Well, since it’s six years to the day since I made the decision to make a piece of art every day, I thought that I’d talk about daily artwork today. Whilst daily art certainly isn’t for everyone, it does have some really cool benefits – it gets you used to making art, it accelerates your art practice, it reduces perfectionism and it means that you learn how to deal with being uninspired sometimes.
Whilst I’ve almost certainly already talked about how to get started with making daily art (eg: start with smaller pictures, have a “buffer” of pre-made art that you add to daily etc..) I thought that I’d talk about some ways to make making daily art easier, since it can seem like an intimidatingly difficult task if you’ve never done it before.
1) Backup plans: Your imagination probably isn’t “100% reliable”. Sometimes, it won’t work when it should. However, this doesn’t mean that your art schedule can’t be 100% reliable! If you have an array of backup plans for imagination failure, then making art daily will be considerably easier.
These include things like knowing which types of paintings you can make in your sleep (eg: for me, this is landscapes and still life paintings), finding some old out-of-copyright paintings you can make studies of when you aren’t inspired, having several favourite genres of art (in case you get bored with one of them), knowing how to salvage paintings that haven’t worked out well etc…
When you make art every day, don’t expect to produce a masterpiece every day. The important thing when making daily art is to produce (and post) something every day. So, having backup plans that still allow you to produce (lower-quality) art on uninspired days are essential. Not to mention that you’ll pick up more and more sophisticated techniques for doing this as you practice more.
For example, here’s a “low inspiration” picture that I posted here earlier this month:
This is a cyberpunk painting that relies much more heavily than usual on silhouettes and gloomy lighting in order to reduce the amount of fine detail I had to add to the picture. This allowed me to make a piece of daily art when my inspiration, enthusiasm and/or time were running low. Is it the best painting I’ve ever made? No way! Is it better than posting literally nothing? YES!
Best of all, find techniques that can be varied depending on your current inspiration level. For example, here’s another picture of mine that uses gloomier lighting than usual (in order to reduce the area that I have to add detail to).
However, since I was feeling more inspired, I was able to increase the size of the detailed area to about 50% of the total surface area of the painting.
2) Materials: Regardless of what the “trendy” artists on the internet are using these days, go for the materials that you feel work best for you. If you are most at ease with drawing with a pencil or ballpoint pen, then use this! If you like using coloured pencils, then use this! If you like making digital art, then use this!
It took me a while to settle on which materials worked best for me. These days, I use a combination of waterproof ink pens, watercolour pencils (pencils that turn into watercolour paint when you go over them with a wet paintbrush), a scanner and a couple of old digital image editing programs. When I started making daily art, I used inking pens, coloured pencils and digital tools (for about two years). So, it’s ok to experiment until you find what works for you.
When choosing materials, go for a balance between practicality, cost and aesthetics. If you’re making art every day, then your materials need to be practical enough to use every day (and possibly portable too). You’re going to burn through art supplies more quickly if you’re making art every day, so go for ones that won’t break the bank. But, at the same time, go for art supplies that make your art look like something that you want to make more of.
3) Rationing: When I started making daily art, I used to produce as many pictures as I could every day. It was new, exciting and interesting. But, whilst this helped me to build up a “buffer” of art, it isn’t a good long-term strategy. And, yes, daily art is a long-term thing. It’s a marathon, rather than a sprint.
So, set limits on how much art you make every day. In my case, this is usually one painting per day. Making one painting a day means that, on inspired days, I’m excited to make art the next day. And, during uninspired times, it means that I’ll only end up making 1-7 low-quality uninspired pictures rather than the much larger number I would make if I pushed myself to make as much art as possible. It preserves inspiration and limits the damage caused by uninspiration.
It also stops you overloading yourself too. Since making daily art will quickly become an ordinary part of your daily routine, it needs to be something that you can actually do every day. So, carefully ration the amount of art you make every day or limit the amount of time you spend making art every day. Although it might sound counter-intuitive, having some kind or rationing means that you’ll be able to make more art for longer.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