Welcome to 2019! Here we are, at the time to set our new year resolution again. I wonder how many new year resolution we make and how many we actually accomplish by the end of the year. For me... it is usually none of them. I wonder why it is so hard to keep the promise we make to ourselves. It’s obviously not the case when it comes to something easy though. I rarely see someone making a new year resolution of “I am going to watch a good movie this year” or “I am going to enjoy my favorite drink every week”. Can’t those be someone’s new year resolution? I think they can be. However, that takes little to no effort. And by doing those, we are not gaining much growth.
We can take the idea to our new year resolution though. Instead of tackling a huge commitment and trying to achieve a huge goal, think of just one simple thing that you enjoy doing and try to improve on that. And when I say one thing, I don’t mean one general thing. “I am going to improve my painting” is too general. Because there might be multiple aspect of your painting that you need to improve. If you just say that you are going to improve your painting, you are setting yourself up for multiple ambiguous goal. When you do that you are going to get frustrated with confusion very quickly. Instead, really think about what aspect of your painting and drawing you need to improve. Is it making clean wash? Is it mixing the right color and value? Is it to have better composition in your painting? Is it drawing more accurate in perspective? Or is it doing better line works, and so on... If you are able to pick out a specific thing you need to improve on, you can set a much more specific goal that can be easier to reach.
To do that, however, you need to be honest with yourself and see where you need to improve. This might not be the easiest thing because people don’t want to admit their weakness. However this is the first step for you to find your new goal for your growth. Looking at the work of your favorite artist is a good starting point. Take a close look at their work and yours, what differences do you see? What is in their paintings that you wish you have in yours? After you figure that out, chances are there are several ideas, so pick just one of them to start working on it! Just pick one very specific thing to work on in 2019. Think about it every single time when you are doing your drawing or painting. If you can do so consistently, I can almost guarantee you by the end of 2019, you will see a drastic improvement of your work. What may come as a pleasant surprise is that you might only focus on one thing, but you end up improving several of them. That is because many aspects of painting and drawing are related. So if you work on drawing more accurate perspective, you will likely learn to do better lighting, or make better looking composition. As I run my current class with my students, I often find several issues in their paintings. However, I always try to pick out just one thing they can work on first. As the class progresses, I can see that single aspect of their painting starting to get better. I will constantly remind them the improvement they have made, and it encourages them to keep going. I believe if they continue to improve their work one aspect at a time, they will be able to build up their skills and become much better artists overtime.
So for 2019, If you want to improve your work, start by just tackling one specific skill to work on first. If you do find it, let me know what it is! =)