How Long From Utter Beginner To Journeyperson?

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  1. #1
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    How Long From Utter Beginner To Journeyperson?

    I've got a background in music (and am Canadian.) I recall a rule of thumb that a person could reasonably go from utter beginner in piano to an ARCT level (that is, pretty much the top Royal Conservatory achievement of formal piano training) in 10 years of dedicated effort. (For a person not especially talented or a-talented.)

    I am curious to know what kind of period of time some of you visual artists might estimate it would take to make a similar achievement in visual arts for a person who has never demonstrated any particular knack, but can hold a pencil, perceive color, etc.

    I also am curious about any kind of recommended programs of study (informal-- not interested in schooling) you'd recommend. (There may well be many threads that I haven't yet found which go into detail answering this question; I'm glad to go there if someone points me.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poustman View Post
    I am curious to know what kind of period of time some of you visual artists might estimate it would take to make a similar achievement in visual arts for a person who has never demonstrated any particular knack, but can hold a pencil, perceive color, etc.

    this will differ from person to person. there are so many factors that it seems a bit silly to generalize or hypothesize an answer. some things are easy to pick up and will come naturally, other things, which may be easy to others, you can spend a lifetime and never grasp at all. in art you get out of it what you put into it. just put in practice and your honest effort and stay motivated, dedicated, and inspired and you'll get better.

    I also am curious about any kind of recommended programs of study (informal-- not interested in schooling) you'd recommend. (There may well be many threads that I haven't yet found which go into detail answering this question; I'm glad to go there if someone points me.)
    there are countless tutorials on this site (and the rest of the internet) in books, etc.
    the things that i would suggest (in no real order of priority, and that you should find easily) are:

    -line
    -color
    -saturation
    -intensity
    -value
    -tint/shade
    -shape
    -texture
    -composition
    -space
    -rhythym
    -balance
    -focus
    -tension
    -scale
    -contrast
    -harmony
    -lighting
    -orientation
    -patterns/repitition
    -chiaroscuro
    -modeling/rendering

    (the list can go on nearly endlessly, but i hope the point is clear) these are things to be aware of for [nearly] any medium. once you understand the theory of design you can begin to understand the subject. the elements of design apply to the understanding of concepts such as linear/atmospheric perspective, anatomy, etc.

    you can get a 'fair grasp' of these things in a few years, which is basically what a decent art education will teach you. there is a large divide between understanding concepts in theory and execution with proficiency, and much of your artistic endeavors will be practice in bridging that gap. in the end there is always more to learn and explore.

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    I think you might be thinking of this quote from Daniel Levitin's "This is Your Brain on Music"

    The emerging picture… is that 10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert — in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again.
    10,000 hours comes out to about 10 years if you put in about 3 hours a day.

    Again, like Grief said, it probably differs from person to person, and it's not a hard, fast rule. Either way, the point is work your butt off and you will get there.

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    I can't help but find holes in the 10 year theory, even though it's mentioned in some places I consider respectable.

    So it's the same amount of time if you're use the best approach and learning techniques or if you use the absolute worst?

    If yes, then the 10 year mark is more like saying "by then, anybody, no matter how poor his learning, will become a master".

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    Peter O'toole the actor talked about how it takes 15 years in any industry to get to the top of your game. That means 15 years outside of school, in the real world where you really start paying your dues . . . doing what you do best in that profession and living the life of one in that profession. It's a different thing to actually put theory into practice. You'll learn more your first year of work than you ever learned in 4-5 years of college, art school, or whatever television ad you learned off of.

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    l33tfl33t, they mean meaningful, good practice, where you constantly challenge yourself to get better by going for practice that's hard, and stepping back to see if you're going in the right direction (a good teacher would help here too). I remember from 1 article that compared with amateurs that got a ton better initially, but then kept on the same level forever because they did the same things over & over.

    Disclaimer: It's been a long time since I read those articles and there's some interpretation from myself in there.

