10 Top Tips To Become a Better Artist


Its great to see that this forum has continued on and been added to. It is really gratifying to know that some of my tips have been helpful and that my original list has had a postive reponse. If I were to rewrite my list now, it would be very different.

With such a positve response, I have wanted to write something since but have been stumped to know what to talk about, what I could offer. Then, a couple of days ago, I realised how driven I was and how I mange to get so much done in such a limited time frame.

In the next couple of weeks/months, I will be reworking my original list of how to become a better artist and I will be releasing a list on how to become more productive and to stay focused. Hopefully, the two lists will compliment each other.

I just wanted to share this info and see what the response to it was.


Alright, thanks!


Okay, I admit it. I can’t draw. (So, I envy every single one of you, albeit in the nicest possible way.) You have a gift, subsequently extended by “a helluva lot of hard work.”

What I :banghead: to do, and fail to do … you guys and gals just … :arteest: do!


(Dammit.) :slight_smile:

A very interesting thing happened to me recently, though. I took on a collaborator. “Couldn’t pay him, but couldn’t finish.” Needed help. Needed things that I had been trying to do by myself, but which I could only do, well, “half-assed.” :blush: And I guess I was “too damn proud to admit it.” Or maybe, a little-bit scared that, if I could not do everything, there was no value in anything I was setting-out to do (within this frame-of-endeavor, that is).

Maybe I was just being a horses-ass who didn’t want to have to share the copyright.

It was an epiphany. There are things that I have become “very good at.” Things that I guess I “have a knack for,” even though I can’t draw a storyboard to save my pet parakeet. And even though I have some sort of self-tutored “knack” for these things, I have only managed to scramble up to the point where I’m confronted with seeing just how much I don’t know.

The second epiphany, I guess, is to realize that perhaps everyone in any field of professional endeavor confronts this. You’re not in this alone. You don’t have to be. Even if you can be “a one-person band,” you could be both hurting yourself and frustrating yourself. Sure, drive yourself forward relentlessly in pursuit of this unattainable goddess named “perfection.” But, think of yourself as part of a greater whole. Create, or become part of, a team. (You will never reach the goddess. No one does. But she will smile at you, now and then.)

It works. Better. Much.

in my opinion this is a wrong myth. i have never believed in things like "gift", "natural talent"... etc.
what makes a artist a good artist is, as said, practicing a lot and practicing smart. if we really want to talk about a gift, then the only gift is passion for art. a good artist is just a person that has loved what s/he does for years. =)

A very interesting thing happened to me recently, though. I took on a collaborator. “Couldn’t pay him, but couldn’t finish.” Needed help. Needed things that I had been trying to do by myself, but which I could only do, well, “half-assed.” :blush: And I guess I was “too damn proud to admit it.” Or maybe, a little-bit scared that, if I could not do everything, there was no value in anything I was setting-out to do (within this frame-of-endeavor, that is).

 Maybe I was just being a horses-ass who didn't want to have to [i]share[/i] the copyright.

wanting to do all by myself instead, is one of the things that mostly has made me improve. but i guess everyone has their own way.
maybe that what “enlightened” you is facing confrontation with another artist, which is a very important thing too. another artist can teach you something, but can also show you their own limits. i guess that seeing that makes you less scared towards your own limits and lets you live art more serenely.
sure being a “solo” can bring frustration and pain at times but i think they both are part of a natural process of growth. on the other hand, the happiness you gain in the end makes it worth it. it’s like a never ending love story.
the important thing in this is to not be too withdrawn. i noticed that only when i am with other artists, and share my art and my soul with them, i instinctively feel like i’m in my “natural element”.


I just updated my top ten tips with revisions (in the original post) to be more concise (except tip #10, which I think requires the extensive elaboration). ImagineFX magazine contacted me about my top ten tips, and they will be publishing them along with the additional comments and insights they requested from me.


I think I have seen that magazine, is there any webpage where I could see the post, I’m not sure if they sell that magazine in Canada. I’m living in Vancouver.

Congratulations for that. That list really deserves the publication.


Thats cool. IFX asked me for some comments but alas, won’t be publishing my list. My art will also be appearing in that magazine in the traditional expose, a little off subject I know but still. Looking forward to seeing it all now.


Lunatique, reading your posts has easily been the most rewarding part about browsing this forum.

That little list of yours has been a real help for me. Though concerning number 3 on the list. What would you consider “only serving the basest level of gratification” and what would you consider “involving the higher motivations.”


For me personally (and this is definitely subjective), the basest level of gratification would be like what many bad Hollywood films try to sell us–gratuitous sex and violence, low-brow toilet humor, or the kind of trendy and fashionable image that record companies spend millions of dollars manufacturing for their money-making puppet pop-stars, having them sing shallow and predictable songs about how sexy they are, how they like to shake their ass at the club, or do the deed all night long, with lyrics that could’ve been written by middle school children. It’s technique without any soul, visceral stimulation without any emotional resonance or intellectual insight, and style without substance. It’s what happens when creative people never evolve beyond the most trivial and juvenile motivations of “I want to make cool shit explode” or “I want to make a sexy chick.” It’s the difference between Michael Bay and Stanley Kubrick, Britney Spears and Bob Dylan, trashy romance novels and Pulitzer-winning novels, or shopping mall photo portraits and soul-shattering war photo-journalism.

