1. Daily work
Daily work is extremely important. It will be easier to find smaller time slots than if you wait all the way to find a perfect time to work. You will have to make a schedule and stick to it you can’t just say that if I don’t have time today I can double the practice time tomorrow. It’s really hard to have that kind of time on your hand in the busy lives we lead today. So, you must make time daily rather than waiting for the perfect time to do what you want to do. You may never find the perfect time so use what you have at the very moment and get started.
You have to practice your art or whatever you are trying to be good at every single day. Large blocks of times rarely plan out. The way I do it is I tell myself that I just have to take out my sketchbook and draw something that is extremely easy and guess what I almost always find myself drawing more than what I thought of. Understand that getting started is the hardest part everything else will just follow.
2. Quantity not quality
Don’t be a perfectionist, it prevents you from reaching that next epiphany. The only way to learn certain things is by the volume of the work you do and often people judge you by the body of work you have than the one piece you created and put in a lot of time and effort perfecting it. You need to know when to stop and move on to the next piece. The most learning occurs at the stage when you are laying in big shapes and not the tiny details. Tweaking and detailing takes a lot of time but you don’t learn as much. So, it’s important to know when to move on.
“The most important possible thing you can do is a lot of work… It’s only by going through a volume of work that you are going to close the gap.”
-Ira Glass on Storytelling (This American Life Producer)
3. Steal from your ideals
We often think that the great geniuses were born with it, which is so not true because that is not how human brain works. Our ideas are always built upon the ideas before it. Our ideals play a huge role in this. Everybody that we think of as a great artist or inventor had somebody to look up to, it may be one person that influenced them or may be many as a matter of fact but they had something before them to base their work on and then build their work their in their own image.
“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.”
The word stealing may not sound good but this is how learning works. Think of all the information that is available to us now, this wasn’t done by a single person. We study other peoples work in schools and universities and we steal from that information and base our future work on that work which does not belong to us.
The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal.
“Figure out what’s worth stealing. Move on to the next
-Steel Like An Artist
4. Conscious learning
We all have heard so many times that practice makes perfect or if you want to get good at something you require 10,000 hours of practice. Which is true but only when accompanied by conscious learning because when we just doodle around and practice while not being completely aware of what we are doing we tend to grow some skills at first but then, like every other thing like diet, exercise, etc. we reach a plateau and stop growing like we did at the beginning. To keep on growing at a consistent pace we need to get involved with a lot of theoretical stuff. It sounds boring but it does work. It will be painful at first but the results will be instant. So, practice conscious learning as it may not be fun but its the fastest way to grow.
There comes a time when we have worked at a painting, drawing or any kind of artwork for so long that we get attached to it and can’t even point out what’s wrong with it or we get stuck with a problem we don’t know how to solve or maybe you made a huge mistake. At that time it’s important to remove yourself from that piece of work and do something else. it can be anything. Paint something else, read a book or go out with your friends, absolutely anything you want. Just take some rest and it will come to you.
Like when I ruin a watercolour painting and start freaking out about it I just turn my drawing board around so that I cant see it any more and leave it there. Then I get back to it with the intention of solving the problem with a calm mind and almost everytime I find a way to fix it. Anytime I try fixing a mistake at the very moment when I made it, it never works out I ruin it each and every time and end up feeling extremely angry and sad.
Do whatever you can and then remove yourself from that piece of work, just let it sit for a while and don’t look at it. When you’ll come back to it after a few days you’ll look at it like you are looking at somebody else’s work and you’ll be able you judge it better. So, take a break and see your work with new eyes.