What do you suck at as an artist? How are you going to fix it?


If you know you suck at something, unless you make an effort to improve, you will probably continue to suck at it. So, what are your weaknesses as an artist and what are you doing about it?

I’ve been fighting an uphill battle to inject more spontaneity into my works. The battle rages on. I’ve gone back to traditional oil painting to get away from the confines of digital, so I can be more spontaneous and enjoy the unpredictability of traditional painting.

I need to strengthen my figure drawing. My stuff is kinda stiff. I’ve been doing quick studies and sketches to loosen up and depict figures with more expressiveness.

I think my colors are boring, and I’ve been trying to be bolder with my use of color, and also going back to the basics to refresh my foundation.

I’m bad at isolating focus points. I’ve been experimenting more with selective detail by different levels of brushwork detail, color chroma, and value shifts.

I want to be bolder with my compositions. This is a tough one, because my subject are generally more tame compared to artists who construct wild and powerful composition. Maybe I need to shift in my subject matters also. Or, just take more risks.


I have a problem with being ‘afraid’ to put enough contrast into my images, leading them to often being a bit flat. After realizing this, I’ve started paying attention actively to it, which has improved it somewhat. Lectures and workshops with accomplished artists helped me out a bit in that area, but I find I’m still lacking.

I’ve been working digitally always, don’t have any traditional training. Because of that, I lack a lot of understanding about composition, colour theory and perspective. In the last year I’ve been reading up and doing exercises to get that stuff into my head, it’s working out okay (although the colours are still teasing me a bit)

Also… I need to do a lot more life drawing. I’m not at all confident in drawing people from my imagination, I need reference or a 3d blockout to get it close to right. I’ve been taking lifedrawing classes this year, though, and I’m thinking about taking some time off work to do a BA in Fine Arts.


In an effort against de-stabilising the CGnetwork servers with the world’s biggest and most specific list, I’ll simply say that I suck at plenty of things.
My art is somewhere between vomit on cement and the Sistine Chapel :scream:

Oh, and I suck at being unambiguous. I plan on fixing that by doing several undetermined things. =]

Great topic. When I manage to pinpoint my most artistic fault (I was going to say unable to focus, but thats just a general fault), I’ll plug it.


I suck at finishing things. If I get an idea, chances are slowly it’ll fall apart while I’m doing it. I suck at plenty of other things, but this is one that really irritates me. See my master and servant for a prime example!
Oh, why can’t we all paint like lunatique, stahlberg and enayla…We? Um, I mean me.:smiley:
I’m working on it though. I also want to be able to do wonderfully dramatic composition, perfect color harmony and amazing anatomical drawings all in perfect perspective…
I can only dream…and work. I do both, so I’m on the right track. (hopefully!)


The thing I suck at most of all and haven’t really addressed yet… is backgrounds. Just thinking up one as well as actually creating it. I have trouble thinking of a scene in it’s entirety, and tend to pay way too much attention to the characters/figures whatever in a painting, when I know that a background can add just as much atmosphere as the foreground or characters.


Three main things of suckiness:
*cutesy things
*the need of reference

I have NEVER been good at doing animals. They tend to come out looking like they have Downe’s Syndrome. I’ve still yet to practice by using my kittie as ref.

I have extreme difficulties doing “cutesy” themes, or traditional/fantasy “beauty” (flowers, ballet-flowing figures, whimsical faeries, etc). I’m pretty much stuck in my realm of horror, which isn’t a bad thing since I have a knack for it. So, I’m not really gonna fix this bad thing. But, for once, I would like to give my mom something not disturbing.

I no longer have the talent as I had when I was a teen. I didn’t need reference. Heck… most of my human figures looked just like me, even the females. Nowadays, I need models, photos, and/or Poser to get subject of my imagination reflected right in front of me. I have to fix this by sketching much much more.


I also suck at …well…everything basically.Paperclip - My main problem is not being able to finish anything. I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one who has this problem. I wonder how many other people have this problem. If it is any concolation to you, you managed to get alot further with your Master & Servant entry than I did. I didn’t even post my concept sketches, then I became disheartened and gave up when I saw the standard of entries and kept hitting a brick wall with my sketches. Something else that I am trying to improve at the moment is my figure drawing from imagination. I really struggle if I do not have any reference so I have been reading some books by Burne Hogart which are very helpful, but as you know improvement takes time and practice, which is a very rare commodity when you are holding down a day job and have a 16 month old baby!! Oh well, we must keep plugging away I suppose!


Name something that’s not character related, I probably suck at it. Backgrounds, costumes, props… Basically anything that requires some technical design skills. I’ve been struggling with these things for a few years now, but it may already be too late. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying, just that it may never come to me naturally. :stuck_out_tongue:


I don’t have a colour sense. I can’t judge tonal relationships for myself – I have to see someone else’s work to guide me, and that can be discouraging as they usually make it seem effortless (and I’m talking about you, all you geniuses on board here @_@). So I’m going to focus more on experimenting with colour, contrasting, pinpointing what works, doesn’t and why, whilst not worrying too much about completion or striving for a masterpiece.

