Have you ever looked at the work of another artist and thought, “Man! I wish I could ask them a couple of questions”? I’m sure you have because I have and I’m just not all that unique.

We all see the work of people who are doing what we want to do and some questions come to mind with no effort at all.

How did you get started?

How did you get where you are today?

What are you doing that would help me?

How did you draw that?

I’m sure other questions will come to your mind, too.

The best way to learn is by studying the work of someone who is already successfully doing what you want to do; studying their methods and tools. Asking questions.

So this week, I thought I’d answer a few of those kinds of questions for those of you who are doing what I just suggested (studying methods) but maybe haven’t quite gotten to the point of asking questions.

Questions You Should ALWAYS Ask Your Favorite Artists

How did you get started?

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. The earliest drawing on paper that I still have was drawn when I was 4-1/2 but I know I was drawing before that. Those really early drawings didn’t survive, though, because they were usually drawn in places where they shouldn’t have been. On a wall for example.

I remember my mother tearing open brown grocery bags so I could draw on them with crayons. One drawing in particular that lingers in my memory was a woodland scene. Trees (roots and all). A stream. Deer and other animals. I’ve asked Mom on more than one occasion if she still has that. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did (she saves everything!), but she says not.

I got started as a portrait artist in high school, when a school friend asked me to paint a picture of her horse. She does still have that, along with all the other portraits I painted for her.

How did you get where you are today?

The plain, simple truth is that I started a new painting for every painting I finished. That’s it.

Oh, I set goals and upgraded my tools (better brushes, better oils, better pencils, canvas, and paper), and I read books and studied other artists. But what really got me from that first portrait to the current drawing was just not giving up.

Or rather, picking up art one more time than I gave it up.

Because there were times when I didn’t paint at all. As it turns out, that’s part of the process, too. At least it has been for me.

What are you doing that would help me?

Always learning. If you continue learning—whether you learn new mediums or learn new ways of using the same medium—you’ll always advance. Your work will get better. You’ll become more proficient.

Yeah, I know. I never liked hearing that when I was the one asking the questions. I was always looking for quick fix or short cut that would catapult me forward.

But you know what? There are no such quick fixes or short cuts. Not if you really want to improve your art and always enjoy it.

How Did You Draw That?

The answer to that is what this blog is all about. I’ve picked up so many tips, techniques, and tools over the years, that I can’t answer this question in a paragraph or two, even if you asked it about a specific drawing. Just chalk it all up to years and years of drawing, looking for better ways to do things, and striving to make each drawing better than the previous one.

You know what? You’ll find the same is true for you if you draw long enough!

Two Other Questions You ALWAYS Want to Ask Other Artists

I answered two more questions in this week’s EmptyEasel article, Two Questions You ALWAYS Want to Ask Other Artists. What are those questions?

What inspires me?

How do I begin a project?

You can all about that on EmptyEasel.

So did I answer one of your questions? If not, go ahead and ask your question in the comments. That’s one sure way to get an answer!