The Art of Improving

Drifting into a surreal world, a focus of lines and color, imagination and emotion… Letting myself to dissolve into the motion of a stylus: dancing, frolicking, battling against a canvas of whatever world of imaginative chaos I let myself into… it turns into wonder, frustration, compromise. A battle between me and the artwork…

Nearly two and a half years have flown by since I started taking drawing seriously, and these two years have been a struggle and an adventure. Starting out, I was inexperienced, blind, and very limited in what I could do. Just as if forced to hold a rifle, told to kill, and then left in lost misery on the battlefield of a war that had already taken 16 million lives. Yet the beauty of artwork differs much from the rage of war.

make art not war.jpg

Make Art, Not War – Flickr

Lots of mistakes were made at first, making me want to reverse time and tell myself that “No! You’re doing it all wrong!” However, I wouldn’t have knowledge on these mistakes and have the ability to correct them in the first place if I didn’t make them. Art is yet another skill in which you could always learn from and improve with; some people are just farther ahead in the journey than others.

When I first started out, unskilled as I was, I had the passion to continue doing it because it made me feel like I was actually good at something. I spent countless hours in my room sketching and drawing that year. Surprising as it is, I’m also thankful at how naive I was at the mistakes I made. I kept drawing, despite my mistakes, for hours a day, and rarely ever discouraged. But being ignorant to your mistakes could also be a terrible consequence. You can’t pick out what could be improved and practice it to become better. Either way, I became more and more observative, and slowly learned to pick myself up and tried to become better than I had originally been.

Here are some of my artwork from 2014:

[Note: My social media account that I posted my art on at the time was “magentapixels.” Therefore, most of the artwork were watermarked with “Magenta” or “magentapixels.” Characters are also not mine unless stated.]

Created with ArtStudio, iPad

I first started experimenting, learning, and trying to find my style in the first couple months of 2014. Looking back, I could point out every error and mistake that were so oblivious to me back then. But I was still learning at that time and still am!

Created with FireAlpaca, Wacom Tablet

This could be called the “awkward stage” of my art experience. I was entering the realm of drawing on my computer (using a tablet, of course!), but I was still trying to find a style that I liked. Anatomy and blending colors were still foreign and out of my experience, but I had so much more freedom than I had with an iPad.

Created with Paint Tool Sai, Wacom Tablet

More improvement! I moved on from FireAlpaca to Paint Tool Sai. Like my transition from iPad to computer, I felt I could do so much more with this program.

Moving on to 2015:

Created with Paint Tool Sai, Wacom Tablet

The year of improvement! At the beginning of the year, I was still doing line art and then color/shading. But as the year moved on, I started painting more and more (digitally, that is). I started focusing more on anatomy and also on finding my own style.

In the Present-2016:

Created with Paint Tool Sai, Wacom Tablet

This is the end of it! I’m glad where I ended up, and I want to continue improving… Who knows where I would be in another two years? Some things I want to do before 2016 ends is to derive from digital art and do more traditional artwork, sculpting, and acrylic painting. I also want to learn the essentials of Photoshop, since it has much more tools and would be very useful to paint in.

If you’re a beginner artist, my advice is to not give up. You don’t know where you will be or how much you’ll improve even within two years! Give it a go, even if the art is as cringe-worthy as mine was back when I first started. The most essential thing to remember is to not compare yourself to other artists! Use their art as inspiration as where you could be in one, two, five, or even ten years. Remember, art is a skill, and you have to practice to become better!


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