Daily Inspired #17 - 5 Steps For Anyone To Start Learning Arts


The Topic

Lack of confidence to start creating art? This is a problem that many of my customers had faced, especially from the demography of 30 to 60 years old. Surprisingly, the adults have even lesser confidence to even start drawing compared to the kids. Furthermore, there are families with retired parents where they wanted to pick up this new hobby, and yet constrained by their lack of self-confidence. Thus, it is important for Go Doodle to help these group of people to gain their self-confidence and start.

The Learning Points

Preparation is the key

First of all, prepare some basic materials like paper, pencil, art line pen, watercolour, colour pencil, crayon, or even acrylic paint. With the materials ready, it is easier to start as when inspiration comes, we can just grab the paper and start drawing. It is good to always start with the basic which is pencil and colour pencil which get us to experience the four basics components of an artwork which are: lines, shapes, colours and shading.

Lower the expectation

This is one of the keys to preventing starters with little confidence to start which is to lower down the expectation of the final artwork. For example, do not show Youtube videos that are showing artist doing their art piece and expect a starter to mimic what they are doing. Even though is just pure mimicking, without the proper basic training of the four components, it is extremely hard to follow the pace. Plus, when we are using the video as a reference, it will create an expectation that our end product will need to be at least the same as the artist's work which is hardly the case. The ending will be very discouraging for the starter and hence the best way to do is by putting the simplest composition or free drawing to start with.

The simplest composition can be with a single object or a very detail-less scene like beach, ocean and sky with clouds. With that, starters can experiment with minimal effort on the basic components. On the other hand, starters can also try with a free drawing if they want to see what they can draw with just their imagination. This also can be done by finding a single object around them and sketch it out.

The most important part for the instructor is to encourage the starters to just start and draw without and judgement. Emphasizing that in art, there is no right and wrong, but only whether we are able to appreciate the hidden value of it. This is what modern art movement stands for, it is no longer about how realistic we can draw as this is the classical movement which has become obsolete with the advent of photography technology. With that understanding of some historical background in mind, the starters can be more forgiving in what the outcome would be.

Start with the favourites

Starting to learn something new is definitely a painful journey. Therefore, it is important to have some "sweetness" as a "pain killer" during the start. Like my personal piano learning experience where I hated classical piece when I first started the lesson with an instructor. After I dropped the class, I started to learn by myself with the basic I had and the pieces that I learned are pop music (most of them are Jay Chou's). After training myself and have a hang of playing all kinds of pop music, then I eventually ended up going for the classical where I can really see the depth and stories hidden within the pieces. Yet, without the introductory learning through pop music, I would not have to learn the classical. The same goes with art, without the basic, we will not be able to appreciate the pros' works. Therefore, the basic can always be something that we like, something that we are familiar with like certain floral, certain places, certain creatures or even characters.

Share the experience

Sharing the experience should be done on both sides. From instructors and family members that wanted to encourage the adults or elderly to start, we can go with some real case studies that we can find around us that even adults or elderly can learn from scratch and even becoming a master after starting and practising for a few years. Since it is a hobby, there is no real commitment that needs to be worried as it is not something that we use to earn for a living. Adding to that, having the starters to share their concerns and stories would help the learning too. From their sharing, we can pick up on what they are really concerned about and what is their preference in life. With that, we can become a good learning companion for them and provide them with the motivation that will turn into their source of self-confidence. Slowly and eventually, they will gain the self-confidence that enables them to draw independently.

Complement with specifics

Many times, we complement the art piece as "wow, this is a good piece!", "nice, so pretty!", "great, it is so realistic, like cropping out from real life." and many other phrases that have only adjectives. Try to compliment with more specifics. We can use the four basic components as our reference points to observe:

  1. Lines - when we get more confidence, we can see the lines drawn are clear and crispy, some even have their personal stroke which can show their own preference and style too.
  2. Shapes - shapes are about proportion. When we draw an object with the right shape in the right proportion like a pear will have smaller top and bigger bottom, then it is easier for us to identify what we are really drawing. Yet, shapes are subjective and can be complemented with colours too.
  3. Colours - this could be the most diverse component that we can discuss. From the mood of the colour to the mixing of colour and to how the colour is applied to the art, every detail can be further elaborated and expressed. For example, we can complement the art piece: Mrs xx, the colours you used in this art piece is very touching, it blends the whole art piece well and create this warm and fuzzy feel to look at.
  4. Shading - this is a bit more technical as shading requires the understanding of lighting and how we can create contrast for the focused object to stand out in an art piece.

From these four components plus a bit of personal emotion, that would become a very good and constructive compliment for anyone to feel the sincerity.

Another point to help with the compliments is whenever someone finishes an artwork, be proactive to appreciate the artwork together with the artist. The most important part is to let the artist ownself to introduce the content of the art and let the artist try to express their thoughts and feeling. With the company of instructors, friends and family members, this process will help the artist feel respected and secured. At the end of the session, we will get to be closer and more understanding of each other.



This is a really helpful read for the night and I really appreciate how realistic the author put it in the article about learning. We have a lot of interesting stuff to learn but just to be a bit realistic to ourselves, we still have limited time to really indulge in all the readings. Plus, jumping from topic to another topic would also create a big buffer to pick up again. Thus, staying focus on 3 topics at most for a period of time would increase the completion rate which then relatively increase the satisfactory level of learning too. Well, from tomorrow onwards I will be changing my strategy to learn!


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