One of the things I often here from people is: “I wish I were talented like you”. Or “I wish I could draw, but I’m just not talented.”
When I do hear that, it is like nails on a chalkboard for me.
Do I believe that “Talent” exists?
In short, Yes. I do believe that talent exists.
In it’s purest form, in such prodigies and geniuses like Beethoven, Handel, and of course Mozart who was composing at the age of FIVE!
So yeah, ‘talent’ in its purest definition is indeed a real thing.
But! I do believe that most of us fall into a different category all together.
We’ve shown a passion for art perhaps at a young age.
We diligently copied paintings, comics, and drawings.
How many of us remember those old “Draw me” ads in the back of comic books with a turtle, bear, mouse, and pirate?
One of my very first sketchpads was filled with copied variations of those characters! Along with Spiderman, Batman and Superman of course.
So, while I do believe that “Talent” in Its purest form exists, I believe that few of us are gifted with it.
My belief is that most of us who are artistic in nature are gifted with something else…drive and passion for art, and the hunger to learn.
That last part right there. The “want to learn” is the whole enchilada.
I do believe that most things can be learned. And that includes the arts like painting, drawing, animation, inking, design, etc etc.
And I think that rubs many of my professional friends the wrong way.
Never been entirely sure of why though.
Perhaps it may have to do with believing that we as *artists* all have that rarity of *talent* (in the Mozart realm) that sets us apart from everyone else.
“Talent” as some sort of mystical thing, which only a select and kingly few have.
We all want to be a part of the ‘chosen’, right?
That’s ego my friends.
And that’s possibly why some of my artist pals get rankled. The thought that “anyone can do it”, is a sort of threat to an elite mindset.
But let me clarify something….
CAN anyone do it? (Paint, animate, draw, ink, etc)
Yes. I do believe that.
That said, many CAN’T, and WON’T because they lack the one thing that enables them to do so.
While I believe that most things can indeed be learned, I also believe that it takes not just the love and passion to do it . It also takes something else entirely . Something that may very well be the most important thing of all.
Discipline to actually sit…and invest the sheer tonnage of hours to develop your art. To improve and seek out ways and avenues to grow!
The discipline to keep from being distracted.
Without “Discipline”…you’re sure to flounder.
No matter how much you “Love” it. You won’t go anywhere. You won’t improve. And you’ll get down on yourself and simply stop doing it all together because you won’t see any improvement when you are sitting at the sketch pad, eeking out a drawing.
As I stated before, I always had a love for art. Fed by animation and a more than healthy appetite for comic books!
So I copied those characters. Over and over and over again.
All that copying enabled me to put a portfolio together. And get accepted to my first art school.
Once there…I was given my first introduction to oils.
Now…oils did NOT come easy for me. Not one bit.
Never worked in them before and found them extraordinarily frustrating.
But I put the hours in…
Put the effort in…
And learned how to do it.
Was I the best I could be in oils? Hell no.
I just didn’t have the patience for it. Found it so tedious, and time consuming. And I am one of those people that simply bores easily.
So I stopped. And never got any better with the medium.
I didn’t progress in oils like I did with drawing.
But I did learn to do it.
Later, when I went to my second art school, I studied animation. Made the decision that I wanted to pursue that as a career.
Had I ever animated before? Nope.
But I loved animation and knew I could learn it.
The art school was going through some transitions and for a time, we were without animation teachers.
So…I hunkered down. And taught myself the fundamentals. The basics. Gave myself challenges and goals.
Again…putting in the hours. Loooooong hours!!
And as a result, I have worked in the animation fields for many years. (as well as an illustrator, concept artist, character designer, for magazines, books and video games.)
I am no Mozart my friends.
I just have that ‘drive’. That want to learn. To learn what I love and to learn to do it as best I can.
Artist Chris Cayco is yet another example of someone with ‘drive’ .
Chris was a car technician. Always drew, but never pursued it on a big scale.
Until he saw an artist working the convention circuit.
He studied him.
Took notes on what they did. How they did it. How they worked the floor, and the methods they used to sell their work.
He put in the effort, worked up some insanely creative prints. And pursued his love. And now Chris works professionally as an artist, and has for over five years now.
We put up so many barriers for ourselves. Sometimes out of fear.
And sometimes out of laziness.
And many times, a combination of the two.
And then use the convenient scape goat of lack of “talent” as the excuse for our inabilities.
It isn’t about ‘talent’. It’s about time investment and discipline.
If you have that, Then you can be that artist that you know lives within your heart.
The one beating to be set free.
So, put down that smartphone. Get off of facebook. Unplug that playstation.
And stop blaming it on a lack of ‘talent’.
Proficiency lies in where you invest your time.
Thoughts or comments? Post em’ or send em’. Love to hear what ya have to say on the matter!