5 Stages of Self-Teaching an Art Technique

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I’ve taught myself quite a few skills over the years basically out of necessity. If there was a technique I wanted to learn, I had to teach myself because lets face it; I do not have the money to take classes. I am also the type of person that cannot stay creating just one way. I jump around from medium to medium; whatever artistic phase I am going through.

When I teach myself a new art medium I go through 5 stages.

Research:

One of the wonderful things about the internet is the ability to access a lot of opinions simultaneously. But you will need a little bit of background knowledge before you can develop skills. Seems self explanatory, but it’s a major component. Do your homework. What materials do you need? Where are other people’s successes and failures? What can you do to improve or better your craft? Watch a lot of tutorials there is no way you’re going to learn a skill overnight you’re going to need to practice and re-practice and crumple up things and throw it away but make sure that you watch your progress because its interesting to watch your growth.
 

Prepare:

Figure out what is needed to do whatever medium you have set out to learn. However, here is my most important advice I can give… 

Don’t break the bank on materials you don’t know if you will love, but don’t skimp out! 

If you buy the cheapest option, you’re going to get what you pay for most times. Don’t get me wrong there are times that the cheaper brand is the better product, but that takes time to learn. If you opt on using the cheaper option, you’re going to get cheaper results. This will give you the idea you are not good at something when that might not be the case at all. The better the quality, the easier that material is to use. Most time you get what you pay for. If you are starting out testing a material you may or may not continue to use, go for a middle price range. This way you’re not completely breaking the bank, but you’ll be able to tell if you like the nature of whatever the material. 

I will tell you this today, tomorrow and any other time you need to hear it. BELIEVE me, I am cheap and want to do things for the least amount of money possible. Ya girl is broke! But if I have learned one thing it is that your efforts will be shown with better products.  

Trial and error:

Go for the gusto. Follow the stages that your research has shown you to take. Some things will come easy, some will not. I am going to tell you not to cut corners but lets be honest, I do. It doesn’t always work out. You’re going to get frustrated. The most important thing is that you are dedicated to accomplishing something and growing from your experience. If you don’t, I guarantee you will fall short. And to be completely honest, sometimes where I’ve gotten frustrated or made mistakes is some of my best work. (Most of the time, not. But still should be noted.) 

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This is an artwork I never finished but I secretly love. I got so frustrated that I just slapped paint all over it and threw my pencil shavings at  (which stuck to the paint).  But the beauty of it is  that you see my anger within it.

Skill: 

After some time, once you push through the stage of frustration, you will develop a craft. (I have a whole portfolio filled with mistakes, I like to keep them to watch my growth.) It’s okay to copy others in this stage. Copy other drawings, paintings etc. This is how youre going to learn. But what is important is you don’t claim these as original ideas. This is where you should just be developing that skill set. 

Mastery: 

Once you’ve developed your skill, it’s time to make it your own. This stage does not happen overnight. It can take weeks, months or even years. But like I have been saying, dedication. That does not mean you are stuck in one particular skill set forever. I have many different skill sets that I float between. This is where you develop your style. How can you separate yourself from other artists?  How do you create your niche of being an artist? These are the questions you need to ask yourself to become an artist, and not someone who just makes art.  

My advice is to stay creative, stay passionate and keep creating.

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