Is a talent for art natural or learnable? - Page 3
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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by biggjoee5790 View Post
    Ok that makes sense.. But here's a question. Do you think that the majorit of the really great artists today especially in the video game, movie, etc industries are these artistic "geniuses", or are they just people who worked their asses off?
    By definition, the majority in any field aren't "geniuses."


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    Pardon me for not reading all 3 pages, but thought i'd just jump in.


    From my experience, i've grown to understand 'talent' as more an affinity towards a specific skill which allows you to grasp it's concepts faster then someone without. You are not born able to paint perfect human form, but with talent you'll pick it up faster then someone without. You will still do the same work as someone else, still take the same steps and learn the same lessons, but you'll sprint through them rather then crawl.

    My point is, even without talent you can get to the same end point as anyone else, but it will require much more effort as the same lessons will take longer to 'stick', but you'll get there.

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    You will still do the same work as someone else, still take the same steps and learn the same lessons, but you'll sprint through them rather then crawl.
    I disagree. Who are you to measure how hard someone works? Saying some people don't have to work as hard as other is just LAME. Boo-#$%-Hoo.

    Talent is nothing more than the result of hard work.

    Tiger Woods is "talented" because he was was swinging at golf balls when other kids were still playing with toys at the age of 2!

    Michelangelo was talented because he was apprenticed in painting with Domenico Ghirlandaio when he was thirteen.

    Michale Jordan is talented because he was the only player who understood that you have to practice just as hard as you play.

    "Talent" is an excuse losers use to justify their failures.
    We all have the ability to achieve success or be known as "talented".
    Most people just quit too early.

    Last edited by otis; May 7th, 2008 at 07:59 PM.
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    On the genius thing: I don't think that genius is the same thing as simply having an excess of talent. Also, genius at mechanical tasks (like being able to work out the square roots of big numbers in your head) is different to genius in the arts which seem to be to do with the ability to see connections at an extrodinary subtle level and bring them to powerful conclusions. If talent at drawing is being able to invent graphic equivalents for plastic thoughts fluently it does not mean that you are neccessarily able to bring these things into an organised and meaningful whole. The ability to give unity to what you do seems to be a different thing, a different ability if you will. Being able to realise order in a consistent and meaningful way seems to be the possible hallmarks of genius in the arts.

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    Below average is knowing how many pots you need to catch all the drips in the roof of the house you just remodeled.

    Average is hiring a contractor to build you a house.

    Above average is learning how to build it yourself.

    Skilled is doing it right the first time minus the pissed-off code inspector.

    Talented is knowing as much as skilled, but your house wins the Home & Garden Award for the best Victorian east of the Mississippi.

    Genius is rigging your bed with a roof, spaces for all your clothes and art supplies, wings, a complete bath, a cold fusion power plant for your computer, and flying it to work.

    Any other questions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae View Post
    Below average is knowing how many pots you need to catch all the drips in the roof of the house you just remodeled.

    Average is hiring a contractor to build you a house.

    Above average is learning how to build it yourself.

    Skilled is doing it right the first time minus the pissed-off code inspector.

    Talented is knowing as much as skilled, but your house wins the Home & Garden Award for the best Victorian east of the Mississippi.

    Genius is rigging your bed with a roof, spaces for all your clothes and art supplies, wings, a complete bath, a cold fusion power plant for your computer, and flying it to work.

    Any other questions?
    So genius is doing something completely whacked-out. Gotcha.

    . . .

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    From Google:
    Define: talent

    endowment: natural abilities or qualities
    a person who possesses unusual innate ability in some field or activity

    The word 'talent' means a gift, something you have naturally. It's a matter of opinion whether or not people have these gifts, but it's not open to debate what the word means. Talent is by definition innate. You cannot believe that talent only comes from hard work, because that is just bad language.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otis View Post
    I disagree. Who are you to measure how hard someone works? Saying some people don't have to work as hard as other is just LAME. Boo-#$%-Hoo.
    Nah. There is a distinct reason you're an artist and not a micro-geologist. Drawing class was easier and more fun, right? Or were both really equally as painful and hard and you just choose the one that pays less?