Involving higher motivations for me is to strive for something that’s beyond mindless disposable entertainment–to express something that has real emotional and intellectual value. It could be an acute observation of human nature, a sympathetic look at unjustly maligned portion of the population, or an uplifting message to bring hope to those without any. Ideally, we strive to add to our civilization something that all human beings can be proud of–something that helps us be a little bit more noble, compassionate, selfless, and unites us more than separates us.

I’m not trying to vilify any segment of the creative population–I only want to suggest that we can all try to be more than we currently are. I know that when I was younger, at times I was into some pretty mindless and silly things too, and with age my taste evolved, and my motivations also evolved. But even back then, I always felt that need to strive for something greater–something more than just disposable entertainment. But I didn’t have enough life experience to know how, and as I age, I learn more and more about how I can best use my creative voice to convey ideas that really means something to me–ideas that I want to share with the rest of the world because I know there are others like me out there–ones that will be moved and inspired by what I have to say, and in turn, I will be moved and inspired by their attempts to say something back.

But of course, some crazy fun is okay every once a while, as long as it does not breed hatred and push us apart as a society. It’s good to balance seriousness with some lighthearted fun–at least for me it is.



Hmm, Personally, most of I will probably be drawing would then probably fall into the basest level of gratification. Though…I guess striving to make something more would be enjoyable in its own way. Thank you for the insight.


Like I said, it’s highly subjective. I can only make suggestions to those who probably never gave any thought to why they create and what they aspire to create, and it’s up to each individual to decide for themselves how they want to find fulfillment in their creative journey. For those that have already thought about it (it seems you did, and already know what you want), I doubt anything I say will have lasting effect. But I can at least get people who haven’t thought about it to stop for a moment and really give it some thought.

I don’t want to make it sound like creative vision is either shallow or deep–very few things in life are so clearly black and white. Low-brow slapstick comedies can have substance, and serious dramas can be laughably pretentious. I think it’s all about intent and taste, and I personally have preference for creative works that make some effort to be more than just totally disposable and mindless, even if its main purpose is to entertain.


Ack…Lunatique, you just quoted the post I didn’t want you to :frowning:

I edited that one cause I thought it made me sound like a total asshole. Oh well, price I pay for trying to type up a reply right before going to work and not having enough time to really think it through. Though your reply to that was a very insightful read.

You are right on the fact that I pretty much already know what I want to draw. If anything that’s the only thing I have going for me :D. I’ve known almost since I started this endeavor what I wanted to do with my skills. The two biggest goals are my desire to create my own manga and to create my own video games. The game part is going to be the biggest challenge and goal I have ever attempted.

I will most likely go it solo so not only will I be doing all of the graphics on my own but also the programming, design and most likely the music. The music part is what scares me the most though. I can honestly say I have absolutely no confidence that I can make a song that doesn’t sound like total rip-off of another song or doesn’t completely blow. At least I have a little experience. I was in band for 3 years when I was in school, played the clarinet. Though playing music and actually composing music are two totally different animals.

One last thing. Don’t say that nothing you’d say would have a lasting effect. You never know…


One thing that we sometimes talk with friends and artists is that, can it be seen/heard (depending on the form of art) from the art itself, that it is done with love and meaning?

I mean - we would like to think that it can be seen, because it would be painfull to know that some great and deep, fun, exelent and wonderfull art is just routinely put together between projects. And as well known - it is hard to “kill the darlings” if they are not good, when one has put his/hers heart to it.

When you look them side by side - what makes difference whit a great piece of art and those posters you hang to the wc walls (actually they usually are copies of great pieces of art)?

Man - who wants to end up to the toilet wall?



Lunatique and everyone else I would like to thank you. You seem to be great people and I am glad to know about you. These are really useful tips. It helps to know that you got to where you are by relentless practice and education. I do believe that talent is just a drive, it is a love for something that gives you energy to work and improve.
This is my first post, well one of two that require verification :), so I would also like to say hi to everyone.


Is Becoming a Better Artist similar to Fundamentals of Digital Painting with Don Seegmiller?
wrong forum, oh well, don’t know how to delete post


thank you for those tips! im 19 years and i want to improve my artistic skills and i learned allot of you, you are very wise!!


You opened my mind more and more. I never thought that this thread would really touch my inner “artist’s-soul”,
but it did. I started long time ago, but everytime I have the problem that I lost my focus over and over again. Everytime I start projects, i finish em, but never “on-point” or “on-time”.

I do think too much about bad things that happened to me in my life, instead of living my life as it has to be lived. This will definitely change
Thank u so much!

I think I now do understand, why I never stopped:
I’m not a “fanboy”, I’m lovin’ what I’m doing as passionate as possible.

This is my first post in these forums and I will dedicate it to you.

(Sorry for my bad(?) english!)


I’ve been drawing since…well since I can remember. As I grew as an artist from simple sketches to replica drawing. I’ve reached a point to where drawing someone else work wasn’t cutting it anymore. I wanted my art to speak out and show people how I view the world. Being young, ill-minded with a bad attitude cause me to leave the passion that I love to go down a path full of regret. 8 years later, getting re discovered with my artistic eye wanting to continue where I left off. I thank you Shrunkendesigner and Lunatique for taking the time to post this thread. Really gives me the insight I needed to make a serious effort to get back in touch with one of my passions.


A very inspiring & motivating thread, like a guiding light. Thank you, Shrunkendesigner and Lunatique and all others as well who shared their experiences.

Here’s one article on Tunnel Vision I came across (dont know if its apt to post it here, or if its relevant to this thread) -


Great thread! Just stumbled on it today as I was feeling down about my art abilities and looking for advice. The quote above is so inspiring…I think I’m going to print it out and put it over my workspace.