Art: How to become an artist

This is my hand sketch of the dream life I’ve always wanted. Even though I loved sketching all my life, I never went to school for it or had any professional training. 3 years ago I still just draw stick figures on Christmas cards, and I want to share my story of how I get to where I am today.

If there is something makes you forget about time, forget to eat and sleep. You are a really lucky person! And no matter what life brings you, don’t lose that.

I was that way with sketching when I was a little kid, use to sketch for my grandma’s birthday and later everyone I knew… they sorta look at me like thanks but something else will be appreciated as well. except for grandma, she always hangs them on the wall till the bird flew in. But I love doing it so much and since I thought I was good, I go paint on the school wall after school. Not only I didn’t get extra credit I had to stay late clean the wall as my punishment. Still, in my head, I was like “since when trying to beautify the environment a crime?”

It’s never too late to start from the bottom.

By bottom I mean… Look at this. Pretty bottom right. How I started on this even? IMG_2859.jpg

3 years ago, I was going through some shit. A good friend recommended me to write down 5 things to be thankful for every day to help me stay positive. As I was visualizing the moments I was thankful for, I decided to sketch them out and show my friend I took her advice seriously. She gave me great feedbacks and ask me to show her more, so this went on every day for the next few months.

Capture simple small moments in life that will stay in your memories for a long time. 

Doing my sketch journal I learned to capture simple moments that make your heart smile. And they make other people smile too. My moments came from spending time with friends, traveling somewhere, liking someone, wanting to do something and dreaming about doing them… I want my story to be colorful and pretty.

Start before you have any clue, figure it out along the way

Soi started to throw all my ideas on paper, it looks like a color explosion. But it’s easier to take things off then adding things on. I share everything I sketch to friends and family first, I can’t believe how many nice feedbacks and pieces of advice I got from them. If wasn’t for that I probably would’ve made it this far. Really if I only create and think about myself, how happy I could be.

Don’t invest money first, invest time.

I got the cheapest set of color pencils from K mart, started with that, so my stories became more colorful. I lived in an all-women dorm at that time and had quite a few close friends there, I wanted to make a book of our memories for them before they leave the city. So I moved on to this stage. Revolutionary right?


Make the decision to practice every day and stick to it. 

When I started sketching I work as an assistant designer, after about 10 hours of work and eat, work out, it’s about bedtime. But if I never push myself do it, I’d never start. we can always find the time, the matter is how bad you want it. So for the first year every night I sketch from average 10pm to 2am. sometimes later. I took my sketchbook and iPad everywhere I go on the weekend, there’s not a single day I’m not working on it.

The biggest amount of time is sourcing! Always sourcing for story ideas whenever, wherever you can.

Art to me is a capture of a moment that makes other people feel what you feel. Most moments are imagery, some moments are really really good moments you wish to share with everyone. Once I have an idea, for example, pumpkin carving with friends, I use Pinterest and instagram for sourcing whenever I had time, on the subway, an elevator, waiting in line at Chipotle, sitting on the toilet…  I have over 20 different boards on Pinterest pinned all my inspirations for the background scenery and for main characters. While sourcing for one story I often came up with new ones for later, so I keep creating new boards and new sketches. When I’m working on one idea, I usually have 5 other ideas lined up. I do the same process for fashion design, I put lots of thoughts into outfits, if the color works together, if the style fits in the scenery.

Love and Friendship is motivation. 

Looking back many moments I want to capture is about love and friendship, lots of moments came from a simple conversation during brunch. or a day in central park, or a plan we came up with a slumber party. Art came from the heart that appreciates.

Technics is not important. It’s all about feelings

Like a cup of coffee on a lazy Sunday Morning, picking up Pumpkins on a clear fall day, eating ice cream with your best friends in amusement park… your character doesn’t even have to have the right proportion (you can work on that over time), it has to make people feel warm in the heart, or ache in the soul. It needs feelings.

The time I spend on each sketch doesn’t get any shorter over time, the quality just better.

so starting from here, I developed more and more mature style over 6 months. And no secret just keep practicing every single day. It takes me 3-5 hours each sketch from the start to finish, after 3 years, still same amount, but you can really see the difference in stokes and details.  winery with friends

I will share my artwork and stories behind them along with my travels and life adventures. I hope you enjoy it and start whatever you want to archive in life TODAY.

Love, Julia

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