• 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.

I’m not teaching art right now and it’s driving me crazy. Here, have some art-related tips:

KIRA’s ART TIPS:

  • if you have to draw a hot chick, make it count (do it well/have an awesome concept)
  • if you have to objectify someone, try to make it a comment on the inherent ugliness of doing just that. .
  • if you are having trouble drawing something from life/photos because it bores you/is too easy/is too hard, think of something that’s fun for you to draw, and try to fit it into the context of what you are observing.
  • draw all the time. whenever you can. at work, on the toilet. whatever.
  • if something is too hard, just like in a test, skip over it and do things you know how to do. if that hard part of the piece NEEDS to be that way, you’ll come to that realization and have all the time in the world to hash it out on your own.
  • 'save' your work by building up layers of fixative/varnish/spray for paintings. i 'save' every time i finish something I like a lot in a piece (and let it dry for at least an hour), which allows me to wipe the piece clean if I don't like what comes after.
  • don’t sweat the small stuff. if it can be fixed once it dries, work on something else while it does just that.
  • squint to better see negative shapes; focusing on negative space makes it easier to render things so you don’t get caught up in the details.

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