How do I get into art?

Getting started is easier than you may think! All you need is a pencil or a pen, a surface to create on and an idea. Then you are good to go. We are often held back by fear of judgement, what exactly to draw or paint and how to go about it; the important thing is just to start.

I am a firm believer that is it not about the quality or range of materials that you have, but it is how you use the materials. It takes time and practice. Just like any skill that needs to be developed over time. At this point, it may be useful to set some realistic intentions; the first time you draw something, it may not turn out exactly how you had pictured it would, so set an achievable expectation of what you hope to produce on your first attempt. It is so important to remember that art is about the process and not just the outcome, if you treat making art like getting from A to B with the finished painting as the end goal, then it may be frustrating along the way. But if you want to get from A to an unknown end point, accepting that it may take time and effort and you are happy to learn from mistakes, then it will allow you to enjoy the making. Which, let’s be honest, is the point... #itsabouttheprocessnottheoutcome

Pick a media; could be pencil or watercolour, collage or sculpture. But try not to buy everything you have always wanted to have a go at and expect to be proficient in it all right away. This is because each media requires specific skills to master and spreading yourself thinly will just mean you are a beginner at everything! The way to see progress is to be committed to one particular media, practice that for a few weeks, a little at a time, but regularly and you will see that you get better. Once you have greater confidence, you will be able to move on to a new media. Some skills and understanding such as colour theory and tone will take you far in a range of media so they are worth knowing too.

There are many great student quality materials about. Most brands do an artist quality version and a student quality version; the latter will be fine. Many artists even choose to use the student quality media because it is more affordable and often they are more forgiving. The one area I would not scrimp on is the paper. If your paper is too thin or not designed to carry water, you will find painting almost impossible and the paper will easily warp. For most media except watercolours, you will need good quality sketching paper, around 300gsm or more. If you are using watercolours then I like to use cold pressed slightly textured paper 300gsm, but there are lots of different types of paper you could use for this. Anything will work as long as it is thick, so don’t go below 200gsm. Even for a drawing in biro pen or a pencil, good quality paper will allow you to create much more sophisticated artwork so do not underestimate this when you are getting started!

What should you draw? I don’t think there is any ‘right’ thing to start with. The most important thing here is to draw something you want to draw. Draw something you like, something you would have on your wall. You are much more likely to practice and keep at it if it is something you are interested in.

I’d love to see your progress if you decide to start making art, so please share it with me via email or on social media. If you have made start and want a bit more purpose or to have a cheerleader by your side, then get in touch about my classes or 1-1 sessions.

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