There are three key steps to success in art and they are as follows:
- Study From getting feedback and critique, to working through guides over and over again, to looking at what others do and how they approach their work. Asking questions is very important here. Knowledge doesn't only come from practice, but also from openly wondering and asking. Your critics are here to help you, take advantage.
- Copy the masters The 11th Bi-Weekly Challenge was designed for its usefulness and all those who have done it have testified in their massive leaps and bounds in improvement. This isn't just a one time activity, but rather something to do over and over. Who are the masters? Any artist that is really good. For pony artists some of my favorites include: JohnJoseco, CrappyUnicorn, ShadowSquirrel, Purplekeckleon and many more. Any artist whom you think is too far ahead of you to reach. Reach for them. You will not succeed the first time. Nor the second. Nor the third. But upon each attempt you will learn. A lot. ...and that's the point.
- Don't quit, do change and work above your fear. This one is complex but it all stems from the same thing. All of us as people occasionally are frustrated, get stubborn, or are worried about stuff. These are normal reactions to everyday life.
- On Quitting: If you quit arting at all you aren't going to get better. But you will still be plagued with the creative energies, the desire to capture your imagination and bring it into reality. For individual pieces... sometimes it is best to set things aside and come back to them later. Other times it is best to work through the frustrations. It is up to you to judge which of these is true.
- On Change: It is only natural to love how you art. But improvement, by definition means to change. Your critics are going to tell you to do things that you're uncomfortable with, especially if you use the Assign tag. But all these things add to your library of knowledge and they all intermingle. Knowledge of hatching applies to shadows as shape. Knowledge of composition applies to... everything. How your critics push you is going to make you change how you approach art, but it is for the better and where you're pushed to isn't permanent, but the knowledge of the experience is.
- On Fear: If there is one paragraph to read here this is it. I have recommended this book called ART & FEAR before on the sub and it really covers how every artist feels and helps you to understand this fear thing. You are going to hate your work sometimes. Artists are their own harshest critics. You are improving with each piece you make and each critique you study.
The book is $10 with shipping and it's amazing... please get it.
You are going to put off trying new things for fear of messing up what you already have. Don't. ...at least push past the fear. A good attitude to have is that you're making this work today to learn from so that your next work will be better tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes, so you're always improving today.
Practice is constant throughout these three. Want to improve? Draw every day. Even if it's just a fifteen minute doodle.