One of the things I've noticed with myself is that if I don't draw, my skills go down. And because I haven't drawn in weeks, my skill is suffering right now. It actually feels like I've never drawn in my life and it's feels very discouraging. So my word of wisdom: keep drawing and don't stop!
But suppose you, like me, want to improve quicker. Yes, quicker! I remember reading an article where the writer states that Japanese comic artist skills increase rapidly overtime because of the deadlines they fight to meet. A tumblr post I came across last week broke it down even more.
The ever elusive question: How do I get better 'quicker'? Well.. it involves a lot of sketchbooks, sketches, trial and error, studies and hard work - and that
doesn't come quickly. 30+ Sketchbooks, 3000+ pieces of paper, 10,000+ sketches
Check out his post, he got pictures to demonstrate!
For me, I'm setting to draw on 10-20 sheets of copy paper on both sides daily. Along with that are studying and observing, working hard and pushing myself without over exerting yourself. I want to get better at what I love to do. It pains me to look at my embarrassing gallery. So this is important. For me right now, life drawing, perspective, figure drawing are on the top of my list.
Another thing I wanted to add since I'm on the topic of skill improving, for 2 years I have been considering very strongly on whether to go to an art school/university or just stick with teaching myself. There are plenty of artists I've come across who are really good and never went to art school nor receive any formal training (if very little). Adam Hughes is one of them.
I was reading Richard Williams' Animator's Survival Kit and one advice he had given stuck out to me. He stated:
"[M]y mother had once said, 'When you go to art school, you'll find everybody sitting around practicing how to do their signature,' and sure enough,
there they were, some of them doing just that.
She also gave me this great advice: 'Don't try to develop a style. Ignore style. Just concentrate on the drawing and style will just occur.
I felt that that's important to mention because often times I've seen people jumping the band wagon trying to develop a style. I was one of them. But I want to be a good draftsman, er, woman, something Richard Williams emphasize if one wants to be a good animator. So fundamentals first and everything else will follow.
You may be thinking why must I draw all that much? Have you seen Kim Jung Gi draw? The guy drew on big roll of paper on the wall with a sharpie and no guide lines nor penciling. I've read people's comments, expressing their awes and wondering how he could get the proportion and perspective accurately without any guide. And these are illustrators with 10+ years of experience awing over this. I'm in awe of the guy's expertise but it's obvious why he's that good. He was always drawing, no doubt practice relentlessly. If you tell me talent, then that only played a small part.
So draw, my friend, draw!!! Now if you would excuse me, I'm gonna go draw.