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What Beginning Artists Should Focus On

paintbrushes and tools to focus on as a beginning artist

What Beginning Artists Should Focus On

What Beginning Artists Should Focus On

When starting off as an artist, it is important that you set yourself up with the knowledge to succeed, by focusing on the proper tools that will help you throughout your journey. 

As a beginner artist, you should be looking for areas where you might need improvement or a little more understanding. You should aim to be learning, practicing, and gaining skills consistently, getting better as time goes on and your passions become more clear. 

Practice plays a key role in becoming a successful artist, it is what will set you up to thrive in your career and in your future, but many aspiring artists simply don’t know where to begin.

Think about how things are formed and how you are going to create a valuable, influential piece of art. What tools do you need to gain? 

To improve your art, develop new skills, and get a better understanding of this medium, there are three important areas that you should focus on: structure, lighting, and texture. Let these 3 subjects guide you at the beginning of your artistic journey and be the fundamental aspects of art that will set the stage for further improvement.

As a beginner, it is easy to always be looking for the bigger picture but at first, but try to stay focused on the smaller details. This will be what helps you progress through your journey, getting better every time you master a new set of skills. 

Tip #1: New Artists Should Focus On Structure 

In a way, structure acts as the umbrella that covers everything from texture and lighting to perspective and value. If you can understand the importance of structure and how to master it, then you can begin to dive deeper into your work as an artist. 

But first things first – what even is structure? In the art world, structure is the relation of different parts to the relative proportions in a piece. It is how you arrange a body part, object, or piece of your composition to make your work come to life, almost as if it is jumping off of the page. 

Think about how everything you are creating is going to be formed. How will you successfully create a dimensional piece of art? You need structure to help you along the way. 

Your structure will essentially be your blueprint, a concealed formula to how your art will be pieced together during the creative process

This will be vital to your talents and the skills you obtain, setting you up with the beginning tools to continue on your artistic journey.

Tip #2: Focus On Lighting as a Beginning Artist

As an artist, it is important that you understand lighting, its role in what you create, and how to successfully add highlights, shadows, or shade to create depth within your artwork. This is what will help make your piece become more realistic. 

Focus on how light moves, hits objects, and reflects in your everyday life. Let this guide how you view lighting within your art and the impact it can have on what you create. 

When looking at an object, it is typically in a space where light is bouncing in any direction, thus creating areas of light and shadow surrounding the object. You will need to represent this in your work, thinking about where light comes from and how it hits certain things. Think about lighting and where it will realistically fall within your piece. 

To describe the behavior of light on a form, there are six key concepts that are important to remember: highlight, direct light, reflected light, shadow, core shadow, and cast shadow. These terms will help you to better understand the concept of light and how to perfectly tie it into your work. 

If you are confused about your lighting, then the viewer will be too. Make sure it makes sense and the lighting can be easily interpreted. This is how you will know you have incorporated the lighting correctly, a skill that is crucial to utilize as a blossoming artist. 

Tip #3: When Starting Out in Art, Focus On Texture 

Painting showing a new artist's focus on texture

Being able to depict all kinds of different textures will give your artwork believability and visual interest. Take a moment to look around and notice all of the different textures that are within your room, house, environment, etc. 

Maybe you’re sitting on a smooth couch with a fuzzy blanket on your lap. Perhaps there are hardwood floors beneath your feet or maybe you’re outside sitting on the grass. Whenever you’re creating artwork, it’s important to keep these kinds of textures in mind. Learning how to effectively show textures in your work can really bring it to the next level! 

Texture is a valuable detail to include in almost everything you create, but how can we, as artists, start to learn how to create textures? Well, there’s no better resource than practicing from life and simply trying to recreate what you’re seeing in the real world, on paper. But when all else fails, try taking a class! 

On Schoolism, fine artist Jonathan Hardesty teaches “Understanding Textures”, which is an incredibly helpful course for beginners who want to learn this skill. But there are countless resources online or in books that can help you to start understanding textures as well. 

Incorporating texture into your work can be what makes or breaks you as an artist. It is a simple, small detail that will catch the eye but it is just as important to the overall interpretation of the piece. 

Tip #4: Focus On Color as a New Artist

In terms of art, color is defined as the element of art that is produced when light hits an object and is reflected back to the eye, but more than that, color is a part of our perception and how we view everything in our daily lives! 

As you create your art, it is important to focus on color, how you see it and how it will be perceived by those viewing your art. You want to incorporate color to enhance your piece, putting different colors together in order to build the bigger picture, create a mood, and even evoke an emotional response from your audience. 

To put it simply, color is one of the most important elements of art! So it’s no surprise that we recommend focusing on color if you’re just starting out. Having a good understanding of color will shift the entire way your art is seen and understood, to evoke a certain emotion or mood within the completed piece. If you can express emotion through your art, then you are on the right path towards a successful artistic journey

Tip #5: When New to Art, it’s Important to Focus On Value 

Value is critical to master in your art, to create a focal point where the eye is drawn to a certain element within your piece. This relates closely to lighting but is not the same thing. 

Value is essentially the visible lightness or darkness of a color. 

If you can add value to the colors you create, adding light or darkness to specific places, then it will be easier for your audience to understand your vision for your piece. Naturally, the human eye is drawn to light, especially when the light is placed against a darker area. If you pull this off in your art, you have created a focal point that will draw in the viewer’s eye and gain their attention immediately. 

You will be able to create depth, giving the illusion of a 3-dimensional piece, even if it is on a 2-dimensional surface.

Building Success As A Beginner Artist By Finding the Right Focuses 

paint colors on palette for the focus of a beginning artist

To start building up your skills as a beginner artist, it is important that you understand the fundamentals behind everything you create and the differences they can make. On your journey, there will be a lot of learning to do, but in turn, you will gain new skills and obtain the necessary tools to take your art to the next level and become an expert artist

To better understand these skills, take an art class to gain expertise, spend time studying and continue practicing all the time. 

Use structure to better understand how your art will be formed, giving you a map to help you create exactly what you are aiming for. 

Utilize lighting to bring your art to life, creating highlights or shadows in your art wherever they would appear in real life. 

Create texture within your art, being careful to add the details of each aspect of your piece from the textures of fabrics, to rocks, to leaves, to hair, and the list goes on. 

Use color to completely alter your art, changing how it is seen and perceived. Use different tones, to evoke a specific emotion or mood, reaching your audience through the color selection and shading incorporated in your piece. 

Let value add to your art, creating light or darkness when necessary, adding to the colors you are already implementing.

These skills can guide you through the beginning stages of your artistic journey, setting you up to flourish in your future and build success. By understanding the importance of each skill, how to integrate it into your art, and the difference it can make, you are changing the way your art is viewed. 

You will be able to evoke emotion and tell a story, all through pencil or paint. The details you include can completely change how your art is interpreted, influencing your viewer and what they see. Focus on gaining these new skills and practice every day to successfully follow your journey as an artist! 

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