Seven mistakes novice Photoshop artist

When you are a beginner, everything comes with difficulty, but when it comes to drawing, one problem pops up – everyone thinks they know how to do it right. The drawings come out well or not, but you can not blame the artist, because the main talent, right?

Actually … not at all! If you, despite a large amount of practice, do not observe any progress, this does not mean that you do not have enough talent to become a good artist. However, this may mean that you are practicing in the wrong way! If you do not believe me, let me show you the common mistakes of beginning artists. Just avoid them, and then you will see improvements!

1. I want to draw everything

You draw because you want. Just like that. Even if your abilities are still limited, you do not want to limit yourself – because you have so many ideas! Today you are drawing a dragon battle with a robot, tomorrow you are working on a landscape. Later you want to practice in perspective to paint the whole city. You are constantly feeling a tremendous surge of inspiration, and this is an amazing feeling … if only the hand of you were listening …

What’s bad about it?

Drawing is not a single skill. Even in spite of the fact that each drawing consists of lines that are created with the help of identical hand movements, the most important thing is what happens in the head at this moment. And the process that takes place in the head for each picture will be different.

Consider: what is the difference between writing and drawing, technically? Isn’t the first one drawing letters? Forget about the instrument for a moment; You can draw with a pen and write with a pencil. It turns out that if you can write, then you can already draw! Moreover, you even have your own style!

The difference is in intent, not in the result. To work with different intentions – different goals – different parts of the brain are meant. A written word can have as many lines as a drawn horse, but for your brain these are two completely different processes.

For example, drawing animals usually refers to the “feel” of body proportions. Your only task is to transform this sensation into lines. On the other hand, drawing a city requires mathematical thinking. It is necessary to make one of the lines too short or distort the angle and everything will be ruined. But in drawing the landscape, perhaps, the lines are not even the main thing in this case, you better pay attention to the light and shadow, and try to recreate them on paper using dashed lines.

Trying to draw everything that comes into your head, you, without knowing it, create extra difficulties for yourself. You can draw a cute kitten, but this does not mean that you should draw a background for it without any problems, and building a human body for your brain can be very different from building a spacecraft!

How to fix it?

By drawing in different directions, you improve your “general drawing skill” (B). This skill is huge, because it involves drawing everything, and therefore it grows very slowly. Instead of trying to develop it 100%, concentrate on improving smaller skills (A). For example, getting closer to 100% in drawing kittens is much easier!

You need to decide what you want to know how to draw. Instead of mixing Latin and Chinese characters and wondering why some nonsense is obtained, concentrate on one thing. Do not jump from one topic to another simply because you have such a mood.

Try to develop in one direction at a time, and most importantly – do not consider your drawings as indicators of your “general drawing skills”. If you draw cool cars, no one will say that you are a bad artist just because you cannot paint a lion!

2. I know how to draw it, just let me try

You’ve seen a lot of dogs in your life, and there is no doubt that you know what they look like! True, the fact is that your hand does not understand what you are saying to her. You try to draw paws, but they turn out to be very strange, and not at all the same as in life. But you know how they should turn out, so why doesn’t it work out?

You try again and again. Each time the paws come out differently, but none of these drawings look the way you imagined. Oh, how great it would be if you were talented! But, obviously, this is not about you, and all you have to do is try better …

What’s bad about it?

You do not know what the paws should look like. If you knew, you would have drawn them that way. What you do not believe? Well, let’s describe them in the smallest detail. No, no, don’t draw them. I understand that you really want to, but wait a bit. Imagine that you have already drawn them. What do you see? Describe them!

In most cases, you will find that very little can be said about the object you want to draw. You have a feeling that you can draw everything in detail, but suddenly you realize that you cannot even tell where these details are. Well, yes, the head of a rhino is big and it has a horn … or two horns? Little eyes … somewhere on the face … and a mouth … where is he?

The more questions you ask yourself about the object, the better you will understand why something goes wrong. In fact, you don’t know very well what you are trying to draw. You can understand whether this is what you wanted to depict only when the drawing is in front of you. So you try again and again. Every time you see a new picture in front of you, and you are trying to understand whether you imagined it that way … but this does not mean at all that you are even a step closer to your vision. You play guessing game!