    Seriously Otis, you can't seriously believe there was absolutely no natural predisposition to learning the arts over whatever else. There is a reason things "run in the family".

    Having a natural affinity towards a trade skill does not mean you do not work hard to achieve that ability. it simply means you learn that trade faster and more efficiently then someone who has a natural disposition to something completely unrelated. The fact that art is a right brained activity puts more proof to this.

    Last edited by Blue; May 8th, 2008 at 06:21 PM.
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    I think that "natural affinity" is nothing more than confidence, or encouragement built up through positive re-enforcment, or somtimes just as plain ignorance to failure.
    Talent is not something that comes from divine powers, or genes.

    Drawing class was easier and more fun, right?
    Exactly! For me, for you, and many people in the arts. But this doesn't mean we were born with it! Maybe you grew up around art, maybe you were inspired through art...who knows...the reasons are numerous.

    But I can guarantee you one FACT: People who don't think they are capable, talented or have the ability to do "whatever" will ALWAYS fail and never accomplish it.

    Last edited by otis; May 8th, 2008 at 11:24 PM.
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    Otis, then why do orphan children still develop the talents of their genetic parents when living with foster parents who exhibit traits on the opposite spectrum?

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    i will never understand why people are so afraid of acknowledging that we're not born equals. if genetics determine my physical traits, and to some extent, how my behavior and personality manifest from my experiences - surely it has a role in determining my basic strengths and weaknesses in interacting with outer influences. after all, the structure of the brain is determined by your genetic makeup, and unless you're going to posit that there is some separate dimension for minds and thinking, our brains are going to, in large part, determine our natural tendencies. and if there is as much variation in brain structure (and the traits that trickle down from that) as there is in outer appearance, it's very difficult not to view people as possessing varying amounts of natural ability - that is, talent.

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    then why do orphan children still develop the talents of their genetic parents when living with foster parents who exhibit traits on the opposite spectrum
    We are not talking about physical traits, or genetic conditions here. We are talking about a word used in our culture to explain why some people appear to have "natural abilities" compared to others.

    I'm just saying the ideology of "talent" I'm hearing is sounding a lot like Magical, "Godly", hocus-pocus thinking.

    I believe that the kid who gets all the respect, admiration, and praise for being "the best (at whatever)" will naturally grow up having more confidence (affinity) in learning, exploring and understanding that skill. Making it much easier to accomplish all the "hard work" necessary to grow.
    The person who sees everything in life as "difficult" or unfair will naturally take longer to achieve a higher level of mastery in it, or more likely never at all.

    I will never understand why people are so afraid of acknowledging that we're not born equals.
    Wow, Serhc, I hope you meant to say "identical" instead of "equal". If you meant equal then I didn't realize you have mastered and figured out the mystery of the human brain!? I'm sorry to hear people are not born equal. Maybe Theocracies, Monarchies or Facism had it right all along? Maybe there is a master race? What's the point in the Constitution declaring all men are created equal and have the right to PURSUE happiness if it's just pointless and pre-determined?

    My point is, what ever you choose to believe WILL BE YOUR REALITY.

    If you don't believe you are capable (or even have) the same opportunity in Life to achieve your goal as the next person..then SO BE IT.
    It's your choice to believe this. You already have decided to accept this as a fact, and in turn making it YOUR REALITY.

    Last edited by otis; May 9th, 2008 at 02:38 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by otis View Post
    My point is, what ever you choose to believe WILL BE YOUR REALITY.
    So....my dyscalculia is just something I made up rather than suffered through unknowingly all 16 years of my formal education? Oh, snap. You're right. I should be exactly as capable of not reversing numbers and values as the next person, I just didn't believe hard enough.

