Developing a style, improving or honing your art-making craft is not something that happens overnight. Before you make something new, the desire to be prepared before taking any action can be strong. Why not research how other people have done it before you start? Doesn’t it make sense for you to have a clearer understanding of how to do things ‘right?’ Not really, given there are no official rules to making art (only self-imposed rules/beliefs) and the best way to develop your craft is to get busy making stuff.
Eric Maisel in Creativity for Life encourages “Craft is doing. You learn to write by writing, you learn to paint by painting. The creative life comes with a long apprenticeship that begins with “first paintings” and “first drawings” and continues throughout an artist’s career, as each new piece poses its questions and makes its demands. You learn your craft by doing: there is no substitute for getting to the work.” Whether you’re building an art career or making art for fun, development comes from action,
There are times when you feel stuck and need to step away from your art in order to let your subconcious ‘work’ on it and not-doing can be as important as doing. But thinking harder and doing more research won’t necessarily get you closer to honing your craft. Maisel explains “It is fine to give credence to the idea that we must incubate work and that therefore there will be times when we are not actually working, But we must give at least as much credence to the idea that without doing a ton of work we don’t have a clue what we’re doing.” You can’t think your way to developing craft. Endlessly researching what brand of materials to use or how to draw/paint/make something without taking any action won’t get you far. It’s far better to dive in and start making than to wait until you feel ‘ready’ to start.
Starting can feel like facing a huge mountain to climb. But it looks bigger looking up from the bottom and after a few steps, the climb of developing craft won’t feel as steep as you get into the swing of things. Take action and keep repeating.