Elli Maanpää

Animated Painter

How To Learn Art // Elli Maanpää Art 2018

How To Learn Art

How to learn art when you’re a self taught artist? You don’t necessarily need an art school to improve your art skills. Today I share my tips, tricks and resources how to self study art to become better at drawing and painting.

See my video How to Learn Art – On Your Own in my Elli Maanpää Art channel.


I recommend visiting regularly local galleries and museums. Usually every museum has these free days – like the first Thursday of the month. Check their website to find the free days and go in with your sketchbook.


This way you don’t have an excuse not to draw daily.


If you have artist friends organise get-togethers. You can either draw each other or sit in a café and draw passer-byes. It’s great way to spend time together AND practise.


I recommend taking photographs yourself. Not only your own photos are great reference material that no-one else has. But also it’s a great way of learning about the composition and lighting. What makes a photograph good can be the same thing as what makes an art work good.


It’s great idea to follow art channels in social media. Find the artist and the works you’re most inspired by. Then really look at those works – analyse what is it in that particular piece that makes you like it so. You can also make study – but don’t post that without giving the credit to the original artist. This is a great way of finding your niche, you’re style.

Two 5 min & 1 min bird sketch // How To Learn Art // Elli Maanpää Art 2018

Two 5 min & 1 min bird sketch // How To Learn Art // Elli Maanpää Art 2018


I know you’ve heard this before – but to get better at anything – you need to practise. That applies to art too.

It’s a good idea to take out your calendar and mark down  when you can practise. It can be half an hour every morning or only on weekends. Whenever is good fit for you.

If you scheduled it in, it’s easier to make consistent effort. And practise more likely becomes a habit


Remember you don’t need the most expensive materials to practise. I use regularly old envelopes and an IKEA pencil to doodle. If the sketch turns out nice I cut it out and tape it to my sketchbook.


YouTube is full of great channels that you can learn art from. One that I follow is Proko. They have amazing tutorials on drawing human anatomy and caricatures.


Also Pinterest is great if you looking for a specific thing.


Another GREAT site that I’ve mentioned before is Line-of-Action.com

There you can practise Figure, Animal, Portrait and Hands and Feet drawing. I especially love the class mode -feature. This is amazing when you only have a half an hour to practise you can just turn it on and you get an intense half an hour of drawing.

The bird drawings on this post are sketches I did with the animal 30 minute class.

10 min bird sketch // How To Learn Art // Elli Maanpää Art 2018

10 min bird sketch // How To Learn Art // Elli Maanpää Art 2018


Libraries are the heaven. You don’t need to own the books to learn from them. I borrow books from library for learning a certain techniques and also just for inspiration and ideas.


Because everything doesn’t always go as smoothly as we hope for  it’s great to have mentors that have made it to the top. But who honestly tell how hard it can sometimes be.

My favourite mentors at the moment are Andy J. Pizza and his Creative Pep Talk podcast. And also Bobby Chiu’s channel in Youtube.


This is probably the hardest one when you don’t have teachers around. Where to get critique on your art?

I think most important thing is to train your own eye. It’s usually that our taste evolves faster than our skills. It helps if you put the drawing away for a couple of days – and then look at it again. Also try to look the art work from super far, upside down and trough a mirror. That way you might spot the errors yourself. But it’s still pretty damn hard to give honest and helpful critique to oneself.

There is facebook groups dedicated to drawing or painting where you can ask fellow members to give feedback on your works. Another option is to go to Quora and ask critique there on your art.

1 min bird sketch // How To Learn Art // Elli Maanpää Art 2018

1 min bird sketch // How To Learn Art // Elli Maanpää Art 2018

That was list of my tips and resources. I’d love to hear yours. You can comment in YouTube or Instagram or Facebook. Have an awesome week. See you next Tuesday. Inspire and be inspired!