I'm an artist and I've been drawing since I was eight , now I'm twenty and I wish I avoided these mistakes when I was younger. If you make these mistakes or want to start taking art seriously, I hope this article helps you. Also if you make these mistakes don't feel sad, this doesn't make you a bad artist I MAKE THEM MYSELF but I thought we could both kinda stop them or change our habits together.

1. ALWAYS DRAWING FROM A REFERENCE // LIFE DRAWING

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Artist nowadays draw from photos they saw on pinterest, weheartit, tumblr, instagram..etc. Of course I love drawing from a reference because I have the photo with me and I can leave the drawing and come back to it whenever I want, but when I became an art student, I had to draw everything live. It was a challenge because I have the subject in front of me I can't zoom in or out and see the details, I have a deadline so I must finish a huge part of the drawing before I leave and it was tough but worth it.

Life drawing actually improves your art and makes you see things differently, I won't lie it will be hard at the beginning but you'll love it. You can go to museums and draw, or any landscape (park, people at the coffee shop, family at home, your pet, your friends in class, yourself while looking through the mirror) But that doesn't mean you should stop drawing from references as well, you should do both. You saw something you like, draw a quick sketch of it and maybe take a photo of it so you can continue at home. Saw a photo that inspired you on pinterest, save it and draw it. As long as you do both, you'll always be motivated.

2. NOT PRACTICING ENOUGH

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Practice makes perfect? YES! No matter how talented you are if you don't practice, you won't improve. Every now and then sketch a collection of eyes, hands, plants, noses... whatever you feel like you're not good at or avoiding to draw, or even very good at drawing it. Try sketching live a lot as well, it really helps your hands. Practice anatomy if you're into drawing figures and people.

3. NOT READING ABOUT ARTISTS, ART HISTORY AND PAINTINGS

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I never cared about reading art history, or artists in the 16th and 19th century and all that, but after becoming an art student and we started studying this, it had a huge impact on me and my art and still. I enjoy reading about artists and what they did when they had an art block, the story behind their masterpieces, the story behind statues, art movements, phases they went through, how art affects countries cultures and society, the art through their eyes. It plays a huge part in my life as an artist now, I started knowing what I like and what I don't, they inspired me to choose my palette or get ideas. So go to museums, watch movies about artists like (The girl with the pearl earring, At Eternity's Gate, Cézanne and I) or go to any library to read more about art or even online.

4. NOT FOCUSING ON DETAILS

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We all look at the full picture, either we fall in love or leave it. We don't look up close and focus on the details. As an artist you should look at any photo or the subject you're drawing from afar and up close. Study the details and the colors, but don't ignore the surroundings and background.

5. LEARNING TOO MANY TECHNIQUES AND MEDIUMS AT THE SAME TIME

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We all get too excited when learning a new skill or technique, get eager to learn everything about it. But you should focus on something, you practice, then practice more and when you get the hang of it you learn something new while still practicing. Take it once at a time. Ex; if you want to learn a new medium, say watercolor painting, you start watching videos, reading about the medium, seeing artwork of it then practicing in real life. You should keep practicing and when it becomes easy for you learn its techniques and try harder things, don't jump too quickly to learn something else. AND don't learn watercolor painting and oil painting at the same time. Just focus on one thing, give it all your attention and when you're ready to learn something new, do that.

6. LET YOUR IMAGINATION FLY // PLAYING IT SAFELY

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This is my biggest fear. I've spent 12 years drawing from references and now live, but never from my imagination. It's really bad and can be depressing a lot of times, but take baby steps like I did and still do. I draw from references still, but I change things in it. Add different colors to the hair or skin, add doodles around what you're drawing, change the background colors, try new colors and palette. To draw without references, imagine something (anything) try to draw it and then look up online and compare your drawing to the photo, make mistakes and don't give up. Learn new mediums and mess up, don't play it safe, think outside your comfort zone. Mistakes will get you to your goal.

7. STRESSING OVER FINDING YOUR STYLE

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Been there, done that. And let me tell you, it will get you nowhere. I kept stressing over finding my style and color palette, I thought I wasn't talented enough and just copying photos. But when I stopped thinking about it and painted what I wanted, people started telling me "we love your style" or "your color palette is so unique". I was so confused, but I started seeing what they meant when I looked at my art, I realized I love blending colors, adding texture to my backgrounds. Sometimes I go crazy with colors and sometimes I use a lot of yellow, blue and gold. You should stop stressing, go look at other artists' paintings and see what attract you the most. Blended and smooth surface or texture? You love colors or a certain palette or even black and white? You like to draw realism or cartoon or a bit of both or you like to do things your way?

8. IMPATIENT

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Get it in your head that you can NEVER learn any skill and be great it overnight. It takes time, hard work and a lot of practice. You can't be an amazing artist overnight, lose 10kg in a week, be an awesome pianist in 2 days or a talented writer by writing one short story. It takes TIME. Just don't lose hope in what you're doing or yourself, keep trying, make mistakes to learn, ask for help or advice if you need and you'll reach your goal. Like I said before I started drawing at such a young age (more than half of my life) and I still have goals to reach and mistakes to make.

9. NOT TAKING A BREAK

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Everyone deserves a break. Take a deep breath, a vacation from it all for a bit to clear your mind. It helps a lot not getting tired of a painting you're working on or worse, an art block. Also you'll find a lot of ideas and inspiration coming to you, you can write them down on a paper or a memo on your phone and when your break is over, you'll be so motivated to start something new or continue what you were doing.

10. ALWAYS LISTENING TO CRITICISM

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You have to keep in mind that you'll meet people who will support you and give you tips and advice (positive criticism) , and you'll also meet people who will try to bring you down, make you feel unmotivated and give you negative energy and that's (negative criticism).
Don't listen to you think you're talented? you call this art? this looks ugly. you're not talented. who do you think you are, van gogh? But take it as a motive to work harder and show them what you have, believe in yourself and what you're doing. Surround yourself with people who support you and what you do.

I hope this helped you in anyway. STAY AMAZING AND MAKE ART!