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[Artips #1] Why you *do* have talent

Journal Entry: Thu Oct 1, 2009, 12:43 PM
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[Artips #1] Why you *do* have talent

Hello everyone!

So, let's get started with this Artips series of journals about tips sharing and experience in general. I tend to babble a lot, so beware. ;)
Your input and feedback is most appreciated, so do comment and share your experience/opinion/random thoughts with me and everyone who cares to read! The more the merrier. :)


This first journal will be about...

Why you *do* have talent (whatever you might think about it).


Have you ever thought "Oh my, I suck, my art sucks, I'll never be a good artist, I don't have enough talent, I'll never be anywhere as good as [insert your favourite artist's name here]" or any kind of variation about it?
If you have, don't worry - we all do (well, almost all) at times. Some feel that way more than others, but... we all have these thoughts to an extend. No matter how good, no matter how "talented".
What I'm trying to say is that hardly anybody is ever entirely happy with their own work, so if what you're pursuing is the day when you'll look at your artwork and think "damn, I'm awesome", it's likely that you're in for a disappointment. Same if you're waiting for the day when you'll be 100% sure that you're "a good artist".

Doubting yourself and your own work is something healthy, actually (to an extend, at least. Feeling like blowing your head because of it is definitely NOT healthy). How could you keep improving if you felt like your work is already awesome? Now that would be a creativity killer...! As artists, we're our own worst critics, we always feel like the result is not really what we were going for, we always see things we're not satisfied with, we're always bitching about that-ugly-little-tiny-thing-that-nobody-can-see-but-you-know-it's-there-and-it-bugs-you. And that's why we try to do better next time, and that's how we improve.

So, don't worry too much about your actual level today, right now. I've seen people so discouraged and so focused on their skill level that it completely blocked their creativity (I've felt that way myself at times). You really don't want to do that. Firstly, it's always better to have room for improvment, than to feel that you've seen it all and done it all (nobody likes blasés, right? They don't make very good artists anyway.). Secondly... well, you've got talent. Whatever you might think about it.

I personally don't believe that talent is some kind of dazzling, magical technical ability you were born with. As far as I'm concerned, skills are 99% hard work. Ok, some people might be a bit more predisposed, but really...that's 1% of the whole thing. The rest is work, work, work.

So what's talent? Well, for me, being "talented" is mostly loving what you do. It's what gets you to pick a pencil and draw like crazy, just because you enjoy it. It's what keeps you motivated for creating your artwork. How many great artists do you know who hate art? None at all. Talent is just... well, feeling like creating. Don't get me wrong : it's not the same thing as "creativity" or "originality". It's the spirit of wanting to create art, whether you have the skill or not, whether you have ideas or not, just because you enjoy creating.

So, you're talented. Or you probably wouldn't be reading this. You've got the will (... tie Rambo's ribbon around your head, now).
Now, as Picasso said it wisely long before me... Talent without work is just a bad habit. Sad as it may sound, improving your skills requires work. Lots of work. Of course, some people are really quick learners and improve super-fast, but for the rest of us... it takes years and years of work before we look back at our old work and think "wow, I've improved quite a lot!". Not to mention that some got started really early and have already gone a long way...! So, there's no shortcuts and no day when you'll wake up in the morning with sudden magical drawing skills.
But wouldn't that be much, much sadder if some people were born with talent, and the rest of us would just have to watch them from the sideway with no hope whatsoever to improve?! So look at the bright side: with work, you will improve.

I try to look at improvement as a road. We all started at the beginning of the road... but some started as 3-year-olds, and some just got started. Some walk fast, some walk slowly. There's no rule and there shouldn't be one. It's not a race to the top. Since you like what you do, you keep creating and you walk that damn road, and you improve. The harder you work, the faster you improve. Also, you shouldn't keep thinking of the "end" of the road... because there's no end. What you should be thinking about is the next step you will take... and the next one... and before you know it, you're further on the road.

