Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Take your art to higher lever in 4 simple steps!

for people who are serious about drawing and want to make career in art!

Are you stuck and don't know how to carry on making great art?
You just want to draw better?
If an answer to any of these questions is 'yes' then you might find this interesting...


Since the only thing I ever acknowledged myself good at is getting better I decided to share a couple of tricks.
I truly believe it works in every single case.
It's true.

(oh and do I need to mention that you need to draw a lot to get better? I constantly hear people not satisfied with their own work, saying that what they see on the internet is soooo much better than their own stuff. It's soooo much better cause someone spent soooo much more time honing his/her craft)

Step 1. Honesty.

Be aware of your own limitations. I won't be talking about false honesty in this article.
Stop lying to yourself, for heaven's sake.
If you are not doing/drawing something, frankly, it's because you can't.
Pointing at images saying 'I could draw like that' or 'If I had the time...' doesn't mean anything.
To get better you need to become really honest with your art.

Like, in my case; Let's say I draw something, which is still better than most of images out there, but I'm still not satisfied with it and then everybody is 'oh stop, you're so good' etc. I know what it's missing, what kind of subject I'm not be able to draw, like some fancy spacecraft or super detailed urban enviro.
I don't care what other people think in such case (I mean I always do, I wouldn't share it if I didn't care, really, but it's not this kind of 'caring'...) Only I know what my images are and what they aren't.
I have my own standards. I browse lots of art, go to galleries and art exhibitions. I admire. I want to be one of those very few people who know their thing inside out.
I'm just being honest with myself, I don't need people telling me 'aww it's alright I wish I could draw like you'. I mean, it's sweet, and I love you guys. To me, it's kind of okay, I'm kind of on the right path, but it's not that great.
(this is an honest explanation of my approach, please don't be offended!)

If you are honest with yourself it will help you realize your goals. There's only one person who can tell you what you can, and what you cannot do. What you cannot do now, and what you will become able to do, in a month, half a year, 5 years from now, if you apply the following to your workflow. It's you.
Have your own standards.

Step 2. Feedback. The most important one.

This is the ultimate trick.
You know what? 99% of people don't get it.
You wanna be the 1% that do, of course.
There were a couple of people that I worked with in my life. I drew something and they told me what's wrong with the picture. I usually returned the favor. If you don't have that somebody you can go to for feedback, join a couple of forums!
I did... there's plenty of people willing to help you out when you show them you respect their comments. That you listen to what they have to say carefully. Be prepared though. I've had a couple of bruises on my heart because somebody stepped on the picture I liked, set it on fire and flushed in the toilet  But I've never let my shit fall apart.
But! The good thing about feedback is, the person you ask doesn't even have to be an artist. My mother is a perfect feedbacker, for instance. Nothing ever works for her, it's amazing. She rips my work to bits and pieces all the time. It's very important to listen to comments of people who are not artists as well (especially at the beginning stages). It's not like we are drawing only for other artists after all. A huge percentage of people who view your art are not artists!
But you don't have to ALWAYS listen to the feedback, you need to be able to defend your opinion. It's up to you what's right in your picture.

Okay, wait, if you are a beginner then it'd be better if you listen to every piece of feedback you get and be thankful to heavens for even getting it.






Even if you don't like it, and feel like getting into a fight with them! If you share your pictures with the internet it means that you want them to be looked at! So it's your goddamn business to listen to how people feel about them.
I started from random comments at dA, like 'this hand looks weird', or 'his torso looks like banana'. I never made the same mistake twice, ever. I literally made lists of my weak points to pay attention to!

I still go to others for feedback, I ask people I trust. Often I randomly ask people I'm talking to over Skype to tell me if they think something's off in the picture.
Most of industry pros do that, it's normal.
You won't get ANYWHERE without it. It's normal that you don't see certain mistakes, you need someone with a fresh eye. It's amazing to have your mistakes pointed out in your face the moment you're done.

'I just draw stuff however I want and upload it, I don't give a damn what others think, this is my art/style/whatevs'
Wrong. This fella is afraid to get feedback, hear some harsh words, he ain't getting nowhere.

Step 3. Observation.

There are two kinds of 'artists', observers and non-observers.
Non-observers draw a lot and get frustrated over how they are stuck with their art.
And it's easy to tell them apart... There're a couple of elements that many beginner artists just keep getting wrong. Like... hairline. Have you ever noticed how hair grows from your forhead and temples? How the hairline gets closer to the eyebrows around the temples? How easy it is to define the age of the character you draw with receding hairline? No? Yes? Are you sure? Go back to step 2, and show your pics to somebody.
It's exactly this kind of deduction you expect from an observer-type of artist.
Almost every time I draw I notice something new about the subject. And it's exactly what I love about drawing.

