Taking Your Art to The Next Level in 2015!

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Famously said by many, “Ninety percent of success is showing up.” How true it is about a soul killing combination: looking at what our own first efforts in any endeavor, particularly art, result in, and then looking at the works of far more experienced artists. Giving up always seems the logical, if panicked, next artistic decision. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Art is as much a healing agent and a magical journey for the artist as it is for those who remain appreciative onlookers. You just have to decide to live for yourself in making the dream a reality. You must take these words to heart and just get started. The key to success is always to have finally, resolutely, begun.

Our deviant artist in the Netherlands, Suzanne (aka Suzanne-Helmigh), has even set down an inspirational checklist to help you keep the 2015 New Year’s resolutions you may already be considering abandoning. Don’t do it! Join Suzanne in re-dedicating yourself to truly being the artist you want be and creating the art you want to create. The next time you feel like giving up, consider the words once penned by a pretty good writer, and just imagine what you might be missing in quitting…

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

— William Shakespeare

Written By

I am taking my art to the next level in 2015, so who's with me?  I want to fall in love with art all over again.  Going through the painful process of growth as the art-bones stretch and your creativity gets set loose after wondering if you had any creativity at all!  2015 marks a new year and a new start, so make the most of it and don't start it unprepared!  Here follows a list of things I'd like to do in 2015. You could call it a bucket-list. You can copy mine or make your own, but this might give you some ideas for yourself.

01. Going through all the fundamentals all over again

It has been a few years since I have studied any fundamentals and they seem to be lost somewhere in a dusty corner of my brain. I will buy: books, videos, classes and I will study by drawing or painting with the knowledge I get from these.  After doing so, I will discuss the topics with some fellow artist friends and see if they have feedback or perhaps anything to add that I might have missed. Here is a list of fundamentals I'll be going through.

  • Composition.
  • Perspective.
  • Light.
  • Shape.
  • Painting techniques.
  • Story telling through imagery.

02. Inspire and nurture creativity

I don't take this lightly, because without inspiring yourself, your creativity-flame will dim down and might die out completely. Having to reboot your creativity completely can take you much longer, so always keep that flame going!

  • With books.
  • With trips.
  • With quick sketches.... lots of them!.
  • By doing things I'd normally shy away from.

03. Banish negativity

I cannot think of anything more distracting and destructive than negativity. These last few months I've really been underestimating myself and starting to grow a big dislike towards anything I've painted.  At the same time I seem to have developed a very jealous nature of anyone for whom art comes easy and instead of getting inspired by those people, I felt myself a lesser artist. No more! It's time to prove to myself that I can do anything I want to.  I'll be ditching a lot of chronically negative people and will spend less time on social media.

04. Make a dream come true

Now this one will be very different for each individual, but I have a list of things that I dream of achieving. I will give it my full 100% to achieve at least one of these dreams in 2015.

The dreams that I achieved in 2014 were:

  • Going to a big art event (Industry workshops London)
  • Getting a job as a concept artist in a AAA gamestudio.
  • Being a guest speaker at an art event (Comic Con).

Possible dreams to chase in 2015:

  • Working for Wizards of the coast.
  • Going to another big art event ( Another comic con, Trojan horse was a Unicorn, Industry workshop, Bali workshop etc.)
  • Taking an online class.
  • Getting published in an artbook.
  • Getting the first book of Caldyra finished.
  • Taking a trip to a far away country (New Zealand, Indonesia, America, Australia, to name a few.)

05. Being a good example for others

This is something I still hope to be. I love helping other artists whenever I can. Seeing them grow and make amazing things is the best!  So there will be more journals and more Livestreams. I will also try to be the best person I can be and not be a negative factor in other people's lives.

06. Making hundreds of sketches and at least 5 glorious pieces

These 5 glorious pieces will have to be completely finished and of the highest quality I can achieve.  I tend to call something finished rather quickly and post it online. But my plan now is to wait at least 30 days before posting it when I think it's done. That way I will have some good time left to find anomalies to correct. Failing will be a big part of this. If I'm not happy even after 30 hours spent on a piece, I will just scrap it any try again. That's why the hundreds of sketches are so important. I will not settle for anything less.

Let me know if you know any other cool things that inspire! And of course if you must create your own list and what's in it!

Interview with Suzanne-Helmigh


Did you ever reach that point where you decided to just give up on being an artist? If so, what got you back on track?

I think those moments that you nearly give up on art are part of a natural artist cycle, we all get them now and then. The fact that you feel that way doesn't always mean that you WILL give up on art. I've had it myself many times. It's usually when my expectations and vision are much higher than my current skill and my tendency to compare myself with the achievements of my idols can highly de-motivate me. It's those exact same things that also bring me back into art too. Being inspired by other people's artwork as well as realizing my personal growth and yet achieved endeavors. No one can ever completely give up on art if it's in your nature.


Perfectionism is often an artistic block suffered by those who can more highly appreciate the genius in other artists’ work and let that critical ability diminish their own work in their own eyes. Do you think you might sometimes be experiencing this?

Perfectionism can be a good and bad characteristic at the same time. I'm not sure if I see myself as a perfectionist as I never fail to see flaws in my own work (unless that is a perfectionist trade?) But I'm quite alright leaving my work flawed and happy to move on to the next idea. Not every artwork has to be a finished one, it's often the unfinished ones that function as a stepping stone towards improving your artwork. I think perfectionism can be a bad influence if it makes you believe that your work is never good enough and keeps you from trying in the first place. Be brave enough to fail many times and your artwork will become perfect at it's own pace.


How important is the friendship and support of other artists like those of the global DeviantArt community in helping artists maintain their course toward personal success and helping them not fall prey to depression or defeatism?

For me this is of high importance! When I started out in art I did not have any artistic friends and later found them through social media like Deviantart. Deviantart played a big role in my finding friends, as well as long term relationships. This awesome community encourages and inspires me on a daily basis, Deviantart is always open in my browser and I keep up with most of my watchers.

In 2010 I met my boyfriend (TitusLunter) through Deviantart and we've been a couple ever since. He keeps on inspiring me and looking back at 2010 it seems like my skills made a huge jump forward. The great thing of being very social with other artists is that they can give you feedback, encouragement and serve as a shoulder to lean on while suffering from the usual artistic drama's.


Is there one work of art that inspires you more than any other to keep your artistic dreams alive?

Not sure if it can count as 'One work of art' But while working fulltime for Sony Guerrilla and various freelance clients, I do get the need to work on something I can call my own completely. I'm working on my own (art) novel called Caldyra. This will be my biggest artwork yet. It will be a book that's a mix between a graphic novel and an concept art book. Building a fictional world from the ground up, with rules, cultures, history, flora, fauna, architecture and so on, all evolving around a story ark with fantastical characters is quite the artwork indeed and incredibly challenging. This personal project keeps me happy and serves as my favorite artistic outlet.

Your Thoughts

  1. Do you have any tried and true tips and tricks for staying motivated and on course throughout the year?
  2. Which artists or art appreciators in the DA community are a part of your artistic support system?

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BlackrockLegacies's avatar
in the idea that somebody else would come to know the rest of what you're talking about, I think it's a lot more important to note how changing the algorithm on deviantart isn't very friendly, when you're not using the same font as everybody else, BlackrockLegacies. How dare I... On a different note, I really love the pencil markings on some of those drawings above, there, on the, picture