Sometimes, it feels like no matter how hard you try, you are stuck. And that no matter how much you practice, you just can’t bring your art to the next level. It’s completely normal, but… it’s also completely possible to move past that feeling of stuckness and grow your skill.

Its completely possible to move past that feeling of stuckness and grow your skill. #howtodraw #drawingtips #drawinglessons #artiststrong

Hi, my name is Carrie and here on Artist Strong I help artists build their skill and develop their unique voice. Today I want to share the story of some of our community members and their journey with building skill. Because if these lovely humans can take a chance on themselves and try to build new skills (and succeed!), so can you.

Your first step in improving your art skill, no matter your current level is: 

Step One: Have the desire and motivation to go after what you want.

Tia Sunshine is an artist currently based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She joined our Artist Strong community several years ago and I could immediately see voice in her art. But she was eager to push herself and develop not only her unique voice, but really hone her skills as well.

Inside Self-Taught to Self-Confident (which she took twice!) the second time around she really focused on hands for some time and you can see the fruits of that labor here:



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By actively working on both of these areas in her art she now has a unique portrait service she’s begun to explore. You can see her skillful work here.

Once you have that desire combined with motivation to act, step two is it’s time to get specific. 

Step Two: Be specific in your aims.

One reason so many artists get stuck or plateau in skill development is because they aren’t as specific with their goals as they could be. Breaking down larger goals into smaller tasks and areas of focus is what can help us finally move past that plateau.

I see this regularly inside my free mini course Drawing Drills. Margaret and I had some conversation about being specific with her goals and here is the conclusion she came to:

Margaret realized that mentioning proportion and perspective alone was not quite specific enough to help her achieve her aims. However, she also realized breaking down the face into parts and working with small studies could be just the thing she needed to reach her goal.

Step Three: Find teachers that work for you

Not every teacher is right for every person. Yes, that includes me. I’m not the best fit for everyone. And it’s important that you find the teacher that is right for you. And that right for you, might also be a right for you, right now. 

Teachers have skills or knowledge you don’t, they can offer feedback that helps you see and learn those skills you struggle with, and you see results after working with them.

You can see this in some of the students who joined me for a free challenge a few years ago called Fantastic Faces in 5 Days.

You can see how much growth Kim had in 5 days here:

Before Instruction:


And also Esther.



Teachers can help you see things you couldn’t before. They open doors, encourage and push, and help you reach new levels.

That leads us to step four, which is so important when we do feel stuck in those plateaued moments.

Step Four: Be persistent, and patient

The funny part about skill building is it doesn’t always come evenly. Often, you will observe your growth in spurts. And this is true with or without teachers. There is something about skill development in the arts and our brain that leads us to different “lightbulb moments” where a flash of insight or connection uplevels our work.

Mary is a great example of this inside my program Self-Taught to Self-Confident. After a specific lesson inside the program Mary posted this:

She didn’t have big leaps in skill after every lesson. BUT, committing to showing up regularly for her skill, being open to feedback and learning, opened the door for this aha moment to occur!

Let’s pause here a moment to thank today’s sponsor. This post from Artist Strong is brought to you by The Artist Strong Studio, our community of patrons who believe in and wish to support this community. You can become part of the Artist Strong Studio for a small monthly commitment as low as 1 dollar a month. To learn more visit

A special thank you to current patrons, I couldn’t do this work without your support.

Now that you have 4 steps to guide you out of that skill plateau it’s your turn: what steps have you taken or could you start taking today to work towards the hopes you have for your art skill?

Thanks so much for watching and I’ll see you here next time on Artist Strong.