Do you ever look at other artists and compare yourselves to them and wonder how did they get so good? How did they get so good so fast? How did they get so good in the first place? I have a secret to let you in on and today here on the Bold Artist Podcast, we're gonna share with you that the big secret to how artists are getting so good is something really simple. Something as simple as daily practice. And today we're gonna take the lid off of busting through the walls to get better and good, really good at your skills through the simplicity of daily practice. And we have some really practical, helpful tips for you.
You know, I think daily practice, we have to think of it like an athlete, or like a stage performer of any kind, like in a play, or an opera singer. These people and, and athletes who, who, who win. You know, athletes who actually win things. They don't just show up the day of and expect um, a masterpiece to happen on stage or at the Olympics. They practice and they train, and they practice and they train, they study, and they get in peak performance with their body and their eating. Like everything. They put so much work in. And we artists wanna make great work. I don't care who you are, we create .cuz we love creating. But, if you are moving from hobby into the working artist, you know, if you want your art to be out into the world, and you don't even have to wanna make money from it, but if you want people to be impacted by your art, we have to make art with excellence. And the only way to do it is through training. And that means daily practice. And I think it's just something we have to really kind of get into our heads because for a really long time I just wanted to go in my studio and make masterpieces. As a mom, I still am a mom,
Come on, Charla, just put your studio and make masterpieces.
Yeah. And we just don't have time to be, like, not making masterpieces. And then you get super frustrated when you don't make a masterpiece. And it's like, yeah. On our other podcast we're like, there's stepping stones and you know, you're learning.
Which, which I was just about to say that we have to remember that you don't go from zero to masterpiece overnight. There's stepping stones, and the stepping stones are not just a burst of practice once a month. I mean, yes, you can get an understanding and some foundational skills by having practice once a month that's better than nothing. But when you apply yourself to daily practice, and you know, I'm not even gonna go as far as to say that that has to be a certain amount of time of daily practice. I actually think it could be most productive as long as you're in the right head space. And you could, you could have 10 minutes of daily practice where you are in that zone, and you are completely focused, and it could be as beneficial as an hour where you're a little distracted. So, it's not about necessarily the time frame that you're practicing daily, but that you are applying your full attention to that daily practice. And when you're doing that, those small steps become excellence in the end. And that's the difference when you're looking and comparing yourself to pros, and you're wondering how did they get so good so fast? I know it didn't happen that they woke up that way. They have applied themselves to daily practice.
Yeah. If you think about, like, 10 minutes a day in, in six days, that's an hour of practice. In a month, that's four hours of practice. If you don't do any of it and you just go in one day of the month and you work for four hours, it's actually going to be less productive because you can't, you can't learn and, and achieve the same amount over a four hour period in one day as you can over a month. If you think about building a muscle, or losing weight, or gaining weight, if you're on that end of the spectrum, which I've never been on, but... if you're losing weight or building muscle, you can't work four hours a day and then not work for a month and expect your muscle to grow the same amount. All you're gonna do is actually tear them to pieces.
So, every day just a little bit of weightlifting actually builds your muscle. 'Cuz that's the cycle it has to go through. And we are building muscle memory in daily practice and building our skills and, and giving our minds, and our hearts, and our bodies time to, to let it sink in and resonate with you. And then you go back in, you give your ti... you almost give yourself time to forget what you did and see if you can recall it the next day. So, if you're memorizing something, like, I've often done this and like, you know, you're memorizing something and you, you practice and you practice all day, but it's always on the top of your mind so you don't forget it. And then you go watch a movie, you hang it with your friends, you get completely distracted and you're like, whatever. I knew that thing yesterday, but the next day you can't remember anything because it's the recall now that matters. And you can only practice recall over time where you're distracted and you have time to forget it. So you have to give yourself like four hours over a month is better than four hours in one day when it comes to actually becoming better and, and making these things, um, kind of sink into your bones. So it becomes a part of you becomes like riding a bike.
So you've said to me in the past that when you practice every day, when you do daily practice, you become less emotionally involved. Do you wanna explain what you mean by that?
Um, yeah. I, because I think daily practice becomes about practicing a skill. If you wanna get better at drawing a straight line, like you can actually draw a straight line with, with your, um, bare hands without a ruler. If you practice it every single day and you just wanna get better at drawing a straight line, you're not making a masterpiece to add that you're not, you're not becoming emotionally attached to that line. You're just getting really good at drawing a straight line. Then when you go in to create an artwork, you know, that's come from deep inside your soul, and there's story to tell, and you're emotionally attached to this story, you can bring all those elements that you've practiced together, the straight lines and the color mixing and the, the features of a portrait that now you're really good at, at making eyes because you practice them for 30 days straight.
