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June 17, 2014
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When giving workshops last weekend, I was confronted with something at least remarkable.
I had a random chat with a girl that apparently knew me from DeviantArt. We a friendly conversation about art such. It wasn't that strange, until she concluded her message with. 
"It's nice talking to you. I always wanted to know what you were like. You know... since you draw so well"

And I was like... "Huh? What?"

Some people see me as a talented writer or artist, others (including myself) raise the bar even higher.
But regardless of what you see as skilled or not, I don't think there's such a thing as 'them' and 'us' in the art world. It's too small of a world. We're too alike. And I think most of us aren't exactly prone to living a celebrity lifestyle anyway. Bitches & bling don't match well with the usually quiet lifestyle an artist prefers.

When I started doing painting, I looked up to many of the local artists I met at conventions. 
I couldn't even draw a stickman properly and I always assumed those people at doujinshi circles, conventions and expositions had some magical skills that I didn't have and I would never have. That "they" were talented and I wasn't, and that was about it. Being shy, I didn't even have the confidence to talk to those people. And it wasn't until I started giving workshops, and overcame that shyness and started to talk to people, that I found out that there is no such thing as "them" and "us". And that the level of skills someone has is nothing more but a perception of what we think is skill.
Most people would label anything a few steps above their own level 'skill'. And it's really interesting to see how your perception of what is good art often grows with your own skill.

I've been doing workshops for 2 years now, and following many workshops from other people as well (because it's interesting to see other people's approach). 
In those 2 years, I've talked to many people. Fellow artists, that were more or less at my level. Newbies, that regarded me as extremely talented. But also experienced (concept) artists that were way above my level -- but were surprisingly friendly even towards people that didn't have their kind of skill. Aside from the logical differences in age and educational background, I noticed that there were more similarities than differences.

There is that common misconception that people that can draw well, always draw well. And that they're always inspired.
The truth is the more tutorial movies I watched from great concept artists, the more I noticed how many of them were keeping collections of images on their computer to help them getting inspiration for certain characters or environments. That I noticed they weren't automatically able to do everything right. Just the things that they did a lot, because that's what they practiced a lot. I've seen people that earned their money by doing environmental drawings, but failed to draw a human being in detail, for the simple reason that they never studied it (and never had to, I guess). Or people that have drawn manga all their life, but couldn't do anything that looked remotely otherwise (yes, I'm guilty). 

What I wanted to state here is that when an artist is skilled at painting a certain subject, he or she can not immediately paint EVERYTHING right. And if you're somehow waiting to make the transition to a state in which you will be always inspired and never fail a single thing, then be prepare to be disappointed; because it's not gonna happen.

Even the most talented people use references.
Even the most talented people use guidelines for anatomy and perspective.
And even the most talented people have material to get them inspired. Either pictures, books, or music.

It's nothing to be ashamed of.

The next time you're wondering what that talented artist's life looks like...
It probably looks just like yours.

(Except for the fact that he doesn't have to double-check the anatomy rules in his guidebook)
Add a Comment:
 
:iconcrimsonmagpie:
CrimsonMagpie Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I've found that as well; used to regard my artistic heroes as some kind of demigods who must have suitably impressive personalities. It was only after starting to addend conventions that I realised most of them were just ordinary people who just happened to be more skilled at the drawing board than most. But once you get to the pub everyone's equal. :dummy:
Reply
:iconladyelasa:
LadyElasa Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for this. ^ ^ I always think my drawing pales in comparison to others especially since I always triple check my proportions with how-to books. It's good to know that I'm not alone.
Reply
:iconatomicreih:
AtomicReih Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Your writing is truly inspiring : O 

It's very interesting to see how people tend to put others above them so much just because they consider them to be 'more skilled' and such. 
Reply
:iconaglimpseofme:
AGlimpseOfMe Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Professional General Artist
Very much agreed! Especially you saying "And it's really interesting to see how your perception of what is good art often grows with your own skill." I find it very important for artists of all kinds to often look at other artists in their fields who are at higher skill levels than them in order to grow in their own skill levels.

When I did running in high school, I had a coach who would tell us to always keep your eyes focused on the person running ahead of you, because automatically your body will push you to run faster in order to catch up to that person, and as soon as you catch up to them, you need to set your eyes away from them and onto the next fastest person, and eventually you end up passing most of them.

I've had many people who have seen my art and say how lucky I am to be so talented, as well as people who have semi-complained about me being good at multiple forms of art. But they don't realize how hard I had to work in order to gain those skills. I've had a talent from a very young age at visual judgment and mathematical problem solving, which helped me quicker develop my artistic skills. But nonetheless, those artistic skills still had to be developed, which took years and years of practicing, of which I still practice and still develop my skills. For example, my skill of drawing anything in front of me is very well developed from years of doing so, but I have a much harder time drawing things from memory or drawing up a new creation made in my head because I haven't spent as much time developing that skill.

