Practice, Practice, Practice.
You have all probably heard the phrase “practice makes perfect” a hundred times before, but how many people actually take it to heart? I see and hear so many comments and excuses about NOT being able to draw certain things, it is astounding! Phrases like “oh, I can’t draw hands” or “eww, I am sooo bad at horses” are commonplace, but only sometimes do I see people taking the steps to actually become better. I feel that many people give up on improving. Instead of putting the time into their issues, they carry on doing what they feel comfortable with.
10,000 hours is supposedly the amount of hours of practice to become an expert at something. Not just “good”, but expert. This is discussed in the book “Outliers”, which is an interesting book by Malcolm Gladwell. The book is largely about the factors that contribute to high level of success, and often mentions something he calls the “10,000-Hour-Rule”. He claims the key to high levels of success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for around 10,000 hours.
Many examples are brought up that seem to explain away to idea of “natural talent”, and instead prove that people who practice the most are in fact the most talented. It is an interesting read and I would recommend it!
Just do it!
Now, I am not trying to say that to become good at something, you need to practice for 10,000 hours. That is not the point. Besides, becoming good at something is much, much different than becoming an “expert!” The point is that to become a better artist, you need to actually draw and practice. To become stronger in an area in which you are weak, practice is needed. Practice practice practice, etc etc. Instead if fearing the unknown, why now take the time to learn? Yes, it may be confusing and a little frustrating, but the end result will be worthwhile.
Do you have difficulty drawing hands? Then stop hiding your characters hands behind their backs or keeping them out of frame, and spend a few days studying them! Make yourself a goal of drawing a certain number if them on scratch paper or a drawing pad, then go to town. I guarantee that anyone who has spent the time to study and draw, say, 100 disembodied hands in various poses and gestures will be much more comfortable with that particular part of the human body.
The same idea goes for other common difficulties. Some personal “toughies” for me are perspective, clothing, gesture/weight, mechanical things, and dramatic lighting. There are a great deal more items on my “needs improvement” list besides those, but they scratch the surface.
The only way for me to improve is to puff up my chest and plow forward into the possible discomfort and frustration of attempting to learn what I do not fully understand.