The good thing about art is that it's not like mathematics. In mathematics, if you have an equation, there's only one way to solve it and one solution in the end. In art, there are as many solutions as artists. Which is awesome! It means that you shouldn't compare the road you walk on, to the roads of the other artists around you. Each one their own, and that's all for the best! What's interesting about your art is your evolution. What you've got to show. How you improve and develop. So don't go thinking "I'll never have [insert artist]'s talent"... sure you won't. You've got your own, which is better. Maybe you'll never have their skills, but what's important is to develop your own, so who cares!

So, the key is work, work and work, and most importantly, enjoy yourself. You paint, sculpt, photgraph, write, whatever, because you love it. Not because you're into a skills competition with so-and-so. Turn what you don't like about your work into fuel for creativity, into energy to work harder and improve. Don't feel bitter or sad because you think you're "not as good as" somebody else: see it as a motivation to work harder. Try hard and eventually you'll succeed... sometimes not in the way you expected to! Don't feel discouraged. We all started somewhere, and we're all going somewhere... although we may not really know where. But that's part of the fun. ;)


Ok, I babbled for waaaaaay too long... this is more than enough. :D


Next time's babble should be about originality, finding your own style and such, since many people asked about it. :)


Talk to you soon!


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:iconmarc-f-huizinga:
Marc-F-Huizinga Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I always predispose myself to the idea that I HAVE to improve, every day. This is what killed my creativity when I was very young, thinking I was no good. It wasn't untill I was 20 (that's 5 years ago from now) that I realized this is simply what I wanted to do with my life. As a result, that same old habit tries to rear it's ugly head every now and then and I simply need to remind myself that above all, I'm doing this for myself, so I might as well and should enjoy it!

We forget that sometimes. I thank you for reminding me. :)
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Marc! :)

I can relate to the feeling - I have gone through some extended periods of time when I was so stuck with the idea that I absolutely had to improve, should draw only grand and amazing pictures, and be awesome and never fail, that in the end I couldn't get myself to draw anything at all. After all, the only way not to risk failure is not to try at all, am I right? It's a crippling feeling.
We give ourselves and our skills a little bit more love, and cut ourselves a little bit of slack. :)
Reply
:iconmarc-f-huizinga:
Marc-F-Huizinga Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
That's correct, failure is part of life, everything comes with failure and every failure should tell you that the next time you will do things differently. Thus instant growth is imminent.

My biggest problem is that I keep pushing myself on my own, to unhealthy unrealistic proportions. The reason for that is I simply have no art friends at all, which makes things very difficult. Add to that the fact I really have no idea how to get those outside of collaboration and well, there's me. :) Would definitely love to have more though just for the sake of talking about art and improvement. I'm a slave to myself in many regards so old habits always try to come back to me. :)
Reply
:iconcali-roo:
cali-Roo Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2010
I know this journal is a year old now but this was exactly what I needed today.

In fact I'm welling up right now, bring on emotion which in turn brings on a creative flourish :love:
Reply
:iconartgod77:
ArtGod77 Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2010
This just gave me so much motivation:D
You should make more artips, I could read them all day xD
Reply
:iconphinnimonster:
Phinnimonster Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I wish I could fave this journal, it's beautiful! Very inspiring. Thanks for writing. (:
Reply
:iconsproutnbean:
sproutnbean Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2010
i totally agree with you and really enjoy reading it thx[link]
Reply
:iconmaroonwinged-fae:
maroonwinged-fae Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi. Thanks for this. It really helps :)
Reply
:iconkiwieran:
KiwiEran Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2010
This is so beautifully written and inspiring, I must admit this has motivated me so much to work even harder to improve. Thank you!
Reply
:iconaenia:
Aenia Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2009
Wow this really helped me ^^ thank you, sometimes I think I suck, because I'm pretty "unpopular" here in dA, I don't get many comments, which is what matters to me the most, not just having favs, which of course make me happy, but I rather know there are people watching my work. Thank you again n.n, I won't give up so easily from now on
Reply
:iconcardboard-octopus:
Cardboard-Octopus Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Actually....I bumped into this journal post when I was in a bit of a slump. I really didn't think drawing anything mattered at all since there's always someone a mile a ways better, so that was a downer. After getting a wake-up call//slap//douse of cold water from someone AND randomly bumping into this journal, I felt a lot better. Hell, I suck, but pft. Now I'm drawing because I WANT to and if I improve, it'll happen at it's own pace with each thing I do, not cause I felt like posting some piece of trash I drew and wail and whine about and then burn it.

