Although I’d originally planned to write exactly the same “to hell with new years’ resolutions!” article that I strongly considered writing this time last year, I suddenly thought about a resolution of my own.
Unlike the pointless masochistic ritual of self-defeating self-denial that many people inflict upon themselves today, I actually made this resolution in April about three years ago. Yes, before it was cool.
What was it? Well, it was simple – “I will produce at least one piece of art every day“. That’s it.
And, surprisingly, I’ve actually stuck to this resolution fairly well since then – and my art has improved significantly as a result. Seriously, I’ve gone from making what looked like childish doodles to making art that could just about vaguely pass for something that you might find in a low-budget indie comic.
So, if you decide to make this resolution yourself (and please wait at least a couple of days, just so you don’t feel like it’s a *ugh* “new years’ resolution” of any kind), I thought that I’d offer you a few basic tips that might come in handy.
If you’ve read my other articles about making art, then there isn’t really anything new here – but I thought that, at the very least, you might like a reminder.
Anyway, let’s begin:
1) Start Small: When I started making art every day back in 2012, my pictures were a lot smaller. In fact, each one was only as large as a quarter of an A4 sheet of paper.
At the time, even making something as small as this seemed like a challenge – but it felt achievable. After all, I only had to fill a quarter of a page with drawings every day.
After a few months, I finally made the leap to making A5-size drawings (and then paintings) every day. Then, earlier this year, I started making A4-size paintings, before finally settling on my preferred size of 18 x 19cm for my drawings and paintings.
Why am I mentioning this? Well, making a piece of artwork every day can seem like an intimidating task at first and, if you expect to make a full-size painting or drawing every day then this is probably going to scare you away fairly quickly. So, start with something smaller and easier and gradually work your way up to larger pictures once you feel more confident.
2) Work fast: Making art takes time and, if you’re new to making art every day, then it can seem like this will be one of those things that will take a huge bite out of your day. So, it’s important to learn how to make art fairly quickly. Ideally, you should spend no more than an hour or an hour and a half on your daily art practice.
There are plenty of ways to do this – in fact, I’ve written a whole article about this subject. But, in short, you should aim to make simpler art that you don’t have to rush, rather than complex art that you end up rushing every day.
Although this might sound limiting at first, it’s a good way of building your artistic confidence and – as time goes on – you’ll find that you’re able to draw or paint simpler things so quickly that you still have time left to add more detail to your pictures.
3) Don’t worry about quality: This might sound counter-intuitive, but if you’re making art every day, then you shouldn’t worry about how good your pictures will be.
Yes, you will produce a lot of terrible art at first – but, the important part of this sentence is “you will produce“. The most important part of making art every day isn’t making good art, it’s actually making art.
You see, if you keep making art every day until it just becomes an “ordinary” part of your daily routine, then your art will start to improve through sheer repetition alone. It will probably happen at a glacial pace that you’ll only notice a few months or a year later when you look back at your earlier art, but it will happen.
However, if you’re a perfectionist and you don’t dare to make art literally every day because you’re worried about the possibility of making bad art, then it won’t.
4) Artist’s block: If you’re making art literally every day, then you’re going to need lots of ideas for new drawings and/or paintings. And it’s only natural that you’re going to run out of ideas from time to time. It happens to us all.
When this happens, you still have to make art. So, it’s good to have a backup plan or two in place – a few “standby” ideas that you can turn to whenever you can’t think of anything new. These can include things like drawing nearby objects, making fan art, copying old paintings, drawing random landscapes or even just making something a bit more random and abstract than usual.
Whatever it is, make sure you have a backup plan for the times you feel uninspired. Because you will feel uninspired occasionally if you make art every day.
5) Post it online: If you’ve got a scanner, digital camera or graphics tablet – one way to make sure that you stick to your commitment to make art every day is to post your daily artwork online, so that everyone can look at it.
You can post it on a blog, on a dedicated art site like DeviantART or even on *ugh* Twitter and Facebook. But, putting your art online makes you feel like you’re actually doing something rather than just scribbling things that no-one will ever look at.
Don’t worry if you feel that your art isn’t “good enough” to post online, I can assure you that it is. In fact, there’s a rule that you must always remember when posting art online that will help you with any anxieties you might feel – “No matter how good or bad at art you feel you are – there will always be better artists than you online… and there will ALWAYS be worse artists too.”
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