How Do You Become a Great Artist? Do It Wrong.

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Do it wrong.

Cartoonists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, we all get the same questions. And we all have boring, stock answers like ‘draw every day’ or ‘practice a lot’. Sometimes it’s because we don’t know what we did right. But the real reason is that every bit of advice we give you has an expiration date. The world of art is always changing. The things people like, the way those things are distributed and sold is always changing. By the time you put in all that practice to get good at what someone else told you is the way things are done, they aren’t done that way any more. The only sure way to become great at what you do is to break the rules. Not for the sake of being a rebel, but so that you can make something only you can make, in a way only you can make it. If you do something wrong well enough, it becomes the new right. So here are 5 steps in the right way to do it wrong.

STEP 1: Practice

To become a good artist:

Focus on making perfect art. Don’t show weakness. Use the tools that everyone else recommends. If you can’t draw hands, put them in pockets. If you can’t draw feet, crop them off the page. If you’re not very good at an instrument, play something easier. If you’re not knowledgable in a subject, write about something else.

To become a great artist:

Just make a bunch of crappy art. Do things wrong. Trust me, even the art you think is great, give it a few years and you’ll think it’s crap. So you might as well shoot for the moon. Grab tools that no one else has ever even imagined using, and see what happens. Draw everyone on horses even though you know the legs are going to come out all weird. Perform that long, flowery monologue you know you’re going to forget the words to. Film that science fiction epic even though the only creature effects you can afford are sticking Halloween stuff on your cat. Doing things you know you can’t do well so that you can do them later is the whole idea behind exercise....
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