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A Conversation About Art – Goals, Projects, & Directions

Hello fellow artists-in-the-making!

I’d like to use this space to update you all on my artistic progression and where my head is at in the moment. These last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind, but with everything and everyone slowing down, I’ve gotten a chance to realign my thoughts.

If you’re new here, know that this kind of life-update post is very rare—and I’d like to keep it this way. This blog is about us leveling up as artists together, not about me and my life ( FYI).

For the sake of getting something useful out of this, it might be a good idea to have a notepad handy to jot down where you stand in the following areas:

I) Art Goals:

What are your goals for developing as an artist? Which mediums would you like to explore/improve at? Which drawing skills would you like to develop?

II) Art Progress/Challenges:

Where do you stand right now in your art development? Are you happy with the progress you’ve been making lately? What do plan to do to level up in your artistry? What ways are you hoping to challenge yourself for the rest of this year?

III) Art Projects:

What are some of the most recent art projects you’ve completed? Which projects are currently in progress? What projects do you have planned for the future?

Answer these questions as they best suit you. If you’d like to attach timelines to your goals and projects, go for it. Follow the “S.M.A.R.T. goals” format if that’s your thing. Honestly, even thinking about these questions alone can do wonders in helping you to refocus on your art-related priorities—or, on the other end of the spectrum, help you understand that art might just not be a priority. Regardless of where you fall in this range, I guarantee that this type of self-reflection will be all-around useful.

So, without further ado, this is where I currently stand:

Art Goals

Improve at Digital Art

Digital art is one hell of a beast. I use an $80 Huion tablet that works great; however, I just cant seem to get used to the coordination of it. At the moment, I’m keeping an eye on the Apple Refurbished store in the hopes of landing a 2nd-generation iPad Pro at a killer price. I’m beyond excited to get my hands on a tablet that’s, not only portable, but can allow me to actually draw where I’m looking.

I truly believe that this will be a game changer in my digital art development. And hopefully I’ll have something to show for it in a few months time.

Until then, these are some of the digital pieces of created. You can tell which were my first attempts versus my later ones:

Improve at Urban Sketching and En Plein Air Painting

So I went through a bit of an urban sketching phase earlier this year. I even went to a Vancouver Urban Sketchers Meetup event a few months ago. But I still tend to revisit this form of art. In fact, I painted a hybrid of an urban sketch and en-plein-air-style piece earlier today:

This painting was heavily inspired by Monali Haldipur‘s work. Many people follow a similar style, but I find her art in particular much more expressive than your typical urban sketcher/watercolor artist.

Improve on Composition and Color Theory

These are two, of many, weak points in my current work. Two factors that can have the most weight in making or breaking a piece of art. And unfortunately, two skills that are difficult to practice exclusively. While it’s true that a big part of composition and color theory requires technical know-how, it seems as though an even larger part involves “developing and eye” for said subjects. Something that’s gained through the vague notion of trial and error.

Alongside composition, I’d like to work on my skills at drawing in perspective. And despite knowing that this would aid me immensely, I’ve been truthfully avoiding perspective studies. It’s just not as fun as diving into a painting blind. But developing skills in anything requires a certain amount of focused practice—and 3.5 years into my art journey, I’ve put it off for much longer than I’d like to admit.

I purchased a book months ago titled Perspective in Action. If it turns out to be helpful, I’ll write an in-depth review sharing my thoughts along with progression (fingers crossed).

Art Progress

2020 has marked a year of experimentation. Although my skills could do plenty of refining, I’m at the point where I can sketch without putting too much thought into line placement. Art in general is starting to feel instinctual. And in needing to think less while creating, I could put my energy into playing with different styles and colors.

My Instagram feed looks confused at best, I’m struggling to settle on a particular style, medium, and subject. But this is the fun of learning art: pursuing new and unorthodox directions. Now’s the time to explore different forms of drawing and painting; and alongside this, the time to make mistakes and loosen up a little. Overall, I’m in a great place to push my boundaries. And by the end of this year, I hope to find a particular kind of art M.O. that sticks.

This will inevitably change as my skills improve, but it’ll be nice to narrow down my art direction.

Art-Related Projects

This is the subject I’m most excited to talk about. Many projects, thoughts, and ideas are brewing at the moment. Leveling up in my illustration skills is introducing the notion of potentially making a living off of my work one day—or at least making this pipe dream feel less impossible.

YouTube Channel

I’ve been putting much more focus into my YouTube channel as an additional outlet to have my work seen and voice heard. By living in the digital age, it’s important to take the opportunity of putting your work out into the world via various outlets. This blog is my one true love, as is writing. And it will continue to be a central hub for all of my work, progress, thoughts, and projects in the foreseeable future.

YouTube is an accessory to my website. And as much as I love writing more than anything, we’re living in an increasing visual world; and since art is a visual subject, it only makes sense to have the process recorded and shared in a visual way. All platforms have their strengths, and I truly believe that it’s important to play each of these mediums to their advantage.

Handmade Paper

Inspired by a handmade journal I picked up with 100% cotton paper, I’ve decided to try making my own paper. Besides, if a random person on Amazon could figure it out, why not me? I’ve created a mold and deckle to make the paper, located some raw materials (A.K.A. an old cotton shirt and recycled paper). . . and have been procrastinating actually getting to the paper-making part. But you best believe that as soon as I get on it, I’m going to document the entire process on this blog and my YouTube channel.

If my procrastination doesn’t triple itself, I might just bind the paper into my own personalized sketchbook.

“The Instagram Experiment”

So, I probably could’ve come up with a more elaborate name, but since it’s already the title of my master Google spreadsheet, I’m sticking with it.

I’ve been experimenting with various ways to gain more Instagram followers. This is a huge project that requires a certain amount of time each day. I’m in the midst of tracking my progress, and plan to do so for the entire year. This is something I’ll most definitely document here on my website.

In summary, I’m playing with different engagement methods, posting times, hashtags, and art subjects to come up with a shareable formula that can help fellow small artists gain a following. To give you an idea of what I’m looking at, in being stuck at 101 followers after 1.5 years of posting on Instagram sporadically, as of 9 days ago, I managed to climb to 135.

Yes, 135 isn’t an impressive number as far as follower counts go, but this is a 30% increase in less than 10 days. And in averaging 3-4 followers a day, I’ll be up at least 1,300 followers after a year. It’s a work-in-progress, but stay tuned for more details.

To end off this post,

I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this update. I have many exciting plans for not only growing as an artist, but growing the scope of my platform. And I truly hope that we can cheer each other on as we strive for our art-related goals.

Please feel free to share your art plans in the comments below. Or if you’d like to keep your mastermind agenda out of the public eye, feel free to share your story directly here: Leave a Message.

Best of luck and stay creative 😉

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