Learn From Great Artists
One of my best pieces of advice for improving your artwork is to analyze others’ work and learn from great artists.
Learning from great artists can seem like a daunting task sometimes and it can be difficult to understand exactly why their art is so good.
Well, here is a breakdown of some strategies you can use to analyze the work of great artists and learn to apply those principles to your own work.
1. Study their values
Bring the saturation to zero. This helps you to understand how the contrast between lights and shadows is built. You can then compare the result with other black and white works, and also with yours.
Look for overall trends in the shapes of value. Is most of the painting a dark value or a light value? Where are the brightest highlights and darkest shadows used?
2. Isolate their colors:
Use the mosaic filter to pixelate the painting. This will let you have a clear idea of the color palette. You could also squint your eyes to produce the same result – simply blurring out details and focusing on overall colors.
Ask yourself what the major colors used here are. How much of the painting is one color type? What’s the color scheme – analogous, complimentary, triadic? How does color change with distance?
3. Study their composition
try to understand where the focal points are, figure out the perspective grid (You can draw it on a top layer as a practice), understand how the artist pointed out what he wanted to.
It the focus is clear, ask yourself why it’s clear. Does it have higher contrast, stronger lighting, different textures? How to the various large shapes in the composition support the focal point?
What Else Can You Do To Learn From Great Artists?
I also invite you to analyze every sort of detail: drapery, textures, anatomy… Learn from anything!
Also copying can be useful, if done in the right way (this is called a master study): don’t focus on making it identical, just try to reproduce the major elements.
Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed this article on How To Learn From Great Artists hope that you give this a try sometime! Maybe try a full master study – you may be surprised by the results.
And don’t forget, I go over all this stuff in much more detail in my Cinematic Design course, so if you haven’t already, make sure you sign up!