Three Things You Learn From Making Art Every Day (With Art Preview)

2015 REPLACEMENT Artwork Three things from making art every day sketch

Although this is an article about making art regularly (that I wrote as a last-minute replacement for the article I’d originally planned for today), I’m going to have to start by talking about Youtube videos.

Anyway, I recently watched this random vlog video from one of the art-related Youtube channels (“Mary Doodles”/”More Mary Doodles”) that I watch sometimes.

Although most of the video is about festivals and deserts, one of the interesting things in this video was that Mary Doodles talked about how it can be interesting to start making a painting with no idea of what the final painting will look like. She talked about how this can help artists that abandon their paintings halfway through making them because they don’t look exactly like they planned.

My reaction to this was just “Well, yeah, isn’t this just an ordinary part of making art?‘ Since, for me at least, I rarely plan out my paintings in a huge level of detail before making them. I’ve written about this before, but it’s mainly a result of making art pretty much every day. If you make art regularly, then you don’t always have time to plan every drawing or painting. So, you often just have to launch into it and hope for the best.

This, of course, made me think about other things that you learn from making art every day. Here are a few of them:

1) Uninspiration isn’t the end of the world: If you make art every day, then you’ll learn how to deal with feeling uninspired fairly quickly. You’ll work out strategies that help you to continue making art on days when you either have no ideas, relatively little time and/or no enthusiasm for making art.

These strategies vary from artist to artist, but some of my strategies for uninspired days include things like making still life paintings, painting landscapes, making studies of 19th century paintings and re-painting some of my old artwork from years past. Yes, some of these “uninspired” paintings will look absolutely terrible, but a terrible painting is better than no painting.

But, regardless of how you deal with uninspiration, making art every day teaches you not to worry so much about feeling “uninspired”. It teaches you that you can’t just sit around and wait to feel “inspired”. If you know that you are going to make a piece of art today, regardless of whether it’s any good, then you’ll probably be a lot less frightened about feeling uninspired.

2) The “Rules”: If you make art every day, then any artistic “rules” that you learn will quickly become second-nature to you purely through sheer repetitive practice.

For example, although I had a vague knowledge of this before, I only really learnt the basics of colour theory last year. But, thanks to a lot of practice (and making a lot of mistakes), it’s kind of almost second-nature to me by now.

For example, the night before I wrote this article, I was in kind of a hurry – so, I decided to make a quick still life painting of a purple glass/plastic skull (which will be posted here in January). However, to make the painting more interesting, I decided to add a completely imagined background to it.

Of course, since the skull was purple/pink, it only took me a second or two to realise that the background had to be yellow/brown, because they are complimentary colours. Anyway, here’s a small preview of the painting in question:

"Art Preview - Purple Skull (small version)" By C. A. Brown

“Art Preview – Purple Skull (small version)” By C. A. Brown

Of course, this applies to a lot of other artistic “rules” too, such as perspective, composition, lighting, shading and drawing 3D objects. Yes, you’ll make a lot of mistakes if you make art every day, but you’ll learn from those mistakes a lot more quickly than you would if you only made art occasionally.

3) How not to be a perfectionist: Making art every day teaches you how to actually finish drawings and paintings. It teaches you to adjust the level of detail in your artwork according to how long you have to draw or paint.

It teaches you to know when no amount of tinkering or “small improvements” will actually make a drawing or painting significantly better than it already is. Not only that, the rhythm of making something new every day also means that you can’t spend several days on a single painting or drawing, so there’s a lot more emphasis on actually finishing things.

Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

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