When you are ready to start drawing or painting the most important thing you can do to improve you work is to continuously look at your subject. If you are drawing the figure or a bowl of fruit you need to look for connections. How does the hand connect to the arm? How does the arm connect to the body? Or how does the apple connect to the bowl? How does the wine bottle connect with the table? Work with a live model or with real still life objects in front of you if you can. Adjust the lighting on your subject, so that it appears in front of you the way you want it to look in your finished work. This way you can concentrate on making your image look the way it should, rather than having to change the lighting in your paper or canvas.
After looking for connections, lightly block in your image first, before adding details. Add the details last. If you are painting block in your colors, look for the high-lights and low-lights. Paint them the way that you see them. Do not worry about what your friends or your teachers may think. Add the details that you see, but so not stop. If your image is coming out that way that you want it to that is great. If it is not working, do not be quick to abandon your work. Practice will not make you perfect, but practice will make you better.
The more work you do the better your work will be. You learn by doing. Reading, studying and looking is important, but the best thing you can do to improve is draw and paint. Then draw and paint some more…
Working with a model
Play calm-soothing music: Rock music is fun, but this is not the time to rock out. Jazz or classic will help everyone to concentrate better and set a tone for productivity – which will result in better paintings or drawings.
Keep your model warm: Even if your body temperature is comfortable your model is nude and may be cold. Consider placing a space heater near where the model is posing.
Keep your model hydrated and fed: Have a bottle of water for the models during breaks and ask if he or she has eaten recently. It may seem obvious to the average person to eat, but I once had a model that was doing a standing pose lean over and nearly topple over. She was caught by another artist, before she hit the table. We found out later that she had not eaten all day as she was a young college student who was concerned about her weight and did not want to appear heavy in any of the drawing we might make of her. The ironic part is that many artists find it more enjoyable to draw someone with some ‘meat’ on their bones. If a model is to skinny they are less fun to draw.
Keep your model comfortable: You will ask your model to sit (or stand or lay or whatever) for long periods of time. Make sure that you have good props; chairs, stools, blankets, pillows, etc.
Pay the model: You expect to be paid for your work. Naturally you should pay those who assist you in doing you work. Of course, we can work from photos, but it is not the same as having a live model, whom you can direct to sit exactly as you wish. $15 or $20 an hour is a decent fee. If the model is sitting for several artists it should be expected that the artists will split the fee and pay a higher hourly rate.
If the model works for free, compensate him with a drawing or dinner or something - he is doing you a favor.
Of course your model should be tipped (But NEVER flirted with see below).
A good model should:
* Sit or stand perfectly still. * Be calm and relaxed. * Hold a pose with out shaking or swaying. * Be professional.
Do Not Flirt with your models (or let any one else do it) while they are working. They are working and vulnerable. It is your job to protect them and make sure they have a good experience. (If the model has a good experience you will, too. This will result in better work and more collaboration.)