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As beginner artists, you’re going to hear all kinds of things. From constructive criticism to unsolicited advice, and conflicting opinions. The problem is, you’ll take people at their word because, well, you’re new and you haven’t found your groove yet.
There are some common mistaken beliefs out there that can seriously kill your creative buzz and I don’t want you to give any of your precious time or brain space to any of them. Let’s go bust some myths, shall we?
In This Article...
Um, no. You absolutely do NOT need to know how to draw to paint. Drawing is a skill and painting is another skill. Sure, drawing is a nice skill to have and can be really useful but it’s totally not necessary for beginner artists.
There are a ton of tools online that can help you to get your subject matter onto your canvas and, if that’s not your thing, you can trace it.
Well, nah-nah-nah-boo-boo! Who says?! This second rumor ties into the first rumor. Some think that, if you trace an image onto canvas, you’re cheating….somehow. This one makes absolutely no sense to me. There are plenty of artists who use projectors to trace something onto a very large canvas.
Listen, the way I see it, trace if you want and if you don’t want to, that’s okay too! There are just as many professional artists who trace as there are beginner artists. Just don’t sweat it and get down to the fun stuff, painting!
Beginner artists typically will buy tons of art supplies partly out of excitement but also because they think they need all of the things their favorite YouTubers have or what other artists, who’ve been at this for a while, have.
You really don’t need a bunch of stuff when you’re first starting. Get yourself some primary yellow, red, and blue paint. Get some white and black paint, something to paint with, and something to paint on. And don’t pay a ton for your supplies. You are just starting and it would be a shame to spend a bunch of money on supplies that you end up not using because you realize that painting isn’t your thing, after all.
Not to mention, every person you talk to will have their own favorites. There are tons of paint, brush, and canvas brands out there and it can get really overwhelming. My two cents worth? All beginner artists should start small and build up their tool kits as they get further into their art journey. If you’re interested in more tips on supplies, check out my article “How to Save Money on Painting Supplies”.
If you’re in any Facebook groups for beginner artists, you’ll eventually see someone asking “When can you call yourself an artist”. This is such a loaded question! Half of the members will say “when you sell a piece of your art” and the other half will say “when you pick up a brush”.
I believe that, as children, we were all beginner artists but, somewhere along the way, we either drifted away from our finger paints and crayons or someone made us feel like we weren’t good enough.
If you truly enjoy painting and make an effort to continue learning and practicing regularly, congratulations! You’re an artist!
If you make a mistake while painting, as most beginner artists (and all artists, for that matter) do, keep going!
Repeat after me “just because I made a mistake doesn’t mean it’s ruined”, and, “mistakes can be fixed”, and lastly, “it’s just paint! I can paint over my mistakes”. Repeat these words over and over again until you believe them.
Mistakes are how we all learn so think of them as a good thing. The more mistakes you make, and fix, the more you’re learning and growing on your art journey!
I see it all the time, beginner artists who exhaust themselves and are completely overwhelmed because they think that they have to finish every painting in one sitting. Guys, what is the point if you can’t enjoy the process?
The fun part about painting is that you experiment and learn as you go and, sometimes, that can take a bit of time! I mean, the Sistine Chapel wasn’t done one sitting. It takes patience to create a masterpiece!
I know a lot of artists and every single one of them is very generous with their time and advice. In fact, I haven’t met a single artist who isn’t willing to help out beginner artists to grow and learn.
I’m sure there are a few Stingy McStingy Pants out there but the majority of artists are so welcoming and happy to see more and more people becoming interested in painting. I, for one, would love to see painting become more mainstream so that the arts will receive more funding in schools.
Picture it, you’ve just spent hours creating a painting that you found very challenging. You’re so proud of yourself for sticking with it and it turned out just the way you wanted! You quickly find your nearest family member or friend, proudly display it for their viewing pleasure, and their reaction is one of awkward negativity.
Guys, this breaks my heart. If this is you, I want you to listen very carefully, okay? There is no such thing as bad art! Art is a matter of perspective so you’re going to have people who don’t care for it but you’re going to have a whole bunch of people who think it’s amazing! One person’s insensitivity and negative reaction does not mean you suck. It only means that they have a different view of what makes art good… TO THEM!
The other thing I see is beginner artists who give up on a painting because they think it totally sucks and that they just can’t do it. Not true!!!! Nine times out of ten, you’ve hit what is known as the “ugly stage”.
The “ugly stage” is when you get to that point in the painting where you’ve got the basics done. It just means that you have to power through and keep going with shadows and highlights.
This is also the stage where you should start taking photos of your painting so you can see it from a different point of view. I do this for every piece I make that is challenging me to what I think is my limit. I find it easier to see where I need to make changes and where I need to add shadows and highlights. KEEP GOING!!!
This rumor is probably the most controversial on the list but we’re going to tackle it with love and understand, m’kay?
Some think that you have to be gifted with a natural born talent to paint well but, I’m here to tell you, that’s not 100% true. I’m not saying that there aren’t truly amazingly gifted artists out there, I actually know quite a few. What I’m saying is that if you weren’t BORN with a natural talent you can still learn to paint and have a very successful journey.
For all of my beginner artists, I want you to look at it this way. You know how some people can calculate math in their heads really quickly? Having a natural talent for painting is the exact same thing. There are just people out there who have an easier time with the skills and techniques. That doesn’t mean you can’t be as amazing as they are but it does mean that you’ll have to practice more and learn to love the challenges you’ll face.
I only have one YouTube recommendation for you this time but it’s so inspirational and really helps to put a lid on those nasty fears.
I love Cinnamon Cooney, the Art Sherpa” for her inclusiveness and her fun personality. Check out this small video, “You are an Artist”, with a huge message!
I hope you find this list encouraging and, maybe, helpful for you in overcoming some of the beliefs that have been holding you back. Remember this, all amazing artists were beginner artists when they started their personal art journey.
I’ll leave you with these personal thoughts:
- There really aren’t any rules in art except one: Don’t copy and pass it off as your own! Other than that, do your thing and have fun
- I hope I always remain a beginner. I never want to get to a place where I’m no longer challenged and there’s nothing left to learn. How totally boring would that be!