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Talent is Earned

I get it. There are some people out there that do have some extreme capabilities right out of the womb, but this is targeted to those who are average joes, who think they can’t do things that a person with ‘Talent’ can.

Let’s start by defining the word ‘Talent’. According to dictionary.com it states

tal·ent  [tal-uhimageimagent]

noun

1. a special natural ability or aptitude: a talent for drawing.

2. a capacity for achievement or success; ability: young men of talent.

3. a talented person: The cast includes many of the theater’s major talents.

4. a group of persons with special ability: an exhibition of water colors by the local talent.

5. Movies and  Television. professional actors collectively, especially star performers.

This definition, in my opinion, is misused when said to me. Because to me it implies that what I do, is specially natural to me and it comes easy. But the truth is, it did not come easy. I fucking worked for it.

I was the music kid when I was growing up. When I started to play guitar I was around 15 years old, and acquired a good skill at it by practicing day after day for 5-6 years. I deserved to be good at it, and I was. Then when that career path seemed grim I tried my hand at normal jobs, like retail, and even plumbing. Eventually I decided that I wanted to work in video games and went to an art school majoring in programming. That’s right programming. I had no portfolio for art, nor was I any good at it. I was just as good as any kid who can trace anime. Which I can do. But saw that art was a much more creative, and interesting path to go down. So I switched.

You see, once I decided that I wanted to be a concept artist, I became a concept artist. It didn’t matter that I was bad, being bad is only a reflection of my lack of training and knowledge. So what do you do, when you lack the training and knowledge. You go get it, and there is no easy way around it. It’s a grind, and always will be a grind.

So I began to grind. (not the dance)

I spent 10-12 hours a day painting, drawing, learning, studying, applying, teaching, and reaching towards my goal. One goddamn inch at a time. I did this for 1-2 years and landed my first few jobs in the industry.

And to this day I study like no other, and practice all the time. So I’m going on 7 years of practice and acquiring knowledge full time. So I deserve to be good. Everyone knows this, the problem is nobody does it. When it comes to health everyone knows that to lose weight you have to eat right and exercise, but they always look for the six pack abs program done in 2 weeks. It’s the same with art. You have to digest solid information and practice constantly to become an accomplish artist. No one is accountable for your abilities other than your self. Funny thing about excuses, they work. Excuses are a great way of getting away from working hard. To me, because something is hard to do, is no excuse not to do it. If this is what you want to do, start doing it.

When people ask what did I do to become the artist I am today, I answer with, “I studied and painted a lot for 7 years straight.” People already know this answer but yet that’s not the answer they are looking for.

You may think that it was easy for me to practice and study. Nope. I have failed on so many occasions and keep making mistakes to this day. The difference is I don’t care if my studies or my practice sucks. It’s supposed to, that’s why I do it. If it didn’t suck then I’m not learning or forcing myself to seek new and improved solutions to my problems. When I post stuff it’s the stuff that didn’t suck. I have 100x more images that are complete garbage. So don’t worry about being bad now, because it doesn’t last if you work for it.

To you it may look like magic, but to me, it’s so transparent. My talent, was earned. And yours can be too.

Good Luck,
AJ

  • Listening to: Music
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  • Watching: Movies
  • Playing: Games
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Water
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:iconrustymeathook:
RustyMeathook Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Just discovered your work man. Its amazing, especially considering your story getting here. I think, the most inspiring thing would be to be able to see examples of your early work. It probably doesn't exist anymore, but yeah. Anyways, this is all true, and thanks for all this!
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:icondreamkeeperarts:
DreamKeeperArts Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2014
This is solid advice, and I thank you for it.
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:iconpauljs75:
pauljs75 Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
It's true it takes a lot of work, practice, and effort to be exceptional at whatever you do. However some people do have an aptitude to level up much quicker than average in some key areas. Thus there is still some truth that certain talents do have innate qualties as well. This is because most people do gravitate towards what comes easy for them.

