Some of us consider technical skill to be the definition of an artist, while some of us consider the vision or “voice” of the artist to be more important. In order to become a better artist, you need to decide what your definition of a better artist actually is.
Once you’ve determined what’s more important to you, you can focus on practicing and developing what you want to improve upon.
But, let me offer my opinion.
Personally, I think that great artists exhibit mastery over both skill and vision. While technical skill can be taught and developed, artistic voice and vision cannot. Artistic voice comes from within and often separates “artists” from “artisans”.
Many people throughout history have developed amazing skill in drawing or painting but have never received “great artist” status. This, of course doesn’t mean that these individuals weren’t or aren’t great artists.
It just means that they their artistic voice or vision was either not accepted, understood, or was entirely non-existent. So, in my opinion a great artist is able to balance both technical skill while expressing themselves through a clear and unique artistic voice.
I also feel that the path to becoming a great artist is one that demands an open mind. An artist must be willing to make changes. After all, you can’t make things better without changing them. Many aspiring artists are so convinced that their vision and voice is effective, when it just isn’t well received. A great artist is a great communicator.
When the line of communication is broken between the artist and the viewer, the artwork-in my opinion, is a failure. A great artist knows when to make alterations to the way their message is delivered so that their artistic voice can still be heard by their audience.
A great artist also has to have a pioneering spirit. The famous artists throughout history are famous mostly for their contributions that were unique and new and ultimately changed the direction of the art world.
Picasso, for example, is famous for Cubism, while many forget his incredible skill in representational drawing and painting exhibited at an early age. In order to be a great artist and not just a highly skilled artisan, you have to be willing at some point to take a chance with your art. And when that chance is taken, the great artist must be willing to focus on their audience. (Which sometimes means ignoring critics.)
Becoming a better artist ultimately starts with wanting to be a great artist.
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