That's how when I had a break - even when it lasted 6 months - I didn't really get worse. I never stop looking at stuff that surrounds me. Not drawing means only loosing fluent brain-to-hand communication, but a couple of days and I'm back on track.
Observation is crucial for concept artists. Concept artist needs to know how things work to be able to create something fresh.
Did I mention that observers are rare.
I believe that everybody can become one though, but first you need to be honest with yourself (step 1).
It's not about looking at things, it's about seeing them.

(It was also my trick, back in the days, take the hardest thing to draw and keep drawing it until you feel it, and it becomes your favorite)

Step 4. Reference.

Now, when you learn how to see things through, not only look at them, you can start using reference.
That's the word.
It's a blessing, somebody who invented reference should get a Nobel prize.
No, wait... since the beginning of the world or the fine art as we know it, artists were basically painting what they see. Used reference, ripped off whatever surrounded them.
Rubens, Alphone Mucha, Norman Rockwell, so why can't you? Trust me, if you paint something with 100% understanding of what you see, they will teach about you in (art) schools. Reference is your friend.
If you are too lazy to look for it... it's okay, drawing is always fun.
You won't get anywhere without reference. If laziness is the case, then you need to go back to step 1. and answer the question: how much are you set on artistic career?
Harsh words, but I met many people who've been working ten times as hard as me or you.

And there's an additional step!

Study of the masters.

Of course you can figure out stuff by yourself, but trust me, none of the artist you look up to really do.
Why not look at others' work and check out what looks nice? What works for painting?
Study masters. They knew a lot, that's why they're called masters of fine art. Years ago most of painters had teachers, who learned from their teachers. We have the internet.
Of course you cannot really copy somebody and call it your own work. Incorporate what you learn from studies into your own work. Nobody will give a damn where you learned this kind of strokes if the painting looks neat, everybody will just love it. It's all about results.
You won't really make much out of it if you're not observant (step 3), so yeah.

None of these steps is actually drawing, cause I believe progress is all about approach.
Now if you start drawing while applying these steps, you'll get better easily, I tell you. If not, then something went wrong. Maybe you're not really honest with yourself.
Always try to draw new stuff, repetition kills progress by a long shot. It's better to draw new stuff with same principles in mind, than drawing same things over and over again.
When I pick up a pen or pencil, suddenly everything becomes important. The stroke, thick or thin, dynamic lines, shading, composition, facial expressions, interesting/fun design, colors, everything! But of course it's impossible to keep all these things in mind at first... so, always, practice is your friend!

It may sound harsh, and all, but that's how it really is, if you want to make great changes to your art. I know it's just not for everybody. As I mentioned before this is only for consideration for people who want to make career in art or just make progress. If you can count the times you draw throughout a week - you draw too little to accomplish it.
So... Feel like giving it a try now?



  2. I think that I'm going to direct every person who ever asks me "how do you draw like that?" ever again to this post. Seriously, thank you. :)

    1. Ahh thank you so much, glad you like!

  3. Great post :) I'm jealous because I suppose you're younger than me and you're so much organised "inside" ;) I wish you all the best and I admire your art. Best regards.

    1. Age doesn't really matter :)
      Thank you!

  4. Hi Monika, very interesting your view of the whole thing. I'm very curious to know if you ever read of a guy called Dave Rapoza? Does it ring a bell to you?

    Thank you Miss Palosz.
    Kind regards.

    1. Yes I did heard of Dave :)

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  6. Hi Sah.... or Monika, whichever you like best! ^_^

    I wanted to thank you for this awesome post and for being such an inspiration to so many people, including myself. It's really great that you took the time to share your experience with us and giving such insightful advice on how to always look forward, work and improve for what we want to do.

    However, I also have a more personal-case related question: do you think it's harder for people of a certain age to get into this whole illustration and concept art business? I'm asking this because I'm just beginning to practice art diligently to one day become a professional illustrator and concept artist for books and comic books covers, TCGs illustrations, art magazines, video games, with a particular interest on character and environment art. I'm already 27, so I'm expecting that by the time I'll be good enough I'll already be around 33-34. While I do understand that it might be harder to get in - seeing as there are so many younger people out there wanting the same jobs -, as a professional working in this area do you think this would really be a sure disqualifying aspect for people?

    This doesn't mean that, if the answer is yes, I will drop out of doing art. Worse case scenario I will continue to draw and share my art with people, even if maybe I won't have the chance to do it as a job. I already have a 10-to-6 job and I do all my drawing and painting in my free time, and I'm also taking professional art classes with a private teacher, so I'm really serious about this, even if maybe I won't succeed. But I want to be mentally prepared with a more in-the-k(n)ow opinion of someone who works in this field, so as not to become terribly disappointed or something if things don't work out as I wish.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this and I wish you the best in your career and personal life! ^3^