How have I progressed and gotten better? Hhhmmm.
As the artist, you always see your own mistakes.
But when trying to figure out WHY something doesn't look right, and you don't know.... I say by far the easiest, fastest way I've learned is following advice from other scribes. I've been really lucky to have enjoyed guidance from some truly inspirational scribes over the years!
Here are a few things off the top of my head I can remember as I learned along the way....
* I do use parchment these days rather than paper. (you never go back!)
* layout - a "long scroll" is expensive to frame and really doesn't look right.
* having used gouache (paint) the first time, I was left with big areas of boring flat colour. These days I know to "finish" the flat areas with fine scratchy strokes from an almost dry brush. For example, adding grassy texture to a plain expanse of green.
* I've used the wrong sort of one colour (it was a bright green rather than emerald) which did not go well with all the other colours.
* I have drawn/painted the people in a really cartoony way. It is OK to copy the figures (people) from medieval miniatures, this was done in period.
* Paint all straight lines with brush and ruler. I learned to do this at Art College, it is a period technique, and I'm happy to show people how it's done.
* Improved my calligraphy. Best way is, after learning the ductus from a calligraphy book to then copy an actual Hand, by searching for an "A" and copying it and then a "B" and copying it, a "C" (etc) from an actual period document not just from the calligraphy book. It takes you more time but it really works!
* Going small / miniature, as Trin mentioned.
* Not putting in collarbones on ladies. Not having the faces look like you've copied a photo of that person.
* My most recent improvement - I now use a magnifying glass and it has worked wonders!
I'm sure there are other things I could mention, but that will do for now I think.