Sunday, 24 June 2012

5 steps to gaining confidence with art

I know a lot of new copic artists get discouraged when they first try out copic markers. They're very tricky to get the hang of and take an exceptional amount of skill to master (note: I said Skill, not talent. a misconception about art and artists is that everything comes naturally to them. It's simply not so. Frankly, its a little insulting to think so as well. I worked hard for years to get where I am, and so must everyone else.)
I wanted to compile a list of things I've learned over the years that may help new comers get over the hurdles that we all face, and carry on, instead of giving up. Here are the 5 things - 2 mental, 3 practical - that combined will do the one thing everyone needs to do - build confidence.

1: Don't get discouraged. It's not easy. Each and every tool you pick, and every medium you try out will take  a lot of work to figure out how to use the tools. They don't magically look fantastic as soon as you start scribbling.

2: Experiment: Don't just dive into colouring a picture right away and expect magic. Play with the tools on scrap paper, colour randomly and just become familiar with how the ink flows from the nibs, reacts with the paper etc. Colour over other colours, see what happens, try different papers, try incorporating other tools. discover your rhythm.

3: Practice: Again, NOTHING in this life is ever easy. With practice, you gain skills and confidence. Its true what they say, Practice Makes Perfect (perfect doesn't exist by the way, but the theory is sound). Properly it should say " practice makes competence" but I digress... It's not like anyone is going to see the things you are doing unless you show them (good forgetting feedback!), why would you worry about the mistakes your making? You MUST make mistakes in order to learn. We don't usually learn from success. I've been using markers for around 12 years, and I've only in the last 2-3 years finally started having some confidence in my work! I'm my own worst critic of course, but I committed myself to learning and It's been paying off!

4: Research: The benefit of being a Copic artist, is the Copic community. There are a million blogs out there like mine, and a million artists like me who simple enjoy sharing what we've learned. Don't be afraid to ask any questions. some people will ignore you, who cares, ask someone else. I'll never ignore a Copic question :) The best places to look are the Copic Facebook page, The copic twitter, the copic blog, and youtube. (all these places are linked on The people who work at Copic are Top notch and I've so impressed with the people who work there - I'm quite fond of the Copic twitter guy, Richard! He's been incredibly supportive of so many artists out there. I think any company would be incredibly lucky to have someone like him at the front lines of their digital presence. You should also look up reference images of what you're colouring. Use a colour isolator to see individual colour in pictures or scenes and see what magical rainbows are hiding. Learn a little bit about colour theory. You don't have to become an expert but a little understanding can go a LONG way. Learn Everything!

5: Be Patient: Again, it takes time, practice, work, effort. Nothing in life is free. it either takes money, or commitment. the rewards are worth it. There is nothing more thrilling than being called an expert, HAHA!

There you go, 5 golden rules. Now I'm going to go off and keep learning and practicing myself!
Happy Copic-ing!


  1. thank you so much for sharing this....I need to get over my flat out fear of my Copic markers and just USE them.... your post has helped me tremendously! :)

    1. Yup, its the only way :)
      I'm glad to help :) YAY!


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