How to make art that you love
Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, once said, "To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive."
It's the same with art. To make art that you truly love, you'll need to take the time to understand what you truly love, rather than what people tell you to love.
We all fall out of love with our art from time to time, but if you’re finding that it's more than a passing phase, you might want to take a step back, and look at what you're creating and why.
Here are my top three tips for making art that you love:
1. Reflect on what you love about life
Nothing will motivate you more than making art about things that you love. So, take some time to reflect on what fascinates you about the world. Then, make those things your subjects. But don’t stop there. Deepen your thinking. If you like painting pictures of people, what is it about specific types of people that interests you? Once you start noticing the small details, it’s easy to incorporate them into your artwork and create something interesting that resonates with you.
2. Study artists and paintings that move you
Have you ever thought about what it is that you love about your favourite artist’s work? Study one of their pictures. What is it that you actually enjoy about the piece? Is it the composition, the colour or the style of mark-making? Once you’ve identified the elements that interest you, incorporate them into your work. Just remember to include elements from many of your favourite artists, not just one. Creativity is about remixing things, mashing them up and transforming them into something fresh and new.
3. Choose a medium that works for you
Choosing the right medium isn’t just about finding something that looks good to you. It’s about finding something that suits how you like to work. For example, if you like to work slowly, try using oil paints. Or, if you prefer to work fast and spontaneously, try using watercolours. Of course, you can always broaden your horizons and use multiple mediums in one piece. The most important thing is to make a habit of practising with your chosen tools.
Loving your art is so important because it will motivate you to persevere with your creativity and work hard to develop your skills. Next time you're feeling down on your art, take some time to reflect on what you love about life, study artists and paintings that move you, and choose a medium that works for you.
Here’s to loving the art that we make—and to keeping our souls alive.
Victoria Hall is an English-born writer and illustrator with a passion for anything gothic, eccentric or quirky. She is the creator of three picture books for children, Penny Prickles at Coogee Beach, Eggy Peggy Has Lost Her Leggy and The Fairy Beasts. For more, check out Victoria’s bio here.
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