A circle of two ♭

How to be a bad artist part 1: the first steps

Artist: apapico

Hey everyone, I've been meaning to get around to starting a small series of posts covering my thoughts and experiences on art and improvement. I've titled the series "How to be a bad artist" because truthfully, I'm not good enough to teach you how to be good at art. I leave that task for the true masters of this trade.


These posts should by no means be taken as fact, i'm always learning new things to keep in mind myself. I only hope that it can offer an insight into the way I see things, which may be useful or interesting to others.


Artist: マツダ

With that out of the way, let's begin, shall we?


The first point of discussion is one that I feel is overlooked, but incredibly important to all artists. That is, how to be bad at art.


Artist: にほへ

"But pas", you say "I want to be good at art!". Well, so do I, and that's what makes this step so crucial.


Being a bad artist is 90% of being a good artist, because 90% of the time, you will be bad, and that's okay. Everyone is chasing after that last 10%, it's what drives people to improve and move forward. Without it, artists would be complacent, lazy and unmotivated.


So, if we're all bad artists 90% of the time, I suppose it would be a good idea to learn how to be a good bad artist, right? Right.


Artist: tete

So, how does one get started? First of all, you must embrace the very idea itself, that you are a bad artist. And no, I do not mean you should be telling yourself everyday that you're worthless and will never amount to anything, but rather, be okay with the idea that while you may not be good right now, you will be someday, and that it's okay to be bad for now because everything will add up in the end.



Accepting the idea that you are a bad artist is, in my mind, helpful for a few reasons. Firstly, it allows you to disregard any aspect of ego or pride, you're bad anyway, no need to act superior or try and show off. Draw for yourself, draw to improve. If you're worried about looking bad, brush it off and keep drawing, because you are bad.


Artist: はらたけ

Secondly, the idea that you're bad allows you to, well, be bad. And you will make mistakes, terrible mistakes which result in horrendous drawings, pictures that would make others think a 12 year old drew it. And that's okay, because guess what? Everyone started out like that. The best artists you know all started out like that. And you want to know how they got so good? They kept drawing, kept being terrible, kept learning, until one day they stopped being bad. The ability to keep moving forward in the face of failure is an aspect of art often overlooked in the race to demonstrate your vastly superior drawing abilities.


Artist: so-bin

So your drawing may not be the best, that's completely fine. So long as you understand that there's still many improvements that need to be made, and you're willing to work on them to fix them, what have you got to be embarassed or ashamed about?


Now, I understand all this may come off as somewhat negative or self-depreciating, but I more so consider it to be quite freeing. You know you're not as good as you want to be, and you're determained to get better. Remove your ego and pride, and just draw.


Artist: K,Kanehira

Too many people talk about "wanting to be good at drawing", but not enough people actually do something about it. There are several reasons for this, but I feel a big one is people's fear of being subjected to ridicule. They don't want to look bad because it would make them feel bad.


I want to clarify one thing regarding that entire concept. Your art is not you. If your artwork is not amazing, that's not something to be ashamed of. So long as you're willing to put in the effort to improve, you should never feel bad for producing bad artwork.


Artist: マツダ

So don't fear your failures, embrace them. Do not draw to show off, draw to learn. Treat every drawing as an experiment, because regardless of if you succeed or fail, you still learn something new. Nobody ever got good without first being bad.