You need a drawing routine

Until I was about 20 years old, I used to draw randomly: I would sit down whenever I had time, and draw what I liked. Needless to say, I was struggling to improve, and sometimes I literally ended up not knowing what to draw anymore! That is fine as a hobby, but if you care about getting better, you need laser focus.

Set your intention

Clarity is the keyword here. It’s not enough to say “I will draw more”, and if that is your New Year’s Resolution, good luck! I am pretty sure you will try to “draw more” for a few days, then give up, or simply forget once life becomes busier. What does “more” mean? Compared to who, or when? More than before? How much did you draw before? Do you even know? How many minutes or hours is “more”?

Set your intention in detail: write down a plan on when, how and what you will draw. Be as detailed as you can, and make sure you actually write it down. Writing an intention makes it more concrete and real, therefore more likely to be realized.
Simply saying something won’t be enough, not only because you will tend to forget something you just said randomly, but because, you know, scripta manent. It will be there to haunt your conscience in case you skip it.

Not sure how to go about it? Here are a few of examples:

“I will draw from 2pm to 4pm every day”
“I will paint for 3 hours every Saturday after dinner” (if you are like me, you don’t like going out, ha!)
“I will sketch 1 new character every day, right after doing the dishes”

Notice that the more specific you are, the more likely you will implement what you set out to do. In order of specificity, this would be:

“I will draw from 2pm to 4pm every day”
“I will sit down at my desk and draw from 2pm to 4pm every day”
“I will sit down at my desk and draw at least 10 figures, from 2pm to 4pm, every day”
“I will sit down at my desk and draw at least 10 figures from imagination, from 2pm to 4pm, every day”
“I will sit down at my desk and draw at least 10 figures from imagination, no matter how ugly they are, from 2pm to 4pm, every day”

See what I mean?

Even better, after you write it down, mark it on your calendar. This is your Bible, abide by it.

Obviously, make sure you schedule something feasible. It might require a bit of experimentation, but after a while you should be pretty comfortable in scheduling activities that won’t burn you out, and that hopefully you will enjoy, too.

If you are one of those people (I am looking at you, low conscientious ones!) for whom having a schedule is limiting and makes them feel trapped… sorry, I don’t know what to tell you 😀 Change your mind, cause consistency (and quantity) trumps inspiration.

Oh, and don’t forget your why.

Want more? Here are some ideas to get you started

Character Design Prompts

– Lunar Monarch
– Paladin
– Thunder Druid

Creature Design Prompts

– Moonhowler
– Spirit Stalker
– Wraith Lord

Environment Design Prompts

– Volcanic Wastes
– Faerie Gardens
– Sunken Coral Ship

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Artist of the week

Takayuki Yanase

He is a master of mechanical design, and worked on several AAA videogames, including Xenoblade Chronicles X and Metal Gear Solid 4. Unfortunately he doesn’t have any social profile, but if you can put your hands on his artbook, consider yourself lucky. It’s out of print!

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