    Our brains are all different, and definitely not equal. I don't think it's quite as simple as 'left brain, right brain; logic, intuition' correlations, but we ARE wired differently. I am tone deaf. I have plenty of musical training, but the part of the brain that tells you when the sound you're hearing is sharp, flat, or perfect? Despite years of practice and training, I was never able to develop that sense. I also cannot hear iambic pentameter at all, despite repeated attempts to learn from classmates and teachers.

    And with regards to nurture versus nature, just because someone may grow up in an environment that favors one trait over another does not mean the person is going to be inclined towards it, and vice versa. How many of us grew up or knew friends who grew up in households where the parents shoved mathematical algorithms at us all day long from birth or showered piano lessons upon us or went to afterschool soccer for years on end only to develop serious loathing for those very activities?

    ..:|sketches|:..
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    Quote Originally Posted by otis View Post
    I'm just saying the ideology of "talent" I'm hearing is sounding a lot like Magical, "Godly", hocus-pocus thinking.
    I have no idea what you are arguing about now. We are all artists, we all understand what 'talent' is and how it effects us, or how much/little. Are you just arguing how people use the term, or.. what?

    This reminds me quite of bit of a Fallacy of Equivocation...

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    we are in fact, talking about physical traits here. if you accept that genetic variation results in different faces, different nose types, and different body structure, you're also accepting that genetic variation results in different brain structure - and therefore, mental capacity and other natural tendencies. it isn't logically possible for a brain to be develop in a manner undetermined by our genetic makeup.

    now, if brains develop differently because of genetic determination, why is the thought of 'naturally occuring tendencies' - that is, talent - so scary? the brain being naturally wired for different functions is hardly magical-voodoo-hocuspocus. in fact, the statement 'if you believe it, anything is possible!' or 'what you believe will be your reality!' is the magical one.

    Wow, Serhc, I hope you meant to say "identical" instead of "equal". If you meant equal then I didn't realize you have mastered and figured out the mystery of the human brain!? I'm sorry to hear people are not born equal.
    say there were three people on a sinking boat - mozart, monet, and say, a boy born with a major mental defect that does not allow him to develop mentally and interact with people properly. you have the power to whisk away two of these people to safety - which ones do you pick?

    as extreme as the case is, if you really believe we're all equal, you cannot have a preference for any.

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    Talking

    An answer to the original question, "Is a talent for art natural or learnable?"

    is: "Yes."

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    Thank you attorney.

    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
    his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he
    has imagined, he will meet with a success
    unexpected in common hours."
    - H.D. Thoreau
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    Quote Originally Posted by otis View Post
    We are not talking about physical traits, or genetic conditions here. We are talking about a word used in our culture to explain why some people appear to have "natural abilities" compared to others.

    I'm just saying the ideology of "talent" I'm hearing is sounding a lot like Magical, "Godly", hocus-pocus thinking.

    I believe that the kid who gets all the respect, admiration, and praise for being "the best (at whatever)" will naturally grow up having more confidence (affinity) in learning, exploring and understanding that skill. Making it much easier to accomplish all the "hard work" necessary to grow.
    The person who sees everything in life as "difficult" or unfair will naturally take longer to achieve a higher level of mastery in it, or more likely never at all.



    Wow, Serhc, I hope you meant to say "identical" instead of "equal". If you meant equal then I didn't realize you have mastered and figured out the mystery of the human brain!? I'm sorry to hear people are not born equal. Maybe Theocracies, Monarchies or Facism had it right all along? Maybe there is a master race? What's the point in the Constitution declaring all men are created equal and have the right to PURSUE happiness if it's just pointless and pre-determined?

    My point is, what ever you choose to believe WILL BE YOUR REALITY.

    If you don't believe you are capable (or even have) the same opportunity in Life to achieve your goal as the next person..then SO BE IT.
    It's your choice to believe this. You already have decided to accept this as a fact, and in turn making it YOUR REALITY.
    Where the hell is the groan button? Seriously.

