Learning traditional art techniques provides you with many positives and benefits. If you really want to appreciate art then being able to understand what it takes to bring a masterpiece to life using traditional art techniques is the way to go.
Here are 10 fantastic reasons why learning and using traditional art techniques is great. Understanding these reasons will help you become a more confident and capable artist that has a solid foundation to their skill set. Then can use what you have learnt to move on to other techniques.
Not only that, a lot of the benefits of learning traditional art techniques can help you in other areas of life too. So, as well as helping you get better at art, learning traditional art techniques can support your overall learning, wellbeing, personal growth, and general ability to be creative. After all, the key to making progress is creativity.
1. Before computers there was traditional art
It might seem blatantly obvious. But it’s worth recognising, before the luxury of computers there was traditional art. People would have used things like plants, fruits, sap, blood, and minerals to generate a palette of colours that could then be used to create works of art.
Nowadays people can just go to a shop, pick up some pens, paper, and paint and just start creating.
Some artists don’t even have to worry about going to the shop. They just turn on their computer or tablet and start making art that way.
So, learning how to use some traditional art techniques can be really beneficial when it comes to trying to understanding what being fortunate really is. This understanding can help you keep things in perspective and support your ability to be composed. No type of art medium is better than another for doing this, they are just different. It’s really about the individuals personal journey. So, a type of art might be more appropriate in a given situation. But that’s about it. It’s still worth recognising and respecting that before all this technology there was pretty much just sticks and dirt.
Take this as an exaggerated example, in the same amount of time it takes for someone nowadays to make a digital piece of art, someone else creating art traditionally, may have just finished getting their materials ready. Of course, some of it is about skill and ability, but there comes a point where certain things just take the time the take because that’s what is required.
Here’s an interesting observation about art techniques and time.
It took Michelangelo around four years to paint the Sistine Chapel (1508 – 1512). The area painted is about 460m².
The 700 wall, by MadC (Claudia Walde) took four months to create in 2010. The area painted is about 700m².
Here is D. Westry creating a piece in a minute and a half. The piece is a couple of meters square.
2. Traditional art helps develop finesse and accuracy
Simply put, digital techniques can hide a lot of ‘mistakes’. I write ‘mistakes’ because in art are mistakes really a thing?
I’m talking from a perspective where the creator intended to do something in a particular way and it didn’t come off quite as planned. So yeah, there absolutely are things are mistakes.
Which means that using more digital techniques it’s much easier to rectify and hide mistakes. Artists can just keep tweaking and adjusting what they do until it looks the way they wanted it to.
Whereas by using more traditional methods an artists might have to scrap a piece of work entirely just because it can’t be salvaged or rectified.
This is how finesse and accuracy is developed. Because through their ‘mistakes’, ‘lessons’, or ‘experiences’ an artist using more traditional techniques learns how to ‘not make the same mistake as last time’ and find alternative methods that achieve the desired outcome. This develops finesse and accuracy.
3. It builds resilience
So, we’ve established that using traditional techniques means it’s likely that you are going to make mistakes that you maybe can’t easily deal with.
This is possibly going to lead to upset, anger, and frustration. But, as long as you make a commitment to learning, developing, and evolving the way you create then you are going to improve and get better.
This is how to build resilience.
Don’t quit and commit to finding new ways of doing things. It’s one of the greatest things that art can offer anyone is a an opportunity to learn how to overcome obstacles and setbacks in a safe and enjoyable environment.
If you have to scrap a piece of art then you have to scrap a piece of art. But before you scrap it, see if you can ‘live with it’ and ‘fix it’ first. At the very least, take the time to learn the lesson about what you shouldn’t have done that lead you to the point where you had to scrap it. Learn that lesson and store it so you don’t make the same mistake on future pieces.
4. It builds strength and courage
Because art is one of the most complex forms of expression a person can do it takes a lot of strength and courage to do it let alone be ‘good’ at it.
In today’s society especially, the level of criticism and commentary that individuals can face is huge.
So, to be able to make yourself vulnerable to the comments of others is a skill that people need to embrace if they want to create art.
The good thing is though, like many things creating art is like a progressive overload, the more you do the better you get at it.
It doesn’t necessarily matter if you start with a big or a small audience either. Putting art out there is ther hard part. The thing to keep in mind is that people are entitled to their opinions. Plus, it’s art, it doesn’t have to be labelled as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is it ‘is’.
