Freelance artist and illustrator, living and working in London, England.
All work by Lisa Lan. Please do not remove credit.

Seven Shades of Black Magazine

Is any artist truly ‘self-taught’? Unless you’ve completely isolated yourself, all artists are influenced by, and learn from other artists.
Though you may be researching books, artists etc. yourself you are still learning from others around you, and you still have to work just as hard in an institution. Really, self-study is important for anyone who is serious about learning anything.

Education wise, art was a subject I took in secondary school but I didn’t enjoy it, nor learn much, does that count? I’m currently studying 3D animation at university, but I wasn’t taught to paint or draw the way I do, I did that in my spare time (while procrastinating from coursework…).

We’re all principally self-taught as artists, your work evolves through trial and error and how you personally solve problems to reach your desired outcome, and that’s what leads to the unique qualities in each artists’ work.

The label ‘self-taught artist’ doesn’t put you above (or even below) someone who has studied with teacher/mentors. The mindset that you’re so good naturally you don’t need a teacher is false pride, it’s important to learn from everyone. Critique and feedback is essential for growth.

I definitely encourage you to learn from other artists. You don’t have to create something new and original every time you open your sketchbook. Studies are important, learn and draw from another artist’s work (and if you’re going to post it online, credit the original artist and do not sell it).

Whether or not you choose to do a degree, consider attending workshops, life drawing and online classes, it can only improve your craft and help you develop your own unique style and technique. Plus, you get to meet other like-minded creatives, it’s fun to learn and share with others.

♡♡ thank you.

It’s definitely important to remember how fun and therapeutic art is. Whenever you’re feeling discouraged, remember you are making art for yourself, no one else. Art is not a competition because you’re creating from your own vision and your own language. Don’t compare or feel threatened or intimidated by others work and achievements, concentrate on your own lane and story. You should work to be better than yourself, not someone else.

I’m sounding like a quote book, but it’s really something I try to remind myself of everyday too.

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