    We're not talking about the WORTH of people. And we're certainly not talking about "killing the unworthy" or any of the other shit espoused by Nazis (happy Godwin's Law, btw).

    We are talking about the ability of people to do certain things.

    I for one am dyslexic and have less of an affinity for giving directions than others, because I tend to mix up right and left. Some would argue that this makes me less good as a person, but I believe that whether I'm good at it or not has absolutely no bearing on my personal worth.

    Just because someone is an artist doesn't mean they're automatically better than non-artists, and hearing this sentiment spread all over the place makes me want to eat a baby. It's NOT TRUE. There is no 'MASTER RACE' just because talents exist. There are just people who are good at certain things. Some people are good at things that society likes more, but (I hope) we still value the ones who aren't as good at those certain things.

    Let me just reiterate that:

    Being an artist doesn't make you worth more. Being talented at art doesn't make you better than everybody. HARD WORK is what goes into every masterpiece. Just because someone is talented in a certain way doesn't mean they're any better than anyone else; what matters is what they do with it. Talent isn't worth shit if you don't use it.

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    Our brain is not wired at all when we are born. He learn, and wire himself accordingly. Best of all, it seem we can rewire it at nearly any ages (better : if we continue to train it, he generates new brain cell even at the end of our live).

    So, is there people with a headstart? Probably.
    But, have we the hope to catch them? Yeah.

    Still, hard work is necessary, but doing it right a necessity... if we repeat the same error over and over, we're not going to advance.
    A guitar teacher told me once that music is not one big thing where we got it or not. It's lot of little things that we aggregate (the ear, the logic, the agility with our body), and most of all, that we work a lot. I think it's the same in our fields - concept design ask for a LOT of knowledge and skill. The same for illustration, fine art and every other domain.

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    I think natural talent has a big morale boost on artists also though, knowing you are good and have a gift keeps your determination up,i think this also results in a better artist. i don't class drawing as working hard to achieve what i want on paper i just relax and let whatever comes to mind be drawn onto the paper. i do think people who don't have the artistic talent see getting good at art a 'chore'
    i just don't think they can grasp the conceptuality as well.

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    Well i don't reallt beleive in natural talent. And my sig really says it,
    I don't beleive in natural talent but i do beleive that talent can be gained through hard work.

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    I don't agree with your signature to be honest. hard work does have a big impact on what we are good at and learning.
    But talent is natural, the word means a natural skill obtained naturally at birth. You always have people who stand out at what they do, this is not all because of hard work its because of the way their mind works genetically. Talent and hard work must go together to achieve a high standard.

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    Talent is a vague word. It's a word we use when we don't know how some1 is able to excel where others seem to falter. I think it's a mistake to take it as some hard empirically measurable trait. We just don't know what talent is. All we know is that some people seem to naturally do better in certain fields. Then we stick a word to it and act like we know what it is. There could be plenty of reasons why you might need to work harder than the next man, but it doesn't necessarily equate to talent. And no, I don't think hard work and passion if given to 2 people equally in the same environment will mean that they come out equal in ability.
    What about a differing in a subconscious path to acquire an ability? -Things like that which can't be easily observed.

    Imagine a race between a sports car and an off-road vehicle with 2 known paths to the finish line. 1 is paved with a roundabout way to the finish line. The other is a dirt/mud track that goes straight to the finish line. If the bug were to take the same route as the sports car on the paved road, it would get spanked; if it took the dirt road it could still very well lose or even come out on top. Makes sense, right? You could have situations where the hardworking bug could beat the sports car on the paved road(laziness, flat tire, old car, etc) but It wouldn't be easy, but it is a possibility. The normal situation, though, would be that the bug would get spanked as long as the sports car did decent *if the bug took the paved road, no matter how hard it tried. If you throw in the ability for alternative means(plane ferry,teleportation,nimbus, etc) to reach that finish line, the race becomes wide open. If you intentionally lock the bug in a race with a porsche on a paved road, it may naturally lose, but I don't think you can say it was because of "talent" that the Porsche won. Now I know this is all a bit fantastical, but you should still be able to see how it applies.

