Want to pick up a new hobby? How about something artistic? Whether you are naturally talented at drawing, dancing, acting or playing an instrument, everyone can tap into their creative side. Luckily, Miami is a great place to begin your art journey with a little help from the staff at Distraction to get you on the right beginning track. Here is the simplest way to start your art journey.
Art is best described as the expression of manifesting your imagination in a visual medium. It sounds fancy, but it’s really not that hard. Whether you were that creatively-gifted kid or are a complete newbie, everyone is capable of making art. However, art isn’t just relative to drawing and painting; singing, dancing, playing instruments, acting and more all make up the arts.
There are plenty of resources available to get creative, and the University of Miami serves as a hub to unleash that creativity. UM offers various art and music classes that explain how to make your own, or even the history behind some styles if that’s more your speed. So, if you’re interested in learning about how to get started in the arts, you’re in the right place.
To start drawing, just find a pencil, a sheet of paper, and move your wrists. Doodling — whether on scratch paper or the corner of your calculus notebook — can help you practice the basics of drawing such as composition and stroke.
However, suppose you don’t want to have your notebooks filled with miscellaneous scribbles and that one anime eye you keep making, and you want to take your drawings to the next level. Luckily there are plenty of stores around that sell art supplies. Michaels is one of the largest arts and crafts stores in U.S. which offers an excess of art supplies. The best part about Michaels is that their products are typically on sale and their online store offers a variety of deals so you don’t break the bank.
Amazon is currently the largest online retailer that sells thousands of art items from a bunch of different artistic suppliers, sometimes at an even lower price. When looking for art supplies, it’s important to note that higher-quality items tend to be more expensive, but you don’t have to purchase a $100 marker set or a $50 inking pen to create wonderful artwork. A mechanical pencil and a $6 sketchbook work fine, especially if you’re just starting out.
Sometimes, you don’t even need a pencil and paper to create art. If you have an iPad with a compatible stylus, you can easily start out with digital art. Digital art has taken TikTok and Youtube by storm with their visually-pleasing speedpaints.
Arianna Nicolas, vice president of the Black Student Creatives, is a digital artist as well as a character designer. She began drawing as a kid from watching cartoons and, as she got older, turned to online resources to refine her craft, and is currently a character designer for the interactive media program for a faculty-run game.
However, Nicolas mentions that as she got older, more responsibilities took her away from art.
“Only this year I’ve set aside my responsibilities a bit to focus on my art,” said Nicolas.
Drawing is a great way to temporarily escape the stressors of life. Instead of letting responsibilities separate you and your art, use drawing as a way to release stress.
They say that while art is what we use to decorate space, music is what we use to decorate time. If you find yourself wanting to explore that passion we have a bunch of resources here on campus. UM has a renowned musical school, the Frost School of Music, home to many of the best musically gifted talents.
Sydney Myers, a Frost School student, has been singing since she was three and grew up in the middle of a musically-oriented family and is a music aficionado.
“I love music, I find it hard that some people don’t listen or like music,” said Myers.
If you find yourself wanting to take up an instrument, the good news is the internet has millions of apps and tutorial videos everywhere to help you get started. From bass guitars, bassoons, piano and the piccolo, you can find a decent YouTube playlist to help teach you basic chords and even some rudimentary songs. Though if you prefer a more traditional approach nearby on campus, both Guitar Center and School of Rock offer lessons to help. Just reach out on their websites for inquiries.
The downside is that purchasing instruments can be expensive.
Acoustic guitars average around $100–$200 while electric guitars can cost anywhere from $200–$2000. Brands also play a big role in pricing; obviously, the higher-quality the instrument is, the more expensive it’ll be. You can always opt for a cheaper alternative, like the Ukulele or a recorder.
Kayla McIntyre, a composition and jazz studies major, started playing guitar at age 12 and even played in a house band called Okay Kenedi for several years.
“Music can be expensive,” said McIntyre. “I have seven guitars — I bought two — but my father bought three and my uncle gave me one, and I won one in a contest.”
Much like how there is a digital counterpart to drawing, music has the same. Self -composing is the use of visual software to create beats from vocal or instrumental samples and other sounds. It is nothing new, but with the rise of lo-fi music these last few years and the popularity of Digital Audio Workstation like Audacity, FL Studio and Adobe Audition, there are ways to turn small ditties into producer level pieces. If playing an instrument is not your forte, perhaps producing music digitally can be better since it is a great way to make something tangible out of your singing.
Kalia Spearman is a sophomore music business major, as well as an artist and songwriter. She composes her own music and is currently doing an internship at AudioVision and learning audio engineering and administrative work.
“I love harmonies,” said Spearman. “I love stacking up vocals to make pretty harmonies. Sometimes, I mute the background just to listen to the harmonies — it’s so good!”
To get motivated, she starts with listening to beats, freestyling and composing from the ground up.
Fortunately, some DAW programs either offer a free trial or are completely free. And with the upswing of independent artists, thanks to Spotify and SoundCloud, anyone is capable of producing music — but it may take some time to make it stick.
words_tamia mclean. illustration_isa márquez. design_nina d’agostini.
This article was published in Distraction’s Winter 2022 print issue.
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