Now you bring all those elements in and there's more emotional attachment to that process of, of telling a story with one piece of art. But your daily practice, it's, it's like, um, it's rhythmic. You know, it's, it's, it's a time when you can almost zone out because you're just doing the same thing over and over and over again. But when you're in, like, if you think of, of the athlete, they're, they're in the gym and they're just weight training, weight training, running, running, beating their times, beating their times. And maybe they're marathon runners. So, they're just running every single day. They're zoning out. But when it's time to compete, they're fully focused. They're, I mean, maybe emotionally charged might not be the right thing because I know some trainers would train you not to be emotionally charged on the day of competition, but you're in the zone, you're super focused on what you're doing and you've done it so many times now you're gonna give it your absolute all to, you know, break the barriers and to win the game. And that's what I think we have to look at being in our studio is, is the same way our daily practice. There's, there's no stress, there's no, we don't have to win on that day. You just have to get a little bit better. So, you can enjoy it and have fun.
So you've also said to use the practice as a time where you're not innovating, you're just practicing repetitively in order to grow the skill and, and then not using it necessarily as the innovation time. Although I find that when I'm in the zone and I'm practicing, I find a lot of ideas come to me. Which is why I keep my project book handy. I put all the ideas while I'm practicing.
So, well I think, yeah, it's like, there's probably two sides to that because it is in, you are innovating because you don't have, um, there's no pressure to, to do something that you know how to do. Well if you're like in, in an area of competition, you're not gonna innovate when you're running a race. You're gonna do what you know how to do well. But I think what I mean by that is it's a time of, of productivity. Like you're drawing the straight line, you're drawing the straight line, drawing the straight line, but it can, the next day you might actually draw it different. You might find a new way to draw a straight line. You know? So there is a time where you're bringing all your ideas together in daily practice because during that time you will think of something new, and you'll bring an idea in, and you'll bring an idea in the next week and the next month. And then you'll, I guess in a sketchbook, you know, you're, you'll slowly put all these ideas together, and then you'll actually, the innovation happens when, when it brings out something new. Which is what I mean in the studio. That's when you'll put it all together and, and innovate on your canvas. But there's two sides. There's two ways you could look at that for sure.
Here at Bold School, we highly recommend to the painters that we work with in the community to be using a sketchbook. We have some sketching workshops. We have a sketching class inside of Bold school and we highly recommend that because it's a form of daily practice so that you can sharpen your skills and get better. And we even have a class that helps you take your sketchbook concepts and ideas and bring them onto canvas. So there's so much to check out within the school. But with that being said, it's not only about a sketchbook. You could find a zillion different ways within your art medium, within your practice to practice. You can, if you are a painter, or if you use pastels, or you sculpt, or however you produce art, find what I think I hone in on what I need to get stronger at.
Like, you've been, you've been, um, using this image of a, an athlete or you know, someone who's building body endurance, muscle endurance. And you know, I will look at my skill set and hone in on something that I know that is my weaker area and find ways. I'll source it from books, from YouTube, from Bold School, from friends, from other artists, and just figure out ways to grow that skillset and focus on it every day. And, um, so Charla, what are some practical ways that we can give tips here on the Bold Artist Podcast for being mentally and practically engaged in daily practice?
Um, I think it's, it starts like, I think mentally like thinking about it in the right way, knowing why you're doing it. Um, and I, I mean, I think the number one thing which we say probably on every single podcast is that your art is important. And because it's important, you, you, you need to be good at it. You know, you need to be good at telling the story you wanna tell, otherwise it's just going to be confusing and people aren't gonna resonate. They're not gonna really stay with your art. So you need to know that first. Why are you doing it? Because if you wanna build a new habit, which is kind of what daily practice is about, building new skills, which are really like habit building and the daily practice itself is a habit. You know, we need to have, we need to be motivated to do it.
