There is no shortcut to being good at something. It takes years of practice and persistence. I’m not calling myself a good artist just because I spent years on this field, but rather because I never think I was good enough at anything (Impostor Syndrome alert!). Please bear in mind that every artist’s work is unique, and there is no Good or Bad drawings; only the Ugly ones (haha, high five if you know the reference). Well, unless you’re a savant, you will need a lot of practice and with the right ways, you might progress faster. In this post, I will share some tips that might help you achieve that.
Drawing is not just about your brain and hand synchronizing, it’s also about muscle memory. Try to start drawing the the simple figures first. The “Stickmen” figures is a perfect object for this. Try to find the coolest pose that you like and draw it many, many times until your hand get used to it. Don’t rush things by adding some details like muscles, clothes, yet. Rather try to focus and learn about the anatomy first.
Common mistakes that I did in the past was NOT using an image for reference. I loved to draw straight from memory, which is actually good but obviously I was not on that level, yet at the time. Using references is fine and highly recommended because most great artists still do that! Don’t blame yourself if you ruined the first sketch. Just keep trying over and over again until your muscle memory improved. Want to put it on the next level? try to draw something at unusual or odd angles. It makes everything couple of times more difficult but it is a great method of practice because your brain haven’t SEEN that yet. That means your brain can’t interfere anymore.. it’s all depends in your eyes and hand coordination now.
Tracing is actually good, though some might consider it as cheating. Well, no, it’s not. Remember that the main purpose is to improve your muscle memory and this method helps me a lot to improve it. Someone did the research, imagine that you must draw a perfect 3-D cube. The first person was given some amount of time to learn the shape by vision, then asked to draw it. It took him X times in order to draw a perfect cube without so many jagged lines. Compared to the other guy who asked to trace the cube first for some time, and then asked to draw it. It only took him Y times in order to draw a perfect cube; X is larger than Y. This could greatly help you measure shadows, light directions, proportions and perspective value of an image without using guidelines.
Try Different Styles
Do you like Anime styled characters or Marvel/DC styled ones? or just a simple cartoons that we see on the newspapers or webtoons? YOU decide, but there is no harm in trying all the styles until it really match with your style. Once you think that you have choose one particular style, keep practicing it. Be bold and don’t worry about your sketch being bad. Patience is virtue. Keep practicing but don’t rush.. spent at least 1 hour a day even if it’s just a doodle. spending 1 hour a day for a week is way better than spending 7 hours in one day.
Comment below if you have another tips to share! Thanks for reading.