• sbillinger

5 Tips for New Artists and Beginners

Updated: Nov 27, 2020

Browsing through your Instagram and Pinterest feeds can feel overwhelming. It can feel like everyone but you has it all figured out. Especially so for those who want to pursue the arts with no prior experience. It may be a long time since you took art in school, or it may never have been something of interest until now. Well, I have good news for you. Even though I have years of experience making art in many different mediums, I sometimes too can feel overwhelmed by other people's talent. Thankfully, the more I attune myself to my own inner artist, the more I understand what works for me and what doesn't. So, if you're just starting out, here are some things that I do or have done in the past to get me started.

1. Start SMALL If you have an inclining to paint but don't know how, buy yourself some small canvases at the dollar store. A good size to start would be 5x5" or 8x8". When I was just starting to get back into art after a few years hiatus, I started painting random things on 8x8". I think the psychology that works behind the smaller size is that there is less white space for you to fill. Staring at a giant canvas can be intimidating. So, start small.

2. Buy CHEAP Supplies

When you are just starting out, you don't need to run out and buy EVERYTHING. You especially don't need to buy expensive paints or brushes. Don't even let yourself think that it's an investment. You may end up loving painting, but there is a small chance that you won't and then you are stuck with a bunch of supplies that will collect dust until you have your next yard sale. Buy yourself some cheap tubes of acrylics from the dollar store (even cheaper if you only buy primary colours and black and white to mix your own!). They even have mix-trays and brushes there, definitely pick up some of those! Craft stores also usually have student-grade paints and they can produce paintings just as beautiful as the ones that used more expensive materials.

3. Watch & Participate in Online Tutorials

There are so many online tutorials on youtube, even for beginners. Find a painting that inspires you or that looks like you can do and give it your best shot. The best thing about YouTube tutorials is that you can pause and rewind them if you need more time than it takes the teacher to show.

4. Join a Beginners Group on Facebook

Whatever you are starting, be it acrylics, watercolours, oils etc, guaranteed there is a group on Facebook for beginners on that topic. I have joined a few of them out of pure interest and what I've found is that they are not only inspiring, but very encouraging. Some people post something they've painted 6 months ago, and with continuous effort, they post a side-by-side of an updated version with their new skills. I've also seen some great, supportive comments to artists who asked for help with their paintings because it's not turning out the way they wanted it.

5. Do NOT Judge or Compare Yourself to Any Other Artist

That should be the same in life, not just in art. We are all on our own journeys here, no two paths are the same. You just do not know what the other artist has done to get to the level they are right now. Some are naturally gifted, others have spent decades and thousands of dollars trying to hone their skills. If you are just starting out, be gentle with yourself. Don't criticize your own work and instead, treat it like a stepping stone. Where you are today will most definitely not be like where you are 6 months from now if you consistently practice and continue to learn. The most important thing I've learned with my own art is that we are our own worst critics. If you are proud of something you created, show it off and refrain from pointing out the one line that's crooked, or the colour that you couldn't get just right... because trust me, no one else will notice but you.

Hope these tips help motivate you to give it a go! If this post inspired you to create something, please share it with me on Instagram.

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