We need to have our why. So, first you gotta get your mental space in order. If you don't think your art's important, then daily practice is going to be hard. It's gonna be, well it is hard, but it's gonna, you're not gonna really wanna get up and do it, um, you're gonna wanna do something that's easier. 'Cuz daily practice is not necessarily always about the easy fun stuff. So, get yourself mentally in order. And then practically, it's really about making daily practice a habit. And I think it is better to start with, uh, just like 10 minutes. Even if you think you can't do much in 10 minutes, you can, like we said, you can build up to four hours a month if you do 10 minutes a day. But if you, you wanna make it a time that, um, is doable because if you say you're gonna set aside an hour and now all of a sudden your day is completely sabotaged because you're having an hour of daily practice, and you didn't even make breakfast with the kids then you're gonna stop because that's not gonna work for you. So, so make it doable, and I think mentally set your yourself up for success, and then set your time aside so that is actually doable. I think that's the, the way to get started anyways.
Absolutely. And just some of those physical aspects to setting up the, the success of your daily practice would be the real practical thing of getting rid of those blockers and distractions, uh, you know, put the phone away, the, set a timer, track your progress and just, I, I think tracking progress, I just wanna pause there for a minute. Like, I love to look back in old sketchbooks, and sometimes I'll do that to just encourage myself at the beginning of daily practice session where I'll just pick up an older book, flip through it and think, okay, I've come so far this year, and there's just a little boost of confidence where you can, you're not out there scrolling through Instagram, comparing yourself to other artists. At that point, you're comparing yourself to your own work and that is encouraging.
The best comparison.
Yeah. That's encouraging. That's the true comparison where it's truly apple to apple
Yeah. 'Cause if you're making small steps every day, you don't notice them. And it's like losing weight. You see yourself in the mirror every day and most of the time you don't really notice it. But as somebody you haven't seen in three months, you go and hang out and they're like, whoa, you've totally changed. So, it's hard for you to notice the changes that you're making. What I've done in the past is actually, and I I still have it on my calendar, is I have a, a, um, event in my phone calendar every three months to check my progress. And I, I list what I'm specifically tracking in that time. So if you're gonna start your daily practice, just go into your calendar and, and set that. Maybe you wanna do it every six weeks, um, in the beginning or every three months. Those are good timelines to give yourself some real change and then compare yourself with yourself and see how you're doing. And I, I'm like a hundred percent sure that if you commit to daily practice, in three months you're going to see massive changes in the work that you're creating. Huge changes. And it's really rewarding. That's all you really even need because when you see that your work's improving, it just makes life better I think.
Yeah. So Charla and I had a lot of fun brainstorming together, putting together a list that we called our 10 for 20, meaning our 10 big tips that you can do in, was it our, what was it, 20 minutes, Charla. that we do 10 for 20?
I don't remember that.
iOr dd we do... we didn't do 20 for 10. We did 10 for 20. But either way, we brainstormed, and we put this together, and um, we're going to just share this with you as a gift to you of what's made a difference in our own daily practice. And I, we've already actually mentioned a couple of them, but our 10 for 20 is definitely Get rid of the phone and distractions. If you're gonna dedicate yourself to the daily practice, you have to make sure that your mind is focused and that you're not distracted. And then why
It is 20 minutes. Like, cause the daily practice is 20 minutes, so it's the 10 tips for your 20 minutes of daily
Yeah. We, we had fun coming up with these. Um, we also highly recommend Getting a prompt book, um, to create from, I had mentioned that earlier where I just draw from, you know, a friend's artist inspirations to find ways that I can grow stronger, but a prompt book in
Or a sticky note prompt book.
Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Get a prompt book. Um, Charla recommends prem Mixing your paint for the week or the month, um, doing smaller paint studies. So not like committing yourself to something too big in 20 minutes.
Yeah. For sure.
Premix your paint using a sketchbook to create thumbnails ahead of time so that you, you have ideas of what you're gonna paint on those small canvases with that premix paint, um, in a small amount of time. Um, another big tip is Forget the details and focus on the loose, um, bigger, larger blocks of color. Um, keeping things minimal where you're just practicing your muscle memory, you're developing your eye, but you're not honing in on too many details. And I just have to throw this in there unless detail is your art. Because sometimes in illustration I do need to practice my details, so I'll get in there and that's actually what I'm practicing that day. But, just generally in your 20 minutes if you, if you just be able to express yourself looser, bigger, big blocks of color, set your timer and work to finish the study. So, when you sit down for that 20 minutes undistracted and you have a goal at the, for that 20 minutes, push through the 20 minutes to get to the end where your timer goes, and you look and you say, I did what I set out to practice.
Yeah. You're not allowed to have like a big canvas where you're taking 20 minutes a day to work on that one piece. That's not considered daily practice that's slowly building a painting.
