5 Tips to Accelerate your Growth as an Artist!

Updated: Mar 14

Hi, I'm Shikha Garg, a former Communications and Graphics designer who took up watercolor painting about 7 years back and never looked back! I am constantly on the search for best practices, experiences and techniques that help me develop as an artist who can paint with integrity and conviction.

Quite often I get questions from beginners like what watercolor paper, pigments or brushes did I use how did I mix a particular color. They assume the materials make the painting. Yes, good materials are necessary but one can create great art on any ordinary paper if one knows how!'

So, what are the things that you should really be doing to be climbing the graph on your artist journey?

Disclaimer: No, it’s not a shortcut. It takes in real work, true mileage and consistency. Yes, you CAN do it!

Tip #1 - Train yourself to observe and develop a keen eye

Learn to see and not just merely look. Observe your subject in different times of the day, light conditions and weather. Observe how that feels and changes things. Sketch and makes studies live/outdoors if possible. Research into what really makes a good painting. Read art books and study the Masters, learn why they are considered the best. Train your eye to see the whole picture but also the details.

Tip #2 - Draw

Yes. A lot of people would say that drawing is not necessary to paint la di da. Ok, you might not need to draw if you paint occasionally as a hobby or for fun, you could trace etc. BUT if you are a professional artist then you need to be able to draw. Period. So why?

  • When you draw you observe so much more than you would never otherwise.

  • Secondly, drawing creates muscle memory and eye and hand coordination that is so essential to painting! As you develop your drawing skills, I promise you that you will grow in leaps and bounds.

  • Third, when you draw, you also learn many fundamental things like perspective, scale, depth, tones and values and your art becomes more believable and better each time.

If you would like to hear more about this from many successful artists, go check out my interviews with them here!!

Tip #3 - Study the Principles of Design

The principles of design are Emphasis, Balance and Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Movement and White Space. These are essential to understanding composition and design for any artist. Again, study the Masters and how they played with these elements.

Take loads of photographs and understand why some look better than others. Try to re-compose your photos to look better designed and I guarantee your art will reach new levels.

Tip #4 - Practice. Experiment. Practice

There is no substitute for real work. Being consistent with your art practice is a must. And if you don’t think you are succeeding, don’t fret, sometimes we can’t see our own progress. Which is why we need….

Tip #5 - Community

Share your art, don’t be scared of critique from other artists. Take part in exhibitions, competitions. It will be motivating and rewarding to your learning process. Join local art groups, plein air or urban sketching groups. Trust me, you will learn loads when you paint along with other artists.

In conclusion

Put in the work, spend some time towards enriching your knowledge using the above tips. And let your art community tell you about your progress!

I would love to know if you found the above helpful. Drop a comment or DM me on Instagram @ShikhaGargArtStudio and let me know if you’d like to me talk about any art related topics of your choice!

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