What Makes You a Better Illustrator: 10 Mind-Blowing Tips to Improve Your Skills

illustrator improve skills

What’s stopping you from becoming a better illustrator? Is it a creative block? Is something wrong with your emotional state? Or are you just not trying your best? 

It’s a delicate question, but an artist must get through it. So we’re here to share with you ten phenomenal tips to help you overcome your craft limitations. 

But before we move forward, we urge you to have a clear mindset. Do you illustrate for yourself, or is this your business? 

Our effective tips can cover either of your needs. But if you have a clear perspective, things will be easier for you to grasp. 

So let’s jump right in.

Follow These 10 Mind-Blowing Tips to Become a Better Illustrator

If you want to improve your creativity, you may find yourself with an endless list of books and articles. So, a wise idea is to find some tips that have worked for others.

You may keep learning from free drawing tutorials online to craft your curves, lines, and color corrections. But these only cover the basics. You need far more exposure internally and externally.  

The ten tips we’ve shared in this article don’t reflect any strict rules. However, they are a mix of some basic and expert guidelines. 

So sit by the empty canvas holding a brush in your hand (just in case you need some inspiration), and go through the following tips:

1. Shun the Comparison Game

If the 19th-century artists had ignored African or Greek arts and artifacts, there wouldn’t have been a modern art movement at all. Illustration and painting should be all about exploring and grasping. 

See, comparing is okay, but only to learn about your scopes of improvement. But if you spend your time wishing you were as good as other artists, your white canvas isn’t going to paint itself.

Don’t fall prey to the comparison game. It’ll suck the creative spurts out of you, leaving you depressed and mortified. 

Instead, play to your strengths. Cast as many sketches and smears as you want with your brush and shades. You’ll see how ideas sprout with their many colorful branches in no time. 

2. Break and Come out of Your Shell 

The core idea of being creative is to surprise yourself with something exceptional. It may not be possible every other day (that’s understandable), but it may never happen if you don’t leave your comfort zone. 

Taking time to give yourself some space is all right. But don’t get too used to it. Extra spacing may make your illustrations dull. 

Besides, sticking to your own styles may confine your brush strokes. You must go and see what’s cooking in the field. If you’ve specialized in Impressionism, why not take a chance at Fauvism or Modernism too? 

If you’ve taken illustration as a business, there will be days when clients might ask for something extra or something outside of your skills. 

Taking those tasks positively while putting your artistry to the test will increase your courage and exposure.   

3. Overcome Shyness 

Illustrating in your studio is a lonely job and takes a deep focus. But that shouldn’t stop you from displaying your arts to the world. 

Ditch your shyness today to meet people. You can either do it in person or through social networks. Find fellow artists who are at the same level to share ideas and struggles. 

Another way to demonstrate your illustrating skills is to make a comprehensive and catchy portfolio. Make your portfolio accessible from social media, web browsers, or your resume. 

Try out different resume templates, including video resumes where you may show your creative artworks. 

Having engineered such communication tools will help you get more clients. The illustration is all about showing what you’ve done or can do. Hence, potential clients will only look for your demos, not your promises. 

4. Listen to Your Instincts 

Creative marvels don’t just pour out of the brain. They struggle with each other, and only one or two win the race to the final revelation. 

But when you suppress your gut feelings, those marvels disappear into a no-return blackhole. Don’t let your art get rusty because you’re unsure of its acceptability. 

It’s true that professionals or veteran artists will have their comments on your figures, curves, shades, expressions, etc. But never, we repeat, never take that as the final judgment. 

You must learn to respect your work and respect others’ opinions. But who said you’ve got to linger on to a thankless and underpaid environment?

Modern artists like illustrators, singers, writers, dancers, etc., work to make their performances better and brighter. They, too, stick to some basics. But not by compromising their intuitive voices. 

5. Develop Your Network through Communities 

Don’t ignore creative gatherings. It’s as essential to connect to artistic communities as it is to have a deep focus on your illustration. 

Being in a creative network is like having a hundred diverse windows. You can peek through those windows into new concepts, skills, ideas, and whatnot. 