Okay, well that's good that we've defined it because there are a lot of artists listening today that would think, okay, they're saying to give 20 minutes a day to my practice, which could be building a bigger piece. Um, you know, I've illustrated a whole book by doing it one hour a day. Um, but is that my daily practice? Not really because I'm doing what I'm good at to complete a final project. Daily practice is where you're honing in on what you're weaker at in order to build up your strengths.
Yeah. You're becoming better. You're not finishing a project, you're becoming better at what you do.
Sometimes I do have to say this, and this wasn't in our 10 for 20, but uh, sometimes I have to say that watching a tutorial or taking a part of a class and then applying it is part of a practice for me. I don't know if I'd consider it part of my daily practice, but if I'm stumped, if I'm really like, I don't know how to get better here, then I have to log into Bold School or log into. um, something that can give me guidance. And so that is part of growing better. But here's my big caution about that is don't just watch a tutorial and then not apply it. Like you need to watch the tutorial or learn from an instructor and then put your own hand to it. It's your muscle memory that needs to get better.
Yeah, I agree. I think that's a good one. And it could turn into a cheat because if you decide to watch tutorials every day for a week, that's a cheat.
That's not daily practice.
Yeah. If you need to take your 20 minutes one day to watch a tutorial, that is, I think that is propelling yourself forward, 'cuz you're learning and learning is good. But the daily practice is you doing it.
I'll give you a very specific example of what I mean by that because I don't want that to come across as too vague of watching tutorials as part of daily practice. But I do a lot of digital art in my illustration and sometimes I feel like I've hit the ceiling of what I know about my programs. But if I go and I watch a, a short tutorial where someone better than me is demonstrating what they're doing in that digital art program, and I can close that tutorial and go and push my practice further by what I just learned. That Interesting. That's the example of what I mean by using a tutorial to apply to your daily practice.
Yeah, that's a good one. So that's 11 for 20.
Yeah. Did we... Oh. Yeah. Although I didn't say 10 yet. 10 was Choosing whether you're learning or in flow, which I guess would go exactly with what I just said is that, um, if you're approaching your daily practice and yes you wanna get better, but sometimes you will go into flow where you're just enjoying yourself, you're just being in the moment, you're just sketching or painting or whatever you're doing. And, and then other times you are using more of that left side brain and learning and computing and analyzing. And so kind of stepping back at the beginning of the session and deciding which way you're gonna approach it is good.
It is. And flow can even be an indicator because, um, you can decide you just wanna do flow, which, which sometimes it can be just a repetitive action, something you've done a million times just to fully enjoy it so you don't have to engage your left brain, and you just enjoy that session. But sometimes what, what flow is, is a low difficulty level, which means that it's a skill you're really good at. So, if you're practicing a skill for a month, like, uh, 20 minutes a day for a month, and then you're practicing this and practicing this, and then all of a sudden you, you realize that your 20-minute session is just complete flow, it's a good indicator that that skill is actually becoming very less difficult for you. Right. It's no longer difficult that you've actually mastered it. If you're not intentionally working in flow or you're not intentionally trying to get into flow, but that skill has turned into flow, you can use that as an indicator that is a massive indicator that you have made some big progress, and it's, to me, it's what I always go for. Flow is the most enjoyable state to make art, but it means that you're having a low difficulty level, you're not having to engage your left brain. So, it's hard to enter flow if you're learning. So, it can be an indicator in this type of scenario. I think a really great indicator.
Yes. I love that you reminded us about, uh, about that aspect of flow because it's just good to keep that top of mind of just like, flow is enjoyable, but it also means you're not being challenged. So, it's good to do in our daily practice, to challenge ourselves to make big progress, and that's how we're gonna make big progress is through these daily habits. And so thank you so much for being here on the Bold Artist Podcast with us today. Make sure that you check out all the happenings with inside of Bold School. We have classes galore and more coming out all the time. There's something for everyone. You'll love to even see Charla's Bold Color Bootcamp that where she teaches you to paint in bold color. And it's just been a movement that's swept across world. It's so exciting to see artists from everywhere joining into Bold School community. Do check us out on Instagram @boldsSchoolinc. And hop on our newsletter list so you don't miss out on any of the upcoming events. Anything to add to that Charla, before we close?
I think you covered it all.
I covered it. I covered it. Well, I think you did. Thanks for being here, everyone, and until next time, keep creating.