    Last edited by NightVision; April 22nd, 2009 at 03:58 PM. Reason: typo
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightVision View Post
    l33tfl33t, the mean meaningful, good practice, where you constantly challenge yourself to get better by going for practice that's hard, and stepping back to see if you're going in the right direction (a good teacher would help here too). I remember from 1 article that compared with amateurs that got a ton better initially, but then kept on the same level forever because they did the same things over & over.

    Disclaimer: It's been a long time since I read those articles and there's some interpretation from myself in there.
    So you're saying that's with lab perfect conditions? I'm pretty doubtful that that 10 year mark is really relevant then, since:

    a) most people will not have lab perfect conditions
    b) most people will not be starting with the same level of "talent"
    c) the 10 year mark fails to take into account new learning techniques or unconventional approaches

    All that being said, I can't help but doubt the accuracy of the 10 year estimation. Rather, the only context where it makes sense is that after 10 years of doing something, anyone will become a master, something along the "room full of monkeys and typewriters will eventually produce Shakespeare" idea.

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    I'm not one for figures, but as a musician myself, I know how long it takes to get to a proffesional standard.
    But, as you should know from piano, just get yourself into a regular practice routine, doesnt even need to be daily.
    Just regularly sketching unlocks more of the artistic bit of your brain, and you'll improve rapidly.




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    The point of the 10,000 hours thing is not to say "If you log 10,000 hours you instantly become pro", the point is, "Practice something over and over and over and over again, and you will get good at it. How long? Hmmm... 10,000 hours seems about right."

    So, stop arguing about the accuracy of the 10,000 hours and just go draw... a lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bandaidboy12 View Post
    The point of the 10,000 hours thing is not to say "If you log 10,000 hours you instantly become pro", the point is, "Practice something over and over and over and over again, and you will get good at it. How long? Hmmm... 10,000 hours seems about right."

    So, stop arguing about the accuracy of the 10,000 hours and just go draw... a lot.
    Here, take this teaspoon and start digging. In about 10,000 you'll have your very own Olympic sized swimming pool. Forget bulldozers and modern equipment, those are for lazy people and pussies. Real men use teaspoons.

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    And then again...there's an old story from the martial arts that boils down to that focusing too much on the goal, will result in it taking twice as long to get there. Compared to if you enjoy that daily practice and view also the way to the goal as a goal in itself.

    Just to add a different perspective on the benefit of chasing the end result after those 10 000 hours of practice too frantically. :-)

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  14. #12
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    How long?

    A week.

    Seriously.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandaidboy12 View Post
    The point of the 10,000 hours thing is not to say "If you log 10,000 hours you instantly become pro", the point is, "Practice something over and over and over and over again, and you will get good at it. How long? Hmmm... 10,000 hours seems about right."

    So, stop arguing about the accuracy of the 10,000 hours and just go draw... a lot.
    Isn't that the truth?

    I still think the estimated time is about right but it comes down to self-discipline and perseverance. I'm primarily thinking about MindCandyMan's sketchbook and how he got to where he's at simply because he studied and drew so much every day. He got hours in where I wouldn't even think it and the depth of his studies was what helped him during that time. He's probably attained those hours because maybe he drew 5-6+ hours a day instead of 3.

    Of course, the Renaissance artists being apprenticed first prior to their own personal fame really sums it up for me. How much of their daily time was being esconced in the studio with their mentor, learning what they needed to know to get to where they wanted to be? It's probably the very model ateliers are based off of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mindbendermind View Post
    And then again...there's an old story from the martial arts that boils down to that focusing too much on the goal, will result in it taking twice as long to get there. Compared to if you enjoy that daily practice and view also the way to the goal as a goal in itself.

    Just to add a different perspective on the benefit of chasing the end result after those 10 000 hours of practice too frantically. :-)
    Absolutely. Love for something beats willpower exertion to do it hands down. So what is this secret that makes you love art so much that you draw from dawn 'till dusk and how can someone learn it?

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