in your day to paint. We’ve put together a list of our top artistic resources to help you along your creative journey and to inspire you to get practising.
Never underestimate the power of a good mood board. If you're stuck on where to start, browsing through Pinterest is a great way to quickly gain artistic inspiration as well as a useful tool for building a colour palette.
Get past the stock-like photos by searching for specific areas you’d like to work on, try phrases like ‘animal sketches’, ‘face references’, or ‘line illustration’ to get your creative juices flowing and find out what type of art you’re interested in producing.
If you want to improve your eye for drawing animals, people and faces it’s important to study the basics. Take time to really look at the different elements that make up what you want to draw.
Examining things like bone structure, how muscles connect and work, joint movement, weight distribution can help you build up a better understanding of what makes a living creature. By dedicating time and attention to these details you will eventually find that you can more easily create a lifelike image of an animal or person.
One way to do this is to include at least 10 minutes of anatomical study in your daily routine. To do this, make use of sites like Animal Photo Art Referenced Search, which allow you to move animal skulls in various directions whilst providing you with an excellent selection of animal reference photos.
Ever wonder why your drawings always seem a little stiff looking, stuck and lifeless? Life drawing could be the answer to your problems!
Although life drawing may not appeal to everyone, it really is a great way to practice capturing movement. Life drawing doesn’t always have to be about nude references, there are plenty of sites that offer posed clothed models which provide equally valuable practice.
If you can’t attend in-person life drawing sessions or would simply prefer to complete your drawing studies at home, sites like Line of Action are a great place to start. Here you can set a time limit, nude or clothed models, and choose between ‘class mode’; which gives you a ‘warm up’ or ‘same length session’; where you are presented with a series of images for an equal length of time within your set time limit.
If landscapes are more your thing there are plenty of ways to boost your practice. Try sites like MapCrunch which pick you up and drop you in a randomly selected location giving you a wide-angle view of various street views. Just keep clicking the ‘Go’ button until you get a scene that appeals to you, and try and recreate it in your own style.
As with any piece, make sure you pay attention to where the light is coming from and where the shadows lie in each photo. Start with the base colours, work in the medium tones and shadows, and finally add the highlights and details. This is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and experiment with scenery you wouldn't normally come into contact with.
Even though we’ve spent the majority of our lives staring at peoples faces it's surprising how hard it is to draw a realistic human face without a reference. Whilst it’s certainly hard to do, many artists have seemingly cracked the code to creating believable portraits from their imagination alone.
For your portrait practice, you can start with using photos on your camera roll. Try looking at high-resolution photos of your family and friends to get a detailed view of their facial features.
If you lack your own references you can always google search for portrait references as well as using sites like Reference Angle to play with the various facial expressions, genders and angles. Here you can move the mannequin to generate photos at your chosen angle, and filter your references by age, gender, facial expression, and more!
There are thousands of talented artists that produce free educational videos on YouTube. These can be particularly useful if you are struggling with a particular area in your artwork or can’t quite work out how to get the end result you want from a piece.
Whether you want to specialise in digital art or are wanting to improve your watercolours here are a few of our favourite YouTubers to get you started:
Watercolour: Kirsty Partridge Art
Drawing: Lazy Arts
Additionally, if you have the time and resources learning from an experienced professional with one-to-one lessons is a great way to quickly advance your skills and get the help you need to progress. At Tutor House, we offer private online and in-person art lessons with experienced professionals to students of all ages and abilities. Here you can set your budget and filter your preferences and get connected with professional art teachers from as little as £30/hr.
Introduce some of these practices into your daily routine and watch your artistic skills come on leaps and bounds!