And part of why I love going on DeviantArt is because I can find so many artists at higher skill levels who will inspire and push me to get better. I'm very glad that you wrote this because I think more people need to understand this and also be encouraged by this to develop their own skills. Artists are no different than any other group of people developing their skills, whether it be in music, medical science, plumbing, or anything else. =)
Reply
:iconthe-solimnludic:
the-solimnludic Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Yes!! Thank you for this! Wonderful reminder, and gives me new perspective (((:
Reply
:icon802kmighty:
802kmighty Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I love that your always are so real and encouraging.
Reply
:iconfk20:
fk20 Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Agree with you.. back then I worship those 'pro' peeps to the extend that make me feel shy to just talk to them xD
Now I feel stupid. Hahaha xD

Even the pros is noobs at first.
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Everybody is a n00b once :la:
Reply
:iconicelaws:
IceLaws Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
REFERENCES ARE SO HELLA RAD it's a shame that they are commonly associated with "not being good" and stuff like that
Reply
:iconameneko98:
ameneko98 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sometimes it's hard to see this, especially when you see someone as an art god. But, yeah, it's good to hear this from you. Of course, I can definitely see an artist of any kind using references. They greatly improve art quality for me, so I imagine it does something similar for other artists. hehe
Reply
:iconnocturnaliss:
nocturnaliss Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I have a thesaurus I bought in the States back in 2008. Used to think of it as a failure when I had to use it, learned in time that it's actually a great tool there's no shame in using. 
Reply
:iconbluesoul1:
Bluesoul1 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You reminded me of certain webcomic I read. I was reading some questions made to one of the artist where some fan asked if they used references. I was amazed as how kindly she answered "Yes, of course, all the time, we use references specially to draw those handsome guys that there are in the comic, different body types and so.  She even linked the site they use.
Me, as an admirer of their art, more than a fan, and as an "artist in training" myself was in awe with her answer.  Cause I used to have that perception of them that you talk about in your journals and the comment just made me feel so close as if I can achieve more than I think I can. Thanks again.
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Heh. A lot of people have that idea.
I always use references to. I still learn with every single one of them. It challenges me to try new poses and subjects and learn from them.
Imo there's nothing wrong from it. Even the old masters used references, and they did a good job at painting :)
Reply
:iconromnil:
Romnil Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing Journal. Added it just to my favorites purely for when I feel like I can't do any art "right". We are all learning all the time and thank you for actually putting it into words.
Reply
:iconrobesteh:
robesteh Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome journal!
Reply
:iconpicto-shinigami:
Picto-Shinigami Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Strange but quite true. Pictorial conditioning destroys our innate abilities to adapt to new subjects, styles and form. I find it a double edge sword this notion of 'style'. You can use it to cut new ground but overuse it and it will end up cutting your abilities in half if I make my point clear. An Artist needs flux, for better or for worse, it's the only way to see what we are really made of.
Reply
:iconabelxbrii:
AbelXBrii Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
its good to hear i am not the only one who sees the art world as more than just black and white, i myself have collections and talk with artists to both study what they do and how they do but also to lok at the thigs they do and say hrmmm i wonder if i cold do that and i sit and think on it nd try out different things or ways to do it, it gives me a good laugh when i first start but the more i look and study and try to develop those tings into my own style the more i realize how simple something that seemed complex at first was, at times it is difficult because of the limited tools i have but in a way thats also what makes it fun, experimenting wit a variety of mediums and trying new things is the BEST way to learn new techniques that you can transfer to another medium, it also shows you new things you might not have tried before and opens up millions of new possibilities
Llama Emoji-03 (Sparkles) [V1] 
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:iconbeth-z:
Beth-Z Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014   General Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconichbindespreuben:
IchbindesPreuBen Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That last part though cracked me up cause I still sometimes do that xD
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Me too :la:
Reply
:iconbeth-z:
Beth-Z Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014   General Artist
Pffft! Who needs anatomy when you have... oh no. wait. No, we need anatomy XD
Reply
:iconxtechsleeper:
xtechsleeper Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014
Thank you for helping me realise the truth about more skilled and experienced artists. :-)
Maybe by overcoming my shyness, laziness and exaggerated self-criticism i can move forward.

Best regards
Reply
:iconebolabears:
EbolaBears Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014
"It's nice talking to you. I always wanted to know what you were like. You know... since you draw so well"

Just like the rest of the species, some artists can be real assholes. I think the girl was happy to see you're not "one of them".

