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June 17
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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)
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: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:
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: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.
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: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. 
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: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. =)
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: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 (((:
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:icon802kmighty:
802kmighty Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I love that your always are so real and encouraging.
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: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.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Everybody is a n00b once :la:
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: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
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: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
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