Thanks a bunch, you. ;]
Reply
:iconjthegymnast:
Jthegymnast Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2009
*sigh* I must admit I was feeling that exact thing today, I'm not good, I'll never get better, yadda yadda but...this really helped. I...I think I'm going to go draw now, which is what my familys been trying to get me to do all day, ^^; they're not going to be amused. Thanks so much :hug:
Reply
:iconrozennilliano:
RozennIlliano Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Je suis bien d'accord avec toi pour tout ce que tu as écris là (ouh la, heureusement que j'arrive à comprendre en gros l'anglais ^^;), en particulier parce que j'ai traversé il y a quelques temps une période critique du genre 'je suis nulle, j'ai pas de talent, je ne ferais jamais d'aussi belles choses que untel'... J'ai eu un blocage et ça m'a pas mal tapé sur le système, j'ai même pensé plusieurs fois à tout arrêter, abandonner mes rêves et poursuivre ma petite vie de salariée de Mcdo... Puis mon copain (Coliandre) m'a foutue pas mal de coups de pied au c*l, j'ai appris à bosser sur toshop (alors qu'avant c'était du tradi), et ça a été une révélation, une révolution, j'ai énormément progressé alors qu'avant je stagnais, et le pire c'est que je m'éclate totalement à faire ça... donc, oui, je suis loin d'avoir un style et des capacités qui déchirent, mais je sais que j'apprends vite, et avec de la patience ça viendra...
'fin bon, tout ça pour dire que je suis absolument totalement d'accord avec tout ça, et quelquefois le lire noir sur blanc ça fait du bien ^^
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:) C'est pas marrant ce genre de périodes, j'en ai traversé une sévère aussi ces derniers mois... manque de motivation, manque de temps et d'énergie, et du coup tu te retrouves à te poser plein de questions et à douter...! Mais bon, il faut pas oublier qu'à la base, on fait ça parce qu'on aime ça. C'est chouette que tu aies pu trouver une nouvelle technique où tu as retrouvé le plaisir de dessiner ! Le plus important pour progresser, c'est l'état d'esprit, si tu as la niaque et que tu t'éclates tu va forcément avancer !
Reply
:iconmiyako13lee:
Miyako13Lee Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2009  Student Digital Artist
Ah...i agree with you ^^ I slowly improve and i know i am getting somewhere. I always enjoy looking back at my old pics and comparing them to my new style. That's what's great about working. It just fascinates me how i couldn't master a line and even now i'm still trying, but i'm certainly getting closer each time ^^
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
^_^ Go you!
Reply
:iconmiyako13lee:
Miyako13Lee Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2009  Student Digital Artist
thanx!
Reply
:iconladywinter:
LadyWinter Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2009
Wow wonderfully said! :clap: You made excellent points and this is definitely an inspiring journal. I think I know some people who could certainly benefit from reading this, including myself! Thank you for this. =) I'll link to this in my journal. ;)
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you very much! :D
Reply
:iconespritsauvage:
espritsauvage Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2009
thankyou so much for posting this, this is the exact words that I needed to hear right now to get me motivated. I'm sure you have inspired so many people just by writing this :D
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! ;)
Reply
:iconloz-girl:
LoZ-girl Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2009
this has motivated me so much it is unbelievable. i love this journal entry :heart:
Reply
:iconcristellenicoles:
CristelleNicoleS Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2009  Professional General Artist
Awesome entry - this series of art tips is just the kind of thing i'd like to read about. At this point in my life I am trying to start creating more art, but motivating myself is quite difficult. It's rather strange.. I love art & creating it, but it takes forever for me to make progress.. I suppose it's a mixture of things, but most importantly as you mentioned, practicing my work is something that will help the most in the long run.. Anywho, can't wait to read about the next topic :} Thanks for taking the time to start writing these

