Invaluable Art Advice to Elevate Your Artistry

Invaluable Art Advice to Elevate Your Artistry

Last Updated on April 8, 2024

Key Art Advice for Nurturing Your Artistic Journey: Immersion, Experimentation, and Endurance

The path of an artist is a journey of constant evolution, filled with exploration, self-discovery, and continual growth. Just as a hiker might need a compass for their journey, artists often benefit from art advice to navigate their creative landscape. Whether it’s honing technical skills, expanding creative horizons, or gaining new perspectives, art advice serves as a crucial tool for artists. It guides them, providing invaluable insights from seasoned professionals who’ve charted similar territories.

From fledgling artists just spreading their wings to seasoned creators looking to break their molds, art advice illuminates the path, enabling artists to enhance their craft, foster their unique artistic voice, and ultimately, communicate their vision more effectively.

As an emerging artist, it’s not enough to simply create. You need to submerge yourself in a holistic creative process – a process that combines immersion, research, willingness to fail, and most importantly, tenacity. Here’s a closer look at these three most invaluable keys of advice I have acquired through the years that can catalyze your journey toward artistic growth.

Achieve Immersion and Saturation

My first essential piece of art advice for how to improve your art skills fast is to start every project by achieving full immersion in your artistic subject or line of inquiry.

The more you understand something, the better you can express it to others.

Think about the process of drawing from life. By studying an object, and really comprehending how that object is structured and put together, you can better depict it. Drawing becomes your means of communication regarding the reality of that object. Alternatively, the less you understand what you are looking at, the more fuzzy and abstract your drawing will be, and others, when looking at that scribbly mess, will likely have a hard time decoding what it is and what you want to say about it.

At its best, art is an eloquent expression of your understanding and internalization of the world around you. To articulate your artistic vision with clarity and power, it’s crucial to immerse yourself completely in your chosen subject matter.

achieve artistic immersion

For me, achieving total saturation involves a brief period of purging all distractions and mental clutter, whether checking emails, booking upcoming travel plans, or figuring out what to eat later. Once your mind is clear, you can then immerse yourself fully in your artistic subject. This phase also involves observing, experiencing, and absorbing all forms of art related to your area of interest.

Dive into research, whether binging youtube videos on the subject, or engaging in brainstorming sessions, and find every possible angle to approach your work. Remember, the better you understand something, the more eloquently you can express it.

One method I often find helpful in really dissecting an idea or issue is to engage in the Socratic method of inquiry and analysis. The Socratic Method of inquiry, named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of dialogue-based learning that stimulates critical thinking and illuminates ideas. This approach involves a cooperative argumentative dialogue between yourself or multiple individuals, where one poses questions to the other to stimulate their critical thinking and to expose the limitations or contradictions in their beliefs and perspectives.

Instead of providing direct answers, the Socratic Method encourages a process of questioning and self-discovery, leading to a deeper understanding of the concepts at hand. It’s a method designed not only to seek answers but to question the way we think, challenging assumptions, and encouraging intellectual humility.

Implementing the Socratic Method involves a dialogue where one person leads by asking probing questions, prompting the other person to think deeply about their beliefs, assumptions, and understanding. Here’s a basic step-by-step guide:

  1. Identify the topic or concept to discuss: The person who’s leading the Socratic Method (often a teacher, mentor, or facilitator) should identify the subject or topic to be explored. It should be an issue or question that can stimulate thoughtful dialogue.
  2. Ask open-ended questions: Instead of asking yes or no questions, ask questions that require thoughtful responses. These might be questions like “Why do you believe that?” or “Can you explain how you came to that conclusion?”
  3. Encourage critical thinking: The goal is not to lead the person to a specific answer, but to encourage them to think critically about their beliefs and assumptions. They should be able to defend their position with logical reasoning.
  4. Challenge assumptions: If the person makes a statement that is based on certain assumptions, ask them to clarify and justify these assumptions. This helps to uncover any unexamined beliefs or biases they might have.
  5. Request evidence or reasons: Ask for explanations or evidence that support the person’s beliefs or statements. This encourages them to think more deeply about why they believe what they do and whether their beliefs are justified.
  6. Explore implications and consequences: Once the person has clarified their beliefs, ask them to consider the implications or consequences of their views. This helps them understand the potential impact of their beliefs and encourages them to consider alternative viewpoints.

