The one trick to get better at Art

Concert at the Golden Gate Park — Jose Betancur

To become a better artist (writer, sketcher, painter, sculpture, etc.) you kind have to reject the idea that art is this merely emotion, passion or inspiration. You need let the notion of born to be an artist away. Art is no different than any another job, basically, artists are like a machine or a process; inspiration in, product out. It’s up to our definition, if that sketch, painting or drawing it’s for sale or just for fun. But nevertheless, is created with a lot of fun.

We’ve made something. And what goes on in within, in the “art process,” is a combination of elements and ingredients all working collectively in balance for productivity, improvement, and development.

We need to reframe our point of view on things a little bit because I’m sure you’re reading this because what you’ve been doing to improve so far hasn’t been working.

And to be honest, the first step you already read or heard it before, but you’re still not doing it.

The first step is to dedicate some time every day to your art.

The same way you learned to ride a bike, it wasn’t good the first try, but you keep practicing and there implied failures and success all the time, it was repetition and pain. Then you master the bike and started to ride faster, and faster, and learn a lot of tricks to impress friends, you master the art of bicycling.

“Achievement is talent plus preparation.”
 — Malcolm Gladwell

Then you know you have to practice, but you’re still not doing it, and you’re still not seeing an improvement you’d like to see suddenly it’s time to start practicing it a little bit more seriously.

Is essential to commit to this. Make it part of your routine.

“Nobody walks into an operating room, straight out of a surgical rotation, and does world-class neurosurgery.”
 — Malcolm Gladwell

For me, it’s one of the first things I do in the morning after I get up. I try to write some pages, even if they don’t work well at the end, but I practice been in front of the keyword and just let me in the typing and flow. And also, I try to do a sketch a day. I do it when I’m at the coffee shop trying to learn to draw people, and when I’m out of town trying to make sketching part of the new memories of the trip.

Try to find something that you do every day and slip that practice in either before or after it. That’s just the natural way to create a new habit.

Also, keep in mind that, we learn through doing, it’s true, but also we learn through studying. You can practice a lot, and draw again and again, but you still there, because you’re limited by what you think you know, you could read a lot, but if you don’t translate it to the paper, it doesn’t mean anything.

It’s 5 o clock, time to do something! But we’re just not inspired… you find yourself with the blank canvas, the empty paper, no inspiration around. Ok, it’s time to study. Don’t go directly to Facebook and lost your time there, just take that book reread it, watch that youtube artist, pick that episode in the podcast, just don’t push your self to the limit, let the art flow.

Also, you don’t always have to create a piece of art! You could just play a little. The surreal artist used to say that the best way to start writing something was borrowing words from some else and start typing them, in about a moment you start finding your own words.

If you go to your sketchbook and you have this fantastic idea for a drawing, do it, if you wanna experiment with a new medium or just make a mess and have fun, go for it! You have to take those moments of pure inspiration and run with them.

And make mistakes! Don’t ever let the fear of not being able to translate your ideas onto paper stop you from trying.

In fact, it’s almost better to make mistakes, it’s better to get it wrong because then you have something to work on next time. That’s the direction to your next study session in.

Create, create, analyze and improve. That’s the cycle that’s gonna get you moving forward.

More on the practice to be better read the article by Malcolm Gladwell: Complexity and the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule

Follow me at @betancur in Twitter.

You could find my book The Art of Design Thinking right here.

The Art of Design Thinking