How To: Make Art that Looks Effortless

How To: Make Art that Looks Effortless

How To Make Art that Looks Effortless

Over the years my art has changed a lot, I’m always thinking about how to make art that looks effortless and wondering what techniques I should use to do this. I always wanted to be one of those people that could draw or paint like a photograph and make an image that looks exactly like the thing it was supposed to. This meant the house of filled with “sort of rubbish” still lives and pictures of family and people with jaunty faces and bad anatomy. Of course, this method of art might be perfect for some and they create photorealism and anatomically perfect figures and objects, but for me… it was just plain wrong! I thought I’d share some tips I try and remind myself of frequently to stay on the road to effortlessness, it might help you rethink the way you look at your work…

Stop trying to get it “right”

I can tell when a print or painting is going wrong. Something starts to feel like I’m trying to create something too “perfect” or real looking and it ends up looking a little contrived and just plain wrong until I go away and come back with a different mindset and start again. My work has been received really badly over the years with comments like “this is a total disaster” and “it looks contrived and rigid” when I think about why this has been said about certain works, it’s always to the ones where I’ve tried to do a certain “thing” that was not my, tried to make my art look like another person’s work or have tried to make something to “perfect” and anatomically correct.

Find a style that suits you and practice it

I figure I’m not going to be a classical painter, there I said it! So finding abstract expressionism, german expressionism and mono-printing have been the best artistic life lesson I could have had! I think letting go of that (being a classical painter) has been the defining point in how to make art look effortless, for me. I love my artwork to look as if I just make a mark that’s right and for people to wonder how it was made, freehand or printed? Painted or sketched?

Listen to music that inspires you

If I were to make art in a silent room, my mind would just be telling me to do things in a “perfect” way and there’d be some sort of internal battle going on between my head and my (he)art. I like to listen to music that’s fun and inspiring and gets me happy and ready to paint, like this, this album or this speeded up album. It’s a personal choice like anyone’s taste in music and you might like gentle sounds or even silence when you make art.

Find inspiration from others and make it your own

Seeing art when I’m on holiday somewhere, or searching for new artists and looking through art books from charity shops always get me inspired to make work. It’s important though to take notice of the saying “copy, but don’t paste” when thinking about how to make art that looks effortless. When I catch myself using someone’s style or maybe thinking about someone’s work too much when I’m making my own things go downhill very quickly.

I’d love to know what your thoughts are on making effortless art and whether you feel the same way, let me know in the comments!

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