10 things that you can do today to improve your skills as an artist
1. Draw with your eyes closed. The image that you produce will be abstract and interesting but the benefit will come from the improved links between what you see and what you draw. You will find that after drawing with your eyes closed you will be able to spend more time drawing a model or view that you are studying and less time looking at the paper.
2. Draw still from old movies. Look at the interesting lighting techniques that are used to create depth and imply space.
3. Draw a 10mm box on a sheet of paper and cut out a 10mm square hole in a piece of paper. Place the paper with the hole in it over a photograph or image and copy it accurately. The shapes will be abstracted by the limited contextual information around your little window. Do this once or twice a week and feel the benefits.
4,5 and 6. Changes. Change the colour, texture and regularity of the paper that you are drawing on. Scrumple some up and then draw on it. Paint some with gauche, let it dry and then paint on it. PVA some newpaper pieces on top of a piece of paper, gauche over the top of it (or gesso) and then draw on it. Challenge yourself with changes to your techniques. Pick three that you find difficult to work with then adapt them as part of your routine.
7. Life drawing classes. There is no substitute for studying the human form.
8. Look at the illustration from the turn of the last century. Look at key figures in the illustration world from by gone eras. No matter what your own personal discipline of art and design the work produced by Maxfield Parrish, N C Wyeth or Howard Pyle will be inspiring.
9. Find someone who has a similar take on art and design as you do and take them out for coffee twice a month. Take a sketchbook with you and discuss what is happening with your work. Critique groups work as well for artists as they do for writers.
10. Go to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. I have drawn in many different places and have yet to find a more interesting place to spend time drawing.
Go luck, enjoy your work.