In fact, you do not know exactly where the eyes should be. You can only tell if the finished drawing looks good.

How to fix it?

Of course, there is a small chance that, in the end, you will guess the right combination of lines, but why do you need it? Just to prove to yourself that you can draw by imagination without any help? If this is your goal – well, strive for it, but do not shift your failures to lack of talent. You have chosen to play this game at the most difficult of possible levels, so do not cry if it is difficult to win.

To draw something in imagination, for a start, you need to create for this a mental recipe. It is not enough that you “remember what a dog looks like,” you need a different form of memories so that you can successfully convert it into lines. This is akin to trying to recreate a recipe from a photograph without knowing the ingredients – the task will be almost impossible if you are new to cooking.

The image in your head is something like: “four legs attached to the body, a long neck, an elongated muzzle, a tail of hair, a hoof”. This is all the information necessary to recognize the horse in the picture, but it is not enough to draw it realistically. This is a description of children’s astrakhan fur!

A mental recipe is something more detailed. It has proportions between the legs of the torso, information about exactly where the legs are bent, and what kind of joint is in this place. It contains difficult information that the horse’s body is covered with wool, but also about the direction in which this wool lies. All this information in your head should look like this:

There are three ways to get this recipe:

  • Draw the same object several times using different sources and your mind will start looking for simpler ways of drawing, so that the process is accelerated each time.
  • Analyze several sources of this object, and create a real recipe (sheet with references), and draw on it until you remember it.
  • Find a finished good list of references and draw on it until you remember it (Be careful here! If you didn’t create the recipe yourself, there is a risk that the author’s mistakes will repeat.)

Before you start drawing, make sure you know the recipe. If you do not know him and do not want to know, just look at the source in the process and check. This is not a scam! Of course, it’s great to draw something from memory, but for this you need to have something in memory!

You can find more information on this topic in my articles:

  • How to draw in photoshop, using your imagination
  • How to learn to draw: Stage 3

3. Surrender too late

Drawing is not an easy skill, and you know it. You are trying to sketch a dragon and you have another problem every two minutes. Problems accumulate, but you continue to draw – nothing, so add color, and no one will notice that something is wrong. And it’s too late to stop, after so many hours of work!

What’s bad about it?

Generally speaking, you are trying to decorate something broken. Even if at first the drawing looks good, now you are obviously doing something wrong. Do not pretend that these problems can be corrected with color, this is hardly the case. If the leg is bent incorrectly and you cannot fix it, why try to complete the drawing? Even if you cover it with gold, it will not fix the anatomical nightmare!

The pose was initially a failure, but I refused to believe it. My work, 2010

How to fix it?

If you see that something went wrong during the drawing process, stop. It does not matter how much time you have already spent creating this picture – you can still save some time if you stop right now. In most cases, you will spend less effort if you try to draw something from scratch, rather than if you try to correct the drawing again and again.

If you are worried that you will not be able to draw something just as cool again, this indicates a bigger problem than this incorrectly bent leg. You are not confident in your abilities, which means that you should practice before spending hours on one job. You can understand that you want to show others how good you are, but the truth is that at the moment this is not true. Do not try to hide this truth, pretending that you did not make a mistake, but rather try to understand how not to commit it next time.

4. Every drawing is sacred.

Not only do you necessarily complete each started drawing, you also always put it on social networks without fail, so that it can be seen by your friends and fans. And it does not matter that it is a work of art, a sketch or a process of studying something – you share everything. You just got it.

What’s bad about it?

In general, it seems something harmless. The problem lies deeper. When you understand that the drawing you are working on, someone will see you, you automatically try to adjust to the needs and desires of this someone. Figure must be perfect! And since you are posting to the network each your drawing, you can not make mistakes, never.

Mistakes are a natural side effect in the process of learning something new. If you want to avoid them, then the best way is to try nothing at all. This is what can happen to you if you lay out each drawing: even filling a page in a notebook with hand sketches, you choose only those poses in which you are confident. It is terrible to imagine what will happen if your fans see a bad picture!