Well, hope you have a great October :wizardhat: & a nice time in New York! :fish:
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! I'm glad you're finding these helpful, it keeps me motivated to write more. ;)
Reply
:iconmirageode:
mirageode Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
i love how you go out of your way to help and inspire other artists. this was a delight to read. :heart:
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you very much! ;)
Reply
:icontelsi:
Telsi Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2009
SO TRUE!!
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks! ;)
Reply
:iconfifidapoodle:
FifiDaPoodle Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2009
Thank you for this! I think you're amazing. I adore you as an artist and as someone who babbles a lot but always says interesting, inspiring things. =)
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you very much! ;)
Reply
:iconorbitofme:
OrbitofMe Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009
Could not have said it any better. You're good with words!
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! ;)
Reply
:icongreen-eyes-16:
Green-Eyes-16 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2009  Student Traditional Artist
Hello !
Comme tu parles le français, tu ne voudrais pas faire une version française par pur hasard?

A part ça j'étais très contente de lire une interview de toi dans Elegy !!!
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Merci !
Ca prendrait trop longtemps malheureusement de tout traduire en français (ça a déjà été un sacré morceau à écrire en anglais...!). Mais j'ai déjà traduit l'essentiel en résumé dans un commentaire précédent si ça t'intéresse. :)
Reply
:iconsherbettwist:
SherbetTwist Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009
Brilliant! Gonna read this everytime i get stuck in that rut of 'I hate all my work' Look forward to the next blog! I love your outlook on life! Or at least how it comes across to me :)
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! ;)
Reply
:iconsandrahultsved:
SandraHultsved Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
That's so true! I doubt myself in every single drawing I do, at some point when I'm drawing it. Then I have to prove to myself that I am just as good as everyone is thinking I am(since they have seen my other works, so don't misunderstand). and actually I think that's good that I do that, cause then I actually raise the bar a little bit more to convince to myself that I can draw:P
And also as you said, you always just see the things that could have been better, but at the same time I love what I do. and I think that's important, that you can criticize yourself, but don't hate yourself.

Very well written I think it's true what you say. and that this will give a lot of people more inspiration:)
I just hate when people say "I will never draw again you're so talented" come on! I wanna be an inspiration to others, as other artists has been to me. "Don't feel bitter or sad because you think you're "not as good as" somebody else: see it as a motivation to work harder." That's what I want to say!
Thanks for a wonderful journal:D
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome, and thanks for reading! ;)
Reply
:iconkunzai:
Kunzai Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2009
I think this was an amazing place to start, and you have written it so well! Most of the points you raise are things I've tried to get across to friends who've expressed low "art confidence", but there are times I forget my own advice and feel low myself so it was refreshing to read your journal. I love the positivity, it's what we all need. Writing these journals is a really good idea, so thanks for doing this :heart:
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome! ;)
I agree with you that it's hard to follow your own advice sometimes - part of the reason why I'm writing this down, it helps forcing it down my own head!
Reply
:iconxenoblader:
xenoblader Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for this journal. It helped me a lot. I've been feeling like this a lot lately... Plus, I haven't been able to post my work online so I can have other people critique it.
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome! :)
Reply
:iconaki-mikadzuki:
aki-mikadzuki Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Great journal entry! Very Inspiring!
Thank you so much! :love:
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for reading! ;)
Reply
:iconaki-mikadzuki:
aki-mikadzuki Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome! :tighthug:

Can't wait for the next artist tip. :love:
Reply
:iconspottedponyrider:
SpottedPonyRider Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2009
I'm so glad you posted this. I got this exact same talk from my drawing teacher two semesters ago and since then I have just blossomed with new confidence. before that I was like so many in thinking some people just had that magical "talent" and I didn't.
That's what's wrong, I think, with the way art is taught these day. We should ban the word talent and replace it with skill, because skill is something you learn, hone and improve. Talent is just this abstract undefined thing that tends to discourage people. I wish more of my art teachers had bothered to actually teach that way. I think everyone on DA needs to read this journal, can you post it as an article?
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks!
I'm not too sure about posting these as news article, I don't think my babbles really qualify as stuff of general interest...? :)
Reply
:iconspottedponyrider:
SpottedPonyRider Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009
I thought it was really helpful.
Reply
:iconseasaidh:
seasaidh Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2009  Student Digital Artist
Great journal entry, Kyme :)
Reply
:iconkmyechan:
KmyeChan Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! :hug:
Reply
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