No matter what you do, you should always be improving.
I like to follow sports. You’ll see a huge difference between good coaches and bad coaches. Good coaches get the best out of the skill sets their players have. They also get them to improve those skill sets. Good coaches don’t win consistently by accident.
It’s the same thing with art. You get better by improving your skill sets.
So, here are some ideas to improve your skill sets.
Know and study your favorites
Do you know who your favorite artists are? You should not only be able to name them, but also explain why you like your favorite artists.
Occasionally, I’ll even copy some of my favorite artists’ works. Especially Alphonse Mucha. I’ve repainted several of his paintings.
Get better at drawing
Drawing really is the primary building block to good art. All decent artists can draw.
If someone is slopping random paint on a canvas and calling it art, that’s fine and dandy in their world. But I won’t call it art. I call that person a pretentious jerk, not an artist.
And no, I won’t apologize for not pulling punches. That doesn’t take talent.
If you have to, take a class or two. Or if you can afford it, hire a personal art teacher. I have one. But then again, this is my career so I’m going to take improvement seriously. I got bills to pay.
My art teacher really helped me with anatomy and shading. You’ll see a big difference from before I had my art teacher and after.
Work with models/get out there
It depends what your subject is.
Do you paint landscapes? Awesome! Then go to where there’s a beautiful landscape, take a bunch of pictures, and get to work.
Do you paint beaches? Awesome! Go to a beach and paint it.
In my case, I paint women. I have five models I work with and I’ve drawn them from real life all numerous times, especially Allie and Melisa.
I also take pictures of random things from birds to flowers and those pictures will end up in my paintings.
This I think is the most important of the three. You can take all the classes you want but the absolute best way to get good at something is by doing it.
For instance, I used to wrestle. I could explain to you all day long how to arm bar someone, or how to escape any hold. But even if you were listening perfectly, you still need to actually do it to learn it.
Same thing with art. I’ll eventually have some courses on this blog and they’ll make the student actually go through exercises. My explanations will be very straightforward but the heart of the course is when you actually apply my lessons to the canvas.