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  • Nikki Dee

4 Art Rules That Need to be Broken


Who is this "They" and why are they always telling us what to do?


Many of us know the bones of what is important in our lines of art. Writers must understand how to build relatable characters, potters must learn when to use slip, vocalists learn to know their range, and visual artists know how vital composition is to the entire piece.


The best creators also know that pushing boundaries and testing those rules are key to making unique, adventurous and risky advancements in their field. So what are some of the excess rules that we might forget to and should break freely?


1. You shouldn’t trace. You can find muscle memory a part of every kind of art from dancing to baking: the pressure applied to your pen tip to create the thickness of lines, the awareness of the diaphragm during song, and even the thumb smacking the spacebar between all these words. These are all things we can "trace" by studying, learning, copying and repeating. Art stores literally sell tracing supplies because lots of people need it and use it in a step of the entire process. And before you ask-yes, even professionals use tracing paper and projectors. Can you imagine cooking every meal straight from scratch without knowing which foods go well together? It would be exhausting! So "trace" the masters, break down the shape of the body into tiny circles on the page, recreate famous recipes and know that all of us who are offering to pass on our learned knowledge through books, vlogs and blogs like these want you to learn something new. Give credit where credit is due and know that you will eventually feel strong enough to make your own art.

2. Real artists paint on an upright canvas. Why? This is by far the most infuriating pattern I see by many. No one cares if you need to turn it sideways to get the edge just right. Often our hand coordination works best in certain ways. You probably know that you naturally draw better pulling the pen toward you or swinging it away from you. It's okay to lay your paper or canvas flat, too. Would you believe the painting featured with this post started completely upside down? If dancers can start their song by laying on the floor, and writers can write novels on their cell phone notes then so can we, damn it.

3. It needs to look like the real thing. Understanding how things actually look is very important in art. However, I'll bet you a wad of cash your underwear doesn't have photographs of the former Rulers of England on it. They probably have some cool pattern of squiggly hearts or cartoon Spiderman. Humans love an unimaginably wide array of art, we continue to strive for new ways to see things and put them together constantly. Your art style is welcome to find its audience. So let go of perfect replication if it makes you stressed, self critical and doubtful of your ability. If you really want to get crisp perfection and exact replication without going crazy then take up Photography. That's what cameras are for.

4. Finger painting is for toddlers, Hip-Hop is only for the streets, and Polaroids are old news. Many fall for the trap of thinking oil is the best paint, ballet is the highest form of dance and real bakers have a Kitchen-Aid mixer. We attach certain brands, certain styles and certain elements in creation to a mature or professional stance, but this is far from the truth. Writers probably know this best- look at how many millions of books have been sold to all ages about an 11 year old boy scarred by his past and terrified of his future? I'm referencing Harry Potter of course. Want to know how wrong this degrading though process is? Check out finger-painter Iris Scott whose paintings go for upwards of $10,000. Check out the Chicago Multicultural Dance Center dancers who flex their classic ballet shoes to modern hip hop music. Check out Marco Christian Kren's video about taking polaroids and embroidering them with yarn. Your art is valid, get crazy kid!


So how about it? Did these strike a nerve of some rules you didn't know you were sticking yourself with? What other one's come to mind and how can other's learn from it? Let me know in the comments below!


As always, thank you for reading and if this post as been meaningful or useful or even just entertaining, please give the little heart on this page a click. Every "like" and "love" help me know what's meaningful and important.



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