If the public always watches your every move, it makes you less at risk. If there is a chance that you can lose, it’s best not to play at all, and pretend that you could win if you wanted. You miss the opportunity to learn something new, because you are too afraid that others will see your failure!

How to fix it?

There are two ways. The first is to draw for yourself. Share only those drawings that you like best, and leave sketches for yourself. When studying a new topic, do not think about how cool it would be to show others pages filled with sketches (“See how productive I am today!”). Subconsciously, it makes you try harder and makes you less open to experimentation. And in general, studying is necessary not to brag, but to learn something new!

If you still want to boast of their productivity, then it is best to combine the sketches into large drawings so that unsuccessful experiments are not particularly noticeable.

The second way is to … relax. Learn to live peacefully with the thought that others may see your mistakes. Be proud of your shortcomings and allow yourself to do something bad. It is better to share all your drawings, bad and good, than to draw only what you know exactly, it will look good.

When you are new, every drawing seems sacred. You started something, and then you have to finish it, and share your work with the world. It should not be! Come on, try it! Sketch something, and then throw it away, just like that. This is not the last drawing in your life, and not the best drawing you will ever draw. The more you like your drawing, the harder it will be for you to learn and change.

Errors can not be avoided. Do not pretend that you never draw anything bad. Allow yourself to do this, then find the mistakes, and figure out what you can do to avoid them the next time. Draw to become better, not for the sake of praise.

5. I draw only what you want to see

You may not be the best artist in the world, but there are a few things you are good at. For example, people like the way you draw a pony. Every time you post a pony drawing, you get a bunch of positive comments, the drawing is very good. You used to draw other things, but no one reacted to them, and you stopped.

What’s bad about it?

Of course, you like it when you are praised, and the fact that you want to create a picture that everyone will like absolutely naturally. Problems arise when this need becomes pathological, you you can not create something else for fear that the drawing will not be perceived positively.

In addition to everything, you become a slave to the public. Your needs and desires do not matter, you must satisfy the viewer. In response, you get praise, but wouldn’t it be better if you were praised for something that you decided to paint yourself?

Fan art is great, but make sure it’s not the only thing you can draw

How to fix it?

Listen to your heart! If you like ponies – great, but do not draw them just because you think that this is the only thing that the viewer wants to see. If you want to have your creativity there were fans, not the style / object of the drawings, you have to draw something what do you want. Fan art is a good way to attract attention, but it should not become the only way to hold an audience.

And sometimes it’s better to have some true fans than to serve dozens of those you don’t really care about.

Here are some articles where you can read more about it:

  • Definition and appreciation of art
  • Realism, photorealism and style in drawing

6. These were not my lines, but now they are mine.

You have a lot of ideas, but you find that you cannot start drawing. You close your eyes to this problem, using sketches and bases of other artists, and sometimes you use a photo to create your own sketch, simply by translating its lines.

What’s bad about it?

If you are drawing for fun, there is no problem, but if you want to become a good artist, it will lead you nowhere. Putting furniture around the house is not at all the same as building it, and you cannot call yourself a builder if you just put the sofa in the living room. Similarly, you are not, in fact, an artist, if all you can do is complete someone’s work.

And it’s not just the definitions. Getting started is the hardest thing, and you never learn how to do it, just by avoiding this part. The people who created the sketches for you first learned this. You can do this too, if you just stop relying on easy decisions.

The worst version of this “sin” is when you translate lines and use the base, but pretend you are not doing this. This is how to get on the bus to the finish line of the race. Even if everyone praises you, the truth does not change from this – you cannot draw, no matter how good your drawings look.

It is not the result, but the process that leads to it.

How to fix it?

The solution is very simple: to develop, do what is difficult. If it is too difficult for you, it means that you cannot do it yet, but if the process becomes easier, it will mean that you are growing. Avoiding difficulties back to this process is very uncomfortable to return to them if you are already used to avoiding this complexity.

