Incredible Before And After Photos Of Artist Progress Prove That Practice Makes Perfect

Practice makes perfect, and this is proof. If you've ever tried to draw something, you know how hard it is to put on paper what you see in your head!

These artists shared how their work has changed over time, and the differences are astounding. A lot of them started off just like you or me, but after putting in long hours of work, most of them actually became professional artists.

3 year difference.


I do life drawing 2 or three times a week and I am always drawing or designing. I think practice shouldn't be labor.

My main epiphany was that the best thing I could do was to start observing in two dimensions. Start flattening images in your head and figure out how they truly look. Disassociate any ideas about an object you have and see it as pure visual information. 


2005 (15 years old) 

2010 (20 years old).

I think I spent nearly 2 weeks doing this, submitting daily images online to forums such as I didn't really understand this year that there was an artistic ambition beyond photorealism yet.

I started working inhouse and traveling a lot, and now I work fulltime freelance in digital art.

I have some non-study original stuff over at my site: and a few more here:




I think as artists we're never completely satisfied. we always look at our work and see what could be, instead of what is. It's this incessant voice of nagging perfectionism that prods us with every piece we create, telling us it could be better. It sounds super negative, but it's actually one of the things I'm most grateful for. 

It's the reason for motivation as an artist, and when you look back on old work you see how much it pays off. Improvement is one of those things that you don't really notice until you look to the past, and because of that, it just makes you more excited for the future and to see how your work will continue to improve.


I like to write. I'm the guy who told everyone don't go to art school. Now Im traveling a lot, doing events around the globe, and painting whenever I can. Life is crazy and busy and fun.

noah bradley

Progress from about a year of drawing people at a coffee shop. I ask people if I can draw them and most of the time they say yes. I don't know the psychology of why they say yes, but they usually say yes. 

I try to ask girls around my age because guys get awkward and older women and teenagers usually don't want to be bothered.

Full album here.


Progress I've made over the past year: same lady, two different portraits. 

I originally majored in painting at a university, but switched out because I didn't learn a thing. I'd say workshops taught by professionals are much better than college classes. They are usually much cheaper, too!

It's always great to have a professional say he sees promise in your work. Since then I've just been painting every day! Just experiment with several mediums and you'll find the one that work best with your style. I started with watercolors but now use oils mainly.


Age 16

Age 19

Before I was 16 I had hardly ever drawn or painted, but I had had a lifelong interest in art nonetheless. One day I saw a drawing tablet on sale. It piqued my interest since I had no idea one could use computer that way too. 

I decided to purchase it and eventually found out they are often used for digital painting. So that's how I eventually got started in drawing and painting. I'll let the images tell the rest of the story!

Full album here.


My 2016 art progress, digital.

January (left photo) - Back when I posted my first Rey painting for a critique (on the Level Up facebook group) someone said to 'Draw what you see, not what you think you see', since then, that's what I've been doing. Seeing shapes and relative lines had a great impact on my drawings, it helped me see proportions a lot easier.

December (right photo) - I was focused on painting loosely, to get brush marking properly and to get more of that painterly look. With a lot of brushes, I had a hard time choosing which one to use so I tried to use as many brushes as I can in a piece without making it to dirty.

Full album here.


6 year difference, Carrie Underwood to Taylor Swift.

ray sampang

From 2 years old, to 25. 

marc allante

Eye drawing progress in 3 years.

I also do portraits, but I just love drawing eyes. I am self taught artist. Lots of artists draw eyes this way, without adding any details around the eye, just leaving the paper blank. I personally think it looks better that way and it's more eye-catching and somehow it pops out of the page.


2 years difference, using the same reference.

Joma Tuazon

This is my drawing progress from 2007 when I was in grade seven until 2012 (grade twelve).

I used to draw a lot more, sometimes doing as many as three portraits a week, but since I started university I just don't have the time anymore. 

I prefer to do fairly close up portraits, as I really like to emphasize the eyes. Also, for the most part, I try to avoid complex hair (like extreme curls) because it is very time consuming to make it realistic. And YouTube is a wonderful place to watch time lapse drawings, I spend quite a lot of time there. Watching how other artists work, I find vey helpful.


10 years of improvement - same character.


Self portraits, 16 years difference.


13 years progress of an eye.


My little sister's whale, compared to her now.


1 year of difference.

From 2005 to 2016.

Two self portraits I drew from 10 years apart, age 13 and 23.

Consistency with drawing everyday and a solid amount of community support online helped me improve. There was this awesome art forum back in 2006 called, it still exists actually but it was something special back then. Otherwise I went to an 'atelier' style program instead of university and spent a lot of time drawing from life. If you're interested in the work I do outside of studies, its mostly surreal pencil stuff, best place to look is probably my Instagram @miles_art

Drawing is fun but I get that it can be very frustrating, the most important thing is not to stop.


Came across a very old original character of mine and wanted to redraw him.

Fun fact: I was 17 years old in 2005. I never drew anything before 2005 (I mean, aside from kid doodles). 2005 was the year I joined Deviantart, and it actually inspired me to start drawing. That, plus I started writing around that time, too, and wanted to draw the characters I saw in my head.

And yes, the first one was supposed to be a cat creature but I couldn't draw cat snouts. 

I tried to keep it true to the original as far as proportion (tiger legs in front, cheetah in back). 


From 2012 to 2016.


My 7 year progress on digital painting. After I knew that you could earn a living doing art, I probably studied art for at least 7 hours a day trying to build mileage!


Age 12

Age 18.

I'm an animation student so a majority of my work nowadays is storyboarding and rough animations, which aren't quite as fun to look at.


My drawing progress. Hopefully I'll still get better!




I have been drawing since I was very young, but not frequently. Mostly fanart. I thought it would be fun to show 10 years of learning to draw portraits.

I just recently started doing commissioned work. Did a portrait for a music video I directed, and a few gifts. I want to try to pursue portraiture commissions.


Quotes may have been edited for the sake of clarity.

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