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)