    Some people are sports cars, others bugs, and still others....spaceships, etc and they all, on the face of it, perform certain task better than others when they run the race they were built to run. Now throw in the wildcard (human brain) with its countless variables and watch things turn upside down. I don't think you can simplify everything to hard work, nurture, and "talent". There are way to many variables. A lot can be attributed to hard work and nurture, though. That is easily seen and observable, but doesn't explain why some people have an easier time than others. And like I said earlier, talent is just way too vague to be used as a measuring stick.

    ps, why do people keep using sports as an example to justify their views on the existence of talent? As if physical and mental attributes are equally concrete and measurable. It's like you see talent as the vehicle(fast twitch/slow twitch muscle fibers, etc) rather than the application of it's abilities to a certain goal.

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    You have talent. Now go back and draw.

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    I don't know if talent exists, but I prefer to believe it doesn't. Makes me work harder.

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    [sorry for my bad grammar]

    I think both are truth, Art is genetically natural talent and technically learnable talent!!

    If some one with natural talent don't practice and study, can't be artist...even if have tons of creative ideas, because don't know any technic to express it's natural talents...
    If some one study technical knowledges and don't have natural creative talent, almost create cliche works like photocopy-machine, such artist always theft ideas from other artists...

    We have lots of pro artists who born in artistic families, and have lots of pro artists who born in mathematician family!!...but both of this pro artists work hard and practice over-time...

    I think being an professional artist, need 4 things:
    1- High level of creativity (natural talent)
    2- Study of technical knowledges (learnable talent)
    3- Patience
    4- Practice!

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  37. #88
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    I just got scolded for making a stupid lounge thread and am stressing my brain into a crisp over various things that I have to patiently work at rather than magically solve, so I'm going to run my mouth on this subject...

    Talent is as real as the color of your hair- but firstly WHY DO YOU CARE and secondly CAN YOU BE SPECIFIC?

    It's not like there's one 'talent', or even one 'artistic talent'. I've been following the cartoonist muse for some time now and I'm going to be expressing stuff in that format, and there's a great quote from that world- whenever your art teacher criticises you because you want to draw cartoony things that are less technically adept, 'take heart in the fact that nobody knows who he is but everybody knows Charlie Brown'.

    But then when you study Charlie Brown's character design you find a huge amount of little quirks and details, possibly because Charles Schulz had- yes- natural talent! In a style that is very 'iconic', as Scott McCloud would say.

    Yet, I don't sit around reading Peanuts strips, but I DO sit around re-reading Scott McCloud. He's said outright in various ways, I write my studies of cartooning and how-to comics books in the hope that if I can teach other people how this art works, maybe I can better do it myself. Yet I've never seen any 'creative works' from Scott that I gave a damn about- but when he's teaching in comics form, whoo!

    Dick Clark once told Lester Bangs in an interview that the biggest problem in the music business was people who don't know what they are. "Marc Bolan thought he was Mick Jagger. He was Donny Osmond. Schmuck. Michael Nesmith (Micky Dolenz? I forget the quote) thought he was Paul McCartney. He went to Monterey Pop and they laughed at him..."

    I absolutely devour any information on web-comics from the guys at halfpixel.com and their 'Webcomics Weekly' podcast, but I don't read any of their actual comics. But by God, do they ever have a wealth of wisdom on doing business and just plain living life as a smalltime creative entrepreneur... what you need to get out of bed and start plugging away. Yet, I bought their book from Scott, and he's not really a retail sales guy- still waiting for him to get his act together and send me the book.

    LEARN WHAT YOU ARE.

    How you feel about talent will tell you what you want. Not so much what you want to be, as what you WANT. If you're desperate to be a great artist, is it that you want money? Or, to be producing amazing feasts for the eyes? Or to tell your story, express your imagination and inner worlds? Or simply to be praised and exalted as a top guy?

