don’t buy student grade unless you don’t care about wasting materials/are just practicing. Yeah, the price tag for student crap is appealing, but you’ll waste most of it since you’ll have to reapply it 100 million times because it sucks.
if you need a matte version of a color you already have but aren’t willing to shell out the money for gouache or a bajillion dollars for Golden products, try just using some white heavy-body acrylic and a hue a bit stronger than the one you want.
create a handicap to improve skills insanely. for example; if you train yourself to be able to paint small flowers using a brush the size of your face, I’m pretty sure using a small brush to make small flowers would be a cake walk for you.
to counteract the prior tip a bit; once you have this skill, use the easier method. you’ll be floored at how easy it is to create what you want, and hence you’ll be less afraid to try new things!
for observational stuff; I find it much easier to scribble all over the place very lightly until my eyes ‘matrix’ what I’m looking at in the scribbles. takes a bit of getting used to, but if you let the image come to you, rather than try to man-handle it, I think it works better overall.
compare parts of something you are observing to something you readily know. I draw lots of fungus so I’ll just compare types of mushrooms to planes on the face or whatever.
leave out shit you don’t care about or that isn’t that interesting. you are an artist, not a photographer, pick and choose.
marry your concept and your execution/craft. if you just painted an anorexic nude using coffee grounds, why? “I like it” is not a valid response. dig deeper.
you can mix just about any color except for fluorescents. shell out good money for super bright red, blue, yellow and you can add those to whatever you want to make them NEON-TASTIC.
for mixing interference colors, find the undertone in the matte paint you are using and match accordingly. some purples are very blue (use int. blue). some golds have green in them (int. green), etc.
nail polish, while toxic and probably not archival, can also be a stand-in for interference colors (shimmery crap that only I seem to be using in my work lol)
having issues planning a piece? try orchestrating a scenario where the perfect idea can spawn. don’t focus on the product.
mistakes and imperfections are your friends. by identifying them, you learn what not to do, and what you like.