Learning a new art medium can be a daunting task, but it can also be an exciting and rewarding experience.
There’s nothing quite like unpacking new art supplies and trying them out. However, it can be frustrating when you don’t know how to use your new medium. I recently experienced this while learning how to draw with soft pastels.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, there are a few tips that helped me and can help you make the process smoother and more enjoyable.
1 Start with the Basics
Before diving into a new medium, it is important to start with the basics. Familiarize yourself with the materials, tools, and techniques specific to that medium. Try different kinds of paper to find out what kind of surface you like working on.
This will help you develop a strong foundation and avoid frustration later on. Take the time to read books, watch tutorials, and experiment with the materials to get a feel for how they work.
2 Experiment with Different Techniques
Once you have a grasp of the basics, it’s time to experiment with different techniques. Try out different brush strokes, color combinations, and layering techniques. Don’t be afraid to mix and match techniques from different mediums to create a unique style.
3 Seek Inspiration
Inspiration can come from many sources, such as nature, other artists, or your own imagination. Seek out inspiration that resonates with you and incorporate it into your work. This can help you stay motivated and excited about learning your new medium.
4 Study the Masters
Something that always helps me when learning a new medium or developing my skills is to study other artists work. By copying the work of a drawing or painting you like, you learn about composition, how to layer and use different colors and how to apply the medium.
This way you can just concentrate on your medium instead of having to come up with an original art concept that you might not be able to achieve right away, never having used the medium before.
5 Practice Consistently with your medium
Like any skill, learning a new art medium takes practice. Consistent practice is key to improving your skills and gaining confidence. Set aside some time each day or week to work on your new medium, even if it’s just for a few minutes. As you become more comfortable with the medium, gradually increase the amount of time you spend practicing.
6 Embrace Mistakes
Learning a new art medium involves a lot of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – they are a natural part of the learning process. Instead of getting frustrated or giving up, use your mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow. Analyze what went wrong and try to figure out how to improve next time.
7 Join a Community
Joining a community of artists who are also learning or working with the same medium can be an excellent way to learn and grow. You can share your work, get feedback, and learn from others’ experiences. Online communities such as forums or social media groups can connect you with artists from all over the world who share your passion.
8 Invest in Quality Art Materials
Investing in quality materials can make a big difference in the quality of your work. While it may be tempting to skimp on materials, using cheap or low-quality supplies can make it harder to achieve the desired results. Take the time to research and invest in the best materials you can afford.
9 Have Fun
Most importantly, remember to have fun! Learning a new art medium is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the process and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to create a masterpiece right away. With time, practice, and patience, you will improve and create amazing works of art.
I started learning how to draw with soft pastels and documented my one week process in this video. Check it out to see my tips in action and to (hopefully) get inspired.
Learning a new art medium can be challenging, but it can also be a fun and rewarding experience. By starting with the basics, practicing consistently, and embracing mistakes, you can develop your skills and create beautiful works of art. So go ahead, take that leap of faith, and explore the world of your new art medium!
Why don’t you try learning to draw with oil pastels? It’s a super fun versatile medium and you can read this post to learn about the different techniques.
More interested in oil painting? Check out this beginner guide.