I decided to make a list of goals I have for the art I create as a concerted effort to focus on improving my work. A lot of these goals have a common thread of having a more disciplined attitude towards my work. One of the things I’ve noticed about my illustration, in particular, is that I rarely illustrate scenes and instead opt for the (often lazy) illustration on a white/blank background. I’m going to try to create more well-developed illustrations with ambience and an immersive atmosphere.
Along with discipline, forcing myself outside of my comfort zone is going to help me improve my work. Whenever I pick up a pen I always seem to fall back into drawing the same few things. Drawing the same things over and over isn’t challenging anymore. I need to change things up and try drawing things I haven’t drawn a thousand different versions of already.
One of my weakest areas is definitely realistic drawing - I am much more comfortable with a more cartoonish style. This weakness seems to be mostly a problem when it comes to sketching cities (buildings, bridges, etc.). When I was travelling in Europe over the summer, one of the things I wished I’d been able to do better was drawing architecture in the cities I visited. So, I’m going to try to practice that (along with more realistic portraits) this year and see if I can get a bit better.
Lastly, I want to actually maintain a single sketchbook, no tearing pages out, no ditching it for a new, empty sketchbook. The trick to this, I think, is leaving the very first page blank, that way there’s no pressure that you’ve instantly messed the whole thing up. You keep the first page blank and it can be the last page you use, now having the benefit of knowing the tone of the rest of the book.
Do you have any art-related goals for this year? Do you have any suggestions for how I can work on some of mine?