15 Steps For You to Become a Better Artist

As a beginning artist, you aim to become a better artist quickly. Embarking on your artistic journey can often feel daunting, and maintaining motivation can prove challenging. Rest assured; you’re not alone in wrestling with these sentiments – they’re universally shared among artists. However, don’t let these perceived obstacles deter you from your path to transformation.

Growth as an artist comes from a deep understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, and resources that can guide you toward improvement.

As you navigate this journey of self-discovery, you will notice increasing confidence in the quality of your artwork.

woman painting on a piece of watercolor paper learning to become a better artist

My own artistic journey mirrors this pattern. It was an exploration filled with experiments and resilience. Over time, I noticed myself evolving, fine-tuning my skills, and refining my aesthetic. This journey taught me invaluable lessons that could help others on the same path.

So here are some of my best tips to improve your artistic skills so you can go from an amateur artist to a good artist quickly!

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1. Figure Out What You Want to Do

The first step to take is figuring out your purpose. A good way to do this is to ask yourself these questions:

  • What is art to you? Is it a hobby? Do you see this becoming your career?
  • Will you be presenting your art to anyone?
  • Or are you making art to relax and let off some steam?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you’ll know how much energy you have to spend. If it’s a hobby, you can afford to be more laid-back in your efforts.

But if it’s a furious passion and you want to become a professional artist or a graphic designer, then you’ll have to spend way more time.

2. Start Practicing to Become a Better Artist

Think of it this way: all famous artists before you started exactly like this. They were just people with a passion and the motivation to keep working until they became masters.

Their journey began right where you are today, so practice. The only way to become a talented artist is to keep practicing.

Even if you think your work isn’t all that special, try to practice every day. The more you work, the better your chance of improving your art. 

Woman wearing a hat and a pink skirt studying a yellow and white abstract painting in a gallery

3. Study Different Styles

An easy way to study an art style is to check other artists’ works. Check out the paint strokes and technical skill of a master like Vincent Van Gogh or Claude Monet. Find different types of artists whose work intrigues you, and explore their works of art. It’s okay to specialize in a particular type of art early on in your career, but study different styles so you can see why pieces work and why others done. Eventually, you’ll find something that screams your name

One of the most important things you can do is develop your drawing skills and try various mediums. Explore digital media or draw comics. If you like painting, try working with gouache, watercolors, oils, and acrylics, and learn the nuances of each.

Learning different styles and mediums will help you improve your skill level and teaches you different ways to paint your subject matter.

4. Seek Inspiration

A new artist needs inspiration. A good place to find that inspiration is visiting galleries and viewing the works of more experienced artists. Another good idea is visiting new places and seeing what inspires you. Getting out in the real world lets you see various landscapes like mountains, the ocean, or the desert. If you enjoy figure painting, go out and people-watch. See how people move and how they behave.  If you can’t get away, watch TV, go for a walk, or surf the internet. By exploring places other than your room or studio, you’re bound to find inspiration somewhere.

5. Discover Your Weaknesses

No one knows you better than you. As you work, you’ll feel like you lack in certain areas. Work on those and improve your weaknesses. 

Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. You’re the same way. You’ll see a definite improvement once you start paying attention to your problem areas. 

6. Learn More About Different Techniques

I’d love to pick up a pen and draw a masterpiece, but alas! It doesn’t work that way. Learn the color wheel and color theory to learn which colors work together. Plenty of free tutorials on blending colors and making a color wheel online exist on YouTube and online. Experiment working with lights, shadows, and color scales. Once you know how to manipulate things, getting the desired effects will be easier.

7. Invest in Your Education

A beginning artist can learn a lot about different mediums and techniques on social media, online, and by reading books. But I highly encourage you to invest in yourself and your talent by taking a live workshop or an interactive online class.

I love these art classes because they help you find a mentor and see how other artists work. 

8. Observe Things With the Eye of an Artist

Your work will reflect what you observe, so look at things carefully. See how the light falls at a certain angle and how a texture looks and feels. Watch things and see them for their depth and dimensions. 

When looking at a person, see how their eyes light up when they smile, how the sunlight makes their hair shine, etc. Look for these things, and then try to replicate them and include them in your work. 

9. Seek Out Fellow Artists

We have the amazing internet at our fingertips, so use it to find new ideas for your own art. Reach out to fellow artists and ask them to look at your work. Listen to their critiques and suggestions, and watch how they work. 

Look at art pieces by your favorite artists, and articulate what you like about their work. Without copying anyone else’s work, develop your style using similar techniques, colors, patterns, etc., and see where the creative process takes you.

10. Make Thumbnails

A great warm up exercise is making thumbnail sketches. Thumbnails are small drawings done quickly to help you figure out how the final piece will look. They’re kind of like a visual outline for an essay.

Make multiple thumbnails until you have a firm sense of what you want the final work to look like. Use them to determine your values and shadow placements. Remember – you don’t need to spend a lot of time or put a lot of work into thumbnails! The specific goal is to get something down on paper and use the sketches as a starting point for your new masterpiece.

11. Replicate a Single Piece Multiple Times

Once you’ve created a piece, recreate it using a different substrate or medium. Focus on the details and even add more details. You’ll start seeing a definite improvement in each recreation while working on starting a possible new body of work!

A wood table with a tray of watercolors, pastels, drawing and painting supplies

12. Invest in Your Supplies

Yes, art supplies can get expensive. That said, quality art supplies can distinguish between good and professional artists. The type of canvas, paper texture, the pigment of your colors, and the quality of the pencils all contribute to the quality of your work. By investing in good art supplies, you and potential clients will like your work better.

13. Get Creative To Become a Better Artist

As an artist, you are not confined to the boundaries of reality. For example, start with a simple painting of a vase. Then create another vase that exaggerates a few details. Next, paint the vase in a different orientation and scale, then try another painting with yet another orientation and opposite scale. You don’t have to paint the vase exactly as it exists, but you can put your spin on it to make each version completely different!

14. No Distractions While You’re Working

When you begin working, focus all your attention on your art. Don’t let your mind think about that plate on your desk or that notification on your phone.

I focus by ensuring my workstation is clean and has no distracting materials. Afterward, when I’m working, I turn the sound off my computer and put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode. Silencing the distractions allows me to work for longer blocks of time, and this peace results in a more productive session. Do what works best for you!

15. Stay Consistent

Consistency is key, so try to do something artistic on a daily basis. Even if you have a massive case of imposter syndrome, telling you your work is no good, show up. Don’t let that inner voice or anyone else kill your motivation. And when you need a breather or are feeling stuck, take a break to enjoy the small things in life. Work on something else when that happens, or take yourself on a play date. 

Keep putting in the effort and follow these steps; you’ll be a pro in no time. 

And before you go, check out How to Use Creative Affirmations Every Day – you can create your own affirmation about becoming a better artist!