You can imagine that talent makes everything easier, and to justify such a scam, but in reality it’s all your laziness. People spend long hours trying to learn how to draw, and you just say, “I have no talent, so I have to … help myself in order to create something.”

If you want to become a good artist, change your way of thinking, and start working hard. If you only want praise, even if it is false, then … why are you reading this at all?

7. This is my style!

You know that your drawings are not perfect, but they are not bad. You like it when people value the time you spend demonstrating your work, but if someone does the opposite, resentment will boil over you. How dare they point you to your misses? This is your drawing, and you certainly know how it should look!

What’s bad about it?

First, a couple of definitions:

  • Fact – is the truth for all, based on objective properties (“water is wet”)
  • Opinion – is the truth for some people, based on subjective properties (“beautiful roses”)

People who comment on your work, simply express their opinion. “So beautiful!” Is not a fact, because not everyone will agree with that. This statement does not define your work as beautiful, and in no way changes it. All it means is that the person liked your work.

Similarly, when someone says “You can’t draw” is their opinion. This does not mean that you do not know how to draw (according to some objective standard), but it means only that this person has a low opinion of your abilities. Their opinion does not change the truth!

The problem is that people tend to simplify things in order to think and react faster. The fact is that everyone agrees with, but “everything” can be simplified to “everyone I know.” And then, if you ask 10 people, each of them will be able to create a “fact” by stating his opinion!

If you look at it in a similar way, every opinion you encounter is very dangerous. Sometimes it’s better to just stop them completely (“Without comments, please, I’m just learning”). But then you will not receive positive comments, and therefore you will not know if your drawing is good! There are two ways to solve this problem:

  • Draw perfect to get only positive opinions.
  • Draw is not perfect, and then say that every negative opinion is wrong

The first method, in fact, is impossible – you will never satisfy of all (but you can simulate this situation by carefully choosing those to whom you will show your drawing). And the second is just dishonest – if you said, “Only those who agree with me are right.”

How to fix it?

Let opinions be what they really are – a statement about personal feelings. If you don’t like tomatoes, you don’t have to explain why; you just don’t like their taste. The fact that you do not like them does not make them bad, but the farmer may be upset.

Everyone has the right to not like your drawings, as well as you do not have to admire Mona Lisa. Does someone say your drawing is bad? Fine! They are right as much as those who say that he is good. React to all the same. However, there are certain objective standards, based on which you can state the facts.

We separate certain things from others by creating definitions for them. If something does not coincide with the definition – this is either an abnormal version of this subject, or simply not this item. If you come across a bird that does not lay eggs, it means that it is not a bird. If you see a horse with wings, it means that it is not a horse. But a horse whose knees are bent in the opposite direction is still a horse, just crazy.

From left to right: a cat, an abnormal cat and not a cat. You can’t blame someone for noticing that your cat looks abnormal!

This means that if someone says, “Wolves have long legs”, they argue a fact, not an opinion. The cries of “This is my style!” Will not change the fact that “your” wolf paws are shorter than the real ones. It’s true. People may not like it (opinion), but a person paying attention to the truth is simply right and that’s it.

Facts can not be bad or good and only your opinion about them makes them so. Your anger at them simply means that you would like it to be otherwise. For example, if someone says that your bear does not look like a real bear (because he walks on his fingers like a dog), and you are angry – in fact, you are angry at your inability to draw a realistic bear. And, I repeat, you think that the person who says the fact out loud and creates it, and therefore you direct your anger at them.

If you want to become a better artist, you need to be more open to criticism. These are just words about your work, and nothing more. You can ignore them, or use them to become better. Ask the commentator why he thinks your bear is different from the real one? And what should you do to make the bear more realistic?

Often your commentators see more than you do. Listen to the facts, learn from them, and apply what they teach you to your work. Over time, such comments will be less, because fewer and less will be those things that need to be improved! Do not pretend that everything is fine with you, otherwise it will never become true.

If you want to know more, read these articles here:

  • Criticism in the process of drawing
  • Realism, photorealism and style in drawing


Drawing seems deceptively simple, and our misconception about this process can easily become an obstacle to our improvement. I hope that these seven sins will no longer stand in your way!

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