This is some of the best advice for the sketchers and doodlers out there, for I was once a doodler myself and should have done this much sooner.
Finish Your Drawings
It can’t be said enough, finish your drawings. You don’t have to finish every drawing. But you should try to finish most of them.
This is important because the fastest way to get good at doing finished work, is to finish your work! For too long I would do incomplete drawing after incomplete drawing. But if you want to get good at drawing that other eye, you have to draw it in every time. Put in the hands, put in the feet. If you want to ink and color your work, do those as well, even if you know it will come out poorly.
Growing up, in retrospect, the artists that I saw improve the quickest would do completed pieces of work. Fully inked and colored, they’d even put in backgrounds. Eventually their inks looked good. Their color choices were really nice. The backgrounds stopped be wonky!
Don’t Make Excuses!
“Why would I ink my stuff when I can’t even draw it correctly?”
That was my thinking long ago. Amongst many other excuses.
But all that type of thinking did, was by the time I got decent at drawing, my inking skills were HORRIBLE. It made me not want to ink because it would ruin the pencils!
You might have similar or different excuses that you allow to keep you from doing completed works. Ignore them and push through and finish the work.
You’ll see problems with the piece that will make you want to stop.
Don’t stop. Finish it.
You’ll always find something wrong on a piece the longer you work on it.
Little problems are rarely noticeable to the average viewer. I once read that the typical person spends around 10 seconds per page reading a comic book.
There’s a lot of art on a comic page!
But, I’ve found that people spend about as much time looking at a single picture as well. How long do you spend looking at a picture before you know if you like it or not? Probably not very.
It’s usually only artists that then go on to spend additional time looking at all the details in the picture.
Remember the 10,000 Hour Rule
The 10,000 Hour Rule, which I wrote about here. This rule applies to each individual skill. So if you have 5,000+ hours in drawing, but you want to ink and you have less than 10 hours experience inking…
It’s gonna be rough!
Now, of course the skills do overlap to a degree, but it’s a good way to think about it. If you want to be an animator. Then animate.
Yes, the better you are at drawing the easier it is, but by improving to draw while animating you would learn how to draw specifically for animation. You would learn what details to leave out and how to simplify things, how to draw consistent, etc.
Decide What Finished Is
What is finished to you? This is an important question to ask yourself.
Depending on what your goal with your art is, will change what your definition of finished is, and this definition can change.
For some comic artists, it’s penciling. Just penciling. Drawing the full image, characters and backgrounds as clean and complete as possible for it to be passed to an inker.
Concept artists depending on the level of development have varying degrees of completion to their work.
And this goes on and on and on.
All that being said, if you were like me and leave out the other eye or only draw half a body then start drawing something else. Keep all of this in mind.