059. Artistic Progression

You know that feeling when you're starting to learn a new skill, and even though you understand the premise of how to execute the skill, your body just can't quite do it?

For instance, shooting a bow. You understand you must raise the bow, aim the arrow, pull back on the string, and release. You hope it hits the target in the desired spot. However, you quickly realize there are so many tiny nuances to achieving your goal. Angle, strength, even wind can factor in to the outcome. It cannot be perfected without hundreds - if not thousands - hours of practice.

The same goes for art. 

Learning how to manipulate paint on a canvas, or how to sweep graphite over the paper to a desired outcome is a skill. 

It's not an innate talent you are born with. With enough hours and dedication, you can learn how to paint something like this:

"The Fellowship of the Ring - Descent from Caradhras" by Donato Giancola (oil on linen)

It may be a long and sometimes tedious and frustrating process. However that doesn't mean it's not an enjoyable process! It's going to be filled with tiny failures and successes. 
Remember: mistakes are your FRIEND!
We learn from our mistakes.

I frequently hear new artists say "it feels like I'm not getting any better."

If you are practicing, especially daily, you ARE getting better. Your progression may not be noticeable (to you) because you have an idea of what skill level you want to reach, and that is clouding your judgement.

If you truly want to make progress, you need to take an active role in your progression! This means that every single time you draw/paint something, you give it a proper look and do a quick "lessons learned" session. What is good about it? What is not good? Where do you feel like you struggle the most?
The more you do this, the more you'll be present during the creation, and be able to see your true mistakes, learn from them, and eventually get over them.

It doesn't happen immediately, but it will happen.

No matter what, don't compare yourself to other artists. That will only lead to that pitiful "I will never be able to do that" feeling. I'm just as guilty of this - but once I'm aware that I am doing it, I snap out of it and continue on my own journey.

Do you have any tips/advice for new artists? If so feel free to leave them in the comments!