Illustration by
Olga Epikhina
Illustration by
Olga Epikhina

10 Resolutions for Illustrators and Artists to Stick to in 2021

This is Brush Up Mag’s guide to refreshing your artistic mindset for 2021

A new year, filled with the promises of new beginnings, is finally here! If you  are struggling with preparing a list of resolutions for 2021, we’ve got you covered. Here is a list of 10 ideas to spark your creativity when creating your personal resolutions.

1. Build a habit of daily drawing practice

Both beginners and established professionals who have mastered the basics, will benefit from regular drawing practice routines. Victoria Semykina, a professionally trained artist and illustrator participated in drawing 365 project a couple of years ago, where she set herself an ambitious goal of creating and posting a good drawing each day of the year. This practice, as exhausting as it was at times, gave her artistic skills and her social media presence(a nice side effect) a considerable boost.

Sketch by Victoria Semykina

If you are not sure what to draw, here are some ideas for you: document your experiences in a diary, draw one subject in a different way every day,  practice observational drawing and drawing from memory, try a new technique every month, copy great artists and illustrators trying to deconstruct their style and techniques. 

If you are still not sure how to build regular drawing practice and have a hard time committing, join an initiative online (for instance, at Brush Up Club, we explore a new artistic theme each month and have at least 3 online drawing sessions  with fun exercises).

2. Reach out to the people from the community and mingle

Nothing boosts artistic confidence and inspiration more than mingling with like-minded professionals, getting useful advice, looking at portfolios and sharing know-hows. Check out art and illustrators meet ups in your area, reach out to people on Instagram and Twitter, go to an online or hopefully soon offline drawing event.

3. Collaborate with other creatives

Collaborating with other creatives is very beneficial to the parties involved in terms of getting a new perspective on creative processes, exposure to a new audience and exploring different creative horizons. Collaborating is also like having a running buddy: you motivate each other,  have one more reason to make it on time to the finish line.

4. Get back to drawing basics

It’s always a good idea to refresh your basics!  Here is a little list of useful drawing basics courses for artists and illustrators:

5. Participate in illustration for good cause project

The world is facing major problems today. Climate change, global pandemic, systematic racism, poverty, military conflicts. And even though as artists and illustrators we can’t work on solving the problems, like good magicians, we have a great power at our disposal that we can use to contribute to their solution. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, we can illustrate to attract attention, provide food for thought, visualise and explain complex issues in a comprehensive and simple way for the majority to understand and take action. Pick a local or global charity initiative and contact them offering your help. Create a series of works supporting Fridays for Future. Create your own campaign selling your work and donating the money to a good cause. An example of such initiative: last year Sunday Sketching Berlin had a paid painting workshop donating all the money to the charities in Australia supporting relief efforts after the devastating bush fires in 2019/20.

Sunday Sketching workshop

6. Make a bold move

Make a list of at least 20 companies, magazines, agencies, galleries or publishing houses you’ve always wanted to work with. Send your work to all of them! You can also send them greeting cards with your signature work and best wishes.

7. Organise an exhibition of your work

Don't wait for galleries to come to you with an offer to exhibit your work, but take the matter into your own hands instead! There are so many possibilities you can explore: create an online gallery, organise a home exhibition and make a live stream or invite all your friends once the quarantine is over. Print a catalogue of your work and send to all of your clients.

8.  Sell your work

If you haven't done it until now, make 2021 the year when you start selling your work online. If you are not ready to stock up your own merchandise, try print on demand platforms like Redbubble or Society6. Or create your own shop with Shopify or Squarespace and integrate a print on demand service like Printful. The good thing about print on demand is that you can really be experimental when it comes to the designs you sell. You can create pieces specifically for your store, upload them to your product range, and simply see what sticks. If you don't make any sales, you have the option to take that piece down and replace it with something else, with nothing lost.

9. Visit a fair or a larger art or illustration event

Big events like Off Festival, Pictoplasma, international book fairs like Bologna Book Fair, renowned comic book festivals like Fumetto and Comic Con are a huge source of inspiration and an opportunity to hang out with accomplished artists, illustrators, designers and publishers. Last year some of the events were conveniently held online (so that you could watch the talks in the comfort of the home), this year is still young and hopefully soon we'll be able to travel and visit the events in person. Pick an event and plan your visit, and I can promise you that it'll become the highlight of your year!

10. Take part in competitions

Participating in art and illustrations competitions is always very useful for artists and illustrators. Pick competitions you would like to try out. We have prepared an article for you with a list of competitions we recommend checking out. Study the winners and the shortlisted works of the previous years, try to figure out for yourself why they have been selected. Keep your findings in mind when you pick or create the artworks to send in. In case you win or get shortlisted, it'll mean a substantial boost for your career in terms of new clients and more audience checking out your work. And if you don't, don't get upset, just pick another competition and try again!

We wish you a healthy, happy and creative year!


Olga Epikhina

Olga is a commercial illustrator from Russia currently living in Berlin, Germany. She firmly believes in the circulation of ideas and collaboration with like-minded creatives. Olga works with a range of analog and digital media.

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