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by Frank Curkovic

“If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and

“If you’re trying dreamdirection. up a something elsesitting that youaround reject will push youto in another great art idea, you can sit and there a long time Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary somehow deceptive.” before anything happens. Chuck KloseBut if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive.” Chuck Klose

Creativity Creativity is work.

is work.

It isn’t magic. Don’t wait for inspiration. It isn’t magic. Don’t wait for inspiration. You need bad ideas to You need bad ideas to have good ideas. have good ideas. Get to work! Make stuff. Get to work! Make stuff!

Art not selfexpressive. Culture and society shape you. They help you create. Outside sources influence you. You build ideas from the past.

Art can anything.

Art can focus on medium. Art can focus on process & production. Art can focus on the experience of the artist and the viewer.

“What art offers is space - a certain breathing room for the spirit.” John Updike

Engage in the

of discovery. Experiment with the unknown. Surprise yourself. Embrace failure & learn from mistakes.

“You begin with the possibilities of the medium.� Robert Rauschenberg



medium. An idea is only as good as its execution. Master your medium. The image and its medium are inseperable.

“Before you compose your picture it’s a good idea to ask yourself why you’re doing it.” Anonymous

“The composition is the organized sum of the interior functions of every part of the work.” Wassily Kandinsky


foundation image making. Spatial relationships and framing determine look, feel & meaning.

Drawing is about mark making.

Every mark has a distinct character and quality. Vary pressure and weight. Every mark and line serves a purpose. Try to use only the marks you need.

Carry a sketchbook.

The more art you do, the more you will be able to do. Practice, practice, practice! Capture ideas when they occur to you. Record them. Make lists.

Doodle! Doodling is the easiest way to improve skill and confidence. Not everything has to be a work of art. Try doing zentangles. They are a helpful way to develop pattern.


Learn how to see. Observation is at the heart of the art process. Try to see what is before you, not what you think you see or want to see. Clear sight makes clear art. Look for patterns.

“Drawing is learning to see.” Edgar Degas

Learn to draw.

Drawing teaches us to think with our eyes. Look for angles, spatial relationships, positive/negative space & perspective. Try gesture drawing, negative space drawing, contour drawing, line drawing & continuous line drawing. Draw everyday. Remember, not all drawings have to look realistic!

Look at your work. If you make art for an hour, spend an hour of looking and thinking. You cannot judge a work’s impact without observation. Take breaks and return to your work with fresh eyes and fresh perspectives.

Learn how to evaluate work. Learn how to analyse a piece of artwork: Describe what you see. Analyse what you see. Interpret what you see. Evaluate and judge what you see.

Learn to

about your work. This helps those who are looking at your work to understand what you are doing, but also helps your own understanding of what you are doing. Learn how to articulate.

Share &

your work.

Have dialogues and share your ideas. What happens in class should be a conversation, not a monologue. Learn to accept criticism.

Learn from your peers. Observe them. People have diverse talents. Learn from their successes and failures.

Gather artwork you like.

Glue pictures in a book or save them on your computer. They can be used as inspiration and reference. Steal like an artist! Copy, combine & transform.

“If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.� Edward Hopper

Learn the basics of colour. Primary colours. Secondary colours. Tertiary colours. Complementary colours. Analogous colours.

Transparent & opaque media operate in ways.

Transparent such as watercolour and water based acrylics, work from light to dark. Shadows are applied last and highlights are created by the white of the ground remaining untouched. Opaque, such as oil, works from dark to light. Highlights are applied last.

You may have more to do with your sucess than your teacher.

Take responsibility for yourself. Don’t let fear or doubt take over. Improvement happens gradually. Don’t beat yourself up. You must want it. Prove to your teacher to maintain faith in you.


Know the rules of art & design before you try to break them. You can admire art history, but don’t copy by repeating someone else’s discoveries. Transform, combine and remix them instead!

Document your work. Archive your art with a good photo. This allows you to keep a record and allows you to draw ideas for future work.

Take your photos from a good angle and with proper light. If necessary, crop and straighten them on your computer.

Immerse yourself in your work and try getting “in the zone.� Try and have some fun too!

Resources: 101 Things to Learn in Art School by Kit White

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Everything Is A Remix web series by Kirby Ferguson

Also view this on Flickr:

Frank Curkovic 2013

Advice for Students of Art  
Advice for Students of Art  

A 36 page booklet offering students some basic advice in developing and creating art.