I need to think more about perspective. And my characters have to pose less – and I don’t mean the superhero shots, but the deliberately awkward hand gestures and contortions. Even eccentrics should be caught off guard sometimes.

And there’s more, but writing down just those points makes me impatient that I’m not working. It’s interesting reading through the replies though, it seems putting yourself down is more natural than I thought. I guess we’re the type of people who need that to improve, 'cos we’ve seen so much to aspire to – and are just so damn lazy. :slight_smile:


As I for the most part am a ‘traditional media’ artist using charcoal alot, heres where I see myself with art.

I need to use more color in my work. I’ve used charcoal and conte, but I have never had a successful painting attempt. I need to learn how to paint traditionally, using strong colors and compositional tactics.

In my figure drawings, which have received my most recent attemtps at improvement, I need to loosen up, particularly in my gestures. I need to build them from the inside out, giving them volume, weight and motion. I need to be more confident in placing one continuous contour line at a time instead of ‘sketching’ them in.

I’m currently enrollled in a figure drawing class where i have a live model for


For those mentioning the color issues… is this really a bad thing? I mean, I prefer doing desaturated images rather than colorful things. Perhaps I have no sense of color (also, I enjoy giving my images a dreamlike approach). When I do add color, i prefer it to have the entire piece be of one hue, or one/two distinct colors emphasizing on particular parts of a b/w image (eyes, lips, hair highlights, blood, etc).

What if… what we believe is bad in minds is actually what sets us apart from everyone else? What if that is our “calling card”? If InterFacer can’t make a proportioned figure, what makes it bad? Hell… look at Picasso. Is that realistic? What if we put so much emphasis on what are work should look like based on how we were taught, critiqued, or what we admire (which is usually of a realistic realm of proportion and lighting)?



I can never do onteresting exciting angles everything is allways kind of flat because of my problems with perspective. Also, I am good at drawing FROM life but try to paint a character without a model from my head and it s usually a disaster or if its not its a flat angle.
sometimes this also becomes a problem when I m doing 3d, my camera angles are kind of flat too…
I m also struggeling to really FINISH something


Boy oh boy, I suck at a ton of things. Main ones are faces, skintones, and sketching.

My faces always look the same; same features, same expressions, same mistakes. I need to practice painting different faces with different expressions. I need to look at faces when I paint sometimes, and then paint a few without.

My skintones always come out looking really chalky and unreaslistic. I need to bring a life-like luster too them, let the glow. I have to do this by practicing too.

And sketching. Hmm…I just can’t seem to figure out a good technique to sketching, and I feel that knowing how to sketch is a priority in learning how to properly paint on the computer. I know I should figure this out for myself, but I feel so lost sometimes. I guess I just need to experiment a bit more with sketching.

I have other things I suck at too, but those are the main ones.


I suck at everything! :eek:

My lighting suck… major suck…
My colors suck…
My compositions suck…
My backgrounds suck…
And pretty much everything else … :sad:

Probably 10 years from now I’ll still think I suck…

I like to watch other peoples work and learn (not imitate).
I should observe thing around me (real life) more and think about these things more.

… :sad:


I suck at a whole lot of things, but what I can’t never really get right is machinery and heavy geometry oriented stuff. Is not just drawing things, is making them up too. Cars, bikes, planes, buildings… I do create some crazy architecture but it’s mostly houses, temples, palaces - all very isolated and in a very traditional scale. I suck at urban landscapes.

What I’m doing about it? Nothing. :smiley: I don’t like doing that stuff and don’t usually need to do it. The buildings I create are meant do become 3D models, so I really don’t need to worry much about it. I just sketch the views, calculate the measures and feed it to Max!


Add one more to the “not being able to finish things” pile. I’ve had to confront this issue in a serious way recently as it’s now affecting my client work. Here are three ways I’ve been working toward recovery:

  1. Apologize to those in your past whom you’ve affected by not finishing their work or pushing their project past deadline.

For me at least, I felt better knowing that those people knew I really cared about their project but just have an inability to finish things sometimes – let’s be honest, many times. Plus, those people will sometimes give you pointers on how to more effectively work with clients when you need extra time.

One pointer that I sometimes neglect is to do frequent check-ins so my client can gauge progress and make suggestions. Most of the time I don’t check-in out of fear that the client won’t feel I’m far enough along – which has never been the case; I just worry too much. Not all client suggestions have to be followed but at least some will keep you from hitting a problem area in your work which you, as a perfectionist, will try everything possible to overcome. It’s the obsession to overcome all problems, many of which the client won’t see, that will quickly make you run over deadline.

