I think Social Media is an amazing technology that we have to interact with artist that we all admire. However, there are some important things that every artist should have under their belt in order to approach social media in a healthy and meaningful way.
Before jumping headfirst into social media, think about these six points:
- Learn to self-critique
Self-critique is one of the most important skills that I believe any artist should have. It took me well over a year to get comfortable with evaluating my own work. But with the ability to self-critique, you will have confidence in your own work before you even start comparing yourself to other artists. Being able to analyze your work to another artist’s work in a healthy manner is vital to your own mental health.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of self-critique, it involves being able to emotionally detach yourself from your own work. When you look at something you’ve made, pretend that the artwork you’re looking at was made by someone else. Find the positives and negatives in the piece you’re analyzing and then make adjustments and changes to your work.
- Familiarize yourself with the art vernacular.
Artists use a unique vocabulary. The typical person may be familiar with terms like “saturation” and “contrast” which are commonly used in photo editing and photography, but there are dozens of other words that are unique to the art world. If you aren’t comfortable with the following terms, I would highly recommend that you do a quick google search on “Art Vocabulary”.
-Composition: positive space, negative space,
-Color: Hue, Saturation, Value
-Color Theory: complementary colors, primary/secondary/tertiary colors, analogous colors, warm vs. cool colors
-Line: contour line, cross-contour line
When you have an understanding about art vocabulary, you can fully understand what the artist means when they are talking about their piece.
- All art is related – find a variety of artists that you admire
If you’re like me and enjoy working in colored pencil, that doesn’t mean that you have to exclusively follow colored pencil artists. I follow a range of artists who work in a variety of mediums: from black and white ink drawings, to watercolor, to photography, to oils. All art is related. While there are specific techniques only applicable to certain media, elements such as composition and color are shared across all platforms. I am constantly inspired by how other artists work in the media of their choosing. Don’t feel that you’re trapped in just looking at artists who work in the same pool as you.
- Know when to take a break.
Your eyes can become fatigued after looking after many pieces of artwork in a row. Try not to spend more than an hour on social media a day. Remember that even if you only learn one new lesson a day, if you utilize it, you are on the right path to constantly improving. Constant slow growth is the key to success. Indulging yourself with thousands of pictures of art in one day will not suddenly make you a good artist. You need to learn how to implement the lessons that you’ve gathered into your own work.
If you find yourself endlessly scrolling, set a timer for 15 minutes so that you’re not stuck in a habit of just mindlessly browsing.
- Don’t clutter your feed
I have two Instagram accounts. One is to keep in touch with college and high school friends. My second and main account is just for art. My “art Instagram” account is ONLY for art. I think this is really critical for creating an environment when you’re seeking to improve your art. If your feed is filled with inspiring art, don’t ruin the moment by interlacing that feed with random food pictures or selfies. You can have a separate account that has your personal pictures.
Be very conscious with who you choose to follow and do not feel pressured to follow someone back just because they followed you. YOU curate your feed and it’s okay to be selective with who you follow.
- Change your feed to what best suits you in the present moment
As your skill levels grow and your personal art style changes, you’ll find that you may not be as attracted to an artist that you used to follow 6 months ago. And that’s ok. You aren’t personally offending the artist if you choose to unfollow them and then follow someone else.
Going back to the previous point of not cluttering your feed, if you find that you’re not inspired or motivated looking at the people you follow, it may be time to reevaluate who you follow.
In the next week, I’ll be posting a part 2 about social media. My next post will be how to use social media to help you grow as an artist. Stay tuned!