If you're a fellow artist, you must experience the same feeling with me: the feeling to want to improve every time. You look at other artists' portfolio and wonder how you can be more like them. This post is meant to be inspirational and to encourage your growth as an artist. Don't forget to click 'Save As' for the Tips and Tricks sheet at the end of this post!
2008: Early Documentation
My early artworks are inspired by Japanese manga (as you see above) and is meant to compliment my writing hobby: it is for character design. The good thing about following Western comic books and Japanese manga is that we'll be able to learn about expressions. While the anatomy might not be realistic (it often is idealistic and exaggerated - round face, big eyes, etc.), we'll be able to draw a human body.
In 2008, my drawing style is simplistic. You only see pen, pencil, and colored pencil and there is little shadow and light playing in the paper.
I was also playing around with colors; little did I know that colors are my strength in the future. Throughout 2008-2010 I made decorations like above. While the technique is simple: you color it with diagonal strokes, it requires creativity in composition and sun ray-like blocks.
This is an interior design assignment for Art class that I submitted in 2010. My idea is an underwater room; half inspired by Greek God's Poseidon and the other half is inspired by The Little Mermaid. The shape is refined, the perspective is there, the color blending exists (by a bit), and the color selection is harmonious enough. However, you can still sense that it is lifeless.
2012: The Big Change
There is a significant change from 2011 to 2012. The first hands drawing was done in a quick sketch in 2011. Meanwhile, the bottom hands was done within a 30-minute drawing challenge.
The key is to have patience in drawing and more importantly, add shadows and blend your strokes!
From then on, I become obsessed with hands and drew them for quite a while. I paid more attention to shadows that apparently play an important part in drawings.
As a result, my still life drawings become more realistic as shown below. I think it's a good idea to keep practicing on still life to look at how much you improve.
2013: Architectural Delight
Between 2013 and 2014, I was courageous enough to start sketching buildings using pen. This means I need to avoid making mistakes because pen in general is non-erasable. Yes, you can use corrector but it will look ugly.
Experimenting on your tools and media will help you grow as an artist.
Below are pictures of hand-drawn buildings: first in 2013 and the next in 2014. The first building is Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA while the next one is based on a photograph of Il Duomo di Firenze or The Dome in Florence.
2015: Exploring Animals
Beginning 2015, I dared to draw animals. Some of the ones I made are a peacock, hawks, a turtle, a chameleon, a cat, a polar bear, a lion, all based on pictures I found on Pinterest. The colored ones took me 3-4 days with the exception of the turtle (it took me longer, years even, because I took a break from drawing).
The key is to have a keen eye on colors. When you are coloring based on a real-life picture, try to identify the important colors that make the picture different. Then, use the same color pencil to fill the spots.
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2017: Acrylic and Oil Painting
In 2017, I picked up painting. I did try painting back in 2006 but I wasn't a great painter. My first painting in 2017 was as lousy as back then, mainly because I use bright colors with no sense of realism whatsoever.
Not long after that, I began watching YouTube videos and taking courses. For example, I went to Ganara Art Space and Mau Belajar Apa for painting classes.
After two to three paintings, I mustered the courage to paint on a bigger canvas. Next, I watch Katie Jobling's tutorial on how to paint peony and rose (after trying the ocean waves, first).
For acrylic and oil painting, you need to keep in mind of several things:
Then I moved to original ones (though still based on Pinterest pictures). You have to use imagination on the color selection to create a harmonious color palette.
2020: Pattern Design
In 2020, I became interested in pattern design and use both digital painting and acrylic painting to create the patterns. I learned the basic techniques from online courses: Domestika, Skillshare, and YouTube videos.
When I first started, I made complicated patterns because I didn't know better. At this point, I wanted to prove I can make patterns rather than perfecting the art.
I got a better hang of pattern design after making more and more patterns. The ones below are based on acrylic painting.
I also invested on iPad, Procreate, and Affinity Designer to create digital paintings. Below are some that I tried (far from perfect) but it's getting better!
Art is about self-expression and growing as an artist means to try out different media and art tools to express yourself. It's inevitable to compare ourselves with others but sometimes it's good to look at how much you grow as well.