The only caveat to the "natural talent" aspect is that some people also plateau at certain points or even have burn-out. If you're used to getting a lot of result for a smaller amount of effort and it suddenly peters out, that can throw you off a bit if you're not used to progression being difficult or at least time-intensive.
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:iconkonohanaz:
Konohanaz Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
beautiful 
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:icondannycanary14:
dannycanary14 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2014
I didn't even have to see your artwork to see that your passion allows you to create beautiful things. Today I was inspired, thank you for the message and Know that i will continue to be watching your spaceFacepalm !!Clap 
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:iconlordnetsua:
LordNetsua Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
So good! You're such an inspiration man, have been buying so many of your Gumroad tutorials! Thanks so much for sharing all your wisdom.
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:iconizzy-draws:
Izzy-Draws Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student General Artist
Thanks for writing this man. I turned 35 this year and decided that I wanted to learn how to draw and draw well. It's been aggravating to say the least - so far - but I am determined. Reading this has been inspiring and I will push on. Great entry!
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:icongiselleukardi:
giselleukardi Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2014   Digital Artist
I agree completely. Nobody is great at anything immediately (at least no one I know of), but with a bit of drive, a passion to learn, and a great deal of hard work, we can be good at just about anything.

Great read! Thank you for this. :huggle:
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:iconnoxmoony:
Noxmoony Featured By Owner Edited Aug 7, 2014  Student Filmographer
SO true omg, thank you for writing this! Very very well written. Totally inspiring!
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:iconsissadora:
Sissadora Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thank you. I needed to read this. :)

Now to clear my own internal excuses for not drawing more during my day! :D
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:iconpijuuu:
pijuuu Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're a very inspiring individual. Thank you for sharing this.
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:iconraziels-lady:
Raziels-lady Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2014
I like that someone shares the same opinion! (Talent, I used to say, is always earned! I think even in the early stages when it's done somewhat subcosciously - for example kid who enjoys drawing and always doodles in class may be called talented cause he draws better than his peers, but even then it is earned! But just as you said you still have to work at it constantly and even more so if you want to become a professional (at which point you have to start doing it consciously, too.)) I might show this to some people! :D
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:icongingerdoodle:
gingerdoodle Featured By Owner Edited Jul 15, 2014
Such an inspiring and truthful post!

I was once told by my husband, that he was a passionate doodler when he was very young but gave it up, because he hat no talent.  When he took art lessons with a local artist, he was told he had no aptitude, no talent and should pursue other activities.  (I almost fell over mid-step while listening to this. I was enraged and dumbfounded.) The one with no talent was the artist who would say that to a child; clearly the artist was not a knowledgeable nor  passionate teacher. It is my opinion that this artist isn't very nice guy, and not very talented either... sure his works are alright, and possibly better than I can produce in oils, but they have no life or depth or weight. He's got years on me, so I think he should be better... but that's off topic... and only my opinion. Anyway, I tried to explain that talent isn't the same as natural ability nor do you need natural ability.

A world champion diver has physical traits which, for the sake of this point (though I know this doesn't always hold true), cannot be bought, learned or faked.  I know of an Olympic coach here who has an eye to see the right body shape in children of 4 or 5 year judging by the current build and that of the child's parents.  These traits allow for his ability to hold world records, but this doesn't stop others from diving for enjoyment, and sometimes people without the physic will surprise us.  Okay my point here is art doesn't demand too many physical traits, you need a hand which you have good control over, and you need eye sight. This said there are people I've read about who paint with shaking hands, or even without hands, and artists who are blind.  People have an ability to overcome obstacles to learn and to adapt.  

On the flip side of things. I had a natural talent for drawing as a child.  I was pretty good at seeing things (shapes and colours), and at mimicry.  I was not good enough to astound, no one was offering me scholarships or special lessons. My talent only took me as far as grade 7, before I stopped impressing my peers and family.  I needed good instruction to go further; unfortunately, I didn't get good instruction, and I fell behind.  I'm making up for it now, but it is hard work, as you've said here! I'm happy to hear from another source that it isn't all natural talent.
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:iconseviin77:
seviin77 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
mines the wallet that says bad ass mother fucker. :)
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:icondark-cobweb:
Dark-Cobweb Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
I've had this problem for years - it's good to see someone express it so well. People look at my professional work; the finished product, and call it 'talent', not understanding that it's pretty insulting for someone to assume that something you worked hard to achieve day in day out over years and years was just dropped into your lap, that you were just 'good', instantly, with no effort. I can never decide whether this rigid adherence to the idea of 'innate talent' is something people want to believe because it saves them from having to put the effort in by insisting that they don't have this mysterious extra ingredient. Because on the other hand, shouldn't you be relieved to discover that something we've always been told is off limits for those who aren't gifted enough is actually something that anybody can do? I would be.