Remember, the goal of the Socratic Method is not to win an argument or prove someone wrong, but to encourage deeper thinking, challenge unexamined beliefs, and promote intellectual humility. It’s a process of inquiry and self-discovery, rather than a debate. This type of intense intellectual immersion into an idea, and self-challenging of preexisting beliefs in regard to this idea, will help stimulate new ideas and approaches to your creative endeavor.

At this stage of the creative process, obsession is your friend. Think of yourself as a sponge, soaking up all the insights and as many perspectives as you can muster on the object of your artistic obsession. Such saturation can broaden your perspective and stimulate new ideas, refining your skills and enriching your understanding of your craft. And when you, as a sponge, have soaked up enough information and ideas on your inquiry, these ideas will begin to flow, or maybe even pour out of you effortlessly.

Experiment and Explore

My second word of art advice is to embrace experimentation and be willing to fail.

Harvard Business Review lists the fear of failure as the number one creativity killer, and it is no surprise. The fear of failure can inhibit creative thinking by instilling a self-limiting mindset, discouraging risk-taking and exploration of unconventional ideas, which are vital elements of the creative process.

In fact, two areas in your artistic journey that benefit greatly from experimentation without fear of failure is the gathering of valuable practical experience and the encouragement of authenticity. Failure provides valuable lessons that lead to improvement and growth. Each misstep offers insights into what doesn’t work and nudges artists to explore different approaches, thereby expanding their artistic repertoire.

Likewise, when artists are unafraid to fail, they are more likely to take risks and produce work that’s authentic and expressive of their unique vision, rather than catering to external expectations or trends.

Allow yourself the space to tinker and experiment. Be prepared to step outside your comfort zone, challenge your skills, and fail. You might go into a project knowing it won’t work, but that failure may steer you towards something that will. In this seemingly chaotic process, there is discovery and growth.

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I often find myself sacrificing a roll of film or even a canvas on an experiment I know will not work. For instance, I may invest an evening messing around with light painting, taking a hundred pictures, hoping that one might be useful. Once I find that one image that works, I try to replicate it. If this succeeds, I know I have stumbled onto a new exciting area to play in and hopefully develop.

Remember your artwork is a reflection of you – it carries a part of your soul. However, it’s essential to remember that while you might see perfection in your creations, there’s always room for growth and improvement. Listen to what others say about your work and embrace constructive feedback.

Don’t be entirely in love with your work to the extent that you become blind to its imperfections. Seek out opinions and feedback. This might reveal weak spots that you didn’t recognize or offer a fresh approach you hadn’t considered. Take such inputs willingly and use them to revisit your work from different perspectives.

Stay Resilient

art advice don't give up

My final word of art advice is simply to not give up.

This piece of advice may seem cliché, but it is tried and true: persistence prevails every time. As you navigate your artistic journey, you’re bound to encounter roadblocks and detours. You might experience bouts of self-doubt, creative blocks, or even face criticism. It’s at these moments that resilience becomes your most valuable attribute.

In the realm of art, creative blocks are as common as they are challenging. They can strike at any time, often creating a sense of stagnation and frustration. However, encountering and overcoming these hurdles is a necessary part of the creative journey, serving as a testament to an artist’s resilience and determination. The process of breaking through a creative block often involves stepping away, seeking inspiration, and allowing oneself the freedom to explore without judgment or pressure.

This phase can actually foster a deeper connection with one’s artistic voice and catalyze a powerful shift in perspective. Artists who persevere through these phases of seeming barrenness often discover they lead to fruitful periods of creativity and innovation. Therefore, the art advice to ‘not give up’ is not just about persisting through failures or rejections but also about navigating and overcoming these internal impasses. The journey beyond a creative block often paves the way for some of an artist’s most profound and impactful work.

Art is a process, a journey of expression and evolution. Some creations will be celebrated, others overlooked, and many will be stepping stones toward a masterpiece. The key is to persistently create and express yourself, to take the wins and losses in stride, and to view each piece as a learning experience, a chance to evolve.

Remember to do what excites you, embrace failure as a stepping stone towards success, and persevere. Your journey as an artist is about expressing your unique perspective, and only through endurance and resilience can this voice become louder, clearer, and more resonant.

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