The myth of natural talent

Recently I was contacted by someone on deviantart who wanted a few art pointers. I gave them a few suggestions and links to some tutorials. But one thing they said struck me.

“…because I have a bit of trouble with realism (not being naturally talented) I put a more imaginary spin on it.”

The bit about being naturally talented made me sad. I’m telling that girl straight out, and all other people who want to be artists:

Talent has nothing to do with it.

If you see an artist who is really good, they’re good because they worked their butt off. They produced thousands of drawings, or wrote hundreds of thousands of words. They studied the craft. They practiced. They honed their skills. They got knocked down by people’s critiques, got up again, and kept going.

Some people do have natural talent, but that accounts for only a tiny fraction of the art process. So they see things in their head a little clearer than other people, and can capture it in a sketch a little easier. Big deal.

Hard work trumps talent every time.

One good drawing does not make an artist. One good story does not make an author. Hundreds do. And girl, if art gives you enough pleasure that you’re willing to work at it over and over, one drawing at a time, then in a very few years you’ll be up there with the Artists.

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4 thoughts on “The myth of natural talent

  1. Love this. Needs to be said.

    But there are some things (and some people to whom the hard work) just come(s) easy.

    And since in most minds “work” is the opposite of easy we forget enjoyable stuff is still work. Still takes effort and focus

    I used to be so insulted at the comments that “marriage is hard work” because to me it was bliss. I used to be nearly frantic in my efforts to master musical instruments (or drawing, or anything else that was artistic but hard for me) because singing and writing weren’t “real” music/art. Because they were fun. “Natural,” and so hardly counted.

    The people who are “naturally” good parents are still working their tails off, just like good artists are. And I am currently trying to reconcile the tension that this concept holds– because I’m pretty sure (now) that is the key to contentment.

    Like

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