Last week I posted about Getting Feedback on Your Art. While getting feedback is essential to artist growth, it isn’t always a possibility. This week I’m going to cover what you can do to improve your art if you know something is off but either don’t have the time or ability to reach out to get feedback on your artwork. These are some tips and tricks that I’ve found helpful. Be warned, you may find more errors than you expect when using these methods, especially the last two. Don’t get discouraged! Seeing your errors and working to improve them is all part of the learning process.
- Take a break. Despite your deadline find time to take a shower, get a snack, stretch and walk around your house, or even put the piece down for the night. Whatever you choose to do isn’t as important as getting some space from the piece. When I get really invested in a piece I tend to work on it long after I stop really seeing it. This causes me to make unnecessary mistakes and to frequently overwork pieces. Due to this I try to take a 5 minute break every hour or so (difficult as it is!) by setting an alarm and going to get water, play with my cat, step outside, etc. This allows me to come back to the piece with a fresh set of eyes and allows for me to assess the piece from a more open perspective.
- When working on a piece for a longer span of time than a day or two I find that I get use to seeing it. This can be a problem when I need to work on a piece for a few weeks and can feel it slowly going off course but not being able to pinpoint how. To see a piece from a different perspective I’ll prop it up, stand back, and walk around the front of it. Seeing the piece from a different distance and angle can help see the piece as a whole instead of only being able to see the details. This can help with seeing how the composition works as a whole, how the lighting is balanced, and how the color usage is coming across.
- Another trick that I’ve found is to take the piece to the bathroom (provided it is small enough) and look at it in the mirror. If this doesn’t work for you taking a picture of the piece and mirroring it in Photoshop will do the same thing. Looking at a piece reflected in the mirror will cause your brain to see your piece in a new, fresh way instead of a familiar way. Because of this you will be able to see compositional or proportional errors that you may have overlooked.
- Similarly to using a mirror, flipping your picture upside down will help your brain register the piece in a new way. Seeing an image upside down allows your brain to perceive the image as a group of parts instead of as a whole, which can be especially helpful for faces. Because of this fresh viewpoint it is much easier to pinpoint what is off and how you can fix it.
Did I leave anything out? Let me know if I should add something to the list by commenting on my Facebook Page.