You can only start to critique something if you give it a set of criteria or an objective that it has to meet.
So, just go with the objective of ‘It is made to be experienced’. Then you can never fail. Just create.
5. It creates an appreciation of raw materials
Traditional techniques use a lot of raw materials.
It’s only natural that by using the various primitive mediums people develop an awareness and appreciation of raw materials.
Take water for example, if you like to paint you probably use water to clean your brushes or mix colours. You might even create a lot of art using watercolour techniques. Well, where does that water come from? How does it get produced and processed to a state that means you can use it?
There are a whole bunch of raw materials that go into art. That’s why understanding sustainability is important so that environments are looked after in a way that means people can continue making art for years to come.
6. There’s no going back
One of the best things about using traditional art techniques and using raw materials is learning the lessons around no going back.
So, as well as developing those skills around strength and courage to stick your neck out, be bold, and take chances there are also other skills that are developed around resilience and perseverance.
Quite often people will want to scrap a piece of work if they make a mistake on it. Now, it depends what the work is for and if something needs to be ‘perfect’. If that’s the case then yes, a creator will likely need to start again. They just have to make sure they learn the lessons from their mistakes so they don’t repeat the same mistakes mistakes in the future.
But there are plenty of art forms where the creator can just keep going and adjust and adapt as they go. This is where the resilience development comes in. Yes, sometimes mistakes and errors are frustrating. But, unfortunately they are just part of the process from time to time.
What some art forms are really good at is helping develop stamina; physical, psychological, and emotional. Art is a really great, safe environment for people to develop a relationship with these concepts and allow them to transfer them into other parts of their lives.
7. Ecologically friendly
Every time you use a raw material based art form it means you aren’t using a complexly manufactured one; like a computer or tablet. This is important because every day hundreds of computers get thrown away. Which is not great for the environment.
The key thing however is to make sure you look after and maintain your materials, resources, and tools. If you take care of them you don’t have to throw them away and you can use them for years.
8. It’s what the pioneers of art used
Traditional art is part of evolution. Long before smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers the pioneers of art used whatever they could find to create art.
It would be foolish not to acknowledge artists from history because the reason artists from today are around is because of them. And it doesn’t even matter if you or artists you like or dislike the work of artists from the past. Because if you are creating art the chances are they contribute to your inspiration. Whether you make the art you make because you want to create work like them or you don’t want to create work like them, pioneers of art provide a benchmark that everyone else is fortunate to be able to work from.
9. It provides a balance and gives you options
Draw It Books isn’t here to preach the use of traditional techniques ahead of other art forms. But it is here to say, just make sure you consider them and don’t overlook them.
The world we live in today is very digital. Which is great. Because it helps produce so many great things that people can enjoy like films, and adverts, and music videos, and fashion, and so on.
But one thing the digital world does is sometimes give people an unrealistic expectation about how long things should take or how easy they are. There are lots of computer packages and software now that allow for absolute beginners to create masterpieces in a matter of minutes. Which again is great. But doing things at speed for a long period of time can make people tired and result in fatigue. Which is simply not healthy.
Traditional art forms more easily allow for people to become in touch with themselves and nature; because the materials you use are from nature and are either left in their raw form or not far from it when by the time it comes to using them. And you can only really bring them to life from your own physical effort. There is no filters, or widgets, or plugins, or transitions and effects that you can apply to bring the art to life. Just what you put into it.
Having some understanding of what goes into creating traditional art and modern art just means that you can have a more balanced perspective about the pros and cons of them. Then when it comes to creating pieces it means you aren’t limited because you have more options to choose from.
10. It develops patience, composure, relieves stress, and promotes wellbeing
Ultimately, providing you don’t develop any allergies or ailments because of how you practise art, art is a really healthy thing to get in to. Just developing an understanding of patience is going to benefit you.
Take painting for example. Paint is wet when you use it. It has to dry. That can take quite a long time. Which also means, depending on the piece of art is that you are creating, a piece of art could take you weeks, months, or even years depending on how big and complex it is.
This means you are going to have to learn how to manage yourself and manage your time. Which is basically how you become patient. When you use art to get into this patient and growth mentality and physical state it’s just going to make you feel a lot better.
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