    What you ARE dictates how you go about this.

    I wish I had natural talent for drawing. But I have natural talent for ANALYSIS. If I want praise, I'll go to one of my music hang-outs (no natural talent for music, but natural tendency to originality, and very very strong measured ability to identify and understand musical/rhythmic patterns and shades of tonality) and I'll join a mix shoot-out, do my own quirky but sincere mix, and then critique ALL the other mixes as if I was a working reviewer. I'll get all the praise I can handle! My own mix, meh- it'll be a matter of taste- but it will be EASY and kinda fun for me to grind through maybe seventy-five song mixes and comment insightfully, in big-picture terms, on each one.

    Talent (for critical analysis and understanding sound and music).

    If I want to make a mix that gets that kind of praise- I will have to analyse, study how they work, do one that completely delivers on what MY tastes are, and then quite a lot of people still won't like it, but a few people will be like "wow, you got incredible emotional impact" or whatever, and I'll say yes, that's what I was consciously trying to do, here's how I did it, here's what I intentionally threw under the bus to achieve that.

    If I want to produce art to achieve a given result (and I do!) I will have to analyse, study how things are done- I recently made notes of how Garfield's smile is constructed, for pete's sake- because not having talent, it won't come as naturally to me. I will produce art 'by numbers', except it's up to me to create the numbers, like a comics artist who works largely from templates.

    It won't be for the pleasure of drawing- or even in hopes I'll get to a place where drawings come easily and look great- because that may never happen. But it'll be necessary because there are things I Want To Do that require that SOMEBODY draw stuff to illustrate- and no drawey means the bigger goal doesn't happen.

    And that goal speaks to what kind of stories I want to tell to the world- which is something I've also had some success with, a writing/scripting talent that is useless without means of expressing it in a final form. Already wrote three and 3/4 novels, thanks. This isn't the time to get into book writing, even with multiple entire books under your belt. Visuals matter, today.

    So...

    If you are mad at the idea that talent is all, what exactly do you WANT that you feel is threatened or at stake? If you know what you want, and you know what you are, that's it really.

    Talent is MEANINGLESS unless you're already placing a lot of value on its context. Nobody wants Michaelangelo as a syndicated cartoonist. Nobody wants a life drawing class taught by Scott Adams or 'Illiad'.

    You don't get to choose what your talents are, but you DO choose what you want, so be creative in finding ways to get to what you want.

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  38. #89
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    Very well put.. If you really want it badly.. You can do it. Yea it might take you a longer time and a lot more patience than the other guy. But It can be done. I come from a family with no musical talent.. I never played a single instrument until I was 12.. I decided then that I wanted to become a really good guitar player. I had such a desire and I worked my ass off. I didn't have any extra talent boost when starting that gave me some kind of head start.. I was a really bad guitar player just like any other beginner. 6 years later.. Although I don't play nearly as much.. I can play guitar better than anyone I know.. And my former guitar teacher told me I was one of the best players he's ever taught. This didn't come from talent.. It came from me sitting in my room every day and playing until my fingertips were numb.. Seriously. So now that I've decided to revisit my love for art but actually go somewhere with it this time around.. I believe that by taking the same approach I did with guitar.. I can really get good. I actually have more hopes for myself with art because unlike starting at rock bottom at guitar.. I have been drawing and doodling since I was little.. Nothing too serious. Plus my dads been painting as a hobby his whole life so I've been exposed to the arts. I've taken photography classes in school that also gave me some skills that definitley help my drawing. The point of this ramble is just to try to prove that although talent may be a factor.. It's a very small one. If I kept up guitar for the rest of my life and kept up the hardcore practice.. I'm confident I could really be amazing (I'm not being cocky trust me ) that's just not what my dream is. My goal is to be an artist.. And whether I have talent or not.. I really don't care because I'm gonna work my ass of regardless.

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  39. #90
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    anybody can learn to draw.

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