When people ask me about what I do, I always tell them that I'm proficient, and that they can be to - in anything. Mastery is something else; perhaps that's where a natural predisposition really does come into play - but you can get a hell of a long way on hard work.
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:iconquetzalquaker:
Quetzalquaker Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
You never bothered to go into why you were motivated to develop your talent, which is the only aspect of this feel-good session that could interest me. Also, your closing statement leads me to wonder if you are trying to sell me-the reader-something or just not aware of the wording.
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:iconcanttel:
canttel Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Holleluja!!!!!!
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:iconfranziska-chartreux:
Franziska-Chartreux Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014  Student General Artist
I totally agree and since I've heard you explaining this in your Lifestream a year ago it changed my mind about my whole art situation. (so many thanks to you for that! :) )
Anyways, sometimes I come into argumentations with friends about the theme 'Talent'. I say to them what I learned from you (and other artists), that Talent is an excuse for people who don't want to work hard for their goals. Then someone said to me: but what is that desire that drives you to achieve this goal? Why doesn't everyone have something like that?
And I really have no answer for that...
I know for myself that I have to do art, I have no other choice. It's what makes me feel alive.
But how can some people not feel a deep desire achieving something meaningfull for their lifes? How can some people (I feel surrounded by them) just life into the day and be ok with everything that happens arround them?
Thats a question that bothers me a long time now.
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:iconquetzalquaker:
Quetzalquaker Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
It seems you speak your mind, so I the unsought-after, would ask what you would define as "meaningful", if the answer is truly what you seek.
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:icontsabo6:
Tsabo6 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
totally agree.
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:icongabrielegabba:
gabrielegabba Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Amen.
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:iconrigel4:
Rigel4 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014
Agreed! talent is earned. Anytime someone asks me how to draw, I tell them to just grab a paper and a pencil and go out and draw something. If they want something more professional, then they can take classes. However, in beginning art class, the very first thing that you end up doing, is to do a number of pictures you have to go out and draw anyway.
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:iconandes-sudo:
Andes-Sudo Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014   Digital Artist
I'm not going into a lengthy response to this as I've done that before with this type of journal from others, but you're wrong.

Talent is the manifestation of the quality of neurological connections and the knowledge one may have. Without both you don't have "talent". And, you never will. A biological and genetic contingent must exist for the 'knowledge' to form the 'talent'.

:icontorture-device: has covered this well.

But to elaborate, a friend of mine was an artist. He had a brain tumor and a number of strokes. He lost the use of his right side and he was right handed. His 'talent' was taken from him by neurological damage caused by a big stroke. No amount of practice would have brought it back.

Art is a physical activity, like; running, tennis, golf, or skimming a stone across a river. You need the physical potential to achieve the result of winning a grand slam or skimming a stone 15 times. If you don't have the physical potential to achieve it then the knowledge (or practice) is ineffectual.
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:iconnominee84:
nominee84 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014
I feel sorry about your friend but this journal is about (healthy) people, who have the choice to work hard or not. Like, you know, they have the tool (hands) to train. Some people can paint without hands too, but they're not brain damaged?
Maybe he still has the practice and knowledge, but physically can't use it. So it's different.
Thus I don't think it's a nice thing (figuratively) dragging him into this 'argument', since he has no choice at all.
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:iconandes-sudo:
Andes-Sudo Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014   Digital Artist
Each individual has a physical plateau of ability that can ONLY be discovered through practicing and getting better at a particular physical activity. Eventually an individual reaches a point where practicing and "trying harder" no longer seems to improve the ability. Art, being a physical activity, has it's limits set in each individual.

Let's stick with art and take 2 healthy individuals of the same age and same intelligence, etc. They both practice the same methods (at school/university/whatever) and spend the same amount of hours each day practicing. By the logic of this journal, both should be predictably at exactly the same level. We know this would NOT be true though, as there are too many different variables in the production of art, through differing thought patterns, ideas, inspirations, right down to how good an individual's hand eye coordination is.

I don't like hearing people say "I can't draw!". I would be the FIRST to point out that ANYBODY can draw at some level, but I would NEVER say anybody could be a master artist if they "TRY HARDER" because that's simply not true. It is true that you won't know how good you could be without trying, but I wouldn't insult someone by saying the reason why they aren't as good as me is because they aren't trying hard enough.

