What is it like to be a good illustrator? To find it out, you can simply open and scroll down a couple of portfolios on Behance or Dribbble. Personal growth, loads of work, drill, polishing skills, experiments, and occasional success — in fact, there are so many components. And even if you try, it will hardly be possible to tell which basic illustration tips and tricks work for all artists without exception.
Of course, we can end with a standard recommendation for everyone: Draw more! Draw Every day! Draw and do your best! Someone remembers it from the art school times, someone got it from online courses, and someone came up with it themselves. And yes, it works. But no, it’s still not enough to become an outstanding illustrator and make money on it.
Where to Find Inspiration for Drawing
All in all, if you draw three times a day, where should the ideas come from? And how can you keep yourself motivated? How will you know you’re progressing? How to dare switch from paper to Procreate? To get all these insights, I’ve teamed up with four fabulous artists. They’ll share their professional experience and will tell you how they manage to constantly improve drawing skills and enjoy the process working as full-time illustrators.
Where I get inspiration for drawing? It’s always different. Now, my most powerful source of inspiration is myself. It took me so long to recognize my inner world with no fear — but it turned out to be a lovely homely place. There I started a series of characters which do the stuff I would never allow myself to do.
You can always take a risk and explore your real self. Who is this person? What is this person about, and what this person can give to your artistry? The journey is likely to be hard and long, but this it’s totally worth it.
I get ideas for my illustrations from books, movies, manga, music, and other artists’ works. Everyone does it the same way. Another thing that motivates me a lot is the process. The way I search for an idea, try to realize it, overcome difficulties, and anticipate the result. I do my best to enjoy every step (which is not always easy) as I believe that being focused on the final image rather than the way you make it has little to do with creativity.
As there is no one-size-fits-all key to success, there is also no way to be inspired 24/7. It always random and comes from music, films, and books. I love thinking about how other people created them and how they were seeking inspiration. Will I be able to touch someone like they did?
Not only artworks can be a source of drawing inspiration, though. I love watching and meeting people. Everyone has a story, and even an occasional phrase, look, or detail can be the start of something beautiful. You should just look around and be ready for a flow of ideas, wherever they come from.
How to Draw Better & Improve the Skills
First, knowing the basics is just as important as practicing regularly. Study the history of art and other artists (both classic and modern), as this will help you build up your own style. Also, keep searching for something new and experiment with art supplies to understand your strong sides. And most importantly, remember you’ll never reach perfection once and forever — so, never stop exploring.
To level up and improve drawing skills, you should admit a simple thing: the creative outcome isn’t always a beautiful picture. Sometimes it’s a process. If you want to smear paint over the canvas with your fingers — do it! Do it, even if this doesn’t make great sense! Maybe this will give you a rare level of freedom to create a masterpiece.
As a person who draws primarily for sale, I pay most of attention to the financial side of my work. It’s tough to make myself draw for fun. But if it’s an illustration for my next design product, I am willing to give it my best. I spend lots of time refining my work, making endless versions and attempts to end up with a selling image. For some reason, this isn’t what artists always mention as they list their drawing tips. However, sales are often the most accurate measure of your progress.
I won’t tell anything new because the common drawing tips work well. Study the theory for basic knowledge, check your past works for mistakes and fix them, watch other artists, and try the tricks they use. Draw what you like and search for the style that fits you best. And please, don’t give, as mastership comes after failing again and again.