You know that moment when something remarkable comes true? Something you only ever thought you would dream about suddenly becomes a reality. Suddenly, you feel as if nothing in the world could ever go wrong. For in this moment the stars had aligned and the world was in perfect order. Moreover, no matter how many days, months and years pass you can feel deep in your heart that you will never forget this exact moment.
That thrill was exactly how I felt as I tore open a mysterious letter only to find that my submitted artwork had been accepted by The City of Montgomery to be published in their calendar, accompanied by a $100 check for giving them my art. I had officially published my first art piece.
A year before this happened, if someone would have told me I would have my work published in the “Montgomery Calendar” I would have begun to fear they had lost their mind. For I was not an artist. I had taken one online art class in high school and was sure my work was enough to pass a class but nothing more. This all changed when I chose to take a risk and enroll in my high school’s AP 2D Studio Art class during my senior year.
Throughout my AP Studio Design experience, I found that I learned four very important lessons about art. I hope that beginning artist, or even more experienced artist can gain something from the knowledge I learned through my progression.
Draw what you see, not what you think: This was the first groundbreaking lesson my art teacher instilled in me. For I discovered that before I enter AP 2D Studio Art, I would think of drawing something one way, when in fact learned that to draw realistically one must draw the lines they see (instead of how they think they should be). I found this discovery to be incredible. It taught me the concentration and careful attention to details artist have, and how they master the ability to believe in the lines they are drawing as the piece evolves. For example, when drawing something as simple as a tree, it is easy to begin drawing curves as the leaves and a flat ground of grass. However, to make an image look realistic you have to draw the exact lines and shapes as on a real tree. Even more, every tree is different which makes details imperative. In regards to the ground, you have to vary how high or low it is and to what angle you draw it so that you can take a 3D image and make it look real on a 2D surface.
Practice, practice, practice: Art takes an incredible amount of creativity. Furthermore, that level of creativity is not one that can be mastered overnight. To get to where I am now in, I had to spend hours perfecting my pieces, redoing them when they went wrong and adding in color or different marks when my teacher consistently advised me to continue pushing my art past a basic and comfortable level. The more you practice and take initiative to make your practice count, the quicker you will find success.
Do not be afraid to be an abstract artist: Hello fellow abstract artist, I am one of you! While I enjoyed and valued learning realistic drawing, my most successful and meaningful pieces are abstract and demonstrate my unique style. It is important to make your art truly yours and something you feel proud of creating. Therefore, allow yourself to experiment and find your style (abstract, realistic, or both) in the art world.
Draw and create what you are passionate about: Ultimately, you should love what you are creating. I found that when I tried to draw something I was not 100% invested in, I ended up not liking it in the end. Find what creative side of you feels completely natural and run with it. For myself, it was the fact that I had always been someone who loved to doodle patterns and small images in the corners of my notes. After realizing that patterns and zentangles, were something I naturally draw and that I was naturally drawn to vibrant colors, I used those features as my foundation to create my own style. Allowing yourself to explore and create what comes from your heart will produce your most meaningful artwork.
I hope my tips helped spark your creative side. Now it’s time for you to go out and create your own masterpieces!