  1. Schedule your day/week.

Don’t rely on your memory when it comes to organizing tasks for the day/week. Write down every task and appointment you need to perform and prioritize them – even the small things that seem insignificant at the time. Those insignificant things are the ones most likely to be forgotten until the last minute, at which point you’ll have to stop a more important tasks such as client work.

[u]My tips for scheduling:

[/u]- first, schedule repetitive tasks such as sleeping, eating, laundry, grocery shopping and job/classes. If you’re hardcore, make this schedule two to four weeks in advance of when you’ll use it.

  • next, schedule non-repetitive tasks and prioritize them. Certain things you’ll be able to schedule far in advanced but always add to the current day’s schedule as same-day tasks arise.

  • when bidding on a client project, always propose a timeframe that allows for human/computer errors. For a project which I feel can be finished in three hours, I’ll tell the client four hours. A quality client will value reliability more than speed and you’ll eliminate the need to regularly schedule doctor’s visits for high stress levels.

  • schedule a time when you can practice your craft. This is time you’ve earned so be generous. To keep you focused during this practice time, write a loose schedule for what you’d like to accomplish. You can really make your practice time meaningful by engaging in your weaker artistic areas.

3.[i] Create personal projects.

[/i]I don’t think I’m alone in this one but I’m having to come to grips with the fact that although the creation of my client work feels like art to me (I do illustrations and animations), it’s considered a project asset to my clients. So as much as you want the work to look perfect in your own eyes, remember that it’s the client’s eyes that sign off on a project and they may have an altogether different view of things.

By working on your personal project, you can regain the control you lose when working for a client. It’s no mystery that we all want to feel in control of something, it’s just a matter of when you choose to exercise that want. If you’re having difficulty developing your own projects then, when all is finished on a client’s project, revisit the client’s work and complete it to your liking. When the pressure of a deadline is off, you have more opportunity to explore and learn.

While I’m still in the confessional, I also have poor color sense when going past two colors and my painting skills are rustier than all getout. During my alloted practice time I hit the painting books in search of traditional techniques and do digital color paintings using ArtRage or Painter Classic.


I’ve been drawing since I was a kid, but never once in all that time did I think to add a background. For that reason, my perspective and composition skills are very undeveloped. Color, too, since I did most sketches in pencil or in ink.

Participating in the Daily Sketch here at CGTalk has been great practice (Much thanks to Roberto Ortiz :thumbsup: ). I’ve started reading tutorials and I try to incorporate new methods into my work, but old habits die hard. Also, I find that trying adopt a new method kills the spirit of the picture – I get to focused on following the rules and the picture loses all spontanaiety. I’m finally getting a decent composition together in my Master & Servant entry, but I keep waffling between portrait and landscape formats, creating characters and then killing them off.


Sounds like most of us have problems with environments. I know that once I start on an environment, I need to work it into the ground, then it loses spontaneity and fun… otherwise it’ll not be textured enough.
Oh, for talent…


What i suck at? Hrmphf… The list could go on and on but here are the major things i suck at:

-1: Not able to finish the projects i start and/or focus on one project at a time
-2: Environments and backgrounds
-3: Lighting
-4: Spontaneity

1: It is very simple… I just can’t focus on only one thing at a time, only one project at a time. Always being inspired and having new concepts in my head and wanting to put them down on paper (or on the screen, if digital). Also, having trouble to only paint when i start painting and not having 29847256 other things waiting to be done beside or doing at the same time (surfing forums, talking on msn or icq for examples). This probably results in the fact that in my whole life i’ve always been doing a lot of things at the same time so focusing becomes hard and it greatly slows me down. Though a_w’ suggestions are good, particulary the schedule one, i think i’m gonna try it. :slight_smile:

2: Same thing as paperclip… Been drawing for a long time but never really thought of adding backgrounds, or only little elements like one tree here or a green spot under the character to ‘‘try’’ to make it look like grass. :smiley: I’m getting somewhat better at it now, and i tend to try to think about every part of the picture i plan to paint before i do anything else. To improve, i’ve also started a serie which consist of 4 themed setting (mostly organic, forests, plants and such) with different time of the day to improve my lighting at the same time. I try to re-use about the same theme with different species of trees, plants with daylgiht or night light, for examples.

3: Well it goes a little in #2, mostly for what i am doing to improve… But the problem really is that for long i had a difficulty to pick a lighting color, it was always mostly white or light yellow with no ambient lighting etc…

4: I just think too much about everything and do not let myself add this or that during the process… I really need to loosen up…

Hope i’m making some sens here. :wink:


i have got to learn how to texture things… and also actually stick to texturing something after i have finished moddeling the character.
get better at my composition…
actually do hmwk so my mum doesnt remove my computer…
push myself harder to finish stuff generally as i am really really bad at self motivation… unless its a game… which is no good…

thanks for this… it helped put what i need to do into perspective:)