Games Workshop artist and designer Matt Hill offers 5 ways to level up your artwork...
"Practice makes perfect” . . . we've all heard this phrase at some point in our lives and it certainly plays a part in leveling up your artwork. However, practice done without thought can result in both slow and minimal improvement. In this article we are going to be looking at a number of things you can do to help level-up your artwork both fast and effectively.
Learn New Tools
Learning new tools is a great way to level up your artwork. New tools provide both a purpose for your studies and open up new and exciting approaches to making work. Having a purpose when practicing is really important as it allows you to set clear goals and assess your progress along the way. It is very easy to become lost if you don't know what you're aiming to achieve! I started learning 3D modeling back in 2016 and have since fully integrated it into my workflow. As a result of learning 3D I have created pieces of work that I was previously unable to achieve and the quality of my work has improved at a much faster rate.
Here is an example of how I have used 3D to visualize my designs in a way that I was unable to achieve with 2D techniques alone
© Matt Hill
Get Some Feedback
Feedback can be a great way to push your work further at a faster rate. A fresh pair of eyes can pick up mistakes and give you a fresh perspective on how to improve your work. When looking for feedback, it is usually best to speak with peers and professionals within the art community. Uploading work to Facebook groups such as ‘DraworDie', or portfolio sites like ‘ArtStation' or ‘CGSociety' is a great way to connect with other artists to gain feedback.
This image was created while working in-house at Games Workshops Design Studios, where the art team would regularly review each other's work to improve quality
© Games Workshop
With the rise of online tutorial sites, education is more accessible and affordable than ever. Online tutorials are one of the most effective ways for you to level up your artwork enable you to access the knowledge of top industry professionals. Learning from professionals is great because the techniques you learn are both up-to-date and proven in the field!
As well as excellent knowledge, online tutorials also provide you with a structure for your studies. Tutorials are often broken down into manageable sections and provide you with clear aims and objectives. The online learning platform ‘Learn Squared' is particularly good for this and has been invaluable in developing my skills further.
The knowledge I have gained from online tutorials has greatly expanded my capabilities as an artist
© Matt Hill
Work with Existing Subject Matter
Creating work based on existing subject matter is a great way to level up your technical skills faster. When learning a new technique or software, designing something from scratch at the same time can muddy the water and make the whole process seem much more daunting. Making work based on subjects that already exist allows you to focus purely on technical development, without having to worry about design. For example, if you want to learn a new 3D program for vehicle design, start by modeling vehicles that already exist to get used to the programs tools and functions, instead of jumping in and creating that complex sci-fi ship you've always dreamed of!
Working with subjects from existing IP (Intellectual Property) can also work well for this. I worked on several fan art projects whilst getting to grips with 3D which made the process of learning a new medium much easier.
The Ghost in the Shell IP was the focus on my studies when learning Marvelous Designer and ZBrush
© Matt Hill
Broaden Your Inspiration
Broadening your source of inspiration is also a great way to level up your work more effectively. Looking at things outside of your subject area allow you to approach things differently and incorporate new ideas into your designs. I work within concept art and illustration but draw inspiration from lots of different areas such as graphic design, fashion, industrial/product design, automotive design, animation, architecture, nature and many more. Working with new subjects has often resulted in unexpected and surprising outcomes, and helps to re-ignite my interest when things become stagnant.
Here I drew inspiration from Old Masters Painters such as Rembrandt and Caravaggio to create a modern painting with an old twist
© Matt Hill
So there you have it! These are some of things I think about when trying to level-up my work in both a fast and effective way. Thank you so much for reading and I hope this article helps you to improve your work further!
Matthew Hill on ArtStation
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Check out the Level Up Sessions videos
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