Tip File: 10 Ways to Avoid Clichéd Art

Wildlife artist David N. Kitler strives to keep his art fresh by breaking up the standard composition—working with multiple images and views of his subject.

Harpy Eagle—Talons (graphite and acrylic, 20×36, 4.75×32.75) by David N. Kitler

His work is featured in the April 2011 issue of The Artist’s Magazine. The following is a free excerpt from the feature article, “Not a Factory Job.”

10 Ways to Avoid Clichéd Art

  1. Don’t always opt for the cute or marketable subject.
  2. Travel to where your subject is. Experience its environment.
  3. Take time to observe and learn about your subject.
  4. Don’t work exclusively from photo references.
  5. Gather information with field observations and sketches. Keep a journal.
  6. Put aside grids, projecting and tracing—draw freehand!
  7. Experiment with different styles, media, tools and formats.
  8. Play with various compositions, viewing angles and light sources.
  9. Offer the world something not already rendered a thousand times before.
  10. Paint for your own satisfaction and artistic expression.

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