Ever wanted to be an artist, but you don’t know where to start? I get it. I was once there myself. Growing up I loved art. The simplicity, the way a painting can speak a thousand words without saying anything at all. I was captivated by it and as I grew older that feeling became more apparent in my life. But the older I grew the more I struggled to find my place in the art world. Would I do traditional? Digital? Maybe mixed media? I wasn’t sure and I didn’t have anyone I could go to for advice so I searched for answers on my own.
I mean art is simple, and in some cases it’s complex. It’s one of those things many people struggle to understand. Art can be used in so many different ways — self-expression, stress relief and so much more. Sometimes it’s hard to find a place to start when it comes to making your art. With endless possibilities and hundreds of choices, it’s a lot to take in. Not to mention the cost is… a little much to say the least. so, If you’re struggling to find a place to start, here are five steps you should know if you want to become an artist.
Step One: Buy a Sketchbook
Let’s start at the basics, shall we? If you’re unsure if you truly want to pursue your artistic career, a great place to start is sketch booking. I mean come on there are so many reasons to keep a sketchbook! You can use it as a place to explore techniques, or just doodle and practice your linework. There are so many ways to keep a sketchbook, you can do it the old fashion way with a generic sketchbook from an art store, or you can do it digitally on a drawing app. Maybe you prefer photography, keep a book of all the photos you take and experiment with different types of photographs. The possibilities are endless. After all, sketch booking is essential to becoming an artist, it allows us to grow creatively, and inspires us when experiencing art block. Plus it’s always great to sit back and sketch for a few hours a day.
Step Two: Choose your medium
There’s always the question: what type of paper should I use? Or do I want to use paints? Maybe pastels? There’s a wide variety of options. And let’s be honest here, art mediums are just a whole different world. There are so many to choose from and so many ways you can approach things that it gets a little overwhelming. Well, here’s your ultimate guide to art mediums! A simple sheet of paper can change everything, the texture, tone all matters in a piece. Even pencil leads matter. For instance, an 8B pencil and a 2HB pencil will have different results one is softer, darker making it easier to produce shadows while the other is hard, tough while making lighter lines on the surface of the page. Let’s not forget there are acrylics, which vary from water-based acrylic to flow acrylic and much more. Oil-based paint is more long-lasting, it’s lighter than acrylics in texture with brighter pigment and takes longer to dry. there are so many other mediums like pastels and charcoal. You just have to find what works best for you!
Sometimes even finding the materials can be difficult. Now I’m not gonna lie, art is an expensive hobby depending on your medium. There’s traditional and digital either way, that’s a pretty good price to pay. But you can make art using anything, for instance, photography, or a free drawing app on your phone, maybe even a pencil and printer paper the possibilities are endless. If you want to buy supplies there are some commonly known places to shop both online and in-store, for example, Blick Art Materials, and Michael’s are very well known for being the best quality art suppliers around. When looking for your medium keep in mind you don’t have to be set in stone so don’t be afraid to look around!
Step Three: Explore and Observe!
Sometimes it’s best to take some time, step back and observe. The same thing applies to art. You can learn a lot from simply watching other people create art. Or maybe you learn more from a gallery, whatever works best for you. Sometimes observing other artists’ work will help us in the long run as we may not see it right away but chances are we gain something from that experience. Whether it’s inspiration or a new technique. Viewing others’ art is always a good thing. There are a lot of great applications you can use to discover hundreds of artists and who knows maybe you might love them a lot more than you think. Youtube is a great place to start. Basic I know, but I’m serious. Creators like DrawingWiffWaffles or Chloe Rose Art have a lot of advice to offer when it comes to creating art and if those aren’t for you that’s ok! There’s so much more! Now, if youtube isn’t for you maybe Pinterest will do the trick. It’s always great to look for some reference photos. Or simply get inspiration for a piece. Reference photos help a lot when learning anatomy or how to structure a piece correctly. So, don’t be afraid to create your Pinterest board with inspirational references!
Step Four: Find your style
Finding your art style is a very crucial part of being an artist. Though I will say this takes time, sometimes years. Your art style is what defines you as an artist. It sets you apart from everyone else. The best way to find your style is to play around with different techniques, if you like something try it out! See how it works best for you. You can always try to build your style by participating in monthly art challenges. For example, one popular challenge is Inktober. These monthly challenges break the barriers in the art community and allow you to see your strengths and your weaknesses. With that knowledge, you’ll be able to build your style in no time!
Step Five: Practice makes perfect
Practice. Practice. Practice. I’m sure we have all heard that at some point in our lives. Well, it’s true. Especially in this context. Art is one of those things you can’t learn overnight. With hundreds of ways to do it, it takes a lot of time to perfect your craft. And with that a lot of patience and effort. When practicing it’s always great to determine what you want to practice. Maybe you practice better with a visual example or maybe you learn better when presented with a “teacher,” if so maybe doing an art class would benefit you. Think of practicing as a way to measure your growth, the more you do it the more you can look back at it and see how far you came. In doing so you will boost your self-esteem and be more open to criticism. Either way, practice truly does make a difference in this setting! So do it as much as possible!
Ideally, not everyone is built for a life where art is their main focus. Everyone won’t be willing to put in the time and effort to become an artist and no I’m not saying if you choose to pick up art you have to become an amazing artist. Art can simply serve as a form of escapism on your hardest days. As a person who has been in your shoes, I know how it feels. I wish when I was in your place I had someone tell me these things. I had to learn them all on my own.
That being said, don’t rush the process, take it slow and steady. Work at your own pace and don’t be afraid to explore. Art is about patience, learning to balance things out. Find what works best for you. There may be times where you are your harshest critic, don’t let yourself get you down or others for that matter. Trust the process and make it enjoyable. If you truly want to start your artistic journey I encourage you to take these first steps and continue to grow.