Want to develop your new skills in illustration you’re fidgeting about? Struggling to find better brushes for drawing and painting

Creative communities are places where you can get answers to such questions. And you can’t expect yourself to know everything, right? Things change rapidly nowadays. 

Furthermore, there’s a high chance of getting some illustration gigs through networking. 

If a community buddy loves your work, they may share with you or refer you to someone else. Or some people may even like to take art lessons from you which you can charge for. 

6. Take What You Can (from Experts)

It’s easy to follow the experts in your profession today. You pull up your laptop or cellphone and press the Follow button on their Insta, Twitter, or Facebook pages— that’s it. 

But make sure you learn things wholeheartedly from them. Learn how they’ve turned their dream into a profession. Observe what makes their artwork better every single time. 

Besides, figure out what skills you don’t possess. 

You don’t want to miss a single point when taking notes on the experts’ opinions and skills. However, don’t get bombarded with countless ideas and do nothing. 

Instead, stick to a few selected ones and mix them with your skills. Then splash on your canvas what you come up with. 

7. Compromise Your Ego (and Earnings a bit)

They say artists can observe life much more closely than the others. And they can balance their mental art faculties evenly when drawing life on their canvas. 

But you, being an illustrator, can have a hard time negotiating with professional expectations and compensations. Corporations and various digital marketers might place a low price tag on your artwork. And you might hate it. 

Whereas comparatively smaller companies will offer you larger pay, which is much more attractive in your eyes. But here’s the lesson. 

Big companies may pay you less, but you’ll learn more while researching for your deliverable illustration. However, you might see the opposite scenario with smaller organizations.

To see these things positively and keep your ego aside during the initial stages. You can set your prices better after pulling off several gigs for big brands and smaller businesses. 

8. It’s Okay to Take a Wander-Walk 

Giving yourself a break isn’t a crime. It’s something we all need. You deserve a break after consistently wrecking your brain with sketches, colors, and compositions for hours. 

That’s where we suggest you take a wander-walk (just a natural walk). Immerse yourself in nature. 

Let the birds’ chirping ring inside your ears, and the breeze splash you over with coolness. Watch closely how intricately the butterflies are designed, and yes, the vibrant flowers too. 

In short, find anything in nature that inspires you or remove the creative clot inside your head. Such immersion sometimes can solve the most critical illustration mysteries. 

Want to take some real-life inspiration? Listen to this. 

Georgia O’Keefe, a nineteenth-century American artist, ran away from city life to the countryside of New Mexico. There, she found the natural landscapes highly motivating. It helped her overcome the mental clog she suffered and end up with some majestic pieces. 

9. Schedule Your Art Projects

You read that right. Schedule. And why not? 

Learning how to schedule your art projects will save you time. You can utilize your precious time to learn more art skills, read something useful, or be more productive in delivering your clients’ work. 

Make time for both types of artwork: personal and professional. Observe what time of the day works best for your illustrations. Don’t mix the two as long as you can. 

Negotiate time constraints with your clients if there’s a rework or additional design request. Don’t let it squander your ongoing art projects. 

You want to earn a good living. But don’t let this urge waste your talent by not practicing as required. 

10. Beware of Exhaustion 

That big mug of coffee isn’t your best buddy for staying active and fresh. Caffeine works only so much to keep your strings tight. Sadly, its overconsumption may cease to work after a while. 

Avoid late-night drawing if that’s possible for you (for most illustrators, it’s not). However, if you’re only productive in the late hours, make sure you sleep late the following day. 

Overwork may exhaust your mind and body, taking you off the grid for a while. And when your creative block persists, you’ll get frustrated. 

So be smart and take care of your health. Be responsible because you may have much to give the world with your illustration. 

Bottom Line 

So what do you think of our article? Could these ten mind-blowing tips to become a better illustrator work for you? 

We’ve stated earlier that this list of tips is just a fair guideline. You can juxtapose your ideas and knowledge with ours, and you’re good to go. 

You can also surf the internet for more ideas and tutorials. Many young talents are bringing new ideas like glowing art, pixel painting, geometric canvas, splash art, and the list goes on. 

If you’ve found our article helpful, help yourself on the go with your paintbrush and other tools.

Cover Photo: Pexels

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