I used to manage a hobby shop in Philadelphia and we did many book signing events and I can assure you, there are some real jerks out there.
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It saddens me people nowadays expect others to be assholes bases on internet fame :(
Reply
:iconebolabears:
EbolaBears Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014
The expectations are probably based on experience. Even if the experience was just a misunderstanding or the artist really was an ass.
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's still sad :(
Reply
:iconebolabears:
EbolaBears Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014
Oh yes indeed. A few bad apples ruin it all for everyone
Reply
:iconflythefish:
FlyTheFish Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Wait- there's anatomy rules?
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep :)
Reply
:iconflythefish:
FlyTheFish Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Huh, did not know that. 
Reply
:iconthespa16:
thespa16 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I kinda get this because of an odd experience I had not too long ago. I don't consider myself to be a very talented artist. I don't think I'm terrible, just not great. The other day I was going through some of my friends artwork on facebook, and my cousin walked up behind me. Somehow we ended up in my art folders on facebook just scrolling through my pictures talking about my art. I expected to go through maybe ten pictures max, but my cousin contented herself to sit behind me and look at every single picture I had posted, and then asked me if there was anymore not posted on facebook. She never seemed to grow bored, and she kept complementing me on my "amazing skill". Ever since I've come to realize that all artists are working on improving in some way, and you never really stop learning in art.
Reply
:iconwhatevershenanigans:
whatevershenanigans Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
AMEN!
Reply
:iconbunnychichan:
bunnychichan Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Understandable 
Reply
:iconembrace-fate:
Embrace-Fate Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I build as MY art. And I STILL check books for complex gambrels, curved structures, and off-angle (not 90°) tie ins and gables.
I BUILD art. My homes, cabins, furniture, and workshop benches are very functional, and quite beautiful... BUT... I use books all the time. If that somehow negates their artistic value, I think my customers would disagree.
Art is about expression. It is you creating. And, yes, among the Amish (excellent builders) I am 'moderately skilled' at best. I agree 100% with your thoughts on this.
Reply
:icondaipayaanc:
DaipayaanC Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I CONCUR... :) 
Reply
:iconsurrealhalo:
SurrealHalo Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Inspiring and so very true - now I must go and complete this piece I have been working on for what feels like forever.
Very inspiring - may I share this to other artists?

Thanks ^_^
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Of course you may.
That's why I made it public :)
Reply
:iconhiddenjoy:
hiddenjoy Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014
Very, very true. Thank you so much for your informed, caring journals. :)

Any 'skill', is like a muscle: the more you work it, the stronger it gets. But, if all you did was bicep curls with your right arm for three years, you couldn't expect to do even half that with your other arm. It's just not possible, unless you give due time and diligence to what you want to improve.

Some may be born more 'gifted' than others, but perseverance is what determines the end. And the end is all that matters; not how you got there.
In art, you're never finished, so keep pressin' on! :D
Reply
:iconalziohh:
AlzioHH Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014   Digital Artist
AgreedI salute you! 
Reply
:iconbotvector:
Botvector Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Student Digital Artist
You have the unique talent to feel your audience needs... I need more training:P
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Don't beat yourself up over that.
I've about 20 years of writing experience and a mind that never knows how to shut up :)
Reply
:iconbotvector:
Botvector Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Come on, writing experience never replace personality:)
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You'd be surprised how much it helps when you know how to phrase things
Reply
:iconbotvector:
Botvector Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Student Digital Artist
You do have experience *and* personality^^
Reply
:icongarner4444:
Garner4444 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014
Its always great to have that kind of mind. Writers block gets trambled :P
Reply
:iconboudiccaamat:
BoudiccaAmat Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
ohhhh so true ......and the many, many folders marked 'inspiration' are testimony to what you say.  Thank you once more for a meaningful and helpful post.
Reply
:iconhoneybadgr:
honeybadgr Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Wow. I've been thinking this my whole life. This changes everything.
Reply
:iconmoonymina:
MoonyMina Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
really, really cool :) it makes me feel grand now XD
Reply
:iconbergunty:
bergunty Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This journal was just what I needed. I'm friends with artists who I consider better skilled than me, and better disciplined. There's no higher ground for them; they are friendly and easy-going. I get stuck in a rut sometimes; I have so many ideas I want to draw them all, and all to the high standard applied in my head. I don't get around to drawing them all, I fail my own standards, I worry if it was worth doing at all. I then get stuck in the rut of not doing anything, I guess for fear of failure. I see my friends' work, and never think that they might have the same thoughts.
Thanks again for posting this.
Reply
:iconqueenmelon:
queenmelon Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
bless this journal<33
Reply
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