Updated: May 15, 2021
A new year is upon us, friends! A new year means new resolutions and goals! Is one of your goals to become a better artist in 2019? (Because that's one of mine!)
There are five super easy things you can do to become a better artist this year. Well, easier than painting the Sistine Chapel or suffering for the sake of your art. (The tortured artist is a terrible stereotype. I've met plenty of well-balanced artists. Ha.)
1. Make time for art-making
Start here. Look at your schedule. Where can you squeeze in thirty minutes to an hour of art making into your day?
This is critical. If you're never making time for it, you're never going to improve. Make the time. Ask yourself, when could my time be best spent? Which leads me to the next point.
2. Cut back on your social media/screen time.
Screen time is killer. Imagine an invisible, ravenous, time-eating monster and that's screen time: The Screen Time Monster. It's a real thing. I swear.
The good news? You can defeat it! I am guilty of this myself. I love to game. Really, how many times have I referenced Dragon Age in my blogs? A lot. I love it. LOVE IT. I love getting lost in the worlds and going on epic adventures and leveling up my in-game skill set until I'm the baddest bitch around with a shield and a sword.
(Seriously though, here is my canon inky. I love her.)
Here's a hard lesson I learned last February. Life doesn't wait. It moves quickly and it will pass you by without you even noticing if you aren't paying attention.
Yes, I love to game. However, I love a lot of other things (and people) and by getting sucked into video games for hours on end, I was missing out. I was so busy enjoying a pretend life, that I wasn't enjoying my real life. I realized that I felt more depressed and stressed and anxious and grumpy after a long gaming session than I had before it. Why? I felt guilty and mad at myself that I hadn't made time for other stuff I love to do, like drawing, reading, or spending time with my wife. (Sorry, wife.)
I had a harsh wake up call and made some changes. Set some goals and crushed them all just by cutting down my gaming time to about a quarter of the time I had spending on it.
Anyway, there were a lot of other factors, too. I still game and I still love it. But, I've started fitting it in around other more important things in life, versus fitting more important things in life around gaming.
Long story short. Get off Facebook, get off Instagram, put that console to sleep and go create.
3. Carry a sketchbook everywhere.
If you're carrying a sketchbook and pencil everywhere, you will be surprised how many opportunities come up for you to use them. Think about all the times you take out your phone to check Facebook and scroll through your feed during the day.
Replace half of that time with working in your sketchbook and you will be amazed at how quickly your drawing skills improve.
4. Identify your art goals for the year and write them down
Get a planner. Get a big piece of poster board. Grab a piece of simple computer paper. Write your goals down. Tape it up somewhere visible in your work space and do something to work toward it every day. Cross 'em off in your planner as you achieve them. (Trust me. It's super satisfying.) There's that overused (but totally true) saying: "A goal is just a wish until you write it down."
5. Follow through
You've got your goals, some tools, some tips, now go do it.
Don't get hung up on, "I don't feel like creating art today" or "I'm not in the mood." Sit down and make yourself do it even for just a few minutes. You'll be glad you did.
As always, I'm available to answer any art-related questions on Instagram @msrmcgaughey.