I think everybody can draw at some level and can find it a pleasurable thing to do, and to see improvement in your own art ability is always nice. But, aiming for the stars will end in disappointment for most. And while that may sound like a downer, it is nonetheless the truth.
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:iconnominee84:
nominee84 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014
This journal was about psychology not physical abilities - deciding on getting better and working for it. It's not about what body you were born with but how strong you are in your mind.

Let's take your 2 example guys: we have 2 individuals who practice the same methods, hours etc. Yet one of them achieve little while the other is getting better and better with every drawing. Why? Because they have different bodies?
No, because one of them only does this so their parents will be satisfied. Or because they don't like the subject but have a strict teacher and they need good marks to pass the exams. Or because they have nothing else to do. Or they have some family problems and can't really concentrate on what they're doing. Who knows what's in their mind that stays in the way of really getting better?
On the other hand, the more successful guy actively wants to be better. Not drawing because they have to but because they want to. Big difference.

In my opinion, perseverance separates the 'talented' one and the 'average' one.

Another example: you're right handed but you can't use it for a reason. Only your hand is damaged, not your brain. Or willingness. You decide to try to learn to draw with the other hand. The first attempts are like drawing with your foot. Do you give up? Or do you draw more? Do you really want to learn drawing with the non-dominant hand? Or you just say that your 'talent' is now gone, because you're physically damaged?

I had tendonitis twice. The last one happened 1,5 months ago and I'm still suffering from the aftereffects. Should I have just given up saying that my body, ability (=talent?) is gone and I give up on drawing, even for a month or two, while my hand gets better?
You know what I did? I rested my talent aka hand for 4 days, then I started to draw. It's one of the most painful thing, having a tendonitis. But I gave it the middle finger and draw more. I rested my hand an hour when it hurt really bad, then continued drawing.
It took me around 3 weeks to be able to use my hand like before...or close to it.
You see, the power of your perseverance can overcome your body. I wanted to draw, so I did it. With a damaged body, or damaged "talent".


About this 'try harder' thing...it's true, like it or not. Trying harder means you do studies, you draw every day, you fill countless sketchbooks, you try out different techniques, different drawing tools, you read a lot of books about composition, color theory, anatomy, comics, whatever you're interested in. You're pushing your limits further and further. And most importantly: you never give up because you're doing this for yourself and yourself only. This way it's only you, who can be in the way of your own success, and you can't blame anyone else.
If I sucked at something -despite drawing for long long years- I just tried harder. And harder. Until I got better. Then I drew more. And more.
And guess what? I did get better.


I would ask some people who like to play this 'talent' card that how much did they really practiced? How many sketchbooks have they filled with sketches? How many books have they read about art? How many anatomy/color/composition studies have they done?
Maybe they just feel that they have done enough, while it's 1/10 or less of what an average "successful" artist did.
And I would ask if they really wanted to get better or they just say that?

The only real obstacles for getting better, that are really out of your hands are the circumstances. Like bad financial situation, family problems, accidents etc. that permit you to study or buy art supplies, or spend time to practice.
Anything else are just excuses.
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:iconfuzion-predator:
fuzion-predator Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
You have two side of seeing this situation, you either can consider the fact that brain elasticity has its limit; shorter that what we used to think, on the other side you have the fact that brain is unaccurately but somehow true, considered a muscle, so that it can be trained, grow, adapt... I would tend to say it can be trained, and practice can give you something. But too much people forget about THEORY, sh*t i've seen people that used to linedraw animes like kids reach a whole other level after reading some Loomis. Let's compare it to guitar like Anthony just did (we love you, man !) if you have a so called "talent" (which would be more accurate to be called predisposition), via training you're gonna shape this talent into a real understanding of your neck (guitar neck of course, the other is too f*cking complicated) of the notes, intervals, chords, rythm...like shaping your own theory, your own language. In this case the brain predispositions were already there, you "only" had to turn it into something real, skills. But some of us just don't have these predispositions, so practicing is just pointless (wait,wait,wait read what's next please), drawings different things with the same mistakes on it, you're literally going nowhere, in circle in the best case. You need to have a reference to learn from, may it be courses, may it be books, you need a base , some THEORY because as opposed to the other "predisposed" guys, our brain via practice won't guess/deduce these rules because it doesn't have these predispositions, practice without knowledge is trying to fly without wings (jetpack ftw). So yeah learn and apply because you need to understand what you do, if you want to do it right. Because if you say f*ck theory good luck going random trial and error ,trying different nonsense techniques before figuring out how to do what you want to do
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:iconnominee84:
nominee84 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
People can learn things, and getting really good at it without predisposition too - that's only helping on the way but not necessary strictly speaking.
If you have some time, read these comments here: comments.deviantart.com/1/4654…
If not, here's the essence: The guy said it himself that he is tone-deaf, yet learned to play piano technically correctly.
So learning something is just about perseverance. What artistic works you can use this skill for is another question. Most people say that copying something in a high level is art too: like people in the orchestra, who are only playing other's compositions. Or painters who are only copying photos.
Maybe they do original works too but they suck at it, so they just copy things because this is what they're really good at. Are they artists? Are they not? Now this is another question, a more philosophical one.
The fact however is that with hard work and dedication, you can learn stuff and be good at it.

I do agree with the theory-thing, I did wite it down in the comment you have replied to, that you need to read about art too, to understand it.

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:iconfuzion-predator:
fuzion-predator Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014
My bad, i didn't want to say that only predisposed people could be good, just if you aren't predisposed don't be over confident in thinking that filling sketchbooks without knowledge will get you anywhere. Let's take the exemple of proportions, in a figure drawing class, for the same correct result you'll have different kind of approaches, the one who has an eye for proportion and he'll go directly to the outlines or even in the volumes modeling, but on the other side you have the one who must use construction lines, build the shapes and the relation between the elements, and use the theory he learned to make the proportion correct. At the end of the pose, both drawings are correct, so if you learn and correctly apply (where most of the work is) the right things you'll progress, but if you just work, rince and repeat i don't think you'll go very far. On a side note i think it's in fact an advantage to need to learn theory, it's more solid and adaptable than one's perception.
In fact i think we're saying the same thing, but i just don't want people to think that they just have to buy paper, pencils, and alot of free time to reach a certain level, it's not that easy
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:iconnominee84:
nominee84 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014
Haha, yeah, well you need to use your brain too, not just your hand!
I saw that a lot of people learned to draw a few things only, and they were quite good at it, but if they tried to make something else, they failed miserably - they didn't understand why they had to draw that line here or there, they just did, because that's what they learned.
Like learning only 2 poses, making them superb, but they have no idea how to draw the body in another view.
So yeah, being able to draw something and understanding it, aren't the same.
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(1 Reply)
:iconjjpetrakos:
JJpetrakos Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014
inspiring.  Thank you for this
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:iconwanami:
Wanami Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014
Thank you.
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:iconrgdraw:
RgDraw Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
i agreed so much, and most people should know that, thanks sir AJ !
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:iconmartingillart:
MartinGillArt Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014   Digital Artist
Thank you Anthony!
Don't play Call of Duty! study instead! :)
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:icontd-vice:
TD-Vice Featured By Owner Edited Jul 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've said it once in another discussion and I'll say it again:

- Talent is a biologically, psychophysiologically predetermined affinity for some form of human activity.

In fine arts, it's basically the way your brain is wired to coordinate with eyesight, memory and limb motorics. How well your brain can retain and visualize information. How it is able to relegate that to you fingers. How you observe and learn.

Different people have different innate affinity to different things. We don't seem to doubt that to be a good sprinter you have to be built for it. We don't doubt that people who get their names in astrophysics and biochemistry, have a more developed intellect to dabble in these tasks.

Now, will you tell a midget that he would be as fast as Usain Bolt? Of course, with training, a midget can achieve their limit of speed and be faster than other midgets - but training won't make him grow 1,2 meter long legs to compete on even grounds with actual sprinters. Can you tell a person with Down's Syndrom or some other form of severe mental deficiency that with enough studying, they'll be the next Oppenheimer? I doubt you would.

Why is that only in fine visual art, that we brush the notion of biological affinity aside and churn out these useless mantras about "hard work"?

I'm not downplaying hard work, mind you. It is crucial to DEVELOP a talent. Many people often do not recognize their talent or, when recognizing, don't strive to dig it out of its raw form and polish it into a true gemstone. You say you had no talent prior to "hard work", but that is being sly and dishonest, really. You HAD a predisposition towards art, you just realized it later than maybe some other people.

That is why your "grinding" bore fruit.

And let me aquaint you with the harsh truth of reality - you will NOT become a good artist if you paint 12 hrs a day for 10 years, IF you don't have a predisposition (talent) to this. Your effort will be in vain and your life will be miserable. The most you will achieve, is to mimick, in very tight constraints, techniques and skills of other people. It's always evident when you observe a work, to distinguish if it's a person who can create their own template, draw from scratch and intuitive knowledge or if it's a person who struggles to get everything right, and their work is rigid and lifeless, because it was grinding, grinding repetition to make one do something they are not suited for by nature.

The "work hard" mantra is a dangerous one. The world tells us that we all can be rockstars and unique snowflakes, and of course, being a concept artist is a lot funner than being a teacher, plumber or truck driver. So you tell people who are not suited for a job or activity, that they too can embark on this glamorous journey and that they will achieve relative success.

But they will not. And if, god forbid, they chose it as a career path, then... Colleges churn out thousands of "artists" who cannot and will never be able to draw from the depths of their mind. At best, they'd be monkeys for a specific task. These thousands are already unhappy. Maybe they would've made better musicians, or metal welders or dancers, BUT, they were lead astray by the "wuuurk haaard" call to arms.

I won't argue that the biological predisposition is everything that is needed. But it's the important foundation that ALLOWS for training to bear fruit. You learn better, you learn faster, and more importantly, you LIMITS lie further, much further ahead than of those, who don't have that genetic wiring. Good art is 40% biology, 60% training.

I worked a lot on my art, and I'm a hobbyist who for the time being, doesn't look to turn it into a career. But I always understood quite clearly that my body is suited for this sort of task - that is, why I had no formal training unfortunately, I was still able, with enough amount of training, achieve decent results. But I'm absolutely tone-deaf. I've played the piano for 3 years, and it brought me no joy though I was able to learn to play it fluently. But the way I played the piano, while technically correctly, it was absolutely lifeless. I wasn't able to create a melody on my own. I wasn't able to alter an existing one, to improvise or accompany another musician. My singing was always horrid. I just don't HEAR things. No amount of training would allow me to be a composer - just a mimic, a monkey that can learn the notes and motions.

It's true for art.

So the call should be different. The call should be FIND YOUR TRUE STRENGTH AND REFINE IT, and not YOU CAN BE A DECENT ARTIST IF YOU WORK HARD ENOUGH.

You can't be, if you're not made for it. No amount of hard work will change this simple, and evident fact.
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:iconnominee84:
nominee84 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014
You know, there are some guys I heard of who had like zero "talent" to art, yet in 2-3 years of hard work, they became pros...and now they're teaching.
They were already adults, when they first grab a pencil/brush to make something - when they have decided to learn to draw. Their first drawing/painting were like a scribble made by a kid in nursery school. They weren't discouraged by this. They uploaded their stuff to art forums, got critiques, then daw more and uploaded those too.
They were practicing 14-16 hours every single day for 2-3 years. They didn't give up, kept fighting.

Maybe some people have 40% of talent, as you say, but without perseverance, they will achieve nothing. Those guys I talked about had maybe 1% or less talent, but 99% perseverance.
So in the end, the hard work what counts, not biology or genes. That only helps some people to achieve their goals but you can't say, that every single successful people have that much talent and they had to work way less than others.
This is what Robotpencil wanted to say: people who have little to no perseverance always have this 'excuse' that successful people have "talent". You see, it's like saying that after 5 years of university, more years of trying and practicing, you only got a prestigious job by sleeping with the company's boss. Or being at the good place in the good time, or knowing someone. While some people definitely can only achieve something by these, you can't say that everyone had slept with the boss or licked asses to be successful, right?


Another story: in my country, we have only 2 prestigious art universities and I wanted to get in to one of them. I was always drawing since I was a kid, so you could say that I had the affinity to art since I could grab a pencil.
I only got accepted at the 5th trying. That's 5 years of practicing, learning only to be able to go there.
I was the only one in my class who tried 5 times in a row, some people got in the 2nd or 3rd trying, but more than half of my class got in the 1st try.
I should mention that this university only accept people who are on a high level already, so the profs don't have to teach anything/have to work too hard (oh the irony, huh?).
Now here comes the plot twist: people who didn't get in this university even after the 2nd try, they are actively trying to dissuade other people to go there, because suddenly, this universtiy is the shittiest place and noone in their right mind would go there. Others say (I mean other people who failed their entrance exams) that all the students there got in with help, either by buying their way in or having someone they know in the university.
You can see the
contradiction, I trust?
What I see is that people who had less perseverance than we had, are just bitter and trying to excuse their failure by saying that our success only thanks to other than ourselves, some outer thing that we have no saying in.

This is the same thing with this 'talent' thing.
"Oh, you're only successful beacuse you were BORN WITH IT. And I can't compete with this. So UNFAIR."
What unfair is, that trying to diminish successful people's hard work by saying this.

I met countless people who played this 'unfair' card to cope with their own failure and lack of perseverance.


About your piano-experience: I think there's a huge difference between learning something correctly and being able to create something unique with the help of the learned stuff. (The latter is what art is, but this is another topic, as it's quite subjective.)
You're saying that these 2 things are the same. They're not.
Let me tell you an example: there are people who can paint anything photorealistically. They are absolutely on top technically, but only a few of them can create something that's not based on photos. Like composing a melody on your own. You can say that recreating an already existing photo is a soulless, lifeless activity, like you being able to learn and play something correctly, but nothing more.
But you have learned and played those correctly, right? Even if you have no talent for music like you said.

You did work hard for 3 years and you were good technically- without talent.
That was the point of this journal.
Reply
:iconacro-iris:
Acro-Iris Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
You wanna know why we say talent is earned. We say FUCK THAT to everything you just said and MAKE IT HAPPEN. If an armless man can paint with his legs (yes, there actually existed such a man), then that... is just invalid.
Reply
:iconkordyne:
Kordyne Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014
I once read about a remarkable individual who is almost completely paralysed, but is able to draw with his eyes using a special computer programme.
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:iconandes-sudo:
Andes-Sudo Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014   Digital Artist
Totally agree..

"Why is that only in fine visual art, that we brush the notion of biological affinity aside and churn out these useless mantras about "hard work"?"

This. :nod:
Reply
:icontd-vice:
TD-Vice Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I feel like I need to make a journal on the "Myth of hard work" :D
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:iconrapanui0:
rapanui0 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
inspiring!!! wish u best! cheers!!
Reply
:iconptimm:
PTimm Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks so much for this post! I used to think either you were good at art or you werent, and was discouraged for a very very long time. I hope to be at your level some day, ill keep working hard, thanks for the inspiration!
Reply
:icondominichautmann:
DominicHautmann Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014
Beautifully said! Instantly pushed me to practice even more :D

Thank you so much for your inspiring words, I totally understand you and that it must be annoying to hear: "Well, yeah, y'know ... you sir, have talent! I wish I had yours, but I haven't, so it's unfair..." :D

One more thing: BIG FAN! XD
Reply
:iconmonky9997891:
monky9997891 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Some people have the better end of genetics and are naturally better jumpers or writers or runners or mathematicians.  That's what I think talent is: an ability you've obtained that you never earned.  It's quite the opposite of what you've described.

However, when you look at the macrocosmic scale of things, talent means nothing.  The best drawers out there never had to work to get where they were.  It's not like Rembrandt was handed a paint brush and could immediately paint.  It's not like Bobby Fischer was told the rules of chess and immediately became a grandmaster.  They studied and practiced, and in the end, it was only through hard work and dedication that they got where they were.  This is the case with everyone.  The only reason talent is so highly regarded is because it only matters when you're beginning.
Reply
:iconxenopluto:
XenoPluto Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014  Student Writer
Very well written; poignant.
Reply
:iconskunkykitty662:
SkunkyKitty662 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Meowmeow.~~ It took me forever to perfect my voice and I'm still working on it~
Reply
:iconguiltyblaster:
GuiltyBlaster Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Amazing... I'm going to Study Graphic Arts because I want to better my art so I can study video game design afterwards (want to have some more experience with painting and other stuff and the college is expensive). You story inspired me. I was thinking of quitting my goal to study video game design but now I'm not going to. Thanks for the post, I really needed somethng inspirational.
Reply
:iconwadefurlong:
WadeFurlong Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Isn't vocabulary a learned skill via study and practice.  Talent does not exist.  
Reply
:icondave-wilkins:
Dave-Wilkins Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I love you brother, Thank you for the knowledge drop!
Reply
:iconthecrazybritt:
THECRAZYBRITT Